ACC Eyes Expanding BBall Schedule; Guess who is interviewed?

The ACC’s total of 19 NCAA tournament wins from 2006 to ’08 is an all-time low for a three-year period since 1979-81, which was before the tournament expanded to 64 teams. The Big East, Pac-10 and Big Ten all play 18 conference games and got higher percentages of their members into the NCAA tournament in 2008.

The Charlotte Observer and the News and Observer ran the same article today stating, “amid concern over a lack of NCAA tournament at-large bids in two of the past three years, ACC athletics directors plan next month to discuss expanding the conference men’s basketball schedule to 18 games.”

The topic is very interesting and is something that we have discussed at length in the past. Everyone who visits this site MUST read THIS ENTRY for excellent detailed analysis on the ACC’s SOS issue.

Once you read that entry will you know as much or more than every single Athletics Director who will be sitting in that room next week. I am not exaggerating. Doesn’t that scare the hell out of you?

We typically hopes that the interests of the conference align with the interests of the majority member institutions. If the conference were to expand its regular season basketball schedule the result would most definitely be a benefit to NC State as the addition of two additional games on our schedule would usually serve to ‘dilute’ our top-heavy schedule that is created by our natural rivalries with Carolina and Wake Forest.

The chart below summarizes the SOS of just conference games over the last three years and is further explained in the entry that we previously linked. You will note that after Herb Sendek enjoyed the benefits of playing one of the weaker conference schedules in 2005-2006 that Coach Sidney Lowe has had the (mis)fortunate of competing against the most difficult conference schedule as would be possible.

SOS Chart

The following quote from the article worth noting in any conversation about this topic:

Jerry Palm of said his studies have shown that playing 18 conference games hurts a conference’s RPI. Palm is an expert on the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), a formula that includes won-loss record and strength of schedule used by the Division I men’s basketball committee to compare candidates for the NCAA tournament.

“Going to two extra conference games has a general negative impact on RPI, because what usually happens is everybody takes two wins (over weaker opponents) off their schedule, so everybody’s overall record is lower,” Palm said.

I do not disagree with Palm’s general point. Howeer, in light of the conference’s dearth of tournament participants in recent years I wouldn’t find it particularly concerning for the ACC to drop a spot or two amongst conferences. On any average year the conference will generally amongst the top two or three in the country anyway…so what if we are 2nd instead of first? Obviously our perch at the top of the conference rankings hasn’t helped us earn more NCAA Tournament berths.

The extra game selfishly helps NC State disproportionately more than the rest of the conference because of the difficulty of our annual conference schedule which is skewed due to the strength of our natural rivals. The pool of teams that we don’t play twice is generally weaker than the pool of teams that other ACC teams don’t play twice. Therefore, adding two games to our conference schedule will – all else being equal – provide us a greater chance to win two additional games than it will other teams. The move will effectively reduce the variances of conference schedules.

Parting shot— do I even have to make a comment about the ONLY Athletics Director who was interviewed for this piece? Is it remotely a surprise to anyone that it took only two paragraphs to see those classic words,

“N.C. State athletics director Lee Fowler said”

Really? You don’t say? Lee Fowler had something to say about this? Wow.

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24 Responses to ACC Eyes Expanding BBall Schedule; Guess who is interviewed?

  1. nycfan 04/30/2008 at 2:52 PM #

    I would like to see a round-robin schedule but understand that playing 22 conference games is impractical, so I would be happy with adding at least 2 more to the slate, but that is me as a fan of ACC hoops.

    For all the whining about NCAA berths, what teams really need to do is suck less. VPI didn’t miss the tourney due to not having 2 more ACC games, they missed due to terrible OOC losses.

    SFN: TRUE statement. BUT, VPI was a very different teamin February and March than they were in November and December when they were losing those key games. They were like 0-6 in the regular season against Top 50 teams. Due to the quirks of their schedule they played a lot of those games away from home. Had they been been given the chance to get a home win vs Clemson or Carolina they may have made it.

  2. baxman 04/30/2008 at 3:03 PM #

    I’m pretty sure that the NCAA selection committee last month went out of their way to say that they did not look at overall conference RPI, nor did they care to. I think Billy Packer even asked about this on the Selection Sunday show on CBS. Basically, it is a made up statistic that has no bearing on individual team selections, if we are to believe the committee.

    My point…I agree that even if they used the stat, the ACC would only drop a spot or two in the conference RPI rankings. So who really cares. If going to 18 conference games is the right thing to do for a number of reasons, then consideration shouldn’t even be give to overall conference RPI ratings.

    SFN: They may not ‘use’ it. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Because there is a tremendously high correlation between the RPI rankings and NCAA Tournament teams regardless of if they use it or not.

    VA WOLFf? you out there?

  3. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 04/30/2008 at 3:37 PM #

    ^ The NCAA may not use the RPI but we can use the RPI and compare it to the NCAA selections. We can use the RPI to determine who will or will not be likely to get an invite.

  4. primacyone 04/30/2008 at 3:42 PM #

    That’s why they give him the awards!

    Or wait. Could it possbly be that LF understands that going to 18 games would benefit NCSU more than anyone else in the conference?

  5. baxman 04/30/2008 at 4:30 PM #


    Let me be clear. The selection committee said they didn’t look at the “conference” RPI’s, which are a compilation of the individual team RPI’s from each conference. I’m all for the individual team RPI’s and I think the NCAA has been pretty clear that they use those a great deal in determining which individual teams get in (and, yes, there is a very high correlation between the top RPI teams and those getting at-large berths). They (the NCAA) just aren’t inclined to use the rolled-up conference RPI’s, and I’m not sure I blame them.

    So if going to 18 conference games might hurt a conference’s RPI, I say who cares. If going to 18 conference games might help an individual team’s RPI, then we should do it. Because it’s all about what will help (or hurt, possibly) an individual team’s RPI that we should be concerned about since that is what the NCAA claims they are interested in.

  6. choppack1 04/30/2008 at 4:45 PM #

    Hmmm – I’m trying to figure this out…Did Swoff balk on this initially because A) he’s behind the curve as he appears to be in almost every case or B)was he trying to protect the conference’s RPI?

    Don’t get me wrong, Swofford’s definitely a smart guy, but I’m trying to figure out the last time he’s really shown great vision or been ahead of the curve. Whether it’s expansion, the championship game, identifying the best candidate for expansion or in this case the 18 game conference tilt – he seems to act after the rest of the conferences have.

  7. grouchomarx 04/30/2008 at 4:56 PM #

    to your question about Swofford, if you want to know the truth, follow the money. Going to 18 conf games will result in more $$$ tv revenue from Raycom, etc. for the regular season package, I think thats what is driving this push. The benefit for Joe fan is a move closer to the old round robin format and as others have said this results in more parity year to year.

  8. BladenWolf 04/30/2008 at 5:32 PM #

    As groucho said very well…follow the money.

    Tremendous upside for the Ad’s in terms of revenue for their popularity..uh…schools.

    In terms of Conference RPI, we may slide a bit, but when you’re pulling in another $50K (number pulled from my ass) for those additional games, who cares if the sixth or seventh team doesn’t go to the big dance. There will always be “bubble trouble” for some team.

    The ACC fan wins since there will be more tourney games to watch.

    But the conclusion reached in the post is most interesting to me because it shows how carefully (and accurately) the analyses are on this site with regards to how it HELPS NC State while theoretically hurting others teams.

    In depth indeed. Great work.

  9. cowdog 04/30/2008 at 5:47 PM #

    18 games in conference benefits both you and I.

    RPI in conference doesn’t mean squat.

    However, competing and winning just might mean SOMETHING!

    Lose by six away in conf. and not have a chance to get them on your floor later is reprehensible.

    Stop paying heed to the nay sayers.

    If your conference opponant is scheduled once…it must be scheduled twice.

    So sayeth the Cowdog. Pre, well…everything.

  10. burnbarn 04/30/2008 at 5:54 PM #

    following the money also means that until the TV deal is up in 2-3 years nothing will happen. The ACC does not want to throw in more games until they get paid for them.

