End of Preseason Summary

Now that the college basketball preseason has wrapped up, let’s take our annual look around the ACC to see what there is to see. Long time readers will remember that I have a simplistic way to judge when a team from a BCS conference has accomplished enough to clear the bubble and land into the NCAAT. As a refresher:

RPI less than 40 and a conference record of 0.500 or better – IN
RPI greater than 70 – OUT
Everything in between – BUBBLE

For the years that I’ve looked at, the best ranking of a BCS team to get left out of the NCAAT is 38 (LSU-2004). The worst ranking for a BCS team that got an at-large bid is 65 (NCSU-2005). The worst ranking overall is 74 (New Mexico-1999). So for simplistic reasons, I’m using an RPI ranking of 40-70 to define the bubble.

So here is the ACC at a glance:

Random Comments:

– Top-50 wins (noted in red) are “good”. OOC SOS in the 300 neighborhood are “bad”. If you’ve missed my past soap box entries on these conclusions, then you’ll just have to trust me (and consider yourself lucky).

– Realtime Rankings has the ACC ranked as the 4th best conference. While this is pretty bad from a historical perspective, it is better than the ACC has ranked the last two seasons. Before anyone protests this ranking, just remember that in most mathematical ranking systems, the bottom teams in the conference count just as much as the top teams. Thus mathematical rankings often give substantially different results than if you concentrate only on the top teams (like most fan/media rankings tend to do).

– At this time of year, the SOS of a single game plays a HUGE role in the RPI ranking. There is no better illustration of this effect than when State’s game against UNC-G (RPI rank #338) dropped State about 10 spots in the RPI ranking. My advice is not to get too hung up on this one game since it is unlikely to have any measurable effect on what happens to State come tournament time.

– I believe that this is the highest OOC SOS State has had since I’ve started tracking it. I also believe that this is the first time that State has had two Top 50 wins during OOC play. (Top 50 wins are a key metric for clearing the bubble). While it will certainly gall most State fans, we want UConn to do well this year (current RPI Rank #28).

– I could have placed UMD on the “Bubble” but chose not to for a variety of reasons. That SOS is simply horrendous (certainly not what we were used to seeing from Gary Williams) and their best win is against #83 Stony Brook. But those are really just excuses….all I really needed was the opportunity to make a judgment call on Merryland.

Here’s a quick look ahead at State’s ACC schedule:

A few observations:

– An 18 game schedule for a 12 team conference is as good as reasonably possible for balancing “fairness” and “finances”. It’s a shame that this is the only year that we’ll get to see it in the ACC.

– With the information we have today, this schedule should rank somewhere in the middle with respect to “Conference SOS”. If time allows, we’ll revisit this topic just before or just after the ACC tournament.

When you look at the schedule chronologically, there are a few more things worth noting:

– Road Warrior Status = not so much. State’s only back-to-back road games come at Duke (2/7) and at Clemson (2/10).

– Trap Games – These are usually difficult to pick out ahead of time, but two potentials stand out right now: At Maryland (1/16) immediately after a home game against Duke (1/12) and at UVa (1/29) immediately after a home game against UNC (1/26).

– Week Off = between the game at Clemson (2/10) and the home game against VT (2/16).

– Last year there was some complaining around here when State had to play late on Thursday night and then had a game on Saturday (noon?). The only games that I see anywhere near that close are home against Clemson (Sun, 1/20) and then at Wake Forest (Tue, 1/22).

– State finishes the regular season at Florida State on Sat, March 9. Florida St???? Really????


We have a good thread going on the forums right now discussing various statistics and what they might mean for the rest of the year. If you like the blog entries focused on RPI and missed the stats thread in the forum, then you should take the time to catch up here:


About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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16 Responses to End of Preseason Summary

  1. packalum44 01/04/2013 at 1:38 PM #

    How is seeding determined?

    70% RPI
    20% Top 25 wins
    10% Brand

    How important is ranking? I’ve never studied it but seems like ranking aligns most heavily with seeding. Well, at lest the 1-4 seeding. That is, 1-4 would be 1 seeds etc…

  2. FergusWolf 01/04/2013 at 2:59 PM #

    I’m pretty happy to start the conference season with us firmly in the “IN” position, as opposed to being in the “BUBBLE” or “OUT” positions.

    Unfortunately, our first two games are against 100+ RPI teams (BC, GT). Hopefully their RPI will improve playing against ACC competition.

    Good news is that our first two games are in the “should win” column. That should give the guys a good head of steam into the Duke game at PNC.

    Go Pack!

