I’ve been working hard today to try understand the current lay of the land regarding NC State’s potential to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
A very important topic to discuss is the impact of the DEPTH and the strength of your conference on your performance. When I did the work to carve the REALLY bad teams out of the equation and focus on how many ‘good teams’ that one faces within their conference I came up with a very interesting result. Take a look at the following number of teams per conference that are ranked in the RPI’s Top 160 (doing Top 150 would’ve taken about one team away from each conference).
Then look at the distribution of projected bids relative to the depth of the conference.
# of Top 160 Teams
ACC – 13 [Proj 5 Bids]
B10 – 12 [Proj 6 Bids]
SEC – 12 [Proj 3 Bids]
Pac12 – 10 [Proj 6 Bids]
A10 – 10 [Proj 6 Bids]
BE – 10 [Proj 4 Bids]
B12 – 9 [Proj 7 Bids]
AAC – 6 [Proj 5 Bids]
Generally speaking, the conferences with less of the better teams are producing comparably MORE NCAA Tournament bids. That just ain’t right…especially when they don’t go prove themselves outside of the league.
Let’s look at the Atlantic 10 for a moment and their projected 6 bids while having 30% less Top 160 teams than the ACC. The ACC’s 9th place team (FSU) beat the A-10’s 2nd (VCU) & 4th (UMass) place teams. Yet, the A-10 appears to be sending six teams to the NCAA Tournament while most are projecting only five ACC teams. Tell me exactly why St. Joe’s is so solidly in after playing the #146 OOC SOS? St Joe’s BEST OOC win was a six point win over #84 Boston University. They lost to LSU by 17 points! Effectively, all St. Joes did was wallow around in a conference that shared wins with each other and PRESTO!!! Easily in the Projected in with no problem! (Despite the ACC’s #9 team dominating their league.)
Look at Arizona State for a moment. The Sun Devils tackled the #236 ranked out of conference schedule in America in which they lost to the ACC’s 10th place, Miami Hurricanes. The Sun Devils best OOC win was against a team that didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament, #91 Marquette. Their second best win was vs #111 UC Irvine. Their only big win of the year was at home vs Arizona when the Wildcats were dealing with some injuries. THAT’s a resume for succes!! How is it that the Sun Devils are so easily ‘in’ while the ACC is struggling to get in teams?
The answer is pretty easy — the ACC has more good teams beating up on each other that isn’t being appreciated by the media and potentially the NCAA Tournament committee. This is a problem.