Sunday, February 28, 2010

Syracuse Slaughters Villanova

#4 Syracuse 95, #8 Villanova 77
Syracuse executed their game plan well here, pounding the ball inside to Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku and getting Villanova's already small front line in foul trouble. Syracuse was always going to dominate the boards against a team like Villanova, but 22 offensive rebounds had to be more than expectations. That's said, it's tough to buy too much into this win when you consider just how awful Villanova was. Not only did they do a terrible job of penetrating the zone, they barely even tried. When Syracuse went on their big run late in the first half it seemed like they went 15 straight possessions without having to play half court offense. It seemed like every possession involved Scottie Reynolds or Corey Fisher launching a three-pointer in the first ten seconds of the shot clock leading to a long rebound, leading to a 3-on-1 break. Bob Knight brought it up a few times during the broadcast, but Jay Wright should have gone further and pulled some of his starters. Syracuse (just like any other team playing a zone defense) is trying to entice its opponent into launching threes early in the shot clock. The way to beat a zone is to penetrate it and force double teams (either with dribble drives or with directed passing), the way Louisville did masterfully a couple of weeks ago. Of course, even if Villanova had played well they still might not have won. They've now lost three of four games and their Tournament seed could really start to slide if they don't win a couple of games before Selection Sunday. As for Syracuse, they will be #1 in the country when the new polls come out tomorrow, and they hold their own seed destiny. They will get a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they win out. They can even lose one more game and still be in a good position for a 1 seed.

Marquette 84, Seton Hall 83, OT
This was a pretty shocking loss for a Seton Hall team that has been almost unbeatable at home this season (their three home losses before this had all come against the RPI Top 20). And I give all of the credit to Buzz Williams, who had a masterful plan of attack. His team opened up a ten point lead in the opening minutes, and their eight point halftime lead was enough to overcome the fact that Bobby Gonzales eventually realized that a team that basically plays four guards at all times is vulnerable to big men. Jeff Robinson got going for Seton Hall with 25 points, but none of the other Seton Hall big men were able to see much of the ball. They relied on their backcourt, which is full of quality players, but which is not the correct strategy against Marquette. While Jamie Dixon probably deserves the Big East Coach of the Year most, and Jim Boeheim also deserves to be discussed, I think Buzz Williams probably should be in that discussion as well. He came into this job last season with the reputation as a recruiter who was only so-so as an in-game coach and strategist, but he's certainly disproved that this season. If the season ended now there's no question that Marquette would be in the Tournament, and with a 10-6 record they will be in a great position if they can just split their final two regular season games. If they lose both of those games then they'll have some work to do in the Big East tournament. As for Seton Hall, I expected them to get back in the at-large discussion with a win here, but with this loss they're in trouble. They're 7-9 in Big East play, and only 6-11 against the RPI Top 100. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will be close to that magic mark of 50th, and with two relative easy opponents remaining (Rutgers and Providence) I don't think they can afford another loss until the Big East tournament or else they're heading to another NIT.

Xavier 78, #24 Richmond 76, 2OT
Xavier is probably the best team in the Atlantic Ten, and I impressed by the way that Richmond hung in this game. Their defense was particularly impressive, holding what is by far the best offense in the A-10 to well under a point per possession. The 20 forced turnovers were a huge part of that effort, although they also clamped down with tough perimeter shot defense. But in the end the win was Xavier's, and they can clinch at least a share of the regular season A-10 title with wins over Fordham and St. Bonaventure, two opponents that will be fairly large underdogs. With a 10-7 record against the RPI Top 100 and an RPI up to a remarkable 12th, they're certainly safely into the NCAA Tournament for the time being. That said, everybody knows that those A-10 RPIs are a little inflated, and so Xavier might still find themselves on the bubble if they lost every remaining game - but that won't happen. If they can win out between now and Selection Sunday, as I think they have a great shot to do, they will get no worse than a 6 seed, and could easily be a couple of lines higher. As for Richmond, even with this loss they're still in the Field of 65 for the time being. They are 8-7 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over Missouri, Florida and Temple, and with zero bad losses. Their RPI is 28th, and their Sagarin ELO_CHESS will be right around 30th when it comes out tomorrow morning. They probably need one more win to completely assure themselves an at-large bid, but they remain one of three A-10 teams (along with Xavier and Temple) that seems to be safely into the bracket. The other teams in the conference still have work to do to make the A-10 a four bid league.


Questionable Picks said...

You said, "it's tough to buy too much into this win when you consider just how awful Villanova was."

Dude, you've been underestimating Syracuse from the beginning of the season. When you were the only guy in the bracket matrix who didn't give them a #1 seed, you justified it predicting that Villanova will beat Syracuse in the Big East tournament. Now that Syracuse trounced Villanova, you try to discredit the win by saying Villanova played like crap. Did you ever consider that Villanova was not capable of succeffully penetrating the zone? Sure, Louisville played great against the zone (as they usually do against SU). But few teams can do that consistently - SU's zone is so active this year that an unsuccessful penetration usually leads to a turnover. If it was so easy to penetrate the zone like Louisville did, then every team would do it.

Give credit where credit is due.

Jeff said...

Actually, I switched the favorite to Syracuse more than a week ago. It was clear to me then that Villanova was falling apart.

Jeff said...

Let me add that absolutely nobody saw Syracuse being this good. Even the Big East coaches preseason picked them to finish in the middle of the pack. The fact that some blind Syracuse fans projected Syracuse to be this good preseason doesn't mean anything - those people pick Syracuse to be this good every season.

It's like how every psychic projects a killer earthquake every year and then crows when they get one right. Or that joke about certain economists that they've "correctly predicted ten of the last two recessions".

Nobody objective saw this coming. So I'll try to learn from the mistake and do better in the future, but it doesn't make me a Syracuse hater for seeing them how everybody else saw them.

Questionable Picks said...

Fair enough, but its not cool of you to discredit the Villanova win. That's like a losing boxer blaming his loss on an injury.

Anonymous said...

No shame in not recognizing how good Syracuse would be this year. Like you said, most didn't see it coming. However, when circumstances and evidence change, it's time to reevaluate.

It's been clear since the first month of the season that KU, UK, and Syracuse were a tier above everyone else. And yet, last week you have Purdue ahead of them on the s-curve even though every objective measurement favors Syracuse (RPI, number of wins/losses, Pomeroy, Sagarin, etc).

This week, you have Kentucky ahead of them and when you compare the 2 resumes, it's not even close. I'm not saying Syracuse is better than Kentucky (who has the most NBA talent of any team in the NCAA but is a good matchup for Cuse due to lack of outside shooting), but the number of RPI top 25 wins, RPI top 50 wins, Sagarin, Pomeroy, RPI, etc all lean toward Syracuse. How do I know I'm not crazy and some delusional Syracuse apologist? Because pretty much every other bracketologist out there has Syracuse as the #2 overall seed right now. Go to bracket matrix and check out individual brackets.

Jeff said...

I'm not discrediting it. I said that Syracuse played very well: they had a game plan and they executed it. I'm just saying that let's not get carried away and pretend that Villanova didn't play really awfully. That was a total mental breakdown. I couldn't believe Jay Wright didn't call a timeout with 5 minutes left in the first half to pull his entire starting lineup to yell at them the way the Roy Williams did with his starting lineup a few weeks ago.

I always emphasize the difference between resumes and projecting the future. I got a New Mexico fan mad for saying the same thing about their win over BYU, which came when BYU's best player (and an All-America candidate) was sick and only played 16 minutes and was largely ineffectual even when he was on the floor. The win is great for New Mexico's resume (I moved them from a 4 seed to a 3 seed because of the win), just as this win is great for the Syracuse resume. But let's not pretend that New Mexico beat the best that BYU has to offer. Or that Syracuse is suddenly the best team in the country. I'd still put them third, behind Kansas and Duke. I used to have Purdue ahead as well, but obviously Purdue isn't as good as Syracuse now that they've lost Hummel.

