Selection Sunday

So, Drexel and Syracuse are out…Syracuse having gone 10-6 in the Big East…but Illinois, Stanford and Purdue are in? I don’t really get that.

Either way, it’s Tournament Time and everyone is going to start filling out those brackets, the link below is a link to a PDF of a printable NCAA Tournament bracket. Do you want to be looking at ESPN/Pontiac logos all week? Hell no. Print out the Joboo bracket with not a damn corporate sponsor.

2007 NCAA Tournament Bracket

The rest of this, let’s see if we can’t turn the comments into some actual discussion…since it seems like we’ve been lacking in that category for a while. Tournament selection/seeding complaints, upset predictions, Final Four predictions, that sort of thing.

  1. CHAMP said:

    Absolute travesty for the MAC.

    I know Akron would have been an NCAA long-shot but to get snubbed by the NIT???

    “Akron was just the third team to ever win 26 games and not get into the NCAAs. Not that anyone was arguing for the NCAAs. But not even the NIT? Even with a RPI better than 13 other selected teams?”

    If somebody can explain to me how a 26 win team shouldn’t be in the NIT I would greatly appreciate it.

    And I know that Syracuse and Florida State and Drexel and maybe even West Virginia were all “bigger snubs” because they were on the NCAA tournament level but I figured nobody would give NIT snubs any press so, the Champs gotta do it.

  2. First off, who cares about the NIT? Second, the NIT does two things…1…they invite Regular season Conference champions not in the NCAA Tournament as a good will gesture and 2…they invite who they think will sell tickets. Akron not making it isn’t too surprising…Washington not making it…a bit more surprising.

    But, damn, Champ, I wanted to try to get some discussion on the dance selections, didn’t want someone to go about trying to kill that…

  3. First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I am a Marquette alum, but please try to look at what I’m going to say objectively. . .

    I’m not saying that Marquette shouldn’t have been an 8 seed in this year’s tournament, I’m just having a very hard time understanding them getting an 8 with some of the other seeds the committee handed out.

    Case #1: Duke Blue Devils- Duke received its lowest seed since something like ’94 or ’96. My question is, was it low enough? Duke finished the season 24-9 (8-8) while Marquette finished 22-10 (10-6). I think the edge there has to go to Marquette. Even if the ACC was a tougher conference this year than the Big East (debatable), I’m not sure it was a full two games better. The committee this year, based on what they have said and what they have done, seemed to place a lot of emphasis on the conference tournaments. Admittedly, Marquette only won one game in the Big East tournament (St. Johns, which was a home game for the Red Storm) before losing to 3 Seed and Big East runner up Pitt. Duke? Well, they lost their first round game in the ACC tournament to NC State, a team that finished 5-11 in the ACC. Looks like another advantage to Marquette. I’ve heard the committee also looks at how a team has been playing lately. Well the last six games for each team, 3-3. The main difference being that Duke has lost its last three of that six game stretch. Each team had a good win in there (Duke at BC, Marquette against Pitt without Jerel McNeal), but Marquette beat two tournament teams, Duke only beat one, and they both have a win over St. Johns. Additionally, all three of Marquette’s losses came against tournament teams (Louisville, at Notre Dame[who went undefeated on their court this year], and Pitt in the Big East Tourney) while Duke lost to a poor team in NC State. Chalk another point up for Marquette. Still not convinced that Marquette has a better resume than Duke? What if I told you that Marquette has already played Duke, on a neutral court and WON. And the game wasn’t even close. To me, it is completely indefensible to say that Duke has played to a 6 seed while Marquette has played to an 8.

    Obviously Marquette has some weaknesses, but I don’t think they outweigh the positives I’ve outlined above. The Golden Eagles have lost some games they should have won (North Dakota State, maybe at Depaul) but the vast majority of their losses came against quality competition. At Georgetown, Wisconsin, at Providence, Syracuse, Louisville, at Notre Dame and Pitt are certainly not losses that any program should feel bad about. So, if we talk losses, Duke might have a slight edge there, but that is certainly not clear. Duke probably played a tougher non-conference schedule than Marquette but I’m not sure this difference was that great; Marquette’s schedule ranked 17, while Duke’s ranked 3rd. Certainly an advantage for Duke, but it wasn’t like Marquette was ducking tough games. The teams RPI rankings (admittedly very flawed) are even closer; Duke 16, Marquette 22. I’m not sure any of these advantages for Duke, in light of the clear edges for Marquette, explain the seeding differential.

    Please, if anyone has some insight that into what the committee was thinking, other than “well, it is Duke”, please feel free to let me know where I am wrong. I’ll probably be back later with some more comparisons.

