Computer Rankings and Post-season Discussion

I don’t have the time to offer much analysis in this entry (that is best left to Vawolf82), but with five games left in the season now is a good time to see where NC State stands in the various computer rankings and how that projects for post-season play. There are four post-season tournaments now:

-NCAA Tournament (65 teams)
-NIT (32 teams)
-College Basketball Invitational (16 teams)
College tournament (16 teams)

Prior to last year, any major conference team with a .500 record was almost guaranteed to make the NIT. However, the NIT changed their selection process to be more similar to the NCAA tournament selection process. Any team that wins their conference regular season and doesn’t make the NCAA is guaranteed a spot in the NIT field. For the remaining at-large spots, they use the various computer rankings, strength of schedule, etc…and award bids based on which teams are the most deserving. Considering the coaches are trying to land as many as two more 2009 recruits that are immediate impact players, then winning does nothing but improve our chances even if that means making a run in a tournament no NC State fan enjoys discussing.

Last week was the first time we appeared in this NIT field projection as a #8 seed. They have us matched up against #1 seed on the road at South Carolina. A #8 seed creates a rather daunting task of needing three wins on the road to advance to the semi-finals held in NYC.

Current computer rankings:

Sagarin: #72
Kenpom: #69
RPI: 88

Remaining games:
@Wake Forest

Obviously, our chances of making the NCAA tournament are slim at best. It probably takes a 4-1 finish plus two wins in the ACC tournament to give us a good chance (20-12, 10-9 against the ACC with wins over WF in the regular season and likely UNC, Duke or Wake in the Friday ACC game). A 3-2 record and two wins likely puts us on the bubble as does 4-1 and a single win in the ACC Tournament. Just think how getting a single win over over Davidson, Florida, or Marquette and the win over Virginia Tech would have changed our NCAA outlook?

Regardless, winning 4 or 5 games the rest of the way is crucial to position ourselves in the NIT field with a good chance of advancing to NYC. A strong finish and a couple of wins in the NIT would make this season a success in my opinion.

08-09 Basketball General Rankings & Lists

58 Responses to Computer Rankings and Post-season Discussion

  1. WTNY 02/19/2009 at 9:46 AM #

    Thanks for the analysis.

    I don’t mean to quibble but I will never consider a NIT bid “success” — “progress”, “better than sitting at home”, etc. but not a success.

  2. Daily Update 02/19/2009 at 9:55 AM #

    WTNY: OK. I based that comment on where we sitting about 3-4 weeks ago as we set an all-time record for consecutive ACC losses when we started the ACC season (was it 14 or 15 in a row?). Things were looking really, really bad at that point in time. Seven conference wins would be pretty strong considering…

    Also, it would depend on far we advance in the NIT.

    Hell, I am just excited to see Sidney appear to have control of the team and that we are improving. We are scoring in the 80s and the young guys are playing better. A few weeks ago it looked like the program was in the dreaded death spiral. Things could have easily kept going down that path, but since then we are seeing drastic improvement. However, there are still 7+ games to be played. Lots of basketball left…

  3. Alpha Wolf 02/19/2009 at 9:56 AM #

    ^ Me either, but in fairness, the football team got a turnaround and a bowl bid that I would call the equivalent of an NIT bid for hoops. A lot of people called that a successful year.

    For the record, the new NIT bid rules:

    “The NCAA announced a revamped selection process starting with the 2006 tournament. The main highlights are:

    * Teams are no longer required to have .500 or greater records to receive bids. Since this change, all teams receiving invitations for the NIT have had a record greater than .500.
    * Similar to the automatic bids the NCAA Tournament grants for all conference tournament champions, all teams that won regular-season conference championships but failed to earn NCAA tournament bids are guaranteed places in the NIT. Thus, more teams from the low-major conferences may qualify. (Mid-major regular season conference champions have traditionally been invited.)

    “In addition, the selection process has been made transparent. ESPN no longer had a hand in the selection of the teams. Instead, a committee of former NCAA head coaches, chaired by Newton, and including Gene Keady (Purdue), Dean Smith (North Carolina), Don DeVoe (Tennessee), Eddie Fogler (Wichita State), Reggie Minton (Air Force), John Powers and Carroll Williams among others, prepared a list of potential teams in advance. The seeding and balancing process is similar to that of the NCAA tournament, with the exception that higher seeded teams will always host games, unless extenuating circumstances occur. In the past, higher seeded mid-major teams would often be forced to travel to play less highly regarded major conference teams that would be likely to sell more tickets to the game “

  4. Classof89 02/19/2009 at 10:07 AM #

    I’d love to see us get another shot at Davidson, should they screw up in their conference tournament (they lost by 16 to the Citadel last night). I think we could take many of these mid-major “powers” on the road, if we played with our heads screwed on the right way…I’d love to see us play a team like Butler or Northern Iowa or Creighton (latter two battling it out for first in MVC) in the NIT.

    Much better than some fading major conference team that has thrown in the towel. How many times have you seen a major conference team that was expected to do well preseason but that performed poorly at the end of the year and missed out on NCAAs go out in the first or second round of the NIT?

  5. LKNpackfan 02/19/2009 at 10:27 AM #

    Its unfortunate that it took the staff 3/4th’s of the season to find this current 3-bigs-with-Fells-back-at-the-2 lineup, (a red hot Javi is the cherry on top). I honestly have no idea how we’ll fare during the rest of the conference schedule, but I wouldn’t want to play us in Atlanta in mid-March, that’s for sure.

  6. BJD95 02/19/2009 at 10:30 AM #

    The NIT was always this team’s ceiling, and I have no problem with playing more road games (builds character). We need the Hokies to stop their rapid slide into bubble territory, though – I doubt the ACC will get 4 bids, and that could put us on the outs like Wake last year.

  7. Sweet jumper 02/19/2009 at 10:30 AM #

    In fairness to Davidson, Curry did not dress out last night against the Citadel because of a sprained ankle. Davidson shot 25% from the field and the Citadel shot 40% from the field.

  8. wufpup76 02/19/2009 at 10:31 AM #

    ^Davidson could be in some real trouble unless the committee throws out games in which Curry does not play in … If we keep improving, their win over us helps them a great deal b/c as of now their best win is probably West Virginia …

    Losing at home to Bobby Cremins’ College of Charleston really hurt them … It’s funny that the talking heads are giving St. Mary’s (CA) a total pass on games played without Patty Mills but are already throwing Davidson out of the tourny … IIRC, St. Mary’s doesn’t even have a win as good as the West Virginia win that Davidson has … Guess we’ll see

    Butler is probably still safe, but losing at home to Loyala-Chicago and @ UW-Milwaukee things are getting tenuous

    As for us, I think making the NIT would be great for this team and program … I would call it a successful season given last season and the tough losses from earlier this season … It may be more accurate to call it “progress”, but the way we looked not too long ago could have had us finishing at 2-14 or something

    The Virginia game is HUGE. It’s a must have. It would be utterly disappointing to lose that game at home and would severely cripple any legitimate postseason chances … The team has worked hard to get some positive momentum and to get some of the fans interested again, so this to me is a real “State of the Program” type game … Lose it, and all of that negative stuff that you were starting to get away from comes right back … At some point, you have to win games like this – no excuses. Win and people stay charged up, the team isn’t demoralized and there’s still hope for not only the rest of this season but perhaps the future as well.

    None of this is said to disparage Virginia. They just happen to be a struggling team that we absolutely need to beat at home. They are playing much better, especially on the defensive end – but we are playing much better as well. This is a no excuse game. If you really want some respect and fan admiration and some positive momentum you have to win this game against an opponent you need to beat at home.

