Monday, February 28, 2011

Bracketology 101's Field of 68 - Feb. 28

Just when it looked like the bubble couldn't get any weaker, Upset Saturday struck again.

In a span of 12 hours, Virginia Tech knocked off top-ranked Duke, Colorado had a second half for the ages and stunned Texas, Kansas State and Baylor beat ranked opponents at home, Alabama lost at Mississippi, Minnesota lost - again - this time at home to Michigan, Memphis got obliterated at UTEP, Colorado State lost at Air Force (Air Force?!), and Nebraska lost at Iowa State (Iowa State??!!) By the end of the night, our 10-12 lines were in shambles, and we were left to sift through some of the worst at-large resumes we can remember to try to fill a 68-team field.

Ultimately, we decided on the following changes: Minnesota, Boston College, Colorado State, and Nebraska dropped out, and Virginia Tech, Michigan, Colorado, and Baylor jumped in. Nebraska was the easiest team to take out because the Huskers are now eighth in the Big XII pecking order. Colorado State was an easy removal as well because we don't give them much of a chance to win at San Diego State this week. Minnesota has the best wins of the four teams we took out, but they are in complete free-fall mode right now. The Gophers need to win their last two games just to get to 8-10 in conference, and even then, they'll probably have to get to the Big Ten final to get an at-large. BC was done in by their brutal home loss to Miami and the fact that they have to play at Virginia Tech on Tuesday. If they lose that game, which we think they will, they'll finish at best 8-8 in conference, which won't be enough.

Replacing those four teams in the bracket was a struggle. We wanted to include a bid-stealer for at least one of the open spots, but incredibly - in a year with three more at-large spots available and an awful bubble - there are just no bid-stealers out there right now. We don't like Missouri State's chances to get an at-large if they lose in the MVC final, and Conference USA is such a mess right now that the regular season champ probably won't be worthy of an at-large (if needed) down the road, either. The only bid-stealer possibility that we gave serious consideration to was the Horizon getting two bids (Milwaukee as the automatic and Butler an at-large). In the end, though, we stuck with the resurgent Bulldogs as our pick to win the Horizon tourney, and left the league with just one bid.

With no bid-stealers available, we had to pick from a group of teams with a lot of warts and a lot of work left to do. Virginia Tech was the easiest inclusion because of their win over the Blue Devils and their upcoming home game against BC. Michigan made the cut, despite their loss at home to Wisconsin on Wednesday, because we think they have a decent chance to beat Michigan State at home this weekend and then win their first Big Ten tourney game. Colorado made the cut because, after their upset of the Longhorns, the Buffs have five Top 50 wins overall and four Top 50 wins in conference. Their season sweep of Kansas State is huge, and their final two games (at Iowa State, vs. Nebraska) are very winnable. A 9-7 finish, even with an OOC SOS of 323, should put Colorado on the right side of the bubble heading into the Big XII tournament.

Our fourth at-large hole was filled by Baylor, who completed a season sweep of A&M on Saturday night to get back to .500 in conference. The Bears' final two games are both tough - at Oklahoma State and at home against Texas - but we think they have an outside chance to win both, especially with the Gameday crew coming to town over the weekend. If they split those two games, they'll have to make a deep run in the Big XII tournament to get back in the mix for a bid. Finally, in a decision that will surely cause some spirited debate in the comment section this week, we kept Alabama in the bracket as our last team in. We really can't defend the Tide's overall profile (two Top 50 wins, an 89 RPI), but we still think that if they finish 12-4, especially on this bubble, that the committee will give them a bid. Until 12-4 is mathematically impossible, we're sticking with them.

Elsewhere in the bracket, there was a change on the 1 line as BYU replaces Duke. The Cougars are likely going to have to win the MWC tourney to get a 1 seed, but given the way they played in front of a raucous SDSU crowd on Saturday, we think they can do that. In other changes to the top quarter of the bracket, SDSU fell from a 2 to a 3, Florida fell from a 3 to a 4, Louisville climbed from a 4 to a 3, and St. John's and North Carolina both went from 5s to 4s. The biggest upgrades of the week were BYU (who moved from a 3 to a 1), Syracuse (from a 5 to a 3), Kansas State (from an 11 to an 8), and Marquette (from am 11 to a 9). The biggest downgrade was Georgetown (from a 3 to a 5).

Bracket Breakdown
Last Four In

Michigan, Colorado, Baylor, Alabama

First Four Out
Boston College, Penn State, UAB, Colorado State

Next Four Out
Clemson, Memphis, USC, Minnesota

"First Four" Games
Michigan vs. Colorado, Baylor vs. Alabama, Murray State vs. Bethune-Cookman, Texas Southern vs. McNeese State


Conference Breakdown
Big East (11), Big XII (7), Big Ten (6), SEC (6), ACC (4), A-10 (3), MWC (3), Pac-10 (3), Colonial (2), WCC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier, Temple, Richmond

Big East - Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville, Syracuse, St. John's, Connecticut, Georgetown, Villanova, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Marquette

Big Sky - Northern Colorado

Big South - Coastal Carolina

Big Ten - Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan

Big XII - Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State, Colorado, Baylor

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - George Mason, Old Dominion

Conference USA - Southern Miss

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Princeton

MAAC - Fairfield

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Bethune Cookman

MVC - Missouri State

MWC - BYU, San Diego State, UNLV

Northeast - Long Island

Ohio Valley - Murray State

Pac-10 - Arizona, UCLA, Washington

Patriot - Bucknell

SEC - Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama

Southern - Charleston

Southland - McNeese State

Summit - Oakland

Sun Belt - Florida Atlantic

SWAC - Texas Southern

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga


The Seeds
The 1s
Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, BYU

The 2s
Duke, Notre Dame, Purdue, Texas

The 3s
Louisville, Wisconsin, Syracuse, San Diego State

The 4s
St. John's, Florida, Connecticut, North Carolina

The 5s
Georgetown, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Villanova

The 6s
Xavier, Texas A&M, Arizona, West Virginia

The 7s
Missouri, Temple, UCLA, UNLV

The 8s
Cincinnati, George Mason, Old Dominion, Kansas State

The 9s
Utah State, Marquette, Florida State, Illinois

The 10s
Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan State, Washington

The 11s
Richmond, St. Mary's, Gonzaga, Virginia Tech

The 12s
Butler, Michigan vs. Colorado (FF), Baylor vs. Alabama (FF), Southern Miss

The 13s
Missouri State, Princeton, Belmont, Oakland

The 14s
Charleston, Coastal Carolina, Bucknell, Fairfield

The 15s
Vermont, Kent State, Long Beach State, Long Island

The 16s
Florida Atlantic, Northern Colorado, Murray State vs. Bethune Cookman (FF), Texas Southern vs. McNeese State (FF)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail us at or send us a tweet at


Anonymous said...

Baylor lost at home to Texas Tech last week. Boston College and Penn State are more deserving.

Anonymous said...

When you guys predict BYU's seeding, do you take into account that they have to play in a Thursday/Saturday region? It seems that the selection committee typically drops them a line or two (or more) every year they make the tournament in order to accomodate their "no playing on Sunday" policy.

Bracketology 101 said...

We just can't see Penn State winning both of its remaining games. The Nittany Lions have been very good at home, but we think the Buckeyes will get out of College Station with a win.

Yes, we take BYU's inability to play on Sundays into account. It will be reflected in the bracket.

Marty said...

What am I missing in regards to Michigan State? I dont see how they are in the bracket at all.

Chris said...

How can you have both Penn State and Minnesota on the last 8 using your projection/prediction method? You said you project that Penn State loses to Ohio State Tuesday.

If Minnesota then wins the weekend game, Penn State will be 15-14 (8-10) and completely out of the at-large picture. If Penn State wins that game, Minnesota will be 7-11 in conference and completely out of the at-large picture.

There is simply no conceivable way in which both Penn State and Minnesota get at-large bids without Penn State beating Ohio State (and even then it would involve something wacky like Penn State losing in the B10 semis and Minnesota losing in the B10 finals).

Having both on the last 8 is reasonable using a "season-ended-today" method, but it is not reasonable using "projection-prediction".

Anonymous said...

If Penn State beats Ohio State and loses to Minnesota that would put them 9-9 with the toughest B10 schedule of the year (played Iowa and Indiana once). They wouldn't be more deserving than say, Colorado? It's a moot point when they lose to Iowa State this week.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts echo Marty's... Michigan St. as a 10 seed... really??

If they split their last two (Iowa and @ UM, is a likely scenario), and get bounced in the 1st round of the big 10 tourney... they don't have a prayer.

mike said...

The 1's - Ohio State, Pitt, Kansas, BYU
The 2's - Duke, Texas, Purdue, Notre Dame
The 3's - Syracuse, Wisconsin, St Johns, San Diego State
The 4's - Georgetown, UConn, Louisville, Florida
The 5's - North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Villanova
The 6's - Xavier, WVU, Missouri, Texas A&M
The 7's - Arizona, UCLA, George Mason, Temple
The 8's - UNLV, Old Dominion, Kansas State, Cincinnati
The 9's - Utah State, Illinois, Florida State, Marquette
The 10's - Georgia, Washington, Tennessee, Richmond
The 11's - Michigan State, Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Butler
The 12's - Missouri State, St Mary's, Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Baylor
The 13's - Southern Miss, Belmont, Coastal Carolina, Harvard
The 14's - Fairfield, Oakland, College of Charleston, Kent State
The 15's - Muray State, Long Beach State, Bucknell, Vermont
The 16's - Northern Colorado, Long Island, Florida Atlantic, McNeese State, Texas Southern, Bethune-Cookman

Last 4 in: Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Baylor
Last 4 out: Boston College, UAB, Colorado State, Colorado
Next 4 out: Memphis, Minnesota, Clemson, Washington State
Others Considered: Nebraska, Maryland, USC, New Mexico, Oklahoma State,
Will have to do damage in conference tournament: Duquesne, Wichita State, VCU, Dayton

Anonymous said...

Why does Minny need to win out and make Big Ten final??? Even if they win their final two games and assuming they win their first game, their quaterfinal would be against Wiscy, Purdue or Ohio St. A neutral court win over one of those teams would be enough to put them in even with a loss in the semis. That would be 4 wins in last 5 enough to offset their poor play recently and show their ready for the tourney along with a fourth rpi top 25 win. Sounds like a tourney team to me. I still don't think they'll do all this but I dont think they need to make the final to get in.

ClubMedLar said...

If Penn State loses to OSU and beats Minny, how deep do they need to go in the conference tournament to get in? Even though PSU has been tough at home, I just don't expect them to beat OSU in State College. Also, if 'Bama loses at Gainesville, they surely must be out going into the weekend, correct?

conference lines said...

I read your blog and found it very informative and helpful to me .Thanks for such an effort

Evan said...

A psu loss to osu but a win at minnesota should put them in the position to win 1 in the Big Ten Tourney and have a shot depending on the bubble, 2 to be safe.

Kyle said...

What does Florida need to do to get a 3 seed and same question for a 4 seed(including SEC tourney)?

AG said...

I will say this about Penn State: they seem to be an entirely different team without Taran Buie. Ever since he got suspended indefinitely they've played much better, what's up with that?

I have to believe that 6 SEC Teams is just too much to ask. Either Alabama, Tennessee, or Georgia is going to get left out, and it might as well be Alabama.

My instinct strongly believes that 2 Missouri Valley teams and 2 Conference USA teams is more of a certainty than you realize. The committee always includes a mid-major at large that nobody sees coming.

Do you think the committee would take into consideration how much NBA talent a team has when awarding bids? ESPN has long been touting Alec Burks and Trey Thompkins as lottery picks perhaps the Selection committee thinks featuring these guys in the tournament would boost ratings.

Eric Z said...

Now THAT is a bracket. Wow. The games in that bracket are wonderful...all the 8-9 games, Vanderbilt-Butler, Tex A&M-St Mary's, possible 2nd round matchups of Duke-UCLA, Kansas-George Mason, Lousiville-Arizona...I could go on.

Random questions:

1. How many more games does Washington have to win to feel safe? At this point, they have to make a semi-good showing in the conf tournament, right?

2. Crazy question 1: Is Kentucky in any danger at all? If they lose to Vandy and Florida, and fall to 8-8, 20-10, and lose in the first round....... or is their floor more likely to be the 8-9 game?)

3. Crazy question #2: Any chance for an at-large for Oakland or Belmont if they need it?

4. I just can't see 7 from the Big 12. Baylor has got to do a lot more to get it. Colorado? I'm ok with for now.

Marty said...

Washingtons resume is weaker than I realized, I would have them first four out.

March_24_7 said...

Both Colorado & Baylor... really? This is not impossible, but it is very unlikely.

Also, I can’t believe you have Michigan in ahead of UAB. You are predicting Michigan will win their next 2 games before finally losing. The chances they pull this off (or something better) can’t be any better than 50/50, and even if they do, their RPI will finish around 60.

UAB could easily finish 2-0 and lock up a solo CUSA championship. Even if UAB finishes 1-1 (worst case scenario) and then wins only 1 game in the C-USA tourney, they will finish with an RPI around 36. The chances they pull this off are probably 75% or better. They probably have a 50/50 shot at making the championship game in this scenario and finishing with an RPI of 27

Do you really think a RPI 60, 10-10 team from the Big 10 is going to beat out RPI 27, CUSA regular season champ?

Anonymous said...

The fact that Illinois can be a 9 seed shows how incredibly weak the bubble is, this year.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday there was some conversation about Purdue being in contention for a #1 seed, although that chance is very low. (I don't know how I could put them ahead of Ohio State, Pitt, Kansas, or BYU.)

With that being said, what does Purdue need to do to secure a #2 seed? Do they need to win their last two games and then win one or two in the Big 10 tournament?

Finally, which team(s) do you feel have hit their stride late in the season and could be a tough out in the tournament? St. John's has been very impressive as of late, Syracuse has righted the ship, and Xavier has been on a roll (admittedly against crappy competition).

Anonymous said...

Kentucky has a good OOC (@Louisville, ND, Washington). They're a lock.

Anonymous said...

Agree with March 24 7...

And I'm not sure why there continues to be a lack of respect for UAB here.

UAB is 2 wins away from an outright CUSA title... or 1 win away from at least a share of the CUSA title.

The one supposed weakness that has been mentioned before was a lack of a Top 50 win, but UAB has SEVEN Top 100 wins.

UAB has wins over Marshall (54) and UCF (58). If one of those teams finds their way into the Top 50, UAB will have 2 Top 50 wins. If both somehow find their way in the Top 50, UAB will then have 4 Top 50 wins.

Of course the game at Southern Miss on Wednesday is huge. A win there not only secures at least a share of the CUSA title, but gives UAB what would be another Top 50 win.

Compared to many of the other "bubble teams," UAB is in very good shape.

Anonymous said...

How is vill a 5 seed? they are 5-7 in there last 12...i can't say they are even one of the top 9 in big east.

Bracketology 101 said...

Lots to catch up on:

If Penn State loses to Ohio State and wins at Minnesota, they'll have to make it to make it to at least the Big Ten semis to be in the mix for an at-large.

Assuming Florida goes 1-1 this week (vs. Alabama, at Vandy), they can get a 3 if they win the SEC tourney. They'll likely be a 4 if they lose in the final.

NBA talent is not a factor in selecting at-large teams.

Washington's resume took a big hit last night. They need a split in their final two games, plus one Pac-10 tourney win to be safe.

Kentucky's a lock.

Neither Oakland or Belmont are getting at-larges.

If Purdue wins its final two games and wins two Big ten tourney games, they'll be a 2 seed.

Bracketology 101 said...

Villanova probably deserves a 6 seed, but we couldn't find anyone better for the last spot on the 5 line. Arizona or A&M would have been there had they not lost on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

If Louisville wins out and is crowned champion of the Big East tournament, what are the chances that they get a 1 seed?

Bracketology 101 said...

If UAB wins the C-USA regular season title outright and makes it to the conference tourney final, they'll have a pretty good chance of getting an at-large. We just don't see them winning at Southern Miss this week, though, which is why we left them on the First Four Out list. A share of the conference title might not be enough.

Eric Z said...

Anon at 10:19: be careful of putting Washington as a quality OOC win. They have a good chance of missing the tournament.

UAB: Sounds like UAB is a perfect candidate for the First four game. UAB, and the MVC regular season winner (if they lose in the tournament) would make good candidates for the two teams from "smaller" conferences to go up against at at-large from the Big 6....
UAB vs Baylor? Missouri State vs Alabama?

Anon at 10:32: I'm with you on Villanova there. If they are a #5 seed, I'd bet on the #12 seed in a heartbeat....

Bracketology 101 said...

Louisville won't get higher than a 2.

Anonymous said...

"UAB has wins over Marshall (54) and UCF (58). If one of those teams finds their way into the Top 50, UAB will have 2 Top 50 wins. If both somehow find their way in the Top 50, UAB will then have 4 Top 50 wins."

I really hope that the selection commitee doesn't use the top 50 info as willy-nilly as it gets tossed around on message boards.

Beating the #54 and #58 teams is almost as good as beating the #50 team, yet somehow those wins are magically good ones if those teams sneak into the top 50.

Add to this, the RPI is rife with problems. It's not very accurate to begin with and everyone seems willing to ignore a team's own RPI if it seems inaccurate, yet nobody seems to have a problem using it to tally how many top 50 wins a team has. Convoluted logic.

AG said...

No way Louisville gets a #1, or even a #2, not after Rakeem Buckles tore his ACL.

I still think Purdue is the team to beat in the Big Ten Tournament, especially if Ohio State somehow loses to either Penn State or Wisconsin. If Purdue wins a share of the regular season title *and* wins the conference tournament, can they steal Ohio State's #1?

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with that.

UAB is getting a lot of smack for having no Top 50 wins.

But if instead you look at Top 60 wins, then UAB would currently have 4.

So just making the threshold 60 instead of 50 makes UAB go from 0 significant wins all of a sudden to 4.

Top 50 wins IMO is hugely overrated. If people are already wanting to discount the RPI and say that some teams have overinflated RPIs, then why do many of those same turn around and look at that very same RPI and point to Top 50 RPI wins to try to justify a team's inclusion in the tournament?

Anonymous said...

Not only that but there's a huge difference between beating a top 10 team and beating the #50 team. Why would you ever lump them together and just tally them up, as though they are one and the same?

Additionally, beating the #75 team on the road is a better win than beating the #50 team at home. Where games are played is a critical component of a team's resume, yet all I seem to hear are "top 50 wins" without an ounce of context.

Anonymous said...

I know you said if Penn state loses to Ohio state but beats Minnesota they'll need to make it to the big ten semis but would anything change if they beat Ohio state but lost to Minnesota? Or still semis?

give me the brandy said...

UAB's high RPI is just a reflection of the weakness of that rating system. They are 55 in Pomeroy and 45 in Sagarin's ELO. Michigan is 45 and 41 in those two systems. By Sagarin's overall rating, Michigan has 7 wins better than UAB's best win (UTEP #74), 4 of those on the road.

Anonymous said...

If Cincinnati splits their final 2 games (@Marquette, Georgetown), are they a lock?

Given how horrible the bubble is, does Cincinnati realistically even need to win 1?

give me the brandy said...

Cinci is a stone-cold lock if they win 1 of 2. If they lose both, I think they're still in if they win their first Big East tournament game.

Timothy said...

Hmm the relative weakness of the bubble leaves me with some questions (ACC related):

-How likely would you say 4 teams would be? 5 teams?

-Will 10-6(0-1) be enough for VT since the have the Duke win?

-Let's say FSU falters, and loses to UNC, @NCST, and their ACCT opener. How squeamish should Nole fans be come Selection Sunday?

-Is the BC/VT game essentially a play-in game?

-Do you see anyone from the ACC bottom 2/3s pulling a miami and running to the ACCT finals/winning?

Anonymous said...

even though clemson doesn't have a great resume, 9-7 in the acc, kenpom of 35 and sagarin of 46 should be enough to get them in this year with such a weak field imo. and assuming they beat vt at home, the kenpom and sagarin rankings will just get higher.

all that to say, if clemson goes 1-1 this week and 2-1 in the acc tourney, i think they get in.

Anonymous said...

Does the committee take into account quality of losses and how close they were in judging a team, because although this Michigan team is only 18-12, they have competed at a level where they could just as easily be 21-9 based on some of these losses:
- Syracuse by 3 (Neutral court)
- Kansas in OT by 7
- Ohio State by 4
- @Ohio State by 9
- @Illinois by 2
- Wisconsin by 1 on a 3-point banked buzzer beater

Will the committee take these games into account in judging that Michigan can clearly compete at a high level with these teams?

Anonymous said...

I don't like the Pomeroy ratings for selecting tourney teams. It's entirely point spread based. Winning and losing isn't even a part of the formula.

Bracketology 101 said...

A 1-1 finish would make Cincinnato a lock. Even if they go 0-2, one Big East tourney win will probably be enough.

Bracketology 101 said...

Top 50 wins is a good baseline to compare teams, but you also have to keep in mind that the people on the selection committee (a.) are human and (b.) see a team's entire profile, not just their record against the Top 50. Wins against the Top 60 or Top 70 are not as "good" as Top 50 wins, but they might be evaluated by some members as almost as good or as good (if a team is 52, 53, 54, etc.) There's no formula for how members view Top 50 wins. It's just a nice round number to consder.

Close losses don't count. Sorry, Michigan fans.

Anonymous said...

re: Pomeroy, isn't the goal to find the best teams remaining? Pomeroy should be a big factor in determining that, imo.

mattlion said...

Every year around this time, we always talk about how weak the bubble is - and by 2 weeks from now, there are a few bids stolen and teams that we thought were in weren't as safe.

There are 2 things in play this year that are keeping the bubble "weak":

- 3 extra at-large bids for the play in games.

- A lack of legitimate locks out of "bid stealer" conferences.

The first one is the new reality. The second one, we'll see if that changes between now and 3/13. I could see someone unexpected stealing a bit out of the Colonial, WAC, or perhaps WCC (if you even consider Gonzaga and St. Marys in at this point). If that happens, the bubble will be a bit weaker.

mattlion said...

If close losses mattered, PSU would be in (they gave Ohio State and Purdue their toughest home games of the year).

Anonymous said...

"re: Pomeroy, isn't the goal to find the best teams remaining? Pomeroy should be a big factor in determining that, imo."

No, no, 1000 times no! There's no way to find the best teams remaining using a system that doesn't consider wins and losses. If close losses don't count (see B101 response above), then there's no way to make the Pomeroy numbers work in a meaningful way.

Bracketology 101 said...

@ Timothy:

We think the most likely scenario is that the ACC gets four bids.

FSU would be squarely on the bubble if they lose out. So will Virginia Tech if they go 1-1 and lose in the first round of the ACC tourney. It would all depend on what happens elsewhere on the bubble.

The BC-VT game is a "play out" game for BC. If Virginia Tech loses, they still could get in with a win at Clemson and a win (maybe two) in the ACC tourney.

We expect Duke or North Carolina to win the ACC tournament. The middle/bottom of the league is just too inconsistent.

AG said...

I doubt the committee looks at Sagarin or KenPom. They already have their own rating system: its called the RPI.

Colorado and Clemson are in the danger zone with sub-70 RPIs, because nobody has ever gotten an at-large bid with an RPI that low since New Mexico in 1999.

If Richmond loses the finale at home to Duesquene are they out?

Dustin said...

What makes Syracuse higher than Florida?

Also, if SDSU loses in the MWC tournament to BYU, won't they drop to a 4 as well? I don't see them getting a 3 if they cant beat BYU once in 3 tries, especially with a so-so schedule.

Anonymous said...

AG, agreed although I think we're speaking hypothetically here, as much as anything. Sagarin is far more reliable than the RPI as a formula.

Will said...

So we don't think it's at all possible that the MWC sucks? SDSU has no good OOC wins, their only two are currently 12 seeds in your bracket, and their only other wins over tournament teams are UNLV, who is a 7 seed, somehow, despite winning just one game against tournament opponents, against VT. BYU should be a 3, SDSU a 7, and UNLV a bubble team.

Anonymous said...

AG - 3 new teams this year, so past trends don't apply as much. clemson's rpi (69 right now) will be close to the 50's when they lose to duke and beat vt.

Will said...

Terrible year for duke... They play the national runners-up, and 2 teams in the top 5 of the pre-season poll, and have an 8 seed, a 10 seed, and a 12 seed to show for it.

Will said...

Florida State has lost 2 home games all year, to FLorida and Ohio state. They've won 8 road games, and have only lost to 3 teams not in the tournament. No way a 10-6 third-place ACC team with a win over a #1 seed, and two other teams likely to make the tournament gets left out in this bubble.

Anonymous said...

Syracuse's best wins are a little better than Fla's best wins. And Cuse's worst loss are better than Fla's losses (3 to teams out of top 100 RPI.)

Sheik said...

Cuse's best wins aren't THAT much better than Florida's and Florida has a lot more good wins.

Bracketology 101 said...

To Chris @ 1:52AM...When we select teams for the last 8 out line we are typically selecting teams who have the best chance to win games during the week to climb into the bracket and not projecting how things will go.

To continue on the UAB piece...what is more important the RPI number next to a team's name or the actual team? It doesn't make too much of a difference if Marshall is a 49 RPI or a 54 RPI that win isn't going to carry too much weight.

Richmond must avoid any bad losses, which means they cannot afford to lose to any A-10 team unless it is Temple or Xavier.

The quality of Syracuse's wins make them higher than Florida.

If SDSU ends up losing in the MWC final to BYU there is a good chance that they will be no better than a 4 come tourney time.

Anonymous said...

If Wisconsin plays Purdue in the B10 semifinal, is that game for a 2 seed? (And First round in Chicago?)

Anonymous said...

Sheik, are you sure about that? Florida has 9 wins against the RPI Top 50, while Syracuse has 8 -- that's one more win, not "a lot more good wins."

And by the way, Syracuse leads 4-3 in RPI 25 wins.

Anonymous said...

Syracuse's 3 best wins @#8, #10, and @#14 are all better than Florida's best win: home versus #15. Needless to say, the road wins mean a ton.

AG said...

I still maintain that Purdue is far ahead of Wisconsin and probably ahead of ND as well. Other than BYU (with their suspect defense) there is no team in the nation hotter than Purdue right now.

Anonymous said...

Purdue has 2 RPI top 25 wins, both at home. Their best road wins: Ill and Va Tech? ND won in Pitt and also has better and more top 25 wins. Honestly, Purdue is closer to Syracuse and Louisville than ND and I think objectively behind them.

Anonymous said...

Cuse has 5 RPI top 25 wins.

Dan said...

A) On Pomeroy and other computer metrics: All they are is tools to help sort this out. I really think the one that needs to be used in place of RPI is Sagarin's ratings. It's more real life based than RPI, but not as out there as Pomeroy's "W-L doesn't matter!" idea.

B) Teams to fear for the tourny (relative to seeding): UNC, St. John's, Kansas St, UCLA, Xavier, Syracuse

C) What is the highest seeded/ranked team that you could see MISSING the tournament? With the way the bubble is backing up, it'd be hard for anyone to back their way out of the tournament, but Washington, Illinois and Tennessee better be careful.

give me the brandy said...

I have a hard time seeing Baylor go 2-0, they're more likely to go winless than win both. I have no idea who I'd put in the field ahead of them, though. The bubble is really that weak right now, you know it's bad when a team that's 6-10 in conference and has lost 7 of 8 is still in the first 8 out.

I do think we'll see at least one bid stealer out of the Horizon (Cleveland St, UWM, Valpo), WAC (Boise, Idaho), CAA (VCU, Hofstra, Drexel) or A-10 (Duquesne, URI, Dayton).

Mike said...

What is Penn State beats Ohio State and loses to Minnesota? What if they beat both?

Dan said...

What if Penn State wins the B10 Tourny? What if Penn State announces Paterno died 6 years ago and it's been a fake JoPa? What if they forfeit all previous games because they gave all the players really cool free stuff with the B1G logo on it??

Who the f*** cares? Geeeeeeeeeze. PSU, despite the complaints of your fans are probably JUST off the edge of the field right now, but have some games to prove it. If you win 1 of the next 2 and do ____, we still need to know what every other team does to make a pronouncement. If you flip which game you win, things change again. Nobody can tell you anything in exact formulas, so simmer down now, and watch some basketball.

Conor said...

Florida definitely has some good wins, but as has been mentioned, SU has 5 top 25 RPI wins. Florida does have a better record vs the RPI top 50 (9-2 vs 8-5). Maybe I'm biased as an SU fan, but I think SU has better wins. They have 3 road wins against teams in the RPI top 20. (Yes, Chris Wright didn't play for Gtown). Florida hasn't beaten anyone higher than 15th in the RPI, and that was Kentucky at home. SU has 3 wins against teams with a better RPI than that, plus a road win vs Uconn (17) and a home win vs WVU (19).

Obviously it's kind of selective endpoints; Florida has 4 wins vs the RPI top 25, but 1 vs the top 20. SU has 5 RPI top 20 wins.

Florida also lost to 2 teams 100 or worse in the RPI; SU none.

Anonymous said...

What does USC need to do to get an at large?

Anonymous said...

Food for thought:

Sagarin has Alabama's SOS at 140.

Eugene said...

Great. CAA's two bids get the worst8/9 seed. GRRRRRRRR

Anonymous said...

@AG: "Other than BYU (with their suspect defense) there is no team in the nation hotter than Purdue right now."

BYU's defense is suspect? Apart from that statement, I think your other observations are pretty good. Most announcers, analysts, and others say BYU's defense is "highly underrated"--especially the play by Jackson Emery. Pomeroy lists BYU's "AdjD" as 16th in the country. I'm no expert, but that sounds a little better than "suspect" to me.

Bracketology 101 said...

USC needs to win both its road games this week and then make at least the semis (probably the final) of the Pac-10 tourney to be in position for an at-large. Their list of bad losses is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Is Tuesdays game against Florida a must win for alabama?

Anonymous said...

@Will, You fail to mention that UNLV beat Wisconsin and K-State. I do think there can be some fair criticism towards SDSU. They WON @ Gonzaga, @ Cal, Witchita St. (by double digits) St. Mary's (by double digits. @ CSU, @ UNLV, (Wisconsin couldn't do this). I agree no high quality wins but some solid road wins and some solid home wins. At some point a team deserves some credit for winning a lot of games. Not saying they are a #2 seed but they are at least a top four seed.

Snapple said...

In regards to bid-stealers, is it possible that the CAA could be a three-bid league if someone other than Mason or ODU wins the conference tournament?

The WCC got to be a three-bid league in a year that the depth of the conference was awful, because St. Mary's and Gonzaga were at-large worthy while San Diego won the tournament.

Anonymous said...

Suspect Defense for BYU? May be some truth to this argument but keep in mind BYU against UCLA played with a very limited Noah Hartsock and with Jackson Emery and Jimmer playing in foul trouble. Had too stay in the zone and got exposed against the strong inside game of UCLA. Same story against New Mexico, Jackson Emery with foul trouble and Brandon Davies, BYU had too stay in the zone way too long. They did give up 86 to New Mexico but keep in mind with 12 minutes left in the game New Mexico was sitting at 40 points and were down 13. They scored 46 points in 12 minutes! This would lend to the argument that this was an aberration rather than they typical defensive game from BYU. Wisconsin and Purdue "going off' in the second half against Ohio State probably had more to do with playing in a hostile road environment against a hot shooting team rather than "suspect defense". I would amend the "Suspect defense" argument to be the following, "When BYU is in foul trouble their defense becomes suspect due to an over reliance on the 2-3 zone." BYU's defensive numbers speak for themselves as does their 27-2 record. Why is there little to no discussion about PITT's "suspect Offense"?

Dan said...

If BC loses in Blacksburg do they have any shot to still sneak in the tournament? Would a win over Wake (meaningless) then two wins in the ACC (probably GT/NC State then FSU/VT) be enough to get into the discussion. What if they made the final, would that still not be enough?

Brian Reinthaler said...

If Purdue looked good against MSU, ND looks sensational against Villanova. ND leads by 31 with 6 min left.

AG said...

Oh believe me, I've got *plenty* of complaints about Pitt. That embarrassing home loss to Tennessee for starters on what was apparently "Let's Not Guard Scotty Hopson" Day.

I think ND and Purdue have put enough distance on Wisconsin that they're safe for those spots in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Pomeroy: No one is saying it's THE metric for determining who's better. However, discounting it because W/L is "ignored" is even more silly. Of the last 8 tourney winners, five were Pomeroy ranked #1 and two were ranked #2. The other was Syracuse in 2003. They were Pomeroy #7.

Anonymous said...

You or I don't have to discount anything.

What I'm saying is the selection committee shouldn't be using a point spread based system to aid in selecting tournament teams, if they're interested in wins and losses. They also shouldn't be using a system that would encourage teams to run up the score.

Dan said...

ND is legit...what a beatdown of Villanova

ND > Purdue

Anonymous said...

It seems pretty unlikely that teams fighting to be one of the last at-large teams included in the field are running-up the score on anyone. :)

Moreover, saying the Pomeroy rankings are based on point spreads is a gross misunderstanding of what it's measuring.

Bracketology 101 said...

If BC loses to Virginia Tech, they're probably going to have to make the final of the ACC tournament to get an at-large.

Anonymous said...


What midmajors would qualify for an at-large at this time if they were to get to their conference finals but LOSE?

Some that come to mind include:

Utah St., Gonzaga, St.Mary's, Butler, Cleveland St., Belmont, Coastal Carolina, Oakland, Missouri State, Memphis, UAB, Fairfield

Would any of those squads or any others?

Anonymous said...

Xavier, Temple, Richmond as well...

Anonymous said...


George Mason, Old Dominion, VCU, Charleston, Long Island

Todd Lucas said...

"Moreover, saying the Pomeroy rankings are based on point spreads is a gross misunderstanding of what it's measuring."

But that's exactly what it comes down to. It measures points per possession scored and allowed, adjusted for strength of schedule. It's not pure point spreads because it's relative to the pace a team plays. Otherwise, it's all about point spreads.

Of course, there's a correlation between point spreads and winning but it can't really be used on a case by case basis with any certainty. There are always going to be teams with otherwise good numbers that lose a bunch of close games, etc. When you get out close to the bubble, those variations make a tremendous difference in which teams are going to make the tourney.

Dan said...

Also legit: Kansas State

Welcome to the 6 line, if not higher

Marty said...

Purdue is the best team in the Big Ten right now, maybe the whole country. Jajuan Johnson and Etwaun Moore are a handful.

Marty said...

