Bubble Review

Normally, one of my favorite entries to prepare is the post-mortem on Selection Sunday. I get to make fun of the idiots behind the desks and poke holes in their weak attempts at championing some miserable “left-behind”. It’s also fun to look over the resumes and work out which items must have been most important to the Selection Committee. I’ve especially enjoyed pulling the bottom teams in the field and the top ones left out and going through their resumes with the team names removed.

But not this year.

There are a number of head-scratchers this year that I simply cannot justify…and it’s not even close. Last year, State was the “big” surprise, but we were able to see that the last few bids were basically a “crap-shoot”. But this year, I can’t defend a number of decisions made by the Selection Committee.

Sunday morning I rounded up Palm and Lunardi’s last four in and first four out and compiled their resumes. Then as the selections were announced, I added one more team to the list. So here is a table summarizing the items we normally consider as most important.

In no particular order, here are the things that stand out to me:

1) Once again we see that there is little/no value in discussing “bad losses”. If there were, then evaluating LSU’s two Top-25 wins along with five losses to 100+ teams (with two of those coming against 200+ teams) would be virtually impossible.

2) Once again, Miami proves that “20 wins” means nothing and that a winning ACC record means nothing. Lest anyone forget, that winning ACC record came against the easiest conference schedule this year and thus isn’t even worthy of serious discussion. Watching their performance down the stretch, it would have been an easy pick for me to leave them out.

3) How Texas A&M worked their way up to “First Four Out” on anyone’s list is a mystery to me. Their resume is far short of what we frequently saw during the days of the Herbble. Any team that falls short of that low standard doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned on Selection Sunday.

4) As much as it pains me to agree with Gottlieb on anything, he instantly nailed the insanity of not only selecting UCLA, but seeding them above the Last Four In. Their overall SOS is good, but their performance against that schedule is nothing extraordinary.

5) Other than liking the head coach, I can’t find any justification for selecting Dayton in any year and certainly not this year.

6) For me, Indiana is an easy pick but LSU is not. I’ve never paid much attention to wins against RPI #51-100, but LSU’s seeding suggests that we should.

7) It’s clear that the Socialists put two borderline mid-majors in along with the undeserving Dayton. How the Politburo included those teams and left out Temple is a complete mystery to me.

8) For my money, Temple is the only team with a clear, legitimate gripe at being left out. They played a good OOC schedule and ended up with a total SOS that is respectable along with decent results. Temple clearly has a better resume than either UCLA or Dayton and is virtually equivalent to BYU.

9) LOL at Davis whining about the “inherent advantage” of playing in a major conference. If ODU can play a meaningful OOC schedule, then there is no reason for me to think that other mid-majors couldn’t do the same.



I’m rarely tempted to take up the case for a mid-major, but Temple is going to be the exception. Substitute in Temple for any of at least three other teams and it would be easy to defend the other selections with something like “they had to pick someone”. But there is simply no excuse for excluding Temple.

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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    Normally, one of my favorite entries to prepare is the post-mortem on Selection Sunday. I get to make fun of the idiots behind the desks and poke holes in their weak attempts…
    [See the full post at: Bubble Review]


    Flawless, as always. Have to agree that Temple may have the first legitimate gripe I’ve seen in some time.


    Thanks for this.

    I hadn’t had time to look at resumes yet, blind or otherwise, but I had a feeling Temple got the biggest hosing.

    Also didn’t realize UCLA’s SOS was that high. But still…they still seem to fall short in the “…who did you beat?” side of that equation. Headscratcher.

    Oh well…watch them get hot now and plow thru to S16 or better.


    Oh well…watch them get hot now and plow thru to S16 or better.

    I was going to suggest the same. Still doesn’t mean they deserved to be there.


    I don’t really have any problem with anyone left out, I have a huge problem w/ UCLA being in however. Horrible, awful, no good, terri-bad inclusion. Completely f***tarded.

    Take Tulsa and Texas A&M out of Va’s listed table, and I would’ve taken every other team there ahead of UCLA. Their inclusion is mind-blowing to me. The pick quite literally shits in the face of “body of work” – there was no “work” done by UCLA this season. They really got in by benefit of playing against UK and losing by 400 to them, and by beating a ‘meh’ Oregon team that had it’s numbers go on a meteoric rise over the last 3 weeks? Really committee? Really?

    “But they played Arizona pretty well for 30 minutes!!!”. This is your ‘eye test’? Double-triple-mega Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    But this year, I can’t defend a number of decisions made by the Selection Committee.”

    Ding, ding, ding. Some of the seedings are just ‘I can’t even’.

    Anyway, I’d note that just b/c you may stump for the mid-majors once in while doesn’t make you a Socialist. Despite my avatar and that I take up for the ‘mids’ of the world, I’m about as far from a Socialist as one can be 🙂 . I agree with you on Temple.


    Dance Card had 3 misses this year. Look how far out Temple and UCLA are:


    LOL…Dance Card likes Dayton a lot more than UCLA


    Lunardi had just two misses (UCLA and Indiana). He had Temple and Colorado State in. That’s pretty darn good. Seems to becoming a science, and then the committee pulls an UCLA.


    Here’s what to remember about college sports:

    They could make the process transparent, predictable and subjective. That they choose not to tells you everything you need to know about them, their motives and their outlook.

    Alpha Wolf

    ^ Chop hits the nail on the head here. The secretive nature of the Selection Committee, coupled with some relatively inexplicable decisions through the years, all adds up to political back-room deal making to me. They are relying on everything being forgotten by mid-afternoon on Thursday, but the kids and coaches from Temple won’t soon forget being snubbed illogically.


    The Dance Card wouldn’t be possible if the Committees weren’t relatively consistent. But the UCLA/Temple decisions show that there are still (irrational) people involved. I see no reason for long diatribes when you are forced to choose between nearly identical resumes. But this year’s decisions suggest that there needs to be better error-trapping techniques employed.

    At work, we use an independent design review process for new projects. The bigger the project, the longer the review. With almost every game of importance being completed before Sunday, the Selection Committee has plenty of time for an independent review to highlight the head-scratchers for further reflection.


    Shoot! I completely forgot to discuss ND’s and UNC’s seeding. I even had a title for that section and didn’t include it:

    Just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.

    The UNC/ND ACCT final was the worst possible combination for me because of my hatred for both teams and the fact that analyzing their seeds could be confounded by their [unexpected] ACCT performance.

    I’ll have to look up their stats and come back to this tomorrow.



    Did you mean “objective”?


    I liked Dayton. I watched them play a couple of times and thought they looked solid. Their RPI got them in. The committee values that number. If anything, they probably deserved higher than LFI.

    UCLA only got in because they’re UCLA (tv ratings, $$$) and due to some pressure I’m sure from the Pac 12. Stanford’s AD is on the committee and BYU’s AD was as well. Granted, BYU has no Pac 12 affiliation, but you have to think that they think more highly of West Coast basketball than the average poster. Still, for them to get in and not as a LFI is nothing short of head scratching.

    Temple seemingly got hosed. They were 8-8 against the top 100 and had a tougher OOC SOS than UCLA.

    State better watch out for LSU. That’s the classic trap game for us if we’re looking ahead to Nova.


    Temple was hosed. They absolutely destroyed Kansas earlier in the season.


    More on UCLA – historically bad selection. This is not a ‘wah wah’ nit-picky conclusion … it’s one of the worst inclusions of all-time.

    Jerry Palm

    This year, that team was UCLA, which has yet to beat a tournament team in a true road game. They were awful away from Pauley Pavilion this year, going 4-12 overall. Two of those wins were against USC. The others were at Stanford and a neutral court win against UAB. I went back over my 21 years of data and could not find a poorer team off their home floor that got an at-large bid. The committee has a history of rewarding teams that can beat tournament quality teams away from home. The Bruins fail that test.

    Even UCLA’s home wins weren’t that great. They beat Utah and Oregon for their only top 50 wins. The Bruins were 2-8 against the top 50, and had three bad conference losses at Arizona State, Oregon State and Colorado.

    Espn (more of emotional-based whining article rather than anything truly substantive)

    Selection committee chairman Scott Barnes called the UCLA pick “one of the tougher decisions we had to make.” But he defended putting the Bruins (20-13) in the bracket despite an RPI of 48, which is 18 spots lower than Colorado State.

    “We felt they were gaining steam,” Barnes said. “They did have a good strength of schedule. They were playing better against tough competition. An example is the last game against Arizona [a 70-64 loss in the Pac-12 semifinals]. I think the eye test was also a plus in putting them in the field.

    ^Notice he didn’t say anything about actually effing ‘winning’ against tough competition. Feels > reals. Disgusting.


    No way UCLA should be in and Temple should be. Other than that hard to argue about selection of field. Someone stated UCLA for TV, hell they do not even come close to filling up their own arena. If there are no deals being made behind close doors then why do they not have a camera in the room showing the committee?


    I don’t think that we learned much about the seeding process based on ND and UNC. In general, Palm has said in the past that about 75% of the teams are seeded within one spot of what you would predict based solely on RPI.

    ND, RPI = 16; Seed = 3, One spot higher
    UNC, RPI = 11, Seed = 4, One spot lower

    UNC’s seeding supports an observation from several years ago that second place in the ACCT isn’t worth much for seeding purposes. Of course, when you are dealing with the Top 16 teams in the country, there simply isn’t much room to move up because most of those teams are going to do well in their conference tourney.

    The seeding might have been more interesting if either team had lost in the semi’s. Oh well, wait ’til next year.


    I don’t know why Palm is arguing for Col St. Temple has them beat on virtually every item I listed.

    Note that Temple is 9 spots above the burst line on the Dance Card and UCLA is about 10 spots below. The Dance Card’s other two misses are nothing to get worked up over…last two in (Miami, Col St) versus first two out (Dayton, Boise St). The differences among those four teams are very small


    Here’s what Jay Coleman, one of the architects of “Dance Card” tweeted last evening:


    Looked at bracket matrix and there about 132 brackets that they assess. I think 14 of them had UCLA. 85% of the brackets didn’t have UCLA in.


    I think 110+ had temple in (bit thats from memory.)

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