But it goes both ways. I think Syracuse is better than Kentucky, but I'm still putting Kentucky higher in my bracket.

Jeff said...

Anonymous said...

It's been clear since the first month of the season that KU, UK, and Syracuse were a tier above everyone else. And yet, last week you have Purdue ahead of them on the s-curve even though every objective measurement favors Syracuse (RPI, number of wins/losses, Pomeroy, Sagarin, etc).

I'm not sure what you're talking about with Kentucky. Sagarin currently rates them the 8th best team and Pomeroy has them 10th. As I said in my last post on this thread, I actually think you have it backwards with Syracuse: Syracuse is better than Kentucky, but I'm putting Kentucky ahead because they have an easier route between now and Selection Sunday, and because they're the most hyped team in the country (which has an effect on the Selection Committee, whether they want to admit it or not).

And no, Purdue was better than Syracuse until they lost Hummel. I thought they were the second best team in the country behind only Kansas. They had that three game losing streak in the middle of the season that caused everybody to forget about them, but every team has bad games and Purdue just got in a rut. Syracuse would be seen totally differently if they'd lost to DePaul, and Kentucky has had a few games they should have lost against bad teams (Miami of Ohio and Stanford come to mind).

And again, everybody forgets Duke, the team that I think is the second best team right now. It's weird saying Duke is flying below the radar considering how over-hyped they usually are, but this year it's actually true.

BBQ said...



I'm sorry, but lolololol.

The same Duke that got run off the court against a middling Georgetown and also lost to Wisconsin? By the way, the 2 best teams they've played this year.

The same Duke that plays like dookie when they're not in Cameron? (Yes, I know you'll probably bring up their great game against that powerhouse UVA squad last night)

They'll be lucky to make the sweet 16. Has any team ever got a #1 seed without beating an RPI top 25 team? Duke might be trying to become the first. The luckiest 2, 3, and 4 seed will be the ones in Duke's bracket.

Jeff said...

The two best computer ratings, without question, are the Sagarin PREDICTOR and Pomeroy. Both have Duke as the best team in the country. And RPI Top 25 record is deceptive because of the fact that there are no other RPI Top 25 teams in the ACC. Duke is 9-1 against teams with RPIs between 25 and 55. That's pretty darn impressive. If losing at Wisconsin and to a Georgetown team that also blew out Villanova means a team can't be a Sweet 16 team... we're not going to be able to come up with enough Sweet 16 teams.

The ACC is the deepest conference in the country. To say that a team that is 12-2 in the ACC probably won't make the Sweet 16 is pretty ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Those two best computer ratings also had Purdue behind Syracuse for most of the year, yet you unequivically state Purdue was better. I'm trying to figure out why...

Jeff said...

I'm not saying that Sagarin and Pomeroy are the gospel. If you read this blog more regularly you will see that I mix the ratings with the observations, to compare my own observations with what the computers are telling me, and I then try to reconcile the differences.

So I'm not saying Duke is the best team in the country. I still think Kansas is better. But the fact that they're #1 tells you something.

And what I see with Duke is that they are the best executing team in the country. This might be Coach K's best coaching job: in recent year's he's achieved a lot less with much more talented teams. I love watching them in the final minutes of close games because it's like a textbook demonstration of what to do.

Anonymous said...

"The ACC is the deepest conference in the country."

Really? The Big East has 14 of the top 85 teams in the country (according to Pomeroy). The ACC has 12 of the top 76 teams in the country. The 12th best team in the BE is at #73. The 12th best team in the ACC is at #76. Pretty debatable which one is deeper I think. And there's no comparison between the top of those 2 leagues.

There is no shame in losing to Gtown and Wisky, but I'd expect a top 3 team in the country to win at least 1 of those games. And not to be run off the floor against Gtown.

