Sunday, February 28, 2010

W-2 BP65

Just a couple of days until conference tournaments begin on Tuesday. I've got a little preview of the first few days here. The next BP65 will be out after Wednesday night's games.

Before getting to the basketball I want to again remind people to stay civil and to come prepared with facts and statistics. I've had to delete far fewer comments the past week or two, and so let's keep it up. I enjoy debating college basketball, and I know that a lot of you do also. And as always, please remember to read About The BP65 to understand what the BP65 is and how teams are ordered.

Now, I just want to do a quick explanation of the top of this bracket. I'll do my best Joe Lunardi impression... only more accurate, of course. By the way, why does Joe Lunardi always show up on ESPN late at night on a Skype connection? What sort of bunker is he in watching basketball that they can't set up a real camera?

Anyway, I've been amused this evening listening to the discussions of who should be #1. We all know how this works: #1 loses so we move up #2, only #2 lost also so we move up #3. Only now people are arguing that it should be #4 Syracuse, because the #3 team lost their best player to injury and is no longer as good as Syracuse. It's amusing to see that argument since the Top 25 has never been about ranking the 25 best teams. It's more of a NASCAR or ATP Tour style points system (as I've explained at length here and here). If Top 25 voters cared about ranking teams by how good they were they'd have Kansas #1, since we all know Kansas is the best team. But all of the analysts and voters will do the kabuki theater of pretending that since the best team lost a game they're no longer the best team... until they get back to #1 in the polls again.

Kansas and Kentucky are still safe #1 seeds. Syracuse will get one if they win the Big East tournament, but people are overrating their chances there. It's hard to win three games in three days when you only have seven players on the court. They're the favorites, but to think it's even a 50% chance is overdoing it. And if Syracuse falls then they could fall to a 2 seed, depending on what happens in other conferences. I actually think Purdue is more likely to go undefeated the rest of the way than Syracuse, because of their schedule. If either Syracuse or Purdue slip up, Duke gets the last 1 seed. Duke is clearly one of the four best teams in the country, but the ACC is going to get disrespected this season because they only have one team in the Top 15, and very few people look outside the Top 25 to rate how good conferences are. Pomeroy says the ACC is the best conference, and Sagarin puts them a very narrow 2nd place to the Big 12. The way Duke has blown through it is insanely impressive. But if I went into any big internet forum and said the ACC was the best conference I'd be attacked as if I was the biggest ACC homer on the planet. We all know the Big East is better because, uh... it has three teams in the Top Ten. As if that matters.

I'll have more thoughts in the comments to this post, depending on what topics people bring up. For now, here's how I see things ending up:

1. KANSAS (BIG 12)

2. West Virginia
2. Kansas State
2. Villanova

3. Pittsburgh
3. Ohio State
3. Wisconsin

4. Tennessee
4. Baylor
4. Michigan State

5. Maryland
5. Georgetown
5. Vanderbilt
5. Texas A&M

6. BYU
6. Texas

7. Wake Forest
7. Oklahoma State
7. Temple

8. Missouri
8. Louisville
8. Florida State

9. Virginia Tech
9. Richmond
9. Georgia Tech
9. Clemson

10. Illinois
10. UNLV
10. Saint Mary's
10. UTEP

11. Dayton
11. UConn
11. Florida

12. San Diego State
12. Marquette





Other teams considered, but that just missed the cut:
Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, UAB, Washington, Mississippi State

Decent resumes, but not good enough:
Charlotte, Seton Hall, Minnesota, Wichita State, Arizona State, Mississippi

Long shots, but still in the at-large discussion:
Saint Louis, South Florida, Northwestern, VCU, William & Mary, Marshall, Tulsa, Illinois State, Louisiana Tech

Still alive, but pretty much need a miracle:
Boston College, Miami (Fl), North Carolina, Virginia, St. John's, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Northeastern, Akron, Missouri State, Georgia, South Carolina, Portland


Anonymous said...

