Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bracket Chatter - All About the Bubble

Work calleth for much of the day …

If your team is or was on the bubble, you’re likely taking a mental health day or you feel an ulcer coming on. Either way, my lack of internet connectivity from last night pales in comparison to what you are experiencing.

Here is one question to consider:

What’s more valuable: Winning a conference by three games (Conference RPI: 13) and defeating Houston/Akron/Maryland on a floor other than your home floor or winning your conference on a tie-breaker (Conference RPI: 15) and having your key wins versus Mississippi State and Western Kentucky (twice)? For those just joining us, I’m talking about VCU and South Alabama.

In terms of bad losses, VCU lost @ JMU when they were a RPI top 100 squad, lost to ODU at home on a blown no-call (though I argue they deserve to lose for letting it come to that), and William & Mary in the conference tournament on a neutral court. A common misnomer is that VCU plays at the Richmond Coliseum, site of the CAA tournament. In reality, they play at the Siegel Center. That's an enormous difference considering how well some teams travel, namely UNC-W and now George Mason. The Hampton loss is not forgivable but the loss was in November.

As for South Alabama, they lost at North Texas and dropped two of three against Middle Tennessee State.

Oddly enough, the fates of VCU and South Alabama may be decided by the likes of Houston, Maryland, Akron, Ole Miss, Miami-Ohio, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.

Other talking points
- On George Mason, I was among the final bracket projectionists to switch from Mason to VCU. Even when I begrudgingly ceded the automatic bid to VCU, I knew that if Mason ever decided to play defense, they would win the CAA Tournament. Despite not shooting well from behind the arc for much of their time in Richmond, the Patriots challenged nearly every shot. For the anonymous hater on CAA: LAMM, who, for lack of better words, hated on my lamenting about Mason's love affair with the trifecta, inability to box out or cover the perimeter during the regular season ... thank you. Not only was I dead on, but my alma mater rectified those shortcomings when it mattered most.

- I hate conferences that hold tournaments on the home floor of a team who is not the #1 seed. In essence, it begs teams who would otherwise not make the tournament to do so and party like rock stars on their home floors after winning it all. Yes, I’m talking about you, West Coast Conference. For the record, I am not married to three coming out of that conference, so beware St. Mary’s. The Gaels have a strong resume (RPI: 38) with a solid SOS incorporated into that rating and wins at home versus Drake, Oregon, Seton Hall, San Diego and Gonzaga. Neutral-court triumphs over San Diego State and Ohio may push them over the top if both perform well in their conference tournaments. If you couple losing three of your final five games with the lack of precedence in having three teams from the 14th-best conference (let alone two), then St. Mary’s may be on the outside looking in.

- Who is the Valley #2? Convenience suggests that it’s Illinois State, who won 15 conference games counting the tournament in the nation’s #8 conference. Of course, that is before you factor in their 0-5 record against the Top 50, three losses of which are against Drake. On the flipside, they are 5-0 against squads rated between 51 and 100. Long-forgotten SIU, who let many down, has four wins against the Top 50, but are 17-14 overall, had four less conference victories in the MVC which has balanced scheduling. There’s also Creighton, who boasts a meager 0-6 clip against the Top 50, also losing thrice to Drake.

- Though I very much dislike the transitive property (i.e. Digger's MO), I see it playing a larger role than either Clement or myself would have liked.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MVC #2 is Creighton...The committee and their computers look for familiarity, and consistency. They will consider ISU an anomaly - a flash in the pan, and diss them much like they did to Mizzou St the last 2-3 years.