  11. john of sparta 04/30/2008 at 6:01 PM #

    “camel’s nose under the tent”

    this is the first SFN post which illustrates how the
    NCAA will “die on the vine” regarding men’s college basketball.
    it’s all been said before: 18-year-old decides to work in
    the Association. NCAA/NBA says no. restriction of trade.
    millions. more millions. what brought this on? the Work Schedule.
    practice/games/travel (the girls are free)….don’t you KNOW
    some John Edwards-type lawyer will hit the lotto with this.
    golf/tennis don’t have an NCAA/pro problem. there are no
    college auto teams. men’s basketball will resemble men’s
    baseball: all those not good enough to turn pro @ 18.

    wave goodbye to non-revenue bass fishing and volleyball.

  12. wolfman 04/30/2008 at 6:16 PM #

    If they add the games, then we need to go back to the way things should be and play Duke twice a year, every year. Period.

  13. old13 04/30/2008 at 7:25 PM #

    “Guess Who” ought to be fired!

  14. WolftownVA81 04/30/2008 at 7:54 PM #

    If we lose bass fishing, our changes of winning an ACC title drops off significantly.

  15. Daily Update 04/30/2008 at 8:04 PM #

    NC State benefits the most from going to the 18 game schedule. Is anyone else concerned that Sidney and Lee might not realize it?

  16. redfred2 04/30/2008 at 8:07 PM #

    Anybody know the costs for LTR’s to the bass fishing program?

  17. leewolf 04/30/2008 at 8:18 PM #

    I would love to see this happen as a fan of ACC basketball. Also we would benefit more by the nature of our rivals, that is unless they added one of the extra games as another “protected” rivalry (Duke), but I doubt the non-Big Four ADs would let that happen. I would, however, like to see another protected rival added in the ninth football conference game, should it be added at some point in the future.

  18. highstick 04/30/2008 at 8:18 PM #

    But how can you schedule East Carolina and New Orleans if you have to add 2 more conference games?

  19. BoKnowsNCS71 05/01/2008 at 8:00 AM #

    AS long as there is an alternative to Boise should we ever get bowl eligible again. Shreveport — Shreveport,

  20. choppack1 05/01/2008 at 8:07 AM #

    to your question about Swofford, if you want to know the truth, follow the money. Going to 18 conf games will result in more $$$ tv revenue from Raycom, etc. for the regular season package, I think thats what is driving this push.”

    You’re making my point. Last year, 18 games was more than 16 games. So it’s always been more $$. Trying to figure out why Swoff is always “following the leaders” – especially since the local media holds him in such high regard.

  21. happypackdad 05/01/2008 at 8:15 AM #

    2 more conference games would be great because it gets us closer to a fair & balanced ACC reg season champ & tourney champ.

  22. thekind 05/01/2008 at 8:23 AM #

    If the ACC lets Brainy Smurf Fowler get involved then next year the league will get three teams in the dance.
    The fact that he speaks for the ACC makes me want to throw up.

  23. nycfan 05/01/2008 at 10:36 AM #

    SFN — OTOH, VPI had a chance to beat Miami and dook at home and failed, so while it *may* have helped them to have a shot at UNC and Clemson at home, I’m not convinced considering their failure to win either of those two games. And losses at NC State and Georgia Tech weren’t very helpful either. Tech likely needed just ONE of those four games to secure a bid, or maybe even just to beat one of Penn State, Old Dominion and Richmond.

    Maybe 2 more conference games gives them a better shot at an NCAA bid (though they both could not have been at home, so it would have been one road and one home, not 2 at home against UNC and Clemson, which means only one extra game against those 2 teams), but given that they blew the other 6 chances they did have (they were 4-4 in their last 8 regular season games), I guess I’m not convinced.

    That said, I’m all for the 2 extra conference games out of selfishness …

  24. VaWolf82 05/01/2008 at 2:24 PM #

    I’m pretty sure that the NCAA selection committee last month went out of their way to say that they did not look at overall conference RPI,

    If you have a link, then I would be interested in seeing it. The actual data says that overall conference RPI does make a difference:

    If you can use conference RPI in a mathematical formula to predict who will receive an at-large bid, then it should be obvious that it is important.

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