Thursday, January 18, 2007
Watching the Bubble Already
If you're interested, ESPN is out with their first Bubble Watch. I'm not the biggest fan of some of their selections this early in the year, however. It seems like they just read names off the RPI list, rather than thinking about how good these teams actually are and how they will perform the rest of the way. One of the worst mistakes I noticed was the listing of Dayton as a bubble team, but not UMass. How could they list a team tied for seventh in the conference at 2-2 over the only team undefeated in the A-10? Well, Dayton does have a higher RPI, 59 to 65. UMass has the better record, but Dayton has the better strength of schedule and strength of schedule is a larger part of the RPI formula than actual record. But remember that the rest of the way these teams play essentially the same schedules. They're both in the same conference. So, their strength of schedules will converge, and the team with the better record will probably end up with the higher RPI. Dayton is living off a home victory over Creighton in early December, but people need to remember that Creighton was really playing awful early in the season. They spent that month losing to Fresno State and Hawaii as well. Dayton's second best win is a 4-point home victory over Louisville. But Umass won by four at Louisville, which is obviously more impressive. Meanwhile, all anyone has to do is watch some Atlantic 10 basketball to know that UMass is the better team. Turn on ESPN right now and watch them play Xavier if you don't believe me. Xavier and UMass are the two best teams in the conference. A schedule quirk means that they only get to play this one game against each other. It's not fair to the Minutemen (who won't get a home game), but a win here would go a long way to get them the A-10 regular season title and an at-large bid.