Duke very well could be great. Are they a top 3 team in the country that just got unlucky this year with their conference and is relegated to beating up on teams ranked 25-50? Or are they the 15th-20th best team in the country, beating teams that are ranked 25-50? There's no way to know for sure. However, they have nothing OOC on their resume to indicate greatness (Gonzaga?) other than margin of victory (which is a key to both Sagarin Pomeroy). And beyond that, the ACC doesn't impress me this year. They lost the ACC/Big 10 challenge for the first time and there are no elite teams (unless you count Duke). I'm just saying that truly elite teams beat the 4th and 5th best teams from other power conferences when given the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I really think people put far too much weight on computers anyway. It's important to have objective ratings, but people sometimes let computers blind them to other ways of collecting and analyzing data. To that point, i just can't agree that the ACC is as deep as some think. Miami, BC, Virginia, and NCST pretty much suck in my eyes. They accomplished nothing OOC. UNC is a special case, since they have a few quality OOC wins but have pretty much imploded on themselves. I feel that was their destiny no matter what conference they played in. Theyve simply looked that bad. Likewise, GT, Clemson, and FSU did almost nothing OOC as well. and dont get me started on VTech. At the end of the day theyll get six bids. Half the conference. One team will be on the bubble, and five will have a hard time making even the NIT. I just dont see the depth or the accomplishments that others do.

Jeff said...

If none of the ACC teams "did anything" out of conference, how are they rated the best conference?

And how do Boston College and NC State suck worse than DePaul or Rutgers?

You said that the 12th best team in the Big East is 73rd, and the 12th best in the ACC is 76th... the ACC only has 12 teams. The Big East has four worse. And that's the point, that even the worst ACC team is still better than multiple teams from every other conference.

If you watched Georgetown a lot this season you'd see that they are incredibly streaky, even within games. Often times they are down double-digits in the first half of a game only to win by double-digits. They had a preposterous stretch where they blew out Duke, then lost to South Florida, then blew out Villanova, and then two games later lost to Rutgers. They are all over the map. I always stress that it's bad to emphasize individual games because anything can happen in one game, but it's particularly silly with Georgetown.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, i dont care about the ACCs computer ratings. just look at what most of the ACCs teams have accomplished OOC. Most dont pass the eye test. No computer will convince me otherwise, just like you with Purdue. And of course a conference with 16 teams is going to have a "lower basement" than a conference with 12 teams. Thats just statistics. The big east also has a "higher ceiling" at the top. Thats statisics as well.

Anonymous said...

There's not a huge difference between the 85th and 76th best teams in the country.

The Big East has 14 of the top 85 teams in the country (and 12 of the top 73). Yes, they have DePaul and Rutgers too which you're holding against them.

The ACC has 12 of the top 76.

My point was that the ACC clearly being the deepest conference in the country is not so cut and dry. In fact, I don't think it is.

Let's look at the following list:

Seton Hall

Those are the best OOC wins for the ACC by all teams not named UNC (who beat OSU and MSU). Kind of ironic that UNC has by far the best OOC resume in the ACC. Sorry, but this conference doesn't pass the eyeball test.

Anonymous said...

I'd also add that only Pomeroy considers the ACC the best conference. They are #2 in Sagarin and #3 in the RPI.

Rocco said...

You have been a Syracuse hater all year. You predicted them to be the ninth best team in the big east. I tried to tell you a long time ago how way off you were. Everything I told you from how good Wes Johnson was to how much better Syracuse's defense was going to be, you just blew me off as I was some homer fan. I was even wrong because I thought they would be around fifth in the conference. I am a pretty level headed fan but you just seem like a Syracuse hater. Why do you always have something negative to say about Syracuse? When you do give Syracuse a minor compliment, you come back with a negative comment on how it really isn't that big a deal and that Syracuse is overrated. Oh yea if you don't think that Syracuse, Kansas, and Kentucky are the clear top 3, you are a moron. Duke is fourth or fifth at best. Kansas state is argueably better than Duke.

