Sunday, December 11, 2011

W-13 BP68

We're now 13 weeks from Selection Sunday, and heading into the eye of the metaphorical college basketball hurricane. Most schools have finals coming up over the next couple of weeks, and so there won't be too many games. Certainly the schedules will ease up for most teams. The bigger conferences will mostly begin their regular season play in the final week of December, and so that's when schedules will start stiffening again.

While plenty of teams were shifted around relative to the last bracket, I only made one change to the Field of 68. I dropped Cincinnati out of the field for everything that happened today, and moved Virginia into the field in their place. Of the other teams that I don't have in the bracket but I'm keeping my eye on, I added a few teams to the list: La Salle, Denver, St. Bonaventure and Wyoming. Meanwhile, St. John's and George Washington were dropped from that list because of the play too poor for realistic at-large contention.

As always, this is my projection of where things will be on Selection Sunday, and not a statement on where things stand now.

Here we go:

1. NORTH CAROLINA (ACC)
1. KENTUCKY (SEC)
1. OHIO STATE (BIG TEN)
1. SYRACUSE (BIG EAST)

2. Duke
2. Louisville
2. Florida
2. TEXAS (BIG 12)

3. Pittsburgh
3. Kansas
3. Wisconsin
3. UConn

4. ARIZONA (PAC-12)
4. Marquette
4. Alabama
4. UNLV (MWC)

5. Georgetown
5. MEMPHIS (CONFERENCE USA)
5. Michigan
5. TEMPLE (ATLANTIC TEN)

6. GONZAGA (WCC)
6. Purdue
6. Xavier
6. Vanderbilt

7. Baylor
7. West Virginia
7. Michigan State
7. Missouri

8 Illinois
8. Florida State
8. Indiana
8. California

9. Texas A&M
9. New Mexico
9. Saint Louis
9. BYU

10. Oklahoma State
10. San Diego State
10. CREIGHTON (MVC)
10. Stanford

11. Villanova
11. HARVARD (IVY)
11. Saint Mary's
11. Virginia Tech

12. Washington
12. Northwestern
12. Northern Iowa
12. Virginia
12. Miami (Fl)
12. BELMONT (ATLANTIC SUN)

13. IONA (MAAC)
13. GEORGE MASON (COLONIAL)
13. BUTLER (HORIZON)
13. UTAH STATE (WAC)

14. BUCKNELL (PATRIOT)
14. MONTANA (BIG SKY)
14. LONG BEACH STATE (BIG WEST)
14. OAKLAND (SUMMIT)

15. DAVIDSON (SOUTHERN)
15. MURRAY STATE (OVC)
15. BALL STATE (MAC)
15. VERMONT (AMERICA EAST)

16. ROBERT MORRIS (NEC)
16. COASTAL CAROLINA (BIG SOUTH)
16. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (SUN BELT)
16. STEPHEN F AUSTIN (SOUTHLAND)
16. MORGAN STATE (MEAC)
16. ALABAMA STATE (SWAC)

Teams seriously considered that just missed the cut:
NC State, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Minnesota, Kansas State, Southern Miss, Missouri State, Wichita State, Oregon State, Washington State, Mississippi, Mississippi State

Other teams with a decent shot, but that need to improve their resume:
Clemson, Dayton, Duquesne, Richmond, St. Joseph's, Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma, VCU, Central Florida, Marshall, Cleveland State, Indiana State, Boise State, UCLA, Oregon, Arkansas, Tennessee, New Mexico State

Other teams I'm keeping my eye on, but that need to dramatically improve their resume:
Georgia Tech, Maryland, La Salle, St. Bonaventure, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, South Florida, Iowa, Drexel, James Madison, Old Dominion, UAB, Tulane, Tulsa, Valparaiso, UW-Milwaukee, Kent State, Ohio, Drake, Illinois State, TCU, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona State, USC, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Charleston, Denver, Santa Clara, Nevada

50 comments:

Tom said...

I hope you're right in your prediction but it's hard to imagine Arizona finishing as the top #4 seed unless you're sold on them beating Gonzaga and winning the conference...