I think you're making quite the stretch by saying Duke has been "insanely impressive" in conference play. They've had some blowouts, but they've also lost to the ACC bottom-feeder and had some close calls as well. I'm not positive that Duke is one of the top four teams in CBB (and I'm even less sold on the power of the ACC as a whole). Duke might be top four, but I don't see it as clear-cut as you do. Also, I think the point about Syracuse will be moot. Purdue is MUCH more likely to lose one more game than is SU, regardless of potential future match-ups. And if both teams lose (which, again, I feel Purdue is much more likely to do, considering they just lost their best player), it will be Purdue on the outside looking in. Syracuse is a 1 seed if they win out OR if Kentucky, Purdue, or Duke lose one more game. I give Syracuse a 90% shot at a 1 seed at this point. And they don't need to win the BET to get it.

Evilmonkeycma said...

I'm going to step away from my unbiased lens for a moment, and become a Notre Dame homer.

How does one leave a team with 3 wins against teams that will be in the top 5 lines out of the tournament? Including one on the road?

I know you have to spend hours at this, but given the amount of suckage at the bottom of the bracket, how are they not in?

Also - why do you believe Michigan St will be a 4 seed? My numbers have them at 2-6 against the RPI top 50 at the end of the season, with only 3 wins over tournament teams (Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Illinois). The only thing going for them is their probable 4th place finish in the Big 10.

Why do you believe that UTEP will not win the auto-bid from CUSA? What team would you have in if Memphis wasn't taking that spot?

Virginia Tech? At 9-7 in the ACC, and only two wins over tournament teams (Clemson, Wake Forest), surely they aren't in!

DMoore said...

"I actually think Purdue is more likely to go undefeated the rest of the way than Syracuse, because of their schedule."

I'm really surprised at this. Yes, the rest of their regular season is favorable. But, I think we're in agreement that other than Kansas and Kentucky, getting a 1 seed requires winning your conference tournament. I really can't see how you can predict Purdue to win the Big Ten tourney without Hummel.

A side comment is that Florida State and Clemson should be seeded higher than Wake Forest. They all have similar records so far, but Wake is struggling right now. Florida State and Clemson are simply better, more consistent teams, as indicated by their much higher Pomeroy and Sagarin ratings. Their final records will reflect that.

According to the eye test, Florida State's offense has improved. And Clemson is playing much better ball now that Demontez Stitt is back from his injury.

DMoore said...

OK, I'll argue why Duke's record really has been "insanely impressive", and why the ACC deserves much more credit than it's getting.

There are two keys here. One is the margin of victory Duke has been putting up. Yes, they have 4 losses. On the other hand, Anonymous mentioned that they have "had some close calls as well". Well, no, not many at all. Other than the losses, they have one win by 3 points, one by 7 points, and one by 9 points. EVERYTHING else in the whole season is by double digits.

Now, that's obviously good. What makes it insanely good is the strength of schedule they've done it against. Pomeroy ranks their schedule as 4th best in the country, and Sagarin ranks it 3rd best in the country. That's why both Pomeroy and Sagarin's predictor rank them as the #1 team in the country.

As for the ACC, the reason that's Duke's schedule is so good is because the ACC has no truly weak teams this year. According to Pomeroy and Sagarin, the bottom ranked teams in the ACC are NC State and Virginia. Pomeroy rates them as 66 and 71. Compare that with these teams:
UAB (60)
Seton Hall (62)
Cincinnati (63)
St. John's (75)
South Florida (77)
Rhode Island (78)
South Carolina (87)

Chris said...

I just want to say that watching Rhode Island yesterday was beyond frustrating. Argghhh!!!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Jeff, I knew you could do it. Moving Vandy to 5 is a good step, now lets get them up to 4 for next week.

Jeff said...

Chris, you can't say that I didn't warn everybody about that St. Bonaventure game. I said a few days ago that it was the most likely game the rest of the way for Rhode Island to lose. The fact that so many tv analysts made it out to be a "shocker" that Rhode Island lost a game that Sagarin projected them to win by 1 point is pretty funny to me.

Now as for Duke, my point about the ACC is what DMoore said: there are no bad teams. Duke doesn't get to pad their schedule against an LSU or DePaul or Iowa. And sure, Duke had a couple of close wins... so did everybody else. Do I need to remind people that Syracuse beat DePaul by 2 points? Or that Kentucky probably should have lost to both Miami of Ohio and Stanford? No team blows everybody out. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate Duke the best team in the country, and the only team that's close is Kansas.

As for Purdue far more likely to lose a game... who do you think they're losing to? I expect them to fairly easily win their final three regular season games. And then in the Big Ten tournament, while I agree that their likelihood of winning is less than 50%, I still think they're the favorites (the same thing I'm saying about Syracuse). Purdue has owned Wisconsin in recent years, and Michigan State has been tailing off a bit lately. The chief competitor is Ohio State, but I'm down on their chances because they don't ever play their bench. Does Thad Matta really think he can play Evan Turner, Jon Diebler, William Buford and David Lighty for all 40 minutes on three straight days? If he tries to start going deeper into his bench during the Big Ten tournament then that means that players who aren't getting regular season playing time are going to be expected to eat up big minutes in the conference tournament. I don't like their chances either way.

Jeff said...

Remember guys, when I project a team to win the conference tournament it doesn't mean I'm saying their chances are greater than 50%. If I got to bet on Purdue or the Field to win the Big Ten tournament I'd take the field, or if I got to bet on Syracuse or the Field in the Big East tournament I'd take the field again. But I don't think any other individual team has a better chance.

But I do think that we're all in agreement that if all of the teams win out that Syracuse and Purdue get the 1 seeds. If one of them loses then Duke jumps ahead. If both Syracuse and Purdue lose once then Syracuse will have the edge on Purdue. I think we all agree on that, right?

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you. Substitute Kentucky for Syracuse and maybe I agree with you.

I'm not sure why you have Kentucky ahead of Syracuse on the s-curve. Same record, but Syracuse's resume is much better. Check out their top 25 and top 50 wins. And for someone that uses Sagarin and Pomeroy, Syracuse is rated better than Kentucky. Seems you only use those numbers when they bolster your argument.

Also, Syracuse doesn't have to do anything in the BE tourney to get a 1 seed. If they win their last 2 regular season games, they'll lock up a 1 seed.

Sagarin ELO chess says Syracuse is a #2 in the country. Duke is #6.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, kentucky is definately not a lock as some people think. If they lose in their conference tourney they could easily fall to a 2 seed. Granted, the SEC sucks, yet UK really hasnt shown to be head and shoulders above their weak conference, and is by no means a big fovorite against "the field".

Anonymous said...

With Purdue's loss i guess its all moot. The 1 seeds are basically all locked up at this point, unless Duke loses in the ACC Tournament and KSU beats KU in the Big 12 championship game. Thats how i see it at least.
What about you?

Jeff said...

Nobody is assured a 1 seed yet. A general rule of thumb is that when somebody on ESPN says something is a "lock", 99% of the time it's not a lock, and about 25% of the time it actually doesn't happen at all.

It's easy right not to forget just how long the conference tournaments are. In two weeks, we'll look back on the regular season like it happened a year ago. I only have to go back to the 2006-07 team when UCLA entered the Pac-10 tournament expecting to be the #1 overall seed, then lost in the first round after which everybody said "That lost will cost them #1 overall, but there's no way they'll drop to a 2 seed", and by the end of the weekend... they were a 2 seed.

So at this point, no team has assured itself a 1 seed. Although it does seem pretty clear that we have four teams that can lock up 1 seeds if they win out (Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Duke).

Anonymous said...

Ok. There is always the worst case scenario for each team. Maybe its better to say there are four safe 1's at this point.

Anonymous said...

Cornell is an 11 and Utah St. is a 13? Those should be switched. One team's best win is over BYU, the other team's best is over St. John's. Not to mention Utah St. has the much better RPI. If you want Cornell as an 11, fine - but there's no way those resume's are two seed lines apart.

Anonymous said...