    As for the NCAA’s, string off 5 in a row and 1 more in the tourny and we’re there I think. Going 4-1 to get to 8-8 would help – and we would need at the very least 2 in the ACC tourny to have a realistic shot.


  9. Alpha Wolf 02/19/2009 at 10:44 AM #

    ^ It’s intriguiing that there is even the faintest glimmer of hope. Go to just after the first UNC game and it would be very hard to find around these parts or in a conversation between any two Wolfpack fans.

    Its unfortunate that it took the staff 3/4th’s of the season to find this current 3-bigs-with-Fells-back-at-the-2 lineup, (a red hot Javi is the cherry on top).

    True, it is unfortunate, but on the other hand, some players like Smith have stepped it up.

  10. Pack Leader 02/19/2009 at 10:48 AM #

    McDonalds All-American teams announced today,

    what do you know, no Mc ALL Amer for state.
    somehow Lo Brown was left off even though he is ranked in both Scout and Rivals as a top 10 guard in the nation. John Wall not on the list kinda confused me. I know he accepted the Jordan Tourney but why is every big player turning down jordan to play in the biggest game??? Demarcus Cousins made the team, although im not sure how much chance we really have in getting him. UNX got 4 on the team this year…. what a suprise. Duke got 2 this year and suprisingly Clemson got 1.

  11. VaWolf82 02/19/2009 at 10:51 AM #

    It’s always dangerous to judge post-season chances on previous years……but if you look back at 2005, you can get some idea of where State was and what they had to do to make the NCAAT. What State did in 2005 pretty much lines up with what alot of you have said needs to happen over the remainder of this year.

    Let me give my annual pointer to the Dance Card which is based on a statistical analysis of the selection process:

    One of the areas that I think is lacking in the Dance Card is added importance to the conference tournaments. I have beaten this particular drum for several years and am glad to see others pointing to the ACCT as welll.

  12. Clarksa 02/19/2009 at 10:53 AM #

    Pack Leader…Wall was not eligible for the McD’s AA game because he is a 5th year high school senior.

  13. Sweet jumper 02/19/2009 at 10:54 AM #

    John Wall is not eligible for McD game because this is his 5th year in high school. I saw that on the news last night.

  14. wpackman33 02/19/2009 at 10:56 AM #

    I agree totally with Wufpup, the game saturday against UVA is absolutely HUGE. we need to win this convincingly (see GT game) to keep the momentum going through the @ wake game and the rest of our schedule.

    One question i had… On the “NIT Field Projection” link. We are a #8 seed, but why is Miami a #1 seed. They have more conference losses than us and we beat them already. Not saying that we should be a #1 seed or even move up. i just think a #1 seed for them is extremely generous. Anyway….

    Go State!!!

  15. Daily Update 02/19/2009 at 10:59 AM #

    wpackman33: Vawolf’s link to the dancecard has Miami as one of the first team’s left out. Higher RPI at this point helps them. They also have a favorable schedule the rest of the way.

    We play Miami and Maryland the rest of the way…two teams are competing with for bids to whatever post-season tournament we get invited to.

  16. Pack Leader 02/19/2009 at 11:21 AM #

    thanks clarksa & sweet jumper. I was unaware players were ineldgeable after their 4th year. I still think its rediculous Lo Brown didnt get a look. 3 words. under the radar

  17. WTNY 02/19/2009 at 11:25 AM #

    Daily Update — I understand your points completely. I certainly admire the progress the team has made.

    I just don’t want us to fall in the trap of accepting mediocrity. We can, and will, do better. Part of that process is believing we can and will!

  18. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 02/19/2009 at 11:28 AM #

    “I don’t mean to quibble but I will never consider a NIT bid “success” — “progress”, “better than sitting at home”, etc. but not a success.”

    I disagree. Appearances in tournaments should breed future success in tournaments once a foundation is in place. The opportunity to play 2,3 or 4 more pressure games at the end of the year is priceless. One and done is never much fun.

    Of course you want to go to the NCAA but for this team to make an NIT run may be more valuable than a first round loss in the NCAA’s. Hard to judge but you always want that shot in the big show but if it doesn’t happen make the best out of the chance that is available.

  19. Daily Update 02/19/2009 at 12:19 PM #

    WTNY: Sorry, but I have given in to the Lee Fowler mentality. I jokingly refer to my current passion/hopes for NC State sports to my friends as the “Lee Fowler mindset”. Fowler has infected me, so moral victories like an NIT bid are satisfying. As long as he is here, then that is how I will feel.

  20. WTNY 02/19/2009 at 12:19 PM #

    tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc — I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go to the NIT. Nor that a run in the NIT wouldn’t help this team. We should go and I hope we make it to the Garden.

    I am simply focusing on the word “success” — a NIT bid can be a reasonable, even lofty, goal for certain NC State teams. And I agree that the NIT was a reasonable goal for the ’08-’09 team and right now it appears we are on track for that. Good. However the NIT is still not “success” in terms of how I define long-term, institutional success for NC State basketball.

  21. WTNY 02/19/2009 at 12:24 PM #

    Daily — I’m with you, really. After 20 years I’ve almost perfected indifference, even to myself. Deep down, however, I expect the Pack to return to its historical success prior to the early 90s.

  22. Girlfriend in a Coma 02/19/2009 at 12:49 PM #

    The assertion that playing 3 NIT games is better than a first-round NCAA loss is so ridiculous I can’t even respond to it.

  23. Alpha Wolf 02/19/2009 at 12:57 PM #

    I hold slim hopes of somehow pulling out an NCAA bid, but I am also realistic enough with myself to realize it is quite unlikely. Possible, sure, but not highly probable.

    Failing that, I would take an NIT bid. Those are extra games to give underclassmen game experience, extra practices coupled with game preparation, etc. As good as an NCAA slot? Not at all. Better than nothing? Absolutely.

  24. nycfan 02/19/2009 at 1:02 PM #

    ^^Bobby Knight has said that he resented not being able to turn down an NCAA Tournament bid in years where he knew a young team had little shot of advancing b/c he thought they would gain much more from a run in the NIT with the extra practice and game experience. Of course, that assumes you don’t screw up in the NIT, but I can see that POV.

    But generally, and especially if a program is trying to re-establish itself, there is no doubt that a first round loss in the NCAAT is infinitely better than an NIT appearance … even an NIT Championship produces little to no momentum in the era of 64-team NCAAT (ask USC). For better or worse, NCAA basketball is measured by appearances in the NCAA (and in the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and, of course, winning the national title — I’m not even sure there is any difference ascribed to losing in the Semi-Finals versus the Finals now, just making the FF is the magic trick).

  25. Wulfpack 02/19/2009 at 1:29 PM #

    In retrospect, I admit to being overly critical of Sid after the horrid VT loss. I felt it was a game we should have won, but more importantly, I felt Sid gave in to Greenburg and he lost the battle with the refs. He wasn’t necessarily “outcoached” so to speak, but Greenburg clearly wanted that one more, and it’s a loss that is really plaguing us now that we are playing so much better.

    Regardless, I am very happy with the improvement since that game and we held our own with the best team in the land on their home court for the majority of the game. Javi has come all the way back from being a benchwarmer to being a major force. I hope his play continues to elevate, but I also hope we see some more of Mays this year as well.

    We’ve got to win out to assure ourselves of a spot in the NCAA’s. A loss or two and we are likely NIT bound, provided we make no major noise in the ACc Tourney. It starts with UVA, and the Cavs are playing great ball as well. This is one we have to have for the rest of the season to come together. If we’re going to lose a game or two, it needs to be to Wake and BC, who are both tourney bound. The Maryland and Miami games are huge as well, but something tells me both of those teams will join us in the NIT.

    But hey, I’ll take the current state of affairs in comparison to where we were at this stage last year.

Leave a Reply