If UA doesn't win against the Zags, how worried should Zona fans be?

Jeff said...

I think the Gonzaga game is a toss-up. But keep in mind that I think they're going to cruise to a 14-4 or 15-3 record in Pac-12 play which, with a Pac-12 tournament victory, will dramatically improve their resume.

I don't think Arizona would get anything near a 4 seed if the season ended now.

Tom said...

Hmm, well I guess the best wins left to be had are...

Gonzaga (toss up)
at Cal (toss up)
at Stanford (probably a win, but they're much improved)
Washington x2 (probable split)

Man, that Florida game would've been nice...

Anonymous said...

Missouri as a 7 seed...that's hugely laughable.

Jeff said...

You're welcome to disagree with my projections, and many times I've been convinced by my readers, but it's better if you make an actual argument rather than "you're an idiot".

Anonymous said...

Okay, how about:

Top 10 team
Undefeated
Wins vs. two Big East teams, the Pac-12 favorite
Top 10 in KenPom ratings
...
and literally everyone else doing bracket projections has them no worse than a 5, and there's only one person who has them at a 5 seed at that.

Need more?

Jeff said...

If they're undefeated on Selection Sunday they'll be a 1 seed. Please read what it says in every single BP68 post:

"As always, this is my projection of where things will be on Selection Sunday, and not a statement on where things stand now."

Missouri would probably be a 3 seed if the season ended now.

But I don't think Missouri will keep this up.

First of all, Mizzou's Kenpom rating is messed up by that crazy California game. Everything was clicking for them in that game and Cal played awful. Missouri isn't any more talented than they were last year, and they've downgraded at coach.

As I discussed with a reader in the comments section to a post last week, there's an argument to be made that in the short term the switch to Haith helps them. Even though he's an inferior overall coach to Anderson, he does bring another perspective, and all of those kids have already absorbed plenty from Anderson. It's like having a second head coach with a second set of knowledge to pass on to the kids. But teams now have tape on Missouri and will adjust to the changes Haith has made.

Let's see what happens when the sample sizes get larger.

Anonymous said...

You're free to feel that way about Missouri. But you're dealing with a LOT of preconceived notions.

Watch them play, and you'll see that they clearly have not downgraded at coach. They're playing with a discipline, a structure, and a fire that was totally lacking last year. The only talent downgrade is Bowers tearing his ACL--literally everything else is the same. Well, except an added year of experience across the roster.

Time will show that Mike Anderson is not that great of a coach. He needs EVERYTHING to click just right to have that Sweet 16/Elite 8 type year, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that he never takes Arky (or anyone) to a Final Four running that system.

The Cal game is an outlier? They haven't won a game by less than 10 this year, and they've won 6 by more than 20! You can fault their schedule thus far, but I'm pretty sure no one could assume that ND would lose Abromaitis for the season (well, he did play, and play well, against Mizzou), and that Nova would struggle this much early in the season.

Finally, 17 other people are valuing the team properly, yet you staunchly believe that you're the one who's correct and they're all wrong?

Jeff said...

You're comparing apples and oranges. Just about every other bracket on the internet (if not every one) is a statement on where things stand NOW. I don't disagree that if the season ended now Missouri would likely be a 3 seed. I agree with what others are saying.

I'm not sure why you're shoving the Bowers injury under the rug - he was the second best player on Missouri last year.

And the reason the Cal game is an outlier is this: Missouri had their best eFG% of the season, their best eFG% defense of the season, and their largest margin of victory of the season.... against the best team they've played all season. That's basically the dictionary definition of an "outlier game". As the season goes along that outlier game will be watered down. Pomeroy himself agrees that his ratings need to be taken with a big grain of salt before mid-January.

You and I are free to disagree on where Missouri is going this season. Maybe I'll be right, maybe you'll be right. We'll see. But In my opinion, and I've been doing this for a while and have a pretty good record at projecting this stuff, Missouri is a team that's been overperforming this season. As the sample sizes get larger their average efficiency will get worse. In my opinion, of course.

Anonymous said...