  4. I think in general it just seemed like the selection committee was giving a lot of respect to the Pac-10 and the ACC. Those two conferences are the two that I think they singled out as the best two conferences, with the Big Ten as third best. Six teams getting in out of the 16 team Big East with 6 of the 10 Pac- Ten teams getting in and some overseeds for both conferences really gives me that indication. Because of that, I think that’s why they give Duke that bump over Marquette.

    The committee at least seemed consistent this season, just that I disagree with their value of the Conferences and think that the Big East was certainly better than the Big Ten, which should have seen Syracuse in over Illinois…I’m just not sure what the committee saw in Illinois. Illinois just never really showed that they are capable of getting a big win, I think the biggest wins they had this season were Michigan State and Indiana…who were up and down teams. Illinois just was not a Tournament team to me.

    Stanford should not be in, either. I’d put them slightly ahead of Illinois and Stanford showed they could at least knock off the better teams in their Conference, but there was not a road consistency or non-Conference strength for Stanford that should get the 6th team in the Pac-10 into the Tournament. I don’t want to take too much away from an early season game, because teams change a lot…especially good ones…but this team lost at home to Air Force..not just by a small margin…but, by the score of 79-45.

    Drexel is a team that up until the Conference Tournaments I thought was OUT, but I watched a lot of the CAA Tournament last week and that is the best mid-major Conference this year, they should have got a third representative.

    The Duke thing fits with these other mistakes, not just ranking Duke 6 because of their being Duke. I thought Maryland was seeded too high, as well.

  5. CHAMP said:

    While I have sympathy for Ryan that Marquette got seeded so low, and even agree with him, I think that what people are overlooking is that MSU has a similar argument. They should have had at least a 7 seed in my opinion.

    This was stolen from another message board, but I think its a valid argument:

    Apparently, RPI doesn’t mean all that much. The only team ahead of us in the RPI that we got seeded ahead of? Creighton, they’re a 10.

    Teams behind us in the RPI, seeded ahead of us in the tournament:

    RPI & TEAM……………..ncaa seed


    26.Washinton State……..3
    27.Virginia Tech………….5
    34.notre dame…………….6
    46.Louisville………………..6, playing in Lexington!

  6. RPI just isn’t what it used to be. They muddled with it when they tried to take into account road performance, but the problem is that the statistic just isn’t that clean anymore. You can’t differentiate home and road wins/losses statistically to any degree that you’re going to get a good number. For instance, Michigan State and Louisville on your chart there…MSU ranked 23 and Ville 46 in the RPI…

    MSU.. 22-11, 8-8…
    Louisville…23-9, 12-4…

    Now, just looking at those two records and knowing the Conferences they are in, would you expect there to be a 20point gap in the RPI between those two teams? Just based on those records?

    MSU plays a tougher non-conference schedule. They have wins over BYU and Texas, losses to Maryland and BC (more on that later). Louisville lost to Kentucky. More on that later. Louisville didn’t play as tough of a non-conference schedule, but not THIS much of a gap given that they won FOUR more games in a conference every bit as good as the Big Ten.

    My guess is that given their schedules…MSU and Louisville would be closer together under the old RPI, strength of schedule out of conference is in their advantage. But, what explains the difference in RPI now?

    Second thing to look at…

    Louisville…6-2 road conference
    MSU…1-7 road in conference.

    Based on the new shit, I don’t know WHY MSU is so fucking high on the new RPI…

    Then, go back to what I said earlier about the major non conference games…

    Louisville lost to Kentucky AT HOME, lost on the road to Dayton…
    MSU lost to BC and Maryland ON THE ROAD…

    The problem with the new RPI is this…

    Louisville takes a BIG hit for losing to Arizona/ at home. MSU manages to GO UP in RPI with road losses because they are against good teams.

    The new RPI was formulated because of two things…midmajors could go up in the RPI based on two things…in conference road wins (easier to come by when you have a strong mid major team playing against weaker conference competition, even if the top midmajors are as good as the top big conferences, the middle of the power conferences are still tougher to play against)…and here is the huge tweak for here…midmajors would be given credit for going on the road to better teams and LOSING. This way major conference teams could schedule midmajors and not have a lot of pressure on winning/losing that game.

    For several years, this has resulted in midmajors getting way too much of an RPI jump. For MSU, I’m not trying to say they did this to fix the RPI in their advantage, I think Izzo just understands the importance of his team playing big time road games and it making them better in the long run.

    They just try to account for things you CAN’T account for. What’s wrong with laying out the strength of schedule and then the wins/losses on there and %s and what not and come up with a number that is just an INDEX to help GUIDE people in talking about teams? Ultimately, home/road like that has a ton of subjective in it, so allow that subjective to come out. Now, they’ve tried to include that and just buried the statistic.

