Sunday, March 13, 2011

Initial Thoughts On The Bracket

I wanted to post my initial thoughts since the official bracket has just been released. One shocking thing to me is that the Selection Committee seems to have totally reversed years of thinking. They have always focused on "body of work" and strength of overall resumes. But this year? They generally ignored what happened in non-conference play and put a heavy emphasis on team quality over team resume.

Did the Selection Committee get the correct 68 teams? Absolutely not. I thought this was the worst selection of the final at-large teams we've seen in several years. Colorado and Virginia Tech being left out are ridiculous, and USC getting in is a joke. USC has by far the worst resume to ever get into the NCAA Tournament. If we're going to use the "Jio Fontan wasn't on the team for many of those losses" argument then just make all the non-conference games scrimmages and don't count them at all. And if USC gets a pass on their early season performance, why doesn't Alabama? Alabama played better in conference play than USC did.

Virginia Tech being left out? Don't the people on the Selection Committee have a heart? I thought that Virginia Tech probably deserved to be left out the past three years, but they absolutely deserved to be in this year. And with the fact that they were left out so close the past few years, can't we throw Seth Greenberg a bone? I feel so bad for him and his team. And as I've already said a couple of times today, I'd have taken Harvard, although I knew they were getting left out because the Ivy League never gets respect from the Selection Committee.

Did they get the right 1 & 2 seeds? For months I'd been picking Ohio State, Kansas, Duke & Pitt, and at the last moment I put Notre Dame ahead of Pitt. Pitt is better than Notre Dame, but for reasons listed here I thought the Selection Committee would take Notre Dame instead. I was already getting ready to write about how Notre Dame was the weakest 1 seed since St. Joe's in 2004. Goes to show you that sometimes the Selection Committee surprises in a good way... For the rest of the 1 & 2 seeds, the most inexplicable one is Florida. They have a lot of RPI Top 100 wins, but that's deceptive. Not all Top 100 wins are equal. Win vs Win their resume just doesn't stack up with even a team like Texas that ended up as a 4 seed. Their Sagarin ELO_CHESS is going to be close to 20th. Not only did they get a 2 seed, but they were gifted a soft 7 seed and a soft 3 seed. In that Elite 8 section, they might be afraid of their 10 seed (Michigan State) more than anybody else.

What are the most inexplicable seedings?

Richmond getting a 12: Huh? Wasn't this team already in before they beat Temple and then easily handled Dayton? Does this mean that if they'd lost to Dayton they'd be left out? Even assuming that Richmond was given an 11 and then moved to a 12 to comply with bracket rules, how can anybody argue that they deserved worse than a 10? I thought a 7 or 8 would have been most fair.

Utah State getting a 12: Absolutely no respect for a very dangerous team. I only hope that the Selection Committee tried to make up for this by giving them the softest 5 seed. Utah State is a hard team to figure out because they had such a soft schedule, and I gave a large standard deviation to possible seeds for them, but I considered that range anywhere between a 6n and an 11. An 8 or 9 would have been more fair.

USC getting an 11: They shouldn't be in at all. They went 11-6 against teams with an RPI worse than 100. Historically we had zero or one team outside the Sagarin ELO_CHESS Top 50 earning an at-large. With the expanded field I expected to see two or three teams outside the Top 50 getting in, but USC had a 78. That's inexplicable. I understand the Jio Fontan thing, but on resume alone USC is only a borderline NIT team. If we're giving USC a pass from November & December, then why doesn't Alabama get a pass, too? And if we're giving them a team a pass for games where a key player wasn't on the floor, why not give Georgetown a pass for all of their losses after Chris Wright got hurt?

Memphis as a 12: This is an interesting one, because Memphis is a team that has a 9 or 10 seed type resume, but is not nearly as good as their resume. If you're seeding teams by how good they are then a 12 seed is correct for Memphis. But I'll say it once again: since when has the Selection Committee weighed how good teams are over how good their resumes are? If we're picking teams by quality rather than resume then why not take Maryland? Maryland's resume stinks, but they're a better team than at least half a dozen teams that got at-large bids.

Florida as a 2: I already talked about this above. They deserved a 4 seed.

No comments: