Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Around the NCAA - February 22, 2011

Monday's are typically pretty quiet and yesterday followed that outline.  Syracuse got a nice road win at Villanova to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Wildcats.  Villanova is a team headed in the wrong direction, surviving at Seton Hall and DePaul last week after a 2-loss week the week prior.  Now a loss to the Orange with white-hot St. John's coming to visit on the weekend.  Oh, and road games at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh to close-out the regular season.  This has the look of a 6 or 7 seed before all is said and done (keep in mind UCLA and Temple are their best OCC wins).

We might be able to stick a fork in desperately mediocre UTEP.  For weeks they have been in people's brackets, assuming they would win either the regular season or conference tourney for C-USA.  Even at home, I don't think they are good enough to do either.

Tuesday's Tilts
Illinois at Ohio State - The Illini are not in huge trouble...yet.  They still have a trip left to Purdue as well, meaning two chances for impressive wins or two automatic losses.  The blueprint has been set how to beat the Buckeyes...have one of your star players throw up a career night a la Jordan Taylor and E'Tuan Moore.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt - The Volunteers are not in huge trouble...yet.  How many games can a team lose and still make the dance, regardless of their extremely strong OCC resume?  Tennessee still has Kentucky to deal with and one more road game, albeit South Carolina.  It would seem a 2-2 finish would be enough.  That plus a 1-1 stint in the SEC Tourney would make 19-14, not a great seed, but enough to dance.

Michigan State at Minnesota - The Golden Gophers are becoming an interesting case to deal with.  They have wins over North Carolina, West Virginia and Purdue...with a different team.  Without Davoe Joseph and Al Nolen, they have sputtered, losing 5 of 6.  They need to finish semi-strong to convince the committee this team is still tournament worthy.  A home loss here and I may need to consider removing them from my bracket despite the OCC body of work.

The Bracket Matrix
I continue getting upset because both Wichita State and Missouri State keep showing up in the National Bracket.  The Missouri Valley is clearly a one-bid league this year, so how does that keep happening?  It is a minor flaw in the bracket matrix, as those teams are currently splitting the Missouri Valley selections with each named on 37 of the brackets.  With 66 people participating, that means they are only being named as an at-large on 8 brackets.  Alabama, the first team out in the matrix, is named in 34 brackets, but I assume as an at-large in most of those.  Therefore, technically speaking, the nation has Alabama in and not two MVC teams.

Resume Comparison
It is time to play resume comparison!! 

Team A (20-6, 10-2, RPI#10, OCC RPI#26) vs Team B (20-6, 8-4, RPI#17, OCC RPI#12)
  • Both teams are in second place in their conference, Team A in the 5th rated conference, Team B in the 6th.
  • Team A is 7-6 in road/neutral games, Team B is 6-5.
  • Team A is 4-5 vs RPI top 50 and 11-5 vs RPI top 100.  Team B is 5-4 vs RPI top 50 and 10-4 vs RPI top 100.
  • Team A is 1-5 road/neutral vs RPI top 50.  Team B is 2-4 road/neutral vs RPI top 50.
  • Team A's best road win is vs RPI#43, Team B's vs RPI#37.  Team A's best neutral win is vs RPI#91, Team B's vs RPI#10.
  • Team A has one loss vs RPI 100+, losing to RPI#153.  Team B has two losses vs RPI 100+, to RPI#114 and RPI#118.
This all looks very close and a case could be made for each resume.  You may not have caught this though, Team B's neutral court win was vs none other than Team A.  Doesn't that seem to favor Team B in this comparison?

Team A is North Carolina, Team B is Vanderbilt.  North Carolina is listed as a #4 seed or higher on 43 brackets in the Bracket Matrix.  Vanderbilt is a #4 seed or higher on 14.  I have them both as #4's, but I just don't understand the current seeding discrepancy.

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