What's the point in projecting teams in March? The point of bracketology should be to tell fans where their team would play if the tournament started today. There is way too much subjectivity (and yes, personal bias) doing it your way. Guess I'll pay attention to the 1695 other bracketology sites out there then.

Jeff said...

I view it the opposite way. If Santa Clara beats North Carolina on opening day, does this mean we should all make brackets with Santa Clara as a 1 seed and North Carolina out of the field?

In the end, the 68 teams that actually make the Tournament will be the ones selected by the Selection Committee on Selection Sunday. In my opinion, it doesn't make sense to project anything OTHER than what the Selection Committee will do on Selection Sunday. We don't pick the brackets in December, after all.

I'm very clear about what I do on this website. If you don't enjoy my writing, you're welcome to read any of the other great blogs out there. There are a wealth of options. Find what you enjoy best.

Rainmaker203 said...

Is Murray State now in the at-large discussion? They're 10-0 and will be heavily favored in every single game they have left.

Pomeroy is now projecting Murray State to finish the year 26-2. Assuming that's what they went, and then lost in the conference championship, would they have a shot at making the Ohio Valley a 2-bid league?

Jeff said...

They will certainly be in the at-large discussion if they lose only two games in the regular season and then lose in the OVC tournament final. I don't know if they'd actually get in, and they'd be hard to project precisely because their resume is so unique, but they'd definitely be a bubble team.

One thing that would help would be a win in their Bracketbusters game. The schedules won't be made for those games for a while, but I'd assume that Murray State will be given a quality opponent. Collecting another RPI Top 100 win would be huge.

DMoore said...

"The point of bracketology should be to tell fans where their team would play if the tournament started today."

I've always assumed, as you alluded to, that I already had "1695 other bracketology sites" where I could find that info.

I am saddened that, in my infinite cheapness, I can no longer compare these projections with KenPom's. I always found it useful and interesting to compare statistical projections with ones based on watching a bajillion games.

DMoore said...

I do think Missouri should be seeded higher. At worst, they look to be the third best team in the Big 12, with at least a 10-1 out of conference record. Given the strength of their conference, and comparing them with who you list in your seedings, I think they will earn at least a 5 seed.

Also, I think you are oversimplifying their coaching situation. Yes, Frank Haith is a mediocre coach. But sometimes, a coach is the right fit for the personnel. Marcus Denmon would not be having his monster season under Mike Anderson. He's at his best as a catch and shoot guard, and Haith is using him MUCH better than Anderson's system would force him to play.

Can you explain how/why you are picking Texas to win the Big12? I find that baffling. I don't see that, from either the eye test or the statistics. If they end up better than 4th in the conference, then Kansas and Baylor have seriously wasted their potential.

Jeff said...

My faith in Texas is on development of these freshmen. There's no question they haven't been the best Big 12 so far - that's been Kansas.

But four of their seven best players are freshmen. They're going to be a lot better once guys like Myck Kabongo and Sheldon McClellan get experience and confidence. They're the most talented team in the conference and have a real star in J'Covan Brown.

My concern with Kansas is depth. My concern with Missouri is the sample size issue - they've looked great in a really small sample size, and I don't want to overreact to that. And Baylor.... well, they're super athletic and physically talented every year. I still need proof they have a point guard that can run an efficient offense.

Texas is the team with the most potential and the highest ceiling, in my opinion.

Jeff said...

With Missouri, I see everything you're saying. But I'm just skeptical that so many players look so much better than last year. Maybe they really all did get that much better with Frank Haith, but maybe it's just a small sample size.

Right now Missouri is second in the nation in eFG%, and their defensive stats (according to Pomeroy) are even better than they were last year, or in three of the five years under Mike Anderson. It seems hard to believe that either of those stats will hold up over the course of the season. Particularly since their defense is less aggressive than it used to be - no longer do they full court press off every made basket.

Anonymous said...

What is the point in even doing "bracket projections" if it is basically just a guess how things will end up. Why not just do a projection at the start of the year and be done with it if that is the rationale?

Take a team like Texas, what have they done so far that makes you think they will deserve a #2 seed? Zero quality wins at this point.