  3. VaWolf82 01/04/2013 at 3:04 PM #

    I once did the research to plot RPI versus seeding for about 5 years and found a strong linear correlation. I didn’t keep up with that work because I found an article where Jerry Palm had tracked it for many more years and said that about 75% of the teams are seeded within one spot of what you would calculate solely from RPI.

    I’ve also seen examples of 1st and 2nd place regular season finishes gaining seeds higher than you would predict solely from RPI.

  4. ncsu_kappa 01/04/2013 at 3:24 PM #

    I’m hoping that as our conference plays each other all of their RPI’s continue to improve. Sucks that they didn’t handle business in the OOC

  5. FergusWolf 01/04/2013 at 3:38 PM #

    ^ from a conference standpoint it should bring everyone toward the middle (Duke, Miami, NCSU going down, Virginia, Wake Forest, Clemson going up) for no reason other than strength of schedule (we play 15 games against teams with a lower RPI than us, but only 3 games against higher RPI ranked opponents).

    We see the SOS on the chart. Is there a similar chart that shows average RPI ranking to date?

  6. VaWolf82 01/04/2013 at 3:42 PM #

    Is there a similar chart that shows average RPI ranking to date?

    What are you going to do with this?

  7. VaWolf82 01/04/2013 at 3:47 PM #

    from a conference standpoint it should bring everyone toward the middle (Duke, Miami, NCSU going down,

    Not really.

    The top conferences will all see overall SOS rise since the majority of those teams will have winning records. This helps out in two different parts of the RPI formula.

    The teams currently highly ranked by RPI will mostly move up and down as a function of whether they win or lose. The teams at the bottom of the ACC will get a boost as their SOS increases and the mid/low majors will drop as their SOS decreases.

    Here’s a graph from several years ago that shows the effect of two weeks worth of conference play on RPI ranking.

  8. 61Packer 01/04/2013 at 4:44 PM #

    It’s a long way still to Selection Sunday. As for not putting Maryland on the bubble, I agree. They’re IN as far as I’m concerned, cupcake schedule or not. They’re good and you don’t have to compare them to Stony Brook or chart them to figure that one out. Even with the big guy playing, Maryland is still a better team than Miami, and they have one of the up-and-coming coaches in Turgeon.

    Duke, State, UNC, Maryland and maybe UVA- that’s the ACC’s ticket to the Big Dance.

  9. FergusWolf 01/04/2013 at 4:52 PM #

    VaWolf – If I had such a chart, I would probably print out a copy and stick on my wall, or sell it to someone 🙂

    Just curious, it’s a different view of the data, which sometime helps special people like me understand it.

    For instance…if I knew right now that State’s average opponents RPI was 121, then I could look at our future schedule and see that we have N games against teams that will improve our SoS and M games against teams that will degrade our SOS. A similar comparison could be done for other teams to see how we expect to fall out.

    That being said, none of it is really relevant, because we can’t affect the actual results (since we are not directly interacting with the game itself, I hope), but again, it helps special people like me understand the data.

  10. VaWolf82 01/04/2013 at 8:19 PM #

    For instance…if I knew right now that State’s average opponents RPI was 121, then I could look at our future schedule and see that we have N games against teams that will improve our SoS

    That’s not exactly accurate. SOS is a function of your opponents’ winning percentage and your opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. So I think that your approach would give an indication of how SOS will change, but not necessarily a completely accurate one.

    Here’s the lazy man’s approach (ie, the one that I use) to keeping up with SOS: Go here:


  11. Wulfpack 01/04/2013 at 10:09 PM #

    It is concerning that half of the conference does not have a shot in hell of making the Big Dance. Furthermore, Maryland is bubble material and FSU has a LOT of work to do. Looks like the ACC could only get four in.

    I like where we are. I think we will finish second in the league, which could very well give us a top 4 seed.

  12. wufpup76 01/05/2013 at 1:40 AM #

    Thanks for your work … Great stuff as usual.

  13. NOT A FAN OF BLUE 01/05/2013 at 7:05 AM #

    VaWolf82 for President

  14. fullmoon1 01/05/2013 at 9:32 AM #

    I feel smarter after reading a statistical breakdown by Vawolf. You made those stats your b****.

  15. JohnGalt78 01/05/2013 at 9:54 AM #

    We need a few columns for Hess tracking. I’m sure that will evolve in some form as the season moves forward. It will be interesting to see if he ever gets a PNC game. I’m not sure how I feel about that. We might rather all the games he calls “against” us be on our home court….maybe not. I’m not sure what gets this A-hole off more…..being the hero ( our away games) or the villain (our home games). Both, I guess, thus an A-hole.

  16. BJD95 01/05/2013 at 10:39 AM #

    VA is probably the only Republican I would vote for in a Presidential contest. But I totally would. Logic and common sense are more important than party affiliation!

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