Selection Sunday Post-Mortem

I wish that I caught the name of the Selection Committee chairmen that went on CBS to discuss the decision-making process and answer the standard group of critics. I thought he did a great job at shutting up the critics on CBS. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to his explanations.

The one thing that I got out of his discussion was looking at losses to teams ranked 200+. To be honest, I don’t know if this helps us predict the ACC teams or not. Any ACC team that is weak enough to lose to three truly horrible teams will normally get chewed up by the ACC schedule.

I looked up the Last Four In and First Four Out from Lundardi (ESPN) and Palm (CBS) and put them all into one table for our analysis and discussion, sorted by RPI:

I usually hide the names and play with our readers. But this year, I decided to rank the 12 teams and see what we see. I knew that some of the mid-major regular season winners would get in…but damned if could tell much difference from one to the next. Here was my ranking:

Michigan was guaranteed a spot using the NC State rule for at-large bids. Finish around 0.500 in conference and then bring in a big upset in the conference tournament. It’s worked for State at least three times and it worked for Big Blue this year.

In this motley collection of teams, Temple was near the top in Top 100 wins. Common sense says that has to be worth something.

I really didn’t want to rank Syracuse that high. We’ve been discussing them at work and I was convinced that they were screwed. But when you look at their competition on the bubble, there wasn’t that many to put above them.

GW was my big miss. I guess that I gave them too much credit for their Top 25 wins. I probably should have discounted their chances with their OOC schedule and overall SOS.

I wasn’t in love with either Tulsa or SC, but their Top 100 wins put them ahead of the stragglers.

Someone on CBS tried to push South Carolina over Vanderbilt, but look at SC’s OOC SOS and a grand total of two games against the Top-50. That resume will never get a Power 5 team an at-large bid.

With the last five teams, I couldn’t find anything to put one over the other. I loved the way the Committee chairmen shot down the whiners for St. Mary’s (Their only Top 50 wins came because their loss to Gonzaga in the conference tournament raised Gonzaga into the Top50).  But exactly why is Wichita St preferred over St. Mary’s?

Here’s how the Dance Card ranked our 12 teams (+ St Bonny):

I highlighted the misses that I found.   Check their website on Monday and they will identify them all.

Even if you understood and loved the Dance Card’s methodology, you would have to admit that there simply isn’t enough difference from St Mary’s through Vanderbilