NCAA Selection Committee Stopping “Finishing Strong” Emphasis

The NCAA is changing the rules for the criteria used to select at-large teams for the NCAA Tournament.  Until now, the Committee has placed an emphasis on how a team finished the year moreso than how it started — which effectively dimished the value of the bulk of the out-of-conference slates for most teams.  From the NCAA News:

The Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has decided to no longer consider the results of a team’s last 12 games as one of the tools available in the selection criteria for the 2009-10 season.

While the basketball committee uses several variables when it comes to selecting the 34 at-large teams that are placed into the bracket each March, its members concluded that college basketball stakeholders were confused by the last 12 games being part of the process.

“As the committee continues to hone its message regarding how it views the season, parsing a particular segment of games and implying it had greater weight than others seemed misleading and inconsistent,” said committee chair and Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive. “The removal of this reference avoids confusion in the room and brings our reporting in line with our process.”

This is probably one case where the NCAA has gotten things right with a selection criteria change. Now teams will need to come out of the gate strong, knowing that each and every contest they play — whether it is November or in March — will have equal value at the end of the year when tournament teams are selected.  That in an of itself should sharpen pre-season practices and the late Fall games.

Another way it is in improvement  is that sometimes, some of the best games of the year are in November and December even in the venerable ACC.  In particular, that’s when you have your best chance of seeing a major-conference – mid-major matchup, and as the Big Dance itself has repeatedly shown, these games can and are between two Tournament-worthy squads and produces some exceptional basketball.  It’s also usually when inter-sectional matchups happen, say a Kansas – NC State game.  In the past, the results of those games have not mattered as much due to the Final 12 emphasis, which for the most part are exclusively in-conference affairs.

From an NC State hoops perspective, however, this may be something that hurts more than helps in the short-haul.  The Pack will be a very young team this year, and it is more likely than not that they will not be as good a team in December that they are in February.  While this is true of most teams, it is more true of teams like the one that State will put on the floor this season.  An old saw is that a freshman is no longer a freshman come February or March, and that’s really what State will have -raw talent working itself into a team in the beginning with hopefully a cohesive and highly functional unit towrds the end of the year.  With the new selection criteria in place, State will be forced to grow up faster than they may be able to do — that is, if they plan to be an NCAA team this March.

General NCS Basketball

33 Responses to NCAA Selection Committee Stopping “Finishing Strong” Emphasis

  1. waxhaw 07/06/2009 at 10:54 AM #

    ^ Why are you so hung up on State’s resume? I’m speaking of the inequality of mid major non conference scheduling to major conference scheduling. With the inequality coming from the fact that major conferences already have tough conference schedules. NC State is one of about 65 major conference teams and you have referenced them in all of your posts concerning this topic. If you have an ax to grind on Herb getting bubble bids, I don’t understand what it has to do with me or my comments.

    And no, NC State’s resume was not good enough to deserve to be in that year. I’ve already said that very few bubble teams deserve to be in. That year, NC State played a terrible non conference schedule. They did have a winning record in a mediocre ACC but probably would not have gotten in without the ACC title game run. I can’t remember all of the details from 7 years ago but I suspect that the bubble teams left out weren’t much better. The Mountain West, which I’ve been complaining about, got 3 bids in 2002 so it’s not like NC State’s bid took from them.

  2. VaWolf82 07/06/2009 at 11:40 AM #

    I’m not hung up on Herb….I’m just comparing mid-major bubble resumes to the BCS bubble resume that I know best (State’s). I think that the comparisons show several things:

    1) There is not that much difference between what it takes for a mid-major to get an at-large bid versus what it takes in a BCS conference. The major requirement is to beat some good teams (not “name” teams, but teams with good RPI ranking).

    2) The requirements for getting into the NCAAT are relatively low in the first place. No matter what conference you play in…who you beat (not who you play) determines who gets selected.

  3. waxhaw 07/06/2009 at 2:01 PM #

    True but who you play has a lot to do with your RPI and winning counts more than losing.

    My beef is that the bubble team gets credit for beating a top quality RPI team in their own conference. The conference team that they beat earned the higher RPI due to their non conference schedule in which they didn’t even beat the quality teams.

    It’s like a magic trick. I beat NW Dakota State who has an RPI of 30. NW Dakota State has no quality wins but played a couple of BCS type schools close so they have a high RPI. All of a sudden I have two top 50 RPI wins over NW Dakota State and I’m on the bubble.

    NW Dakota State loses to every BCS team they play and they are now the measure of a quality win? It doesn’t make sense.

  4. VaWolf82 07/06/2009 at 4:51 PM #

    I beat NW Dakota State who has an RPI of 30. NW Dakota State has no quality wins but played a couple of BCS type schools close so they have a high RPI.

    NW Dakota State would not have an RPI of 30 just by playing “a couple of BCS type schools”. Also, the margin of victory/loss has no effect on the RPI calculation.

  5. waxhaw 07/07/2009 at 7:29 AM #

    Ah but they would.

    Take San Diego State last year.

    Their RPI was 34. They beat Utah and BYU as their only top 50 RPI wins.

    The BYU team that helped catapult their RPI beat San Diego State twice and Utah State. The only quality win that Utah State had was beating Utah. (How good was Utah again?)

    These teams get their RPI’s pumped up by playing teams and losing (I forgot about margin of victory coming out.) They then get it pumped up further by playing each other. It’s a joke.

    I’ll read another comment if you have one then let it go. I realize we probably won’t agree here.

  6. VaWolf82 07/07/2009 at 9:10 AM #

    Margin of victory was never in the RPI…and it takes alot more than playing (and losing) to a couple of “good” teams to raise their RPI ranking. The RPI is just a formula that uses your winning percentage, your opponent’s winning percentage, and your opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. One or two games against anyone isn’t going to make a huge change in a team’s final RPI (Though in Dec/Jan you can often see a huge change from one day to the next. This is simply a function of the small number of data points being considered…the final RPI is all that counts.)

    However, mid-majors can raise their RPI by avoiding OOC patsies (since they can’t dodge the ones in the conference). We talking about how to do this during the season that the MVC had 6 teams ranked in the RPI top-50. Basically, most of the MVC teams avoiding playing the dregs of the college basketball world which improved two different parts of the RPI calculation. This strategy only works because alot of BCS teams (like State) feast on OOC cupcakes and “dilute” the effect of playing in a strong conference.

    The next time you see an article discussing how it is easier for mid-majors to make the NCAAT, be sure to link it here or send me a PM at Packpride.

  7. CannonballJunior 07/08/2009 at 3:46 PM #

    Word on the street is that this move by the NCAA is actually just step one of a larger plan. Step two will be the moving of the NCAA Tournament to January, with the latter part of the season being played just for shits and giggles.

  8. CannonballJunior 07/08/2009 at 3:59 PM #

    But seriously, I strongly disagree with this move. The final 12 games really ought to be considered with some extra emphasis – given that we are talking about having our champion chosen in a post-season playoff….which very obviously implies great virtue in a team finishing strong – with a great finished product. This overall philophosy is a reason why so many ACC (and NCSU) oldtimers place emphasis on the Conference Tourney rather than the regular season standings as the means of determining the league champion.

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