Take the Big Ten. What has Purdue done to make you think they will deserve a higher seed than Mich. St, Illinois, and Indiana. All three of those teams have at least 1 quality win, Purdue has zero with near losses to High Point, Western Carolina (both home games), and Iona.

Not trying to bash you because I do appreciate the read, but just trying to understand your thought process on trying to project teams as high seeds when they currently havent done anything.

Jeff said...

Well, everybody is doing projections to some extent. How many people do you see projecting as each conference champion whichever team happens to be leading each conference's standings that day? Almost nobody does that - they project the winner.

Similarly, if you want to talk resumes, who exactly has Texas A&M beaten? Texas A&M is currently 0-1 against the RPI Top 200. Yet every bracket I've seen has them in the NCAA Tournament. Why? Because they're projecting the future.

Every other website does some vague combination of "where things are now" versus projections. I think this is confusing and inconsistent. If Santa Clara beats North Carolina on opening day, they don't rate Santa Clara higher than North Carolina in their bracket... yet at the same time if a team gets off to an obviously unsustainable hot start they get boosted in their bracket? What's the method there? Where's the consistency?

In my view, the way I do things is consistent and clear and unique. It's up to my readers to choose to care or not to care, and to read or not to read. I respect everybody else's opinions on this, but I prefer the way I do things.

Anonymous said...

I guess my point was asking what have some of these teams done in your eyes that show they will be deserving of that spot come March. Texas, Purdue, etc.

To me, many more than 5 or 6 teams look better than Texas, and Purdue hasnt shown they even belong in the tournament other than the first 30 min vs Xavier.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just reread your comments on Texas....my bad I missed that.

Anonymous said...

Justify Miss State being out of the mix, yet you have 3 teams that they have already beaten (rather soundly) seeded 4, 7 & 8?

If those teams do as well as you project, I can't see MSU suffering from what currenty appears to be a single bad loss. Also, rpi won't suffer in conference play this year.

The only way we miss and those team seed as you project is if we absolutely fall apart. That's difficult to rationalize so I'd like to know what drives your thinking. Thanks

Jeff said...

First, ignore RPI. Second, I'm not sure what your definition of "beaten soundly" is, but by that logic didn't Akron beat Mississippi State soundly?

Mississippi State had two nice wins over quality teams in Madison Square Garden, but what I've found over the years is that there often are weird results that happen at these off-site November tournaments. It's a mistake to watch a team do very well or very poorly at these tournaments and assume that it means something for the rest of their season.

Throw those two games out for a moment and Mississippi State's resume gets a lot softer. Yes, they beat West Virginia by 13, but West Virginia actually won the offensive rebounding battle by 7 and the turnover battle by 1 - they just had ice cold shooting.

And other than the WVU game? There have been quite a few unimpressive performances against cupcakes. 10 point win over Eastern Kentucky? 15 over Louisiana-Monroe? 15 over South Alabama? The 10 point loss to Akron?

I know, a lot of people don't think those results over cupcakes matter, but the reality is that they do. Mississippi State is a bubble team, and right now I think they're narrowly out of the field. I might be wrong, and MSU might sneak into the NCAA Tournament, but if they do it won't be by much.

Charles said...

What about Purdue and their narrow escapes against cupcakes at home?

They have beaten Temple on a neutral floor in a close game, beat Miami FL at home without two of their top players and had very narrow wins vs High Point and Western Carolina at home, and Iona on a neutral court. Very unimpressive.

Jeff said...

I'm not sure I'd call Temple or Iona "cupcakes". Both are likely top 50 teams this year.

Purdue's been inconsistent this year, no doubt. They have had games where they've looked mediocre, but other games where they've looked like a Top Ten team. I think they have a couple of players who are under-performing. Terone Johnson in particular was a player I thought would breakout and hasn't. DJ Byrd is another player who has disappointed so far this year.

In my view, Purdue has arguably the best backcourt in the Big Ten, and they have an All-Big Ten quality frontcourt player in Robbie Hummel. So while their resume isn't yet the best, I do think they'll eventually figure things out.

Charles said...

I'm in Big 10 country and have watched Purdue a lot. I can assure you they do not have the best backcourt in the conference, and zero inside game whatsoever. If you throw Hummel in as part of the backcourt then maybe they are in the top 4 or so.

I didnt mean Temple and Iona were cupcakes. I meant High Point and Western Carolina. It was in response to your claim Miss St has some unimpressive wins.

Anonymous said...

I said that Akron was a bad loss, dude.... but I do expect a little logic in your reasoning.

first, you lop off our best 3 games (all wins) and declare that "wierd things happen at holiday tournys" and suggest that WV SHOULD have beaten us. Did you even watch the game or just look at the stat line? We couldn't have played any worse against Akron, so by that reason, let's toss that game out also.

I've never heard anyone reflect on margin of victory in cupcake games. That's bogus, because we haven't been challenged in the least since the Akron game (game 2). Our scrap team guys (the guys you ONLY see in blowouts) have had more PT than I can ever recall, but who knew that guys like you deduct points because they can't score worth a damn. Again - you see the 3 teams we beat as worthy of the top half of the bracket, yet we are out? You can't justify that by anything logical...it's inconsistent. If I had time, I'm certain I could apply the same logic you've used and exclude half of your bracket. Seriously.. "wierd things happen"?

Charles said...

I'm interested to see how Purdue plays this weekend against Butler. This is a game they SHOULD win by double digits.

Jeff said...

Really, Charles? Which three Big Ten backcourts would you take over Purdue? The only one I think you can make a good argument for is Wisconsin.

And the point about cupcakes isn't that you need to blow every single one out. The point is that it's all part of the sample. Each game matters. Teams will have good days and bad days. Overall, Purdue has been better than MSU so far - neither Pomeroy or Sagarin have them even close. And like I said, I feel like Purdue has underperformed while MSU has overperformed. I think MSU got lucky that West Virginia just happened to have a horrid shooting day that game. Over the long run that stuff tends to even out.


And anonymous, if you aren't familiar with the concept of "guts vs stomps", let me recommend you some good reading to start with.

Despite what our intuition tells us, stomping all over bad teams has a better correlation with future success than whether a team wins or loses close games against quality opponents. It's true across all major sports.

Jeff said...

I'm not sure I'd say Purdue "should" win by double digits. Pomeroy and Sagarin, which both rate them as a Top 25 team and Butler as well outside the Top 100 have Purdue as a 9 and 13 point favorite, respectively. I haven't seen a Vegas line for the game yet, but I'd expect it to be right around 10.

A double-digit win would be a good result for Purdue, but I wouldn't say it's "expected".

Charles said...

Again, it depends on whether or not Hummel is included in the bunch. Ryne Smith does only one thing, and when teams get a hand in his face he is off. I like Jackson when he doesnt make bone headed mistakes.

How about Indiana then? They have beaten every team by double digits other than UK. If they wouldnt have gotten away from what got them there they would have won by 10 plus. They arent getting nearly the respect they deserve by most people. Likely because of how down they have been the last few years.

Charles said...

The reason Purdue is only around a 10 point favorite against Butler is because they just arent very good this year. Butler is awful.

Anonymous said...

Projecting what the actual field will look like in March is virtually impossible right now unless you go through every single team and predict win/loss for each game every week.

Projecting teams on what they have done seems to make a lot more sense. Your example of Santa Clara over NC isn't really a good one because you have to be both subjective and objective when doing this. And I really hope no one would take the time to project the field after 1 game. Impossible to give it validity.

Jeff said...

Charles, I'm starting to get the hint that you're a Hoosiers fan, and that's clouding your opinion on Purdue. Pomeroy rates Purdue as the 14th best team in the country, thinks Butler is awful, and still only has Purdue as a 9 point favorite. So saying Purdue is only favored by ten because they "aren't very good" isn't true.

And by the way, while I did pick Indiana to beat Kentucky (and put my money where my mouth was), if anything Indiana is overrated right now because of how high profile that one win was. I picked Indiana because I expected a very young Kentucky team to panic and loose their cool in their first true road game, and because I expected Indiana to be at their best. Both of those were the case, yet even with that and some home cooking from the refs it still took a miracle three-pointer for Indiana to win.

Indiana had absolutely everything clicking in that game - it's unreasonable to expect the rest of the season to go that well. Or do you plan on Indiana hitting 60% of their threes this season?


Here's a way to think about it. Home court in college basketball is assumed to be worth four points. Purdue is playing a "virtual road game" against Butler, since the game is in Indianapolis, so we can treat that as being worth two points. If Purdue is favored by 10 in this game, it would mean they'd be favored by 16 if Butler came to play them at West Lafayette.

Indiana already played Butler at home... and won by exactly 16.

Jeff said...

Anonymous, how much weight should be put on what's been done so far, and how much weight should be put on projections of the future? 60/40? 70/30?

Anonymous said...

If you are talking to me - I'm Rob the bulldog fan - This is all hocus pocus this early anyway, but you might put relevant weight on the outcome of games played against decent teams. Look, we beat Troy by nearly 40 a few days ago, so I think you are justifying your ommission. another thing - sure it's reasonable to exclude a game one way or another when judging a single team - meaning one team played exceedingly poor (ice cold,injuries, got screwed, and so forth). However, State (MSU) has played 3 top 32 teams (according to you) and has won all three. They indeed have a poor loss against an Akron team (I haven't watched them since, but shocked because they looked good against us), but we haven't been the same since and Deville was out that game also. The point is, even with the "bad loss", you'd think we are a shoe in for the the top 65...... especially since you qualify in the top 32 those same 3 teams that are 21-6 with half those losses against us. We could lose tonight and the point is moot I suppose, but to this point, you'd have to argue we are in. If you'd just acknowledge your oversight, I'd be more forgiving than trying to justify what doesn't make sense.

Jeff said...

Haha, yes, I'm trying to be clear at the top of each comment who I'm responding to, but it's not always clear.

Anyway, I'm not clear what my "oversight" is on Mississippi State. Right now Pomeroy projects them to finish 21-10 with a 9-7 SEC record, and RPI Forecast (which uses the Sagarin numbers) projects a 22-9 finish with a 9-7 SEC record, so it's not like I have to be mindblowingly stupid to think Mississippi State isn't a shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament.

Like I said, I just think the sample size is too small for Mississippi State. They have three wins over quality teams, and all three have a caveat. Two were at a November tournament which, as I said, are notoriously unreliable measure of future performance. And the West Virginia win came in a game when WVU couldn't hit a shot. It was a game where everything was clicking for MSU and everything was coming up garbage for WVU.


Here's the thing with small sample sizes. The only way to project the future is to try to look at the games and figure out what each game really means. We know that teams have days where things are clicking and days where they play badly - this is true of every team. If a team gets a big win, was it because everything was clicking, was it because their opponent was ice cold, or was it just a solid victory? In my opinion, MSU is a team that's been clicking. I think they've over-performed so far, and will return back to earth as the season goes along.

Again, that's just my opinion. Maybe I'm wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

Anonymous said...

You have your site and your right to post anything. I simply asked you to justify your selection as it relates specifically to MSU and the teams we have BEATEN. You really can't, so rather than say we'll fold, the only thing mindblowingly stupid is diminishing legitimate wins on a neutral site and claiming one team lost because they were ice cold and we are "clicking". I still don't think you watched the game or you wouldn't suggest it was just a matter of WV going cold. It was a good game and we won. WV 3 seed, MSU out?. Justified or not, someone keeps voting A&M in the top polls - you have them in.. and we beat them also. Enough! A legitimate ranking system has to have some rational and all you can go by is what has actually happened over the course of a 3rd of a season...this isn't one game where we "were clicking". Given what appears to be the relative strenght (over recent years), I would expect that a 9-7 record might in fact get us into the tournament. You don't think 22-9 would be a shoe in given that we would sure to have a decent rpi one would think, especially with Baylor coming up soon.

Jeff said...

