Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday's News, Notes, and Observations

Notre Dame becomes relevant to bubble talk?

Today, I had a chance to attend the Georgetown / Notre Dame debacle in DC. Before the game, I told the folks sitting next to me that the Irish are a better team without Luke Harangody for two reasons. First, they will spread the ball around more making them less predictable (look who's #2 in the nation in percentage of shots taken). Second, Harangody is a defensive liability, and Notre Dame actually tries to play defense. (For those keeping score, that means they reach in on every important possession and make like Wolverine on Greg Monroe's forearms.) Forty minutes later, Notre Dame had completed a great week and revived their at-large hopes. Even if they win their last two and finish 10-8, that does not qualify for lock status because of an abysmal OOC schedule.

Maryland, Minnesota win

Many have criticized the high seeds granted to Maryland (5) and Minnesota (12) by PHSports. Both earned wins away from home. Maryland is now 11-3 in conference play; they are not the same team that lost to William & Mary. Entering today's play, they are one of 10 teams who are in the top 28 in both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency. The other teams include Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Purdue, Duke, Kansas State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and BYU.

After a shock win in Champaign, Minnesota are 8-8 in conference with a trip to Ann Arbor and a home bout with the Fighting Lickliters. By virtue of a neutral court win against Butler (and home wins against Ohio State WITH Evan Turner and Wisconsin WITH Jon Leuer), the Golden Gophers have a leg up on the competition from other major conferences.


We'll leave that to the networks. We agree with the assessment that Oklahoma State is a tournament team (unless James Anderson really hurt his back).

Texas :(

After seeing yet another poor showing on the road, I will be dropping Texas by a seed line (3 to a 4, at least). Rick Barnes is clearly second in the balloting for worst coach of the year. Roy Williams also delivered his victory speech during the 2nd half of North Carolina's loss to Florida State earlier this week.

The A-10

Anyone who thought that the A-10 would be a 5-bid league was on dream street. The only way that the A-10 is if Dayton wins out (@ Richmond, v. St. Louis) AND advances to the A-1o Tournament Final AND loses in the final to a team other than Temple, Xavier, or Richmond.


Anonymous said...

Do you think New Mexico has any shot at a 2 seed?

27-3 record, 13 straight wins, a sweep of BYU, wins away from the Pit against UNLV and Texas A&M. Great RPI.

Paymon said...

They're a darkhorse contender for a #2 seed if they win out.

Larry Swentzel said...

Would Illinois be NIT bound if they go 0-2 this week?

Paymon said...

The Illini need to do one of the following to be in consideration for an 11 or 12 seed:

Win one of its last two games (@ Ohio State, v. Wisconsin)


Get to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.

Either option requires the Illini to defeat a top 4 team in the conference, all of whom should earn protected seeds on Selection Sunday.

Illinois has wins against Vanderbilt, Michigan St (w/o Lucas), @ Wisconsin, and @ Clemson, so they have an advantage over potential at-large teams despite the prospect of having 14 losses.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Virginia Tech will be rewarded for beating bad teams in the OOC schedule and beating up the weak teams in the ACC? I prefer rewarding teams who played a tough schedule and got some nice wins in OOC.

Paymon said...

Penn State didn't get rewarded last year. Arizona State didn't get rewarded two years ago. The short answer is no.

Virginia Tech needs a 10-6 clip OR 9-7 with two wins in the ACC Tournament. It's so difficult to predict seeding beyond 1 and 2.

Ultimately, the Hokies will be tested via the "who you have beaten" index.

As of now, they have not defeated enough teams.

Anonymous said...

It turns out Jerry Palm may have been right about Va. Tech all along. Even Bracketology 101 has taken the Hokies out of the bracket. They have defended the Hokies weak schedule all season long. Turns out they were wrong. Kudos to Jerry Palm on not being fooled by the Hokies beating horrible teams.

Mason said...

PH, Great job on the blog. I had a couple bracket questions. What happens to Minnesota if they split this week? What do Dayton and Rhode Island need to do to earn a bid?

Paymon said...

Jerry Palm projects the brackets. He does not predict them (B101 and PHSports do).

Based on data available after the Duke game (when we made our prediction), VT was in. They lost badly in 1 game we expected them to win.

If we had a bracket projection on Monday, they would have been among our First 4 out, as I do not think they will reach 10-6.

Paymon said...

Thanks, Mason. Great name.

Minnesota would be in our field among our last two in at 9-9 if they split this week.

URI needs to win their conference tournament. They've lost 4 of 5 and lack quality wins.

Dayton is a tougher call. Here are our scenarios:
Lose @ Richmond & v. St Louis - win the A-10 tournament

Lose @ Richmond & win v. St Louis - get to A-10 final, defeating at least 1 tournament team and avoiding a loss to another bubble team

Win @ Richmond, loss v. St. Louis - reach A-10 semis, possibly further depending on stolen bids

Win last two - Avoid embarrassing loss in A-10 tournament

Anonymous said...

Then maybe B101 should start using Palm's formula cause they were wrong for rewarding the Hokie's terrible OOC resume. The Hokie's resume reminds me a lot of Penn State last year. A decent performance in conference but a pathetic OOC schedule. Penn State at least swept Illinois. Virginia Tech has beaten up on the bottom feeders in the ACC, and only had to play Maryland, Duke, and Wake once. That OOC schedule was just pathetic! The bottom line is B101 was wrong to look at just the Hokies record and ignore that those wins came against bad teams.

Paymon said...

Anon - Why don't you tell B101 that? When you do that, use statistics instead of repeating words like "pathetic" and place the apostrophe after the 's' in "Hokies".

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Did the 2 wins last week for Notre Dame make up for bad losses to Loyola Marymount, St. Johns, and Rutgers?

Paymon said...

Nope. ND has a sub-300 OOC schedule, which means they didn't test themselves at all. Additionally, they have bad losses which you noted.

If they get to 10-8, let's re-analyze. I don't think they are a lock unlike some.

I repeat that this team is stronger without 'Gody. They actually play defense.

Anonymous said...

You are right about Notre Dame and Harongody. They also seem to have better ball movement now, at times Harongody was a black hole and killed ball movement.

Anonymous said...

Does Minnesota have any at large hopes after being swept by a 14-15 team? The bad losses continue to outnumber the good wins for the Gophers.

Who do you like to win the Big Ten tourney?

Paymon said...

They still have at-large hopes; however, losing to that team by 28 points in a game being watched by many looks horrible. They likely need to get to the Big Ten final.

Good question on the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State is the best team, but they run 6-deep. I think Michigan State will win.

Anonymous said...

Will Duke get a 1 seed just to make their famous coach happy? Or would a loss in the ACC tournament push the Devils to a 2 seed?

Paul said...

Great work folks! Rhode Island fan here. What do the Rams have to do to secure a bid?

Mark said...

I agree that Minnesota sucks. But Illinois is not much better. They have some losses to be ashamed of too, and they have been mailing it in lately. Illinois has lost 4 of its last 5. That's why they need to do a whole lot more than just beat Wisconsin this weekend.

Paymon said...

Quick hits ...

Anon - A loss in the ACC tournament almost definitely pushes Duke to the 2 line. The fourth #1 seed remains very much up for grabs. If the season ended today (hate those scenarios), Ohio State would have a slight edge over Duke.

Paul - Realistically, URI will need to win the A-10 tournament, though a scenario could play out in they make the final and are among the last four in.

Mark - Minnesota does "suck", but they can still make the field as an at-large team. That is how weak the bubble is (until bids get stolen). As for Illinois, another win against Wisconsin (this time with Jon Leuer) would lock up a bid given the recent bouts of futility exhibited by the likes of Mississippi State, Dayton, UAB, Rhode Island and Charlotte. Also, when the committee reviews Illinois's resume, they will see that they chose to test themselves in their OOC schedule. This cannot be emphasized enough. Many of Illinois's competitors on the bubble won't have that argument.