Now that the college basketball preseason has wrapped up, letâ€™s take our annual look around the ACC to see what there is to see. Long time readers will remember that I have a simplistic way to judge when a team from a BCS conference has accomplished enough to clear the bubble and land into the NCAAT. As a refresher:
RPI less than 40 and a conference record of 0.500 or better â€“ IN
RPI greater than 70 â€“ OUT
Everything in between â€“ BUBBLE
For the years that Iâ€™ve looked at, the best ranking of a BCS team to get left out of the NCAAT is 38 (LSU-2004). The worst ranking for a BCS team that got an at-large bid is 65 (NCSU-2005). The worst ranking overall is 74 (New Mexico-1999). So for simplistic reasons, Iâ€™m using an RPI ranking of 40-70 to define the bubble.
So here is the ACC at a glance:
- Top-50 wins (noted in red) are â€œgoodâ€. OOC SOS in the 300 neighborhood are â€œbadâ€. If youâ€™ve missed my past soap box entries on these conclusions, then youâ€™ll just have to trust me (and consider yourself lucky).
- Realtime Rankings has the ACC ranked as the 4th best conference. While this is pretty bad from a historical perspective, it is better than the ACC has ranked the last two seasons. Before anyone protests this ranking, just remember that in most mathematical ranking systems, the bottom teams in the conference count just as much as the top teams. Thus mathematical rankings often give substantially different results than if you concentrate only on the top teams (like most fan/media rankings tend to do).
- At this time of year, the SOS of a single game plays a HUGE role in the RPI ranking. There is no better illustration of this effect than when Stateâ€™s game against UNC-G (RPI rank #338) dropped State about 10 spots in the RPI ranking. My advice is not to get too hung up on this one game since it is unlikely to have any measurable effect on what happens to State come tournament time.
- I believe that this is the highest OOC SOS State has had since Iâ€™ve started tracking it. I also believe that this is the first time that State has had two Top 50 wins during OOC play. (Top 50 wins are a key metric for clearing the bubble). While it will certainly gall most State fans, we want UConn to do well this year (current RPI Rank #28).
- I could have placed UMD on the â€œBubbleâ€ but chose not to for a variety of reasons. That SOS is simply horrendous (certainly not what we were used to seeing from Gary Williams) and their best win is against #83 Stony Brook. But those are really just excusesâ€¦.all I really needed was the opportunity to make a judgment call on Merryland.
Hereâ€™s a quick look ahead at Stateâ€™s ACC schedule:
A few observations:
- An 18 game schedule for a 12 team conference is as good as reasonably possible for balancing â€œfairnessâ€ and â€œfinancesâ€. Itâ€™s a shame that this is the only year that weâ€™ll get to see it in the ACC.
- With the information we have today, this schedule should rank somewhere in the middle with respect to â€œConference SOSâ€. If time allows, weâ€™ll revisit this topic just before or just after the ACC tournament.
When you look at the schedule chronologically, there are a few more things worth noting:
- Road Warrior Status = not so much. Stateâ€™s only back-to-back road games come at Duke (2/7) and at Clemson (2/10).
- Trap Games â€“ These are usually difficult to pick out ahead of time, but two potentials stand out right now: At Maryland (1/16) immediately after a home game against Duke (1/12) and at UVa (1/29) immediately after a home game against UNC (1/26).
- Week Off = between the game at Clemson (2/10) and the home game against VT (2/16).
- Last year there was some complaining around here when State had to play late on Thursday night and then had a game on Saturday (noon?). The only games that I see anywhere near that close are home against Clemson (Sun, 1/20) and then at Wake Forest (Tue, 1/22).
- State finishes the regular season at Florida State on Sat, March 9. Florida St???? Really????
We have a good thread going on the forums right now discussing various statistics and what they might mean for the rest of the year. If you like the blog entries focused on RPI and missed the stats thread in the forum, then you should take the time to catch up here: