We have one week (and a couple of days) until the end of the regular season. I would have waited until Monday for the last regular-season update, but I didn’t want to put this up on the same day as jigawatt’s game preview. After last night, I don’t have much energy for lengthy intros. So let’s move to the charts.
General Note: The RPI range of 35-45 is shown on both graphs.
SYR vs UVA for first place highlights the weekend match-ups. Regardless of what happens on Sat, Bennett will get a lot of votes for COY. A UVA win would likely make the voting academic.
After Sat’s game, Virginia has 8 days off and then the regular season finale at Maryland. This break should give UVA time to get the SYR game out of their system (good or bad). I expect that UMD will be fired up for their last ACC game in College Park and for senior day. Of course, UMD’s next big win will also be their first of the season.
After Sat, Syracuse gets GT at home and will finish the year at FSU. If FSU takes care of business next week against several teams from ACCT Wed, then that last game of the year could prove interesting.
Duke and UNC will mark time until their rematch in Durham (probably for 3rd place). Duke gets the weekend off, and then a short trip to WF midweek. UNC travels to VT, home against ND, and then the big finish against Duke.
Let’s interrupt our update for a trivia quiz on ACC Coaching. Who do you think of when you look down the following list?
- OOC SOS ranked 200+
- Horrible record against the RPI Top 50
- Provides no competition to the top of the conference
- Mostly mops up against bottom 2/3 of the conference
If you said Jamie Dixon, then you win the kewpie doll. If you were thinking of Herb, then here’s a graph that tracks another similarity between the two coaches.
Pitt plays @ND this weekend, Monday night at home against State, and then finishes the regular season at Clemson. Much like the SYR/FSU game, Pitt’s last game of the year might be an interesting one. (Hopefully, the last two are interesting.)
Based on comments from previous entries, there is obviously some confusion about the RPI ranges and what they mean. The ranges are really just screening criteria that point us towards the teams that deserve a closer look. From a historical standpoint, 90+% of the at-large bids will have RPI Rankings of 55 or higher.
Clemson is clearly their own worst enemy. Start with an absolutely horrid OOC schedule and throw in a list of bad to horrible road losses (#69 Arkansas, #97 WF, #115 ND, and #158 Auburn), then you end up on the far backside of the bubble even with a winning ACC record. Note that the two bad ACC losses were over the last two weeks…when bubble teams need to be cleaning up against the bottom of their own conference.
Clemson is obviously much better at home than on the road and luckily for the Tiggers, they end the regular season with a three-game home stand against UMD, Miami and then Pitt. The interesting point of discussion is whether or not three regular season wins along with their win against Duke would be enough for the NCAAT without a win on Friday in the ACCT.
FSU got to rest this week after their big win against Pitt last Sunday. GT at home, on the road against BC, and then they finish the year at home against SYR. I don’t know if FSU can pull it off, but they haven’t squandered all of their chances just yet. 3-0 and they’re in the Big Dance.
UMD has no top-50 wins and is still hanging around on the bubble graph by their fingernails. (This graph might the only place you can find “UMD” and “Bubble” in close proximity.) They travel to Clemson over the weekend and end their final ACC regular season against the two Virginia teams.
ACCT WED TEAMS
With three teams tied for 7th place at 7-8, it’s worth looking to see what it would take for any of them to drop to Wed.
ND sits at 6-10 with games left against Pitt at home and @UNC. So ND needs a big upset and also hope that at least one of the teams in 7th place lose out to force someone to break out the tiebreaker rules.
WF is 5-10 with BC and Duke at home and they end the year at UM. Miami is also at 5-10 with road games against State and Clemson, then home against WF. So both of these teams need two wins and at least one of the 7th place teams to lose out to force a tie.
Much like the bubble teams, there are mathematical possibilities left for one of these three to move up (or at least go to a tiebreaker). But possible and probable are completely different things.
ESPN has made Joe Lunardi a household name for college basketball fans. But it’s hard for me to take anyone seriously that releases a bracket for next year the day after this year’s championship game. On the other extreme, I’ve mentioned The Dance Card many times. The Dance Card is especially good for evaluating bubble teams beyond “the first four out” and gets my solid recommendation.
I hate going to cbssports.com because they seem to be the epicenter of the State-baiters universe. I cuss anytime someone posts a link without ample warning and I open something by Doyel, Parrish, Goodman, or Davis. I would bet money that Doyel the Head Troll has passed onto his co-workers that the key to many mouse clicks is to chum the internet waters looking for gullible State fans.
But buried among the rubbish at CBS is the one bracket expert worth my time to read…Jerry Palm (formerly of collegerpi.com). Palm has “simplified” his blog since moving to CBS, which should broaden his appeal to the casual fan. By simplified, I mean that he doesn’t go as deep into the numbers and methodology behind his picks at CBS as he did at collegerpi.com. Anyone that explains the differences that he found with the official NCAA calculations and his own has earned my respect for thoroughness, desire for accuracy, and transparency. (Some things he got the NCAA to correct and the rest he had to change so that his calculations match the NCAA’s.) So Jerry Palm gets my highest recommendation along with The Dance Card.
Now after that lengthy introduction, I want to point a certain portion of the NC State fan base towards a recent article that Palm did on the NCAAT Selection Process.
The opening sentence is especially enlightening:
I had the pleasure of attending my fourth NCAA media mock selection committee meeting in Indianapolis the last couple of days and we were given an inside look at the processes and procedures the real committee goes through to select, seed and bracket the field.
The point here is that over the last several years, the NCAA has made an effort to explain their selection process to the media to overcome the annual claims of bias and back-room deals. Of course no theoretical exercise is going to mean that everyone will agree with their final selections. But once you understand the process, you can generally figure out why the Committee picked a, b, and c and didn’t pick x, y, and z. An occasional head-scratcher doesn’t prove that there was some sordid conspiracy.
While I’m talking to the tin-hat folks, I want to address the annual claims of bias by the NCAA (or CBS or ESPN) that would always favor the Blues because of “finances”. This claim (made every year including this one) is absurd for several different reasons. First, the money that the NCAA will receive is set by contract for many years at a time. The NCAAT is a national event and most of the spectators (and thus eyeballs in front of TV sets) couldn’t care less about either Duke or UNC. Bottom line: there is no financial penalty or advantage for the NCAA to favor any given school in the selection or seeding process.
Finally, the NCAA Selection Committee is made up of athletic directors and conference commissioners from around the country…not some nameless, faceless group of bozos from the NCAA basement in Indianapolis. What possible motive would they have to bias their decisions based solely on a school’s reputation as opposed to the team’s actual performance THIS year?
Scanning back to the start of this section just earned a “WOW”. That certainly turned into a longer rabbit trail than I had planned. Let’s move on to the most important part of Palm’s article for the majority of State fans:
I would say that our committee was unanimous in that it was very difficult to find 36 worthy at-large teams.
This statement is important because it means that any bubble team that takes some big, positive steps forward can move ahead of the rest of the rabble. There is no doubt that State still has some possibilities left…but ability is a completely different issue.
In the real pic, Mr Wolf is holding up one finger (not the middle one) and thus tied in nicely with my title. However, he is being cropped by WordPress and I can’t figure out why. Down-sizing him three times didn’t change anything and I’m giving up.