And to the Notre Dame homer - no way they're getting in. The committee always punishes teams with bad OOC schedules, and ND is always one of the worst in that regard. Best win over St. Louis and they lost at home to (gulp) Loyola Marymount. Good luck getting in with that.

Anonymous said...

This is a projected end of season bracket? Looks like you've been a month late on Marquette and UTEP.

Anonymous said...

I like the move up to a 5 seed with Vandy, but I think they still deserve higher. They still have opportunities to move up, starting with Florida on the road Tuesday. Win that, you should move them to a 4. If we make the SECT final, we should get a 3 in your bracket. By comparison, Lunardi believes we are the best 4 right now, with an outside chance of being the weakest 2 if we win out to the SECT final. Not saying either of you are right (I personally think that we will make a 3 seed), but you're getting closer.

Hubbo said...

Hey Jeff,

Glad to see you finally moved the Lobos up to their deserved 3 seed! Is this because you thought their loss was going to be to BYU, and it didn't happen?

Jeff said...

Hubbo said...
Hey Jeff,

Glad to see you finally moved the Lobos up to their deserved 3 seed! Is this because you thought their loss was going to be to BYU, and it didn't happen?

Correct. They got lucky that Jimmer Fredette was sick. If they play that game 10 times, BYU probably wins 8. But the final bracket is based on resumes, and a win is a win, and so New Mexico moves up for their win.

CSURamsfan said...

Hey, been reading the blog faithfully all season. First question of the year... If Utah State wins out to the conference final of the WAC tourney and loses a close game then to New Mexico State is USU in and what seed does NMSU get? I think there is a pretty high chance that USU doesn't win the WAC tourney as there are quite a few good WAC teams that are definitely going to cause trouble in the NIT if they don't steal the autobid.

Anonymous said...

In response to the Utah St. poster - yes, they will get an at-large and have no business as a 13 seed.

Jeff said...

Welcome back CSURamFan, I remember you from a couple of years ago when Colorado State made a late run at an at-large bid. Things aren't looking quite so good this year for them, unfortunately.

Utah State certainly can earn an at-large bid, but they're going to need a very weak bubble. What holds them back is the lack of good wins: wins over BYU and Wichita State are their only wins against the RPI Top 70, and both came at home. They also have two bad losses (Utah and Long Beach State) that won't help.

Utah State can make the "quantity over quality" argument by saying that they're 8-4 against the RPI Top 100 with an RPI of 34th and a Sagarin ELO_CHESS of 48th, but the Selection Committee weighs big wins more heavily than computer ratings do. So if the season ended now they would not get an at-large bid.

Now, let's say that they win out but lose a close WAC title game against New Mexico State or Louisiana Tech or Nevada? Well they'd be 26-7 with a Sagarin ELO_CHESS somewhere in the 40s. They'd be one of the first teams in or one of the last teams out.

The problem is that with no chances for good wins they cannot force themselves in the bracket the way a team like Minnesota can by winning two or three Big Ten tournament games. They're at the mercy of the bubble. If it's a strong bubble with a lot of conference tournament upsets then they're probably out. If it's a weak bubble then they're probably in. It will all depend on what other teams do.

I do agree that Utah State is a dangerous team. I picked them to beat Marquette last year, and I stand by my belief that it was the right pick, that Utah State would win that game 6 or 7 times out of 10.

I do think that Louisiana Tech and Nevada would be dangerous NIT teams, but I'm not sold on New Mexico State at all. Their Sagarin PREDICTOR is 140th, which would be one of the worst PREDICTORS to ever make the NIT. It's hard to project the early rounds of the NIT because some of the top teams from big conferences just decide not to care and get beaten by inferior teams. But I can't get on the bandwagon of a team with that type of Sagarin rating.

Anonymous said...

Utah St. 76 Fresno St. 39

My goodness

Anonymous said...

And Wichita St. has a top 50 RPI, meaning they have two top 50 wins, not two top 70 wins.

Anonymous said...

Time to move Vandy up another seed line. They notched another victory against an RPI Top 50 opponent on the road, bringing their total to 6-2 (3 on the road).