Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Field

In one of the must futile activities in the sporting world, every March many writers, bloggers, etc… will hopelessly try to predict what the NCAA selection committee is thinking. Since nobody really knows what they’re doing, I thought I might as well try. Also I will be making this field with the assumptions that Illinois and Georgia will both lose, however if they don’t win obviously just add them and take away my last two teams in. I might or might not attempt to seed the teams later in the day, it depends how pleasant my nap is.

ACC: UNC, Duke, Clemson, Miami
Atlantic 10: Xavier, Temple*
Big 12: Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M
Big East: Georgetown, Louisville, Pittsburgh*, Notre Dame, UCONN, Marquette, West Virginia
Big 10: Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan St.
Mountain West: BYU, UNLV*
Pac 10: UCLA*, Stanford, USC, Washington St.
SEC: Tennessee, Mississippi St., Vanderbilt, Arkansas
West Coast: Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, San Diego*
One Bid Leagues: Memphis (C-USA), Butler (Horizon), Drake (Missouri Valley), Cornell (Ivy League), Winthrop (Big South), Austin Peay (Ohio Valley), Belmont (Atlantic Sun), George Mason (Colonial), Siena (MAAC), Davidson (Southern), Oral Roberts (Summit), Western Kentucky (Sun Belt), Mount St. Mary's (Northeast), Portland State (Big Sky), American (Patriot), UMBC (America East), Kent State (MAC), Mississippi Valley State (SWAC), Coppin State (MEAC), Boise State (WAC), CS Fullerton (Big West), Whoever wins the Southland (Southland)
* Denotes automatic bid (I didn’t think it was necessary to do that with the one bid leagues)

That’s 56 teams, that leaves 9 spots. Of the remaining candidates I think five should not have too much to worry about except who they’ll play in the first round, they are: Baylor, St. Josephs, Kansas St. Arizona, and South Alabama. So, four spots left for the dozen or so hopefuls. In order they are: Villanova, Ohio St. Syracuse, Arizona St. My next four would be: Oregon, UMASS, Ole Miss, Kentucky. Conspicuously missing: Illinois St.

My first thought when doing this is how atrocious the bubble is this year. I think most years none of my final four would get in. I differ here from most people with Kentucky and Illinois St. and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see one if not both of them ultimately in the field, however I just don’t see it.

ISU is quite frankly a joke and if they get in, the team they play should be among the happiest tonight. They played 3 tournament teams, went 0-5 against them as part of a 2-5 record vs. the top 50 with both wins being against Creighton, who is 48th. They’re whole argument is based on going 13-5 in a down year for the recently good Missouri Valley and an inflated RPI. However as I just pointed out they beat nobody and as Jay Bilas loves to say, all bubble teams have proven you can lose, bring me one that has proven they can beat somebody. They sort of remind me of that old Utah St. team that was like 25-5 and was left out because they beat nobody.

Kentucky has proven they can beat people, Vandy and UT at home, but they went 6-7 against an average non-conf and one of their best players, Patrick Patterson, is now hurt. You may say we shouldn’t hold that against them, but the committee does, as evidence when in 2000 Kenyon Martin got hurt for Cincinnati and that wound up hurting their seeding. In my mind they are not one of the 34 best teams anymore, which is the criteria the committee uses. They proved what they are like when hit with injuries during their 221st RPI rated non-conference. People are getting so swept up by the 12-4 league record, but, like the Valley, the SEC is way down this year. Their RPI is 57, their best non-conference win is Liberty and they are 5-10 against the RPI top 100.

A quick rundown of my last four in: Villanova has bad losses and good wins, overall better than most of the garbage that’s out there. Ohio St. is a terrible 2-10 vs. the top 50, but are 5-1 vs. the next 50 and played a decent non-conf which included wins over other bubble teams, Syracuse and Florida. Syracuse’s SOS is 9 and they beat G-Town and Marqutte and I’m biased so they’re in. Arizona St.’s RPI is 83 which would be the worst ever by like 10, however they lose a lot of ground because most of their non-conf games are against teams whose rpi’s are in 250+. They would move up considerably if those teams had been 150-200 instead.

It makes no sense to me to keep a team out because they beat the 7th best ivy instead of the 4th or the 10th team in the big sky instead of the 5th. All tourney teams should win these games easily and they just happened to play the worst of worst instead of just the very bad. However they have 5 top 50 wins, more than any of the other teams on the bubble, and 7 top 100 win’s including @ Arizona and vs. Stanford, and for me that’s enough to get them in.


Andrew Hard @andrewhard592 said...


You forgot that there are actually 65 teams in the tourney. That leaves room for one more at-large bid.

Aram Hanessian said...

sorry hard, just a typo, the teams are still right

Greg Viverito said...

I'll throw my own personal bias in and say that your inclusion of Syracuse (at the expense of teams like Illinois State) is ridiculous. While I will not be surprised to see Illinois State in or out of today's bracket, I think most would agree that Syracuse is almost definitely out. There's just no way the 9th best team in the Big East will get in, and Wednesday's game put Cuse clearly behind Villanova in the pecking order.