Purdue would destroy Texas..I think Texas decided to try and help out the Big 12 bubble

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I understand the disparity in Nova and Cinci's seeds. Let me be clear, I'm arguing that the Nova needs to be lower, not Cinci higher, but I definitely think there is too much space between the two on the S-Curve. Nova has two bad road losses, Rutgers and Providence. Cinci arguably has none. Both beat a ranked Big East team on the road (Nova beat 'Cuse, Cinci beat the Hoyas). Both have beaten a quality A10 opponent (Temple and Xavier respectively). While it is true that Nova has one more win over a ranked opponent, and wins over bubble teams UCLA and Maryland, one of those ranked wins was against Cinci itself and Cincinnati now has a better Win-Loss record, both in conference play and overall. I'm not saying they should be even, just that a 3 seed disparity doesn't fly with me.

Anonymous said...

UCLA isn't really a bubble team in my mind, that was a typo...

AG said...

...and thanks for playing, Texas. Looks like no #1 for you. Just when you thought it was safe to trust Rick Barnes.

Anonymous said...

I hope Gottlieb enjoys crow! Dude has become a Texas apologist in terms of a #1 seed. Go ahead and justify losses @Nebraska, Colorado and USC. Home loss to K-State...A #1 seed doesn't lose these games at least not all of them.

AG said...

Vegas is about to drop the hammer on Baylor: opened up as a 2pt dog @ Oklahoma State.

If they lose that game, not even a win vs. Texas gets them in the tournament.

Brian Reinthaler said...

You guys are still being too kind to Texas. They do not deserve a 2-seed either.

Bracketology 101 said...

The Texas freefall just came a few weeks later this year than last year.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we wait for Purdue to beat someone on the road or a neutral court before we declare them the best in the Big 10? Their profile is about the same as Wisconsin's, yet I hear no talk of Wisconsin. Both have weak OOC and road resumes.

mattlion said...

"Why don't we wait for Purdue to beat someone on the road or a neutral court before we declare them the best in the Big 10? Their profile is about the same as Wisconsin's, yet I hear no talk of Wisconsin. Both have weak OOC and road resumes."

Purdue's "weak road resume" includes wins at Illinois (13-2 at home), at Penn State (13-4 at home), and a blowout at Michigan State (11-3 at home), and an OOC win at VT (yes, it was in OT).

Wisconsin lost their games at Ill, PSU, and MSU, and still has a game left @OSU.

Not the same profile... Wisconsin's close, but not quite at Purdue's level profile-wise.

Anonymous said...

I see 10-12 seeds there and a couple that won't even be in the tourney.

Compare them to Syracuse (@Nova, @Gtown, @UConn, @St John's) and nobody's talking about Syracuse.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time to start discussing Villanova's projected 5-seed? Depending on what happens in the Big East tournament, they could relatively easily enter the NCAA tournament on a 5-game losing streak (with losses in 7 of 9 games), with those two victories over a bad DePaul team (in overtime) and Seton Hall.

Dan said...

Villanova is heading the wrong direction, that's for sure. They're still a lock since...well, just LOOK at the bubble. But as B101 said, 'Nova was only a 5 seed because all those teams right behind them just got beat up too ('Zona, TAMU). Now that Nova got theirs too, we can slide everyone down and Kansas State up. How high? maybe a 5 seed?

TheAnswer1313 said...

Kenpom doesn't ignore wins/losses lol.

It's based on points per possession. Well if you win a game your points per poss is gonna be greater then your points per poss allowed thus helping your ranking.

That IMO is ALOT better then saying that a 1pt loss is exactly the same as a 20pt loss or that a 1pt win is exactly the same as a 20 point win.

As far as not encouraging running up the score, he could just put a cap on it. Maybe a 30pt win is equal to a 50pt some point you get diminishing returns.

Considering margin of victory >>>> just considering Wins and Losses as far as determining best teams.

Team A 30 wins avg margin of victory 5 points

Team B 25 wins avg margin of victory 20 points.

Erm ill take B and challenge anyone.

Anonymous said...

"It's based on points per possession. Well if you win a game your points per poss is gonna be greater then your points per poss allowed thus helping your ranking."

Of course that's going to apply to a single game but not over the course of a season.

I'm glad to see that we're encouraging teams to win by just 30 instead of 50.

Anonymous said...

By the way, just beating someone doesn't necessarily help your Pomeroy rating. If you beat a team by 10 that you should have beaten by 20, your rating will be hurt.

Anonymous said...

I do think we'll see at least one bid stealer out of the Horizon (Cleveland St, UWM, Valpo),

Gawd, I hope not...those teams are embarrasing themselves on the road.

And I'm a HUGE Butler....errrrrrrrrr....Horizon fan. :)

Anonymous said...

The strength of KenPom's approach is that it gives an indication of "fluke" versus "non-fluke" wins. Sure Virginia Tech beat Duke Saturday night, but how likely would that be to occur again? Sometimes, as much as we may hate to admit it, the better team doesn't win the game on the court--there is a certain amount of luck, missed calls, etc. that can impact the results.

The thing that KenPom (and RPI) don't do is consider matchups. In an ideal world, the committee would recognize that, but nothing the committees have done recently lead me to believe they have that level of sophistication.

Anonymous said...

"The strength of KenPom's approach is that it gives an indication of "fluke" versus "non-fluke" wins."

Maybe but its weakness is that it has no way of measuring a team's ability to win close games and other things that can turn a season over the course of 30 games.

Bracketology 101 said...

If we did a bracket today, Villanova and Kansas State would probably both be 6s.

TheAnswer1313 said...

I'm glad to see that we're encouraging teams to win by just 30 instead of 50.

Why not? Why shouldn't you be encouraged to win by as much as you possibily can?

This isn't high school.

I can understand if its Ohio St playing Centenary but in conference there's really no reason to not try and win by as much as you can. Granted you eventually get to a point where you empty the bench but at the point your overall Kenpom rating isn't going to be effected by that much.