I'm not sure what your point is. At the end of the season every win will count be counted. But you seem to be saying "So far we've beaten every quality team we've played, so treat us as if the whole rest of the season we'll beat every team we play except for Kentucky and Florida." I just don't see why it makes me dumb for thinking that MSU won't play as well the rest of the year as they've played so far (and since both Sagarin and Pomeroy rate them around 50-60th, it can be argued that they actually need to improve to make the Tournament).

This is particularly the case since wins late in the year matter more than wins early in the year. If Mississippi State goes 7-9 in SEC play they won't earn an at-large bid - the fact that they beat Arizona on a neutral site in November won't matter.

This week, MSU plays Florida Atlantic at home, and a road game at Detroit. If they can win both games by double digits I'll be impressed and there's a decent chance I'll move them into the bracket. But I'll tell you right now - the odds are strongly against them winning both games by double digits. Just winning a game at a Detroit team that just got Eli Holman back is going to be a difficult proposition.

Charles said...

Actually I'm a Michigan St. fan, that's why I haven't really mentioned them....Ha. I grew up in Indiana though and couldn't stand either IU or Purdue. These days I just find myself rooting for the Big Ten in general because I watch them all the time.

One note on the UK/IU game though. Didn't both teams shoot 17 FT's? Where was the home cooking?

Jeff said...

Indiana just seemed to get all the 50/50 calls. Kentucky was the team slicing through the lane and drawing contact - they should have had many more free attempts than Indiana.

It wasn't particularly egregious. There is almost always some home cooking from the refs at all arenas - it's the dominant cause of "home court advantage". That's why Vegas gives home teams an extra 4 points in the spread.

DMoore said...

Anonymous MSU fan-
OK. Looking at MSU's record so far, I see three good wins (West Virginia [home, KenPom 32], Arizona [neutral, 41] & Texas A&M [neutral, 56]) and one bad loss (Akron [home, 110]). Also, MSU's KenPom ranking is 50.

That's not bad, but by end of the season standards it is bubblicious. With those scores, beating Arizona and Texas A&M are wins over other teams who also appear on the bubble. The WV win is nice, but it's at home, and it's balanced out by a bad home loss. And, the team has zero road wins (hasn't even played a true road game).

So, there is nothing special in their record. Whether they are on the good side or bad side of the bubble would have more to do with the comparative records of the other bubble teams.

Using the eye test, I would put them on the good side of the bubble, mostly because I think Dee Bost has been having a really nice season so far. I think it should be pointed out that when he has a bad game, MSU can lose to inferior teams (Akron).

Jeff said...

Dee Bost is a stud. Can't disagree with that. The team rises and falls with his play.

Anonymous said...

Rob Anon here -

I'm not suggesting that we win out over the rest of the season, just that having us out of the tourny at this time can not be based upon anything logical. That's all. I don't even object to a low to middling seed. Again, the only reason this has gone back and forth are the dichotomous inferences that we "got lucky against WV", experienced "holiday tourny mojo", yet suffered a single "bad loss" that does however exemplify us. There are suggestions that we aren't beating teams bad enough, yet we are "clicking" now. The teams we have beaten aren't all that good, but with lesser resumes they are "in", we are "out".

there are a lot of teams out there, so I do not expect anyone here to have internal knowledge of our team.. that's okay. I enjoy the banter, but gotta call out silly logic when I see it.
BTW, if Kenpom means so much, then just use his rankings rather than your own.
To bolster your inside nformation on the dawgs...

I'm not suggesting that we are unbeatable..however to DMoore - yes Dee is important, but we have a very good back up available when dee isn't on his game... Deville Smith. He sat out the Akron in a hospital due to an illness.

Dee is huge - but Arnett Moultrie is our inside beast. FYI, no double digit win last night, but note that Moultrie sat out last night (for the 3rd time against "lesser teams") due to tendonitus.

Clearly, the coach doesn't realize the impact of these non-blowouts.

Jeff said...

You should go back and read what the others on here are saying, because we're answering all of your questions. The fact that you guys beat teams seeded ahead of you does not matter. Nearly every team in the nation will end up beating at least one team that ends up being seeded ahead of them in March.