Anonymous said...

The ACC has all 12 on the top 76 because a bunch of teams (Clemson, Miami, VT) played OOC schedules that ranged from bad to just a joke. It gives them decent records so the Opp. winning % stat for the rest of the league gets inflated and only really punished the few teams with bad schedules.

DePaul and St John's are pretty bad, but are they really 50-100 spots worse than Miami? DePaul won at Northern Iowa and played Tennessee and Vandy close. St John's won at Temple and played Duke at Cameron and didn't get blown out.

I really question just how much the computer rankings mean for a conference, since it seems if you can get a bunch of mediocre teams who can win a few games in conference to have good records regardless of OOC competition you will be ranked higher, and this year it seems that its the ACC. It was the Big 10 last year when they were ranked above the Big East in most of the computer rankings despite the opinion of many that the Big East was the strongest league EVER.

Jeff said...

One thing you'll learn is that the media is going to call the Big East the best conference ever just about every other year. They just love to over-hype it.

Calling the Big East the best conference ever last year was a joke. It's almost not even debatable that it wasn't even the best conference last season. I mean, of 16 teams, only 8 made the NCAA Tournament and only 1 other was even on the bubble. How you can have "the best conference ever" where 44% of the teams aren't even good enough to make the bubble.

And yes, St. John's and DePaul are significantly worse than Miami. DePaul is 8-21 with some truly awful losses (Florida Gulf Coast, American University, etc). They almost lost to Columbia and Alabama State, and needed overtime to get by Detroit. Miami went 13-0 out of conference, and the only games that were even close were against Minnesota (a 5 point win) and South Carolina (a 15 point win).

Now DePaul is not Longwood. On any given night they can put up a fight. But they don't have, save a couple of players, what I would call Big East athletes. They're basically a mid-major team, and they're built like a mid-major team. You don't have any teams in the ACC that don't have major ACC talent and that can't beat any team in that conference (at home OR on the road) on any night.

Now I can hear the argument that the Big 12 is superior to the ACC this year. They're a lot stronger on the bottom than they've been recently. Iowa State and Nebraska are really pesky teams, and even Colorado is better than they've been in recent years. But I'd put both the Big 12 and ACC ahead of the Big East

Anonymous said...

Of course the Big Easts bottom teams are going to be worse than the ACCs or Big 12s. Its a 16 team sample compared to 12. Its basic math. The top of the big east is better than the ACCs, and the middle of the big east proved ALOT more OOC than the Middle of the ACC. The ACC is not better than the big east, simply because the ACC os lacking a quality top and middle. An argument COULD be made for the big 12.

Anonymous said...

Uh, you might want to rethink the whole Duke 2nd best team in America thing. They might be the 2nd best team in the ACC, and that's not saying much this year. LOL.

ACC blows. Look at their OOC resume. Nobody did anything other than Carolina.

Anonymous said...

And i hate the argument that goes something like "the big east only got 8 teams in last year so that means they werent that great." This shows a lack of understanding of math principles. The larger a conference gets, the more difficult it will be to maintain a positive ratio between teams that get in the ncaa tournament and teams that are left out. Let me illustrate this with an example. If a conference has ten members (about 2.9% of Div I) its conceivable it could get six teams (60% of the conference) in the dance (or roughly 9% of the total field). Now lets say theres a conference with 20 members (5.8% of Div I). For this conference to get 60% of its teams in, 12 members would have to be selected (about 18% of the total field). Seems good so far. But lets extrapolate this a little further. Lets assume there is a mythical 120 team conference (still only 35% of Div 1). For that conference to get 60% of its teams in, 72 teams would have to be invited to the ncaa tournament. Obviously thats impossible, and the equation fails. Its a false equivalency to assume its just as easy for a 16 team conference to get an equal percentage of its teams in as a 12 team conference, an its a mathamatical fact that the larger a conference gets, the less likely it is to maintain identical ratios to smaller conferences, and in fact a 0% probability will eventually be reached.

Jeff said...

The fact that you don't understand math and logic doesn't mean that I'm wrong. It just means that you have to read more of this blog, and other good college basketball writers, to learn.

By your logic, the Big East would become a better conference if they added Tennessee and then the entire Atlantic Sun and SWAC conferences. I mean, as long as there are more good teams at the top, it doesn't matter how bad the bottom is, right?

Of course not. If Conference A has one more good team than Conference B, but ten more bad teams, then Conference A is worse on average. Sagarin has two different conference ratings to deal with the problem you talk about: depth in the middle of the conference. He has a straight average of the strength of teams within a conference, and another one that weights for depth, and so discounts one or two really bad teams at the bottom of the conference. In both weightings the ACC is superior to the Big East. So it's not just DePaul pulling the whole conference down. The 8th best ACC team is a lot better than the 10th best Big East team. And that's why they are the better conference

In reality, teams play just as many games against the bottom of the conference as they do against the top. So while Syracuse has to play West Virginia, Nova & Pitt, they also get to inflate their record against DePaul, Rutgers and Providence. Duke doesn't get free passes like that. Top to bottom, the ACC and Big 12 are better than the Big East. There's not really much doubt about that if you actually go through all of the teams.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to imply that a conference can be judged based on how many teams it gets into the tournament, and I don't think I even implied such a thing, so I don't quite follow your Tennessee example. I was simply stating that it is a false premise to look at the percentage of teams from a conference that make the tournament and then use that to make a value judgment on that conference. To me, the fact that the Big East got 8 teams out 16 last year really can't be used to say anything about the conference. Just as the fact that the SEC got what, 3 teams in last year?, can't necessarily be used to say anything about the conference strength as well. I was stating that, in fact, it's mathematically harder for the big east to get the same percentage of it's teams in as it is for, say, an 8 team conference. That's all. I never made any value judgments, and I'm sorry if you thought that's what I was doing.

Anonymous said...

Can you clarify on the Sagarin number that shows the 8th best ACC team being better than the 10th best Big East team? Sagarin has 11th best Cincinnati at 58, and 8th best UNC at 61.

Jeff said...

No, it's not mathematically true that it's harder for a larger conference to get the same percentage of teams in. Your example of the 120 team conference is a meaningless example because a team in that conference wouldn't play all 120 teams and so the conference ranking is meaningless.

The point of "conference strength" is how good are the teams you are playing. And there are two ways to measure that: Is it easier to WIN Conference A or Conference B, or is it easier to go 10-6 in Conference A or Conference B.

People often use "Is it harder to win" as their argument because they tend not to know all of the teams in the conference. But to me, that's a stupid argument. It's easier to win the Atlantic Ten then the Horizon because Butler is better than any team in the A-10 (or at least has been most of the last few years). But we all know that the A-10 is the better conference because it's far deeper. The third best Horizon League team is rarely better than the 7th or 8th best A-10 team.

So to me, the question is: is it harder to go 10-6 in the Big East, Big 12 or ACC? And the answer is, it's harder in the Big 12 and ACC.

And the number of teams in the Tournament and on the bubble IS a key component of this. If only half of the Big East teams make the Tournament then that means that a Big East team plays half its games against teams not good enough to make the Tournament. ACC, Big 12 and even Big Ten teams don't have that luxury (I'm talking about the Big Ten last season. This season they will not get a majority of their teams into the Tournament).

So while winning the Big East is no easier than winning the Big 12 or ACC, it's easier to run up a good record against poor opponents. Providence was my example last season. And I'd argue that Seton Hall is a good example this season: has Seton Hall beat any good teams yet?

Jeff said...

Anonymous said...
Can you clarify on the Sagarin number that shows the 8th best ACC team being better than the 10th best Big East team? Sagarin has 11th best Cincinnati at 58, and 8th best UNC at 61.


I'm not sure which day you looked at the rankings. I'm looking at them now and Sagarin has Cincy the 10th best team in the Big East, at 58th. The 8th place ACC team is UNC, and they're 55th. The 9th place ACC team is Miami, and they're 57th. So the 9th place ACC team out of 12 is rated slightly better than the 10th place Big East team out of 16.

Obviously Sagarin isn't the gospel. A team rated 61st by them might be favored against a team rated 59th. But it's a pretty darn good estimation. Take a look at the Vegas lines for small conferences, where the people in Vegas making the lines aren't familiar with the teams, they basically just recite the Sagarin PREDICTOR. I can't recall seeing two smaller or mid-major conference teams playing where the line was more than 1 point off from the PREDICTOR.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at the USA Today page updated at 7 am for my Sagarin numbers. It has UNC at 61 and Cincinnati, the 11th BE team ranked, at 58.

BTW, do you know what the odds are for a two team conference made up of a random selection of teams to get at least half of their conference in the tournament?
Do you know what the odds are for an eight team conference made up of a random selection of teams to get at least half of their conference in the tournament.
Do you know what the odds are for a sixteen team conference made up of a random selection of teams to get at least half of their conference in the tournament?
Hint, the odds steadily decrease.
And I know conferences aren't made up of a random selection of teams, as the Big 6 tend to have teams within the 75th percentile of Division I. But that will only skew the odds slightly, and the odds WILL decrease as the conference gets bigger no matter what when their are a finite number of positions to fill. It's basic math.

Anonymous said...

Ah I see. You're going by the predictor. I was looking at the combination of ELOCHESS and predictor.

Jeff said...

The PREDICTOR is the one to use when you're asked the question "Which team is better." The ELO_CHESS is the one to use when you're asked the question "Which team has the better resume". Those are two distinct questions with two distinct answers.

And no, the mathematical odds of having half a conference's teams making the NCAA Tournament do not decrease as a conference goes from 2 to 8 to 16 teams. I don't know where you're getting that idea from. And since you like living in the world of Sample Sizes of 1, I can't help myself from pointing out that the worst of the BCS conferences this season is also the smallest of the BCS conferences.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting the idea from a high school math book (not actually, just from what I learned from it). Tell me, do you know the probability of a two team conference getting AT LEAST half its conference in the field? I'll give you the answer- its about 66%.
Now, do you know what the probability of a four team conference getting at least half it's team in is? I'll give you the answer- it's about 15.8%. Those are numbers derived from simple 9th grade math equations. They ARE correct. And believe me, the bigger a conference gets, the harder it will be to get half it's teams in the dance.

Anonymous said...

Correction, the two team conference has a 33% chance to get half it's conference in the field. It has a 66% chance of getting no team in (and yes, I realize auto bids don't work with the two team scenario, but the math is sound.) Probability will go down the larger the conference gets

Anonymous said...

"has Seton Hall beat any good teams yet?"

Seton Hall has beaten Pitt, Lville, ND, and Cornell this year. At this point, I'd probably say those are all tourney teams.

Again, if the ACC was so good, wouldn't we at least some marquee wins out of conference by someone other than UNC?? Bueller? Bueller?

"If only half of the Big East teams make the Tournament then that means that a Big East team plays half its games against teams not good enough to make the Tournament. ACC, Big 12 and even Big Ten teams don't have that luxury (I'm talking about the Big Ten last season. This season they will not get a majority of their teams into the Tournament)."

The ACC will only get 6 teams this year. Va Tech and Ga Tech are playing an elimination game this weekend. Therefore, let's take apart this falsehood. The Big East teams play every team once plus 3 teams twice. Let's assume that a particular team has to play 2 tourney teams twice and a non-tourney team once (for example, Syracuse played Louisville, Gtown, and Providence twice this year). This means Syracuse played 7+2=9 tourney teams in conference this year.

Now, let's look at the ACC. They also have an uneven schedule. They play every team once (11 games) and then play other teams 5 times. Let's assume 6 teams are going to make the tourney from the ACC (like I said, seems about right this year). Let's assume a particular team plays 3 tourney teams twice, and 2 non-tourney teams twice (doesn't always work like this as Va Tech played the bottom 5 in conference this year twice). Assuming this team is a tourney team, they would play 5+3=8 tourney teams in conference. Now, I only have a PhD in Operations Research with a minor Stats (from an ACC school btw), but 8/16 conference games = .5 and 9/18 conference games = .5.

Anonymous said...

I'd also add that the Big East tourney teams consist of a 1 seed, 2 seed, 2/3 seed, 3/4 seed, a 4-6 seed, and 3 8-12 seeds.

Meanwhile, the ACC tourney teams consist of a 1/2 seed, 4-6 seed, and 4-5 8-12 seeds.

So, when the teams are actually play conference tourney teams, the games are more difficult in the BE.

Anonymous said...

Here, I'll even give you the math equations so you know it is in fact the case:

in a four team conference it'd look like this:

((65C2 X 282C2) + (65C3 X 282C1) + (65C4)) / (347! / (343! X 4!)

In an eight team conference it looks like this:

((65C4 X 282C4) + (65C5 X 282C3) + (65C6 X 282C2) + (65C7 X 282C1) + (65C8)) / (347! / (339! X 8!))

If you don't believe me, please believe the math. It IS harder for a 16 team conference to get in 50% of its teams than it is for a 12 team conference to do so. If you get yourself a factorial calculator you can solve the above equations (or just do it longhand) and you'll see that it is in fact true.

Jeff said...

Unfortunately, your problem is that you didn't even learn 9th grade math properly.

You have made numerous mathematical mistakes which are fairly easy to see if you think logically. I will do a post about this tonight at some point on the front page, so keep an eye on it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good Jeff. I'm looking forward to it. I don't see where the math is wrong though. I guess I'll wait and see. And believe me, I understand there are other outside factors involved (ie. auto bids, only a certain number of at large bids available, power conference teams falling within a higher percentile, generally speaking, than mid-majors, etc). None of these outside factors, though, change the fact that the math proves that it is harder for a 16 team conference to get in 8 teams than it is for a 12 team conference to get in 6 teams. They will alter the equation a bit, but the underlying principle will remain. It's a fact, and you won't be able to disprove it.
Think about it this way: as a conference expands, logic dictates that it will gradually become harder for that conference to place teams in slots at the same rate, as fewer and fewer slots will remain available.

Anonymous said...

Let me try to explain it in ANOTHER way:

Let's say you have an 8 team conference, and it locked up 4 bids (3 at-larges.) There are now only 31 at-large spots left for the field. Now lets say we immediately expand the conference to 12 teams. Somehow, two of these four new teams manage to snag up at-large spots (two out of 31 spots available, or 6.45% of the remaining at-larges). Now, lets suddenly expand the conference by four teams again, to 16 teams total. Somehow, two of these four teams again get at-large spots (two out of 29 spots left). It's still only two more spots, yet competition for those two remaining spots grows stronger, as they represent 6.9% of the remaining available. Now let's expand the conference again by four, to 20 teams. Again, two out of four teams snag at-larges, but the competition for these spots is even MORE fierce, as those two spots represent 7.4% of the remaining at-larges available. As we can see, competition for the dwindling remaining slots will increase as slots are filled up. It will become less and less likely that every time you add two more teams to a conference that one of those teams will be able to grab an at-large. This is simply because the ratio of teams competing for those slots will always decrease at a slower pace than will the total number of slots available.
I realize outside mitigating factors come into play: what teams are being added to the conference?, What does the conference schedule look like?, etc. These obviously affect the equation. But everything else being equal, it IS harder for a 16 team conference to get eight bids than it is for a 12 team conference to get six bids.