Nobody is being encouraged to "run the score up" coach in america is gonna sit there and say well my Kenpom rating might go up slightly if we win by 40 instead of 30. Even if the NCAA came out and stated they used the ratings (which truefully its in the supplemental package the committee gets but in reality its prob rarely used)

The bottom line is that margin of victory has a better correlation to future success than actual win loss record. That cannot be argued.

The argument that can be made is are we trying to get the teams that have the best chance of future success or are we trying to get the teams that during the course of the season did the best. That's why im terms of selecting teams...Kenpom might not be the greatest thing to do. But in terms of seeding I think its absolutely essential to consider.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe but its weakness is that it has no way of measuring a team's ability to win close games and other things that can turn a season over the course of 30 games."

If you want that sort of Bayesian correction, then check out Massey's ratings--similar idea to KenPom, but with additions for teams that "just win."

TheAnswer1313 said...

Another thing on seeding that I thought about.

I understand that Travel considerations need to be considered. Keeping teams close to home isn't bad. But these policies and procedures for seeding is kinda crazy. You have the S Curve but rarely does it follow form because there's so many rules.

For example, top 3 teams in each conference in separate regions. So basically the committe ignores how many from a conference is in but once they get in, its important to make sure they are separated. Why?

You make the S Curve for a reason. It's to balance the regions as best as possible. Once you deviate from that with these rules, you create unbalance.

Anonymous said...

"...a team's ability to win close games and other things that can turn a season over the course of 30 games."

Isn't that called luck? Is that how we want to be separating teams out?

Anonymous said...

"That's why im terms of selecting teams...Kenpom might not be the greatest thing to do. But in terms of seeding I think its absolutely essential to consider."

This makes more sense, since Pomeroy is meant to be predictive.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't that called luck? Is that how we want to be separating teams out?"

You don't think that some teams are better at closing out tight games than others? It's not all luck and, even if it were, luck tends to even out over the course of a season, by definition.

TheAnswer1313 said...

You don't think that some teams are better at closing out tight games than others? It's not all luck and, even if it were, luck tends to even out over the course of a season, by definition

Agreed about it not being all luck. I think coaching comes into play in close games, maybe free throw shooting among other things.

That being said, luck does not balance out over the course of the season. I mean you'd like to think that it does, but it's not always the case. A team plays maybe 30-35 regular season games? How many of those games are "close"....maybe 10. Your talking about an extremely small sample.

Alot of times luck will balance, but you do get certain times (UK, Washington, Maryland, Illinois) where it just doesn't. And thats where you see the difference between Kenpom and other ranking systems.

Anonymous said...

I don't get West Va as a 6 seed at 18-10 after losing 4 of 7. Last wo games are against Louisvill and Uconn. Will two losses to ranked teams not knock them out - losing 6 of 9 games??? They should be on the bubble unless they can win at least one of those games and or win at least two in the BE Tourn.

Anonymous said...

West Virginia?? Wins @Gtown, over Purdue, neutral Vandy, @Cincy, ND, @Duquesne, and over Clever St. You're not sure why that team is a 6 seed? really? WVU will also be favored in their 2 remaining games. Rated #18 by Pomeroy and Sagarin, #22 RPI.

Dan said...

1) Close games/KenPom/Margin of Victory - One thing Pomeroy is working on for the future is a weighting for value of possession. Right now all possessions are valued the same, regardless of whether its a tie game with 30 seconds left, the first possession of the game or a team is up by 25 and draining the clock. Why does that make sense? Shouldn't the ones where the game is in the balance be weighted much heavier than when the game is already decided? A simple move like that would fix the metric and not reward late running up of the score.

2) On West Virginia - On the bubble if they lose 6 of their last 9? Are you serious? Look at who they've played over those 9 games. Most teams haven't played that good of a schedule all year long! Do a comparison of WVU vs. Baylor/Colorado/Washington/Penn State. Tell me what you see. You wont see WVU anywhere CLOSE to the bubble.

3) With regards to the pod seeding - What's wrong with trying to prevent teams that played each other this year from meeting to early in the tournament? Sure! Let's put UNLV/SDSU/BYU all in the same bracket. Or wait, maybe we could just use the conference tourny result and only give BYU a bid! Maybe put 11 of the Big east teams in one? That would make tons of sense.

Anonymous said...

"Alot of times luck will balance, but you do get certain times (UK, Washington, Maryland, Illinois) where it just doesn't. And thats where you see the difference between Kenpom and other ranking systems."

But how much of this is luck (or bad luck) and how much is these teams just not being as good as they ought to be?

I follow Butler and they've had a number of close losses too. I wouldn't attribute almost any of it to bad luck.

Brad said...

"Conference USA is such a mess right now that the regular season champ probably won't be worthy of an at-large (if needed) down the road, either."

Oh, you mean, competitive?

Brad said...

When Major Conferences are competitive they say "Oh, what great parity!"

When Mid-major conferences have parity, they say, "Oh, that conference must suck."

Dan said...

@Brad...well yes, if the mid-major conference had parity and was also "good", they'd have some good non-conference wins to show for it. In the top of Conference USA's case, they have parity at the top, and losses to Ole Miss, Marshall, Colorado State and each other. They have wins over Cal, USF, Miami and VCU. When you want to call it a very average conference (Pac10/SEC), give the teams in the conference wins over BYU (UCLA), Pitt (Tennessee), Notre Dame (Kentucky) and Tennessee & Texas (USC), and then we can talk about multiple bids. Just because there's parity in the CUSA doesn't mean its a bad league that deserves 1 bid. Parity plus the best win out of conference being Gonzaga (a bubble team) for the ENTIRE conference, plus 0 dominant teams makes it a 1 bid league.

TheAnswer1313 said...

But how much of this is luck (or bad luck) and how much is these teams just not being as good as they ought to be?

That's obviously the big question lol

Nicholas said...

Considering UAB just beat Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, should UAB make it to the Conference USA championship game, would that be enough to earn them an at-large bid should they lose in the championship?

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