Here's one more stat for you - the Sagarin ELO_CHESS. The ELO_CHESS is the most accurate metric of resume strength, which is what teams are seeded on in March. If you want you can go to the bottom left of the main blog page and click on any of the "How well did the computers predict the field" posts to see just why the ELO_CHESS is the closest objective metric to the eventual Selection Committee. This metric does not take into account the scores of games, it doesn't take into account if a team was "hot" or "cold" shooting, or whether a November tournament is "weird" or not.

Anyway, what is MSU's ELO_CHESS right now? 51st. I can tell you right now that only three or four teams with an ELO_CHESS outside the Top 50 on Selection Sunday will end up earning at-large bids.

So MSU's resume, right now, is right on the bubble. As DMoore said, they're "bubblicious". They'd be one of the last teams in or one of the first teams out. In other words, the only way I can project MSU into the field is if I think that they've either performed exactly how they're going to perform the rest of the year, or if I think they've underperformed. And I don't think either is true. I think they've slightly overperformed. And so I have them narrowly outside the bracket.


By the way, remember what I said about projections? Texas A&M is currently 127th in the ELO_CHESS. No team with an ELO_CHESS over 100 has ever or will ever get considered on Selection Sunday (unless they expand the field to 96 teams or more). But everybody has Texas A&M in their bracket, including me. Why? Projections. We know A&M is better than that, and they've just played a soft schedule so far.

Anonymous said...

Dude- I understand stats and computer rankings. I "get it". I'm trying to clue you in with a little relevant info... at some point common sense has to take hold

ELO chess teams ahead of us...
Murry State = 5
Ohio = 10
Mississipp = 15
Southern Ms = 24
Northern Iowa = 22

This is not an exhaustive list, but clearly the computer ranking don't mean much at this point. I can't speak for all those teams, but the other MS schools project better than us?? It's completely nonsensical.

Charles said...

Interesting stuff Jeff.

How does Sagarin come up with the ELO CHESS? I didn't see a breakdown of what exactly that means on his site.

One point I forgot to make yesterday in my argument against Purdue is that Ken Pomeroy said that due to the huge win against N. Illinois, Purdue will be forever overrated in his system. He went on to say Wisconsin and Marquette are in the same boat as Purdue.

Just a thought.

Jeff said...

I think you misunderstood Pomeroy's point. What he's saying is what I'm saying, which is that early in the season you have sample size issues. If one team has a horrible game where none of their shots fall, they'll be under-ranked. If a team has a fluke game where everything's clicking, they'll be over-ranked.

As the sample size gets larger, each individual performance starts to wash out.

With Pomeroy and Sagarin, the computer ratings don't start being very accurate until mid-January or so, so anything at this point has to be taken with a grain of salt. Every time I use the stats I make that clear, and that's why you'll notice that there isn't a whole lot of overlap between my bracket and between any of the computer ratings.

Sagarin doesn't reveal his exact formula, but it's based off the classic Elo rating system that you'll see all over the place for an array of different sports. It was originally invented for chess players (hence the name "ELO_CHESS". You can read about the basic structure at wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system

Charles said...

I think I understand, basically those teams are likely a little over ranked in his system than they should be due to those games taking place in such a small sample size...correct?

Jeff said...

Right. But over time it will even out. If every team played 100 games, the result of any one game is going to be but a rounding error. Even once these teams play 15-20 opponents, the numbers get pretty rock solid.

That assumes, of course, that the teams are "connected". This is one of many flaws with the BCS model in college football (besides the flaws you already know about, and besides the fact that the computer polls they use don't take into account the scores of games) - the fact that the top conferences don't even play each other. Because college football rewards you for putting together the easiest schedule possible, the top teams in the top conferences basically never play. There will be two or three games per year between two teams from the top half of different BCS conferences. It makes it very difficult for the computers to accurately measure the relative strengths of the conferences. Is the SEC the best? The Big 12? The Big Ten? It's impossible to tell because they don't play each other.

We don't have that issue in college basketball. The top conferences play each other often enough that the computers can fairly accurately measure how good teams are and how good their resumes are.