Sunday, February 06, 2011

W-5 BP68

Since we're only five weeks from Selection Sunday it's now time for me to switch to twice-weekly BP68s. So the next BP68 will be the W-4.5 BP68 and will come out after Wednesday night's games.

Not only are we not much more than a month from Selection Sunday, but we're nearing the end of the regular season. We're only a little more than two weeks away from the first conference tournaments. The Big South and the Horizon will both begin their conference tournaments on Tuesday, March 1st. I will re-start up my daily looks at the Tournament bubble right around the beginning of the conference tournaments.

As always, here is how I see things ending up on Selection Sunday:

1. KANSAS (BIG 12)

2. Texas
2. BYU (MWC)
2. Purdue
2. Villanova

3. San Diego State
3. Notre Dame
3. Georgetown

4. Louisville
4. Wisconsin
4. Syracuse
4. Texas A&M

5. North Carolina
5. UConn
5. Florida

6. West Virginia
6. Arizona
6. Vanderbilt
6. Missouri

7. Cincinnati
7. Tennessee

8. Illinois
8. Marquette

9. Minnesota
9. Florida State
9. Richmond
9. Michigan State

10. Kansas State
10. Maryland
10. Baylor

11. Boston College
11. Georgia
11. Virginia Tech
11. Oklahoma State

12. Washington State
12. Northwestern

13. George Mason
13. Wichita State



16. LIU (NEC)

Teams seriously considered that just missed the cut:
Clemson, Duquesne, Xavier, St. John's, VCU, Southern Miss, Cleveland State, New Mexico, UCLA, Gonzaga

Decent resumes, but not good enough:
Miami (Fl), Dayton, Penn State, Colorado, Nebraska, Drexel, UAB, UTEP, Valparaiso, Northern Iowa, Colorado State, Alabama

Long shots, but still in the at-large discussion:
Rhode Island, Providence, Rutgers, Michigan, Oklahoma, Hofstra, James Madison, Central Florida, Marshall, Air Force, California, USC, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Portland

Still alive, but pretty much need a miracle:
Georgia Tech, NC State, Virginia, St. Bonaventure, UMass, Seton Hall, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Wright State, Princeton, Fairfield, Creighton, Stanford, Mississippi State


Sam said...

I'm trying to make some sense out of the bottom, because I'm genuinely confused, not in a "I disagree" fashion, but in a "Whaaa?" fashion.

If I have this right, Old Dominion, Butler, and Memphis are all 12 seed auto-bids, but are ahead, in seeding, of a few at-large teams. From what you've said throughout the week(about Butler), I take it that this means that these teams all need to win their conference tournaments(as things stand now, obviously), and wouldn't get an at-large bid, but if they do make it, they'll be seeded somewhat ahead of the other teams that need to get the auto-bid.

As such, Washington State, Northwestern, George Mason, and Wichita State would be the last four at-large teams, and thus play the "opening round" games, right?

Yeah, after last year, clearly what the selection committee needed was to make it MORE complicated.

Jeff said...

Your confusion is based on the weirdness of this bracket system. I actually wanted to make Butler a 13 seed. The problem is that you can't have an odd number of at-large 12 or 13 seeds. You need to either have 6 teams with a 12 seed, or else 5 teams with a 12 seed (three autos + 2 at-larges) and 5 teams with a 13 seed (three autos + 2 at-larges). The two 13 seeds will have to play for a chance to play a 4 seed.

So what happened in this case is that I wanted to place Butler behind all of the at-large teams, but Old Dominion and Memphis ahead of Wichita State. The problem is... I can't do that. That would leave me with only one at-large team getting a 13 seed. So I had to move Butler up to a 12 seed and then moved another at-large team (George Mason) back to a 13 seed, to make the math work. I still think George Mason will end up with a better resume than Butler.

I'm with you that the new system is confusing. I would support going back to 64 teams (not that it will ever happen).

DMoore said...

I'm curious how you distinguish between (and or predict) some of the outcomes. For instance:
1. What is your criteria for seeding Kansas over Texas? What do you see there that helps you pick one over the other? I assume that means you think Kansas will win the Big 12 tourney. Are you saying that you think Kansas is more likely because you think they'll be more consistent? I think Kansas has a better resume, but I think Texas has been playing better near at this point in the season.
2. How do you distinguish between two teams with no bad losses and no signature wins, e.g. Northwestern is in but Clemson is out? Is Northwestern's win over Illinois that big a deal? I looks to me like a situation where Northwestern may be a better team, but I suspect that their conference record will be seriously under water by the end of a season, while the intra-conference losses weaken the overall profile of the Big Ten.

Jeff said...

The Kansas vs Texas thing is simple - I just think Kansas is better and is going to win the Big 12 tournament. I know that Texas won the game at Phog Allen, but that was an upset and a wake-up call for Kansas. I know that Texas is playing great right now, but I've talked about this a few times - it's always a mistake to overrate a team because they go on a short winning streak. Rick Barnes is a horrible in-game coach, and I just don't see how I could pick him to beat Kansas a month from now in a tournament setting.

As for Clemson vs Northwestern, that win over Illinois is very big. Northwestern now has a better win than Clemson does (Florida State). And Northwestern has zero bad losses while Clemson has a couple (Virginia, South Carolina). So Northwestern does have the slight resume edge right now.

That said, neither team is a Tournament team right now. I'd have both in the NIT if the season ended now. But I think Northwestern gets to 8-10 or 9-9 and then wins at least one game in the Big Ten tournament, and I think that will have them right on the border for an at-large bid.

I think Northwestern will pick up another quality win over Minnesota. I don't see Clemson winning at Duke, and I don't think they're going to beat North Carolina at home either. So I think Clemson goes into Selection Sunday without a big win, and that's why I think they'll stay in the NIT.

Tom said...

I'm sorry but I'm struggling to figure out how Washington is a 5 seed and the presumed Pac-10 winner. Firstly, they're 2 games behind Arizona with 7 to play and have to go to McKale, where even they would admit they are a long shot to win. But even as it stands right now...

20-4, 9-2
RPI 17
SOS 47
5 top 100 wins, 1 bad loss

15-7, 7-4
RPI 40
SOS 58
5 top 100 wins, 3 bad losses

Not only would I have Washington below Arizona but I would have them as a bubble team. They lost to Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State consecutively...

Tom said...

Also, UCLA out?

They are 7-3 in conference and have wins over BYU (RPI #1) and St. John's (RPI #22) in non-conference...


16-7, 7-3
RPI 41
SOS 33
5 top 100 wins, 1 bad loss

again, how do you figure?

Jeff said...

Washington is a better team than Arizona. They're in a terrible slump right now, but they'll get hot again. I think they'll come out of Arizona with the season sweep and I expect them to win the Pac-10 tournament. That gives them the higher seed.

And as for UCLA, you have to remember that your RPI and SOS numbers are irrelevant. I know that they're the ones that ESPN and the other TV channels throw up, but they really don't matter. Look at the Sagarin numbers. UCLA's Sagarin ELO_CHESS is 52nd. In the era of 64/65 team Tournaments there would be 0 or 1 teams each year with an ELO_CHESS worse than 50 that got in. In the past two years the only team that got in with an ELO_CHESS worse than 50 was Minnesota last season, a team that had a whole bunch of big wins and finished the season on a roll (they made it to the Big Ten tournament finals).

With three more teams added to the field there will likely be 1 or 2 50+ ELO_CHESS teams in the field eachyear, but again it's going to be teams with very strong wins. UCLA doesn't have that. UCLA will get some benefit of the doubt because of their name and history, but the lack of big wins is crippling. If the season ended now they'd be narrowly out of the Field of 68, and I think they'll stay out of the Field of 68.

Tom said...

With regards to talent Washington has been top notch under Romar. He knows how to recruit athletes. But to expect them to win at McKale is a little crazy to me considering for whatever reason the team is Jeckyll and Hyde home and away. The three seasons prior Arizona and Washington have held serve at home (mind you Arizona had its share of struggles the past few years). I don't see any reason that should change because Washington just can't win on the road. You remember last year when it took them til February to win anything on the road. I understand they got hot, but I just can't see them going into McKale and knocking off Arizona - very few teams do when Arizona is Arizona good.

Anyway, appreciate the insight. I plan to check back, it's a good read

Jeff said...

I see what you're saying, and those two teams have split home/home the past several years. But I'm seeing this Washington season the same way I saw last season. Last season, just like this season, Washington was a very talented team that played a weak schedule and went through a huge slump mid-season.

Last year Washington went through a stretch where they lost five of seven (the loss at Arizona was in that stretch) and just about everybody gave up on them. But their computer numbers were spectacular and I stuck with them. Even after they had lost 5 of 7 and were 3-5 in a Pac-10 conference even worse than this year's Pac-10 conference, I still never dropped them lower than a 5 seed. Then, down the stretch, Washington won four straight road games and blew through the Pac-10 tournament and all the way to the Sweet 16.

I know the results Washington has so far, but there is a reason that both Sagarin and Pomeroy still rate them as a Top 15 team even after all of these bad losses. And it's not just numbers, it's the eye test. Every time I watch them I struggle to comprehend how a team that good could lose to so many bad teams. In the end that stuff always tends to balance out.

Tom said...

Perhaps it's coaching. It seems that Romar recruits top level talent on a yearly basis, but often times it looks like he loses his team. He tends to go for the athlete instead of the smart basketball player at times, which is fine because you can win that way. I'm not a UW fan (as you probably guessed) but it seems that Romar has only been able to get them to a certain point (sweet 16) in the tournament and not past. Maybe it's in part because of his relaxed attitude. Often times I hear UW fans complain about the fact when things go wrong he seems to just say "it'll be ok" and fold his arms on the sideline. Who knows.

On the other hand I'm aware that without him there, (as even UW fans would admit no matter how frustrated they are) they would go back to irrelevance without him. It's a hard team to figure out but I absolutely agree with you on two points (this coming from an Arizona fan). 1 - They are the most talented team in the league and 2 - They are absolutely capable of winning any game they play. I think they should win the P-10 tournament, I just feel that Arizona has the clear upper hand as far as winning the league at this point.

