Iâ€™ve done a mid-season review each of the last several years and enjoy taking a broader look at the ACC. The past several years, Iâ€™ve used the data from CBS Sports and really like they layout they have for each team. The problem is that as of lunchtime on Friday, they have not included the last OOC games from Wed night. So if we are going to have a mid-season review before the ACC schedule kicks in, we are going to have to switch websites (to yahoo/rivals) and do what we can.
If you are new here, I did a little RPI primer last year to explain some often mis-understood aspects of RPI and SOS Rankings. Iâ€™ve also done a number of entries here on the NCAAT selection process and documented a number of key items from past years. During the season, I use the following simplistic evaluation process to judge the ACC teams:
– Top 40 RPI and min of 0.500 ACC record = IN
– RPI ranking >75 = OUT
– Everything else = BUBBLE
So with the preamble completed, here is a summary table that breaks down the various rankings along with their records versus the opponents played to date:
Iâ€™ve obviously only used the RPI rankings for todayâ€™s update. Even though there is a lot of basketball left to be played, itâ€™s interesting to look back and see how the actual NCAA selections compared to this first, rough look:
– In 2010, both teams graded â€œINâ€, made the NCAAT. 3 of 5 Bubble teams made the NCAAT. Only 1 of 5 teams that graded â€œOUTâ€, made the NCAAT.
– 2011 was different in that no teams qualified for the bubble at the mid-season point. 2 of 4 teams graded â€œINâ€ made the NCAAT. 2 of the 8 teams graded â€œOUTâ€ made the NCAAT.
– The obvious conclusion is that it is not too late to work your way into the NCAAT. However we shouldnâ€™t expect too many of those bottom teams to make the big turnaround.
Using the last two mid-season reports, we can build a picture of how this year stands up to the past few. While this year is a slight improvement over last year, the ACCâ€™s current ranking of 6th is substantially behind itâ€™s historical norm. (Click here if you want to review history and a year even worse than the last three.)
Most of the other points that I would make have been fairly well covered either by entries to the main blog or in various forum threads. If you see something of particular interest, bring it up in the comments and we can hash it out.
As a refresher, here is the last update that I made to the historical OOC SOS table:
NOTE: Apathy set in during the Lowe era and I havenâ€™t updated this table for the last two seasons. If anyone knows where I can get the information for the last two years, let me know.
In case youâ€™ve been asleep during the college basketball â€œpre-seasonâ€, this is the strongest OOC schedule that State has played since weâ€™ve been tracking this stat. If you will remember, one of the first things that Gott discussed changing was Stateâ€™s OOC schedule. He managed to accomplish in a few months what Sendek and Lowe couldnâ€™t do in 15 years. I have to take a moment here to once again laugh at the silly excuses from the HSSS on why State couldnâ€™t put together a tougher schedule.
The HSSS excuses look even sillier if you compare the last two yearâ€™s schedules and see what really changed. The top of the 2010-2011 schedule was actually BETTER than this season. Last year, Stateâ€™s top five opponents ranked 1, 4, 23, 37, and 54. This yearâ€™s top five opponents rank 1, 15, 44, 77, and 79. As Iâ€™ve been saying for nearly a decade, you get the most improvement in your overall SOS by eliminating dead wood at the bottom of the schedule. At the mid-way point last year, State had played 8 teams ranked 200+; with four of those ranked 300+. This year, State has played only 4 teams ranked 200+ and none ranked 300+.
Note that neither the OOC schedule nor Stateâ€™s results against that schedule will bring any special attention from the NCAAT Selection Committee. However, there is no down-side in scheduling like this:
– If you are good enough to make the NCAAT, then you have a chance to get some good wins and build a case for a high seed.
– A bubble team gets a chance at a key win and the losses wonâ€™t hurt come Selection Sunday.
– If you arenâ€™t going to at least be considered for the NCAAT, then it doesnâ€™t really matter who you play.
Since I work with a number of VT grads, I know how painful it is to come up on the â€œlast four outâ€ lists. I find it comforting to know that State has a coach that recognizes how a weak OOC SOS has contributed to those frustrating Sunday afternoons for my friends and co-workers.
The ACC SCHEDULE
Here is Stateâ€™s ACC schedule sorted by todayâ€™s RPI ranking:
Many people have noted that Stateâ€™s easy ACC schedule could end up hurting on Selection Sunday. With no quality OOC wins, this fact should be obvious to the most casual observer. In fact, State is in virtually the same position as this time last year. (Iâ€™ll let our audience argue if a win against #79 Texas is better or worse than a win against #54 George Mason).
BOTTOM LINE: State needs as many wins as possible and especially needs wins against the top half of the conference. With seven games scheduled against the bottom four teams, itâ€™s certainly possible that a 10 win conference season wouldnâ€™t be enough to make the NCAAT (again).