  7. Well, as I’ve said before the RPI is a truly flawed metric, but I think MSU is a very quality team. In fact, that just adds more evidence to my thinking that Marquette got a raw deal in this tournament. This year’s bracket features two of the best 9 seeds that I can remember. I happen to think Villanova is probably better than MSU, but since Marquette couldn’t play them in the first round it seems like the committee did their best to get Marquette the worst possible matchup. I’m not sure how you say teams like Villanova and MSU are deserving of the same seeds as Xavier and PURDUE (who was sweating on selection Sunday a lot more than any of those other 9 seeds).

  8. It’s time again for another episode of “Compare Those Seeds”. In this episode, we’re featuring another 6 seed the Commodores of Vanderbilt. Yeah, THAT Vanderbilt, that smart school that Al Gore teaches at occasionally, is apparently one of the 24 best teams in the country.

    Once again, let’s look at the numbers side by side. While they don’t really mean all that much Marquette finished the year ranked 19th, Vanderbilt was unranked. So I guess the coaches disagree with the committee. On to the numbers that matter a bit more: Marquette 24-9 (10-6), Vanderbilt 20-11 (10-6). Well, Marquette has a better record, and I would be shocked if that many people felt that 10-6 in the SEC is the same as 10-6 in the Big East, cause it just flat out is not. Alas, records can be deceiving, so the disparity in records is probably the result of Vanderbilt playing a tougher schedule. Wait, no, they didn’t. Marquette’s strength of schedule 17, Vandy’s 23. Vanderbilt certainly didn’t have a schedule full of cupcakes, but you can’t look to their record or schedule to account for them being seeded two spots higher than Marquette.

    While I completely agree with all the flaws that Doug pointed out about the RPI, and there are probably more out there that he didn’t have time to touch on, it is probably best used as currently configured comparing similar teams. For instance power conference team to power conference team, or mid-major to mid-major. So for what its worth Marquette’s RPI 22, Vandy’s 47. So even if the committee say justified Duke’s higher seed based on the slightly higher RPI than Marquette, how do they explain Vandy’s?

    What about the whole conference tournament emphasis this year? Well as stated earlier Marquette won 1 game before losing to 3 Seed Pitt, and Vanderbilt lost their first game to an Arkansas team that probably shouldn’t be in the tournament. Well, that certainly doesn’t explain the higher seed now does it?

    Maybe it was quality wins, by my count Vandy had FIVE wins against NCAA tournament teams. Oh yeah, that probably explains it since Marquette only had SIX. Certainly Vandy’s win against Florida was an impressive victory at home, but some of the other tournament teams they beat are suspect: Kentucky (8 seed) twice (vastly overrated because of the name on the front of their jersey), Tennessee (5 Seed), and Georgia Tech (10 seed). I’m not convinced that list is more impressive than Marquette’s quality wins: Pitt (3 seed) twice, once at Pitt, Duke (6 seed. . .don’t get me started) and Texas Tech (10 seed), both on a neutral court on back to back nights, Villanova (9 seed) and at Louisville (6 seed). The Florida win clearly is better than any one win on Marquette’s schedule, but should that alone equal a two seed gap, or really a higher seed at all?

    Even looking at each team’s bad losses, I don’t feel that Marquette was any more subject to them than Vandy. Marquette lost to North Dakota State early, Vandy lost to Furman early. Oh yeah, Vandy lost games to Wake Forrest and Appalachian State as well. Both probably games an NCAA tournament team from the SEC should win. Both teams lost home games to conferance opponents that didn’t make the NCAA tournament: Marquette (Syracuse. . . yeah I still can’t believe they didn’t make it either), Vandy (Arkansas. . .yeah, I still can’t believe they did get in).

    Maybe Vandy just has been playing significantly better lately. . .wrong. Both teams are 3-3 in their last six. Vandy’s big win against Florida did come in that span, but Marquette did win a big game against Pitt minus their leading scorer and best defender. (Side note: It looks like Jerel McNeal WILL be back for the second round of the tournament according to the latest on ESPN, so don’t sleep on the Golden Eagles after they make it past MSU)

    One of the reason I picked Vandy to compare Marquette to, was the explanation Doug offered about the Committee favoring the ACC and PAC-10 over other conferences. I certainly agree with him on that, but I can’t imagine that the committee actually values the SEC over the Big East. I refuse to believe that logical people would hold that. It’d be like saying that it’s harder to win in the Missouri Valley Conference than the Big East. . . just plain dumb. So, any theories on this one?

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