Jeff said...

I agree with a lot of what you're saying. Romar isn't a great in-game coach, but I think it's a mistake to confuse sideline demeanor with attitude. You can be calm and quiet and still do a great job of coaching your team. Compare that to Frank Martin, who never stops screaming at his players yet has one of the sloppiest and worst-coached teams in the nation.

Also, I think it's a mistake to focus too much on a program over a bunch of years under- or over-performing in the NCAA Tournament. A lot of that is luck when you have such a small sample size. Obviously when you have a large enough sample size you can draw trends (like the Big Ten always over-performing and the Big East always under-performing, clear evidence that the Big East is being over-hyped by the media every year). But I wouldn't say things like Romar "can't" get his team past the Sweet 16.

For example, that Brandon Roy team in in 2006 lost in overtime in the Sweet 16 to that ridiculous UConn team that had four players drafted in the first round of the '06 Draft. One lucky break and they'd have won that game. Two years ago they ran into a really good and under-seeded Purdue team and lost by two points. And last year they made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before losing to an extremely talented West Virginia team that went to the Final Four. Compare that tough luck to a team like Michigan State last year getting their three toughest opponents (Kansas, Ohio State and Georgetown) upset by others and winning three of their four games to the Final Four by 3 points or less. Yes Tom Izzo is a great Tournament coach, but last year he also had a ton of luck. Washington hasn't had a Tournament under Romar where they've had that. They will break through at some point.

Tom said...

Well, the sideline demeanor is just a common complaint I've heard from many UW fans. I guess nobody can really tell how much control over a team a coach has by just judging on that. As far as "can't" get past the sweet 16, that was poor word choice on my part, because I can't predict the future and he certainly is a capable coach running a solid program over the last decade. Ideally as far as I'm concerned Arizona would win the Pac-10 and both teams would make a good tournament run so as to help the perception of the league (which I obviously realize is the weakest of the power 6).

Apologies if I come off as too much of a homer :)

Jeff said...

Hey, I think Arizona is underrated too! I've had them seeded higher than most anybody else (although others are finally catching up) and I've said Derrick Williams should be the clear Pac-10 player of the year. See this post for an example. I definitely think that they can have a good shot at the Sweet 16 if they get the right draw.

Tom said...

What do you think the highest seeding Arizona could potentially get is? I know you have them as a 6 right now, which I feel is spot on. But let's say they beat Washington...I know we agree to disagree there... (and take care of the 4 home games) win at ASU and split the Southern Cal trip to finish the league at 15-3. Let's say they get to the conference tourney title game...a lot of if's. But my question really is how high do you think they are capable of going? Not necessarily in the tournament itself, but with regards to seeding?

Jeff said...

Let's say Arizona wins every remaining game, wins the Pac-10 tournament, goes in 30-4 with both the Pac-10 regular season and tournament titles. Obviously that's a very, very long shot scenario, but if that were to happen they would be something like 4-3 against the RPI Top 50 and 11-3 against the RPI Top 100, with wins over Washington (probably twice) and UCLA (at least twice), but no RPI Top 100 wins unless either NC State or Oklahoma sneaks in.

If that happened their RPI and Sagarin ELO_CHESS would both be well inside the Top 10. I don't see any way they can earn a 1 seed, but they would be at least in the conversation for a 2 seed. Most likely they'd get a 3 seed, and certainly no lower than that, but I think the lack of any really big wins would get them definitely stuck behind Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, Texas, at least one Mountain West team and at least two Big East teams. They'd then be fighting it out against teams like Purdue, Wisconsin, Kentucky, a second Mountain West team, and a whole slew of Big East teams (Georgetown, Louisville, Villanova, UConn, Syracuse?) for that last 2 seed. I just don't see it.

So, most likely a 3 seed. And I might add, I don't think that seed would change if they lose one more quality game but finish 15-3 in conference and win the Pac-10 tournament. That's still a 3 seed resume to me.

Jeff said...

I just realized that the last sentence of the first paragraph should say "no *NON-CONFERENCE* RPI Top 100 wins"... but you probably understood that.

Tom said...

yeah, I figured that. I think NC State is at 103 in RPI if I'm up to date, and to be honest I haven't seen much of them aside from our game. If they can sneak into the top 100 on the mere fact that it's a cross country road game against an ACC team that would look pretty good. Even so, if they do get into the top 100 I feel like it wouldn't be any sort of signature win judging by their 2-7 ACC record. That's obviously what Arizona lacks. They played Kansas to the wire but I'm not sure how much weight or if there is such a thing as a "good loss" (I'm not as much an expert as you in how they go about selections). The eye test, of course, is important, and I think the committee will look very favorably upon how the team has improved as the year goes on though. The best opportunities to improve seeding have to be the UCLA game (a game I don't expect to win) and the home game against UW. They could still get 5-6 top 100 wins and that would be good enough for a nice seed as you said.

DMoore said...

Unfortunately, NC State is beginning to collapse. It's becoming crystal clear to everyone, including the team, that Sidney Lowe will be fired at the end of the year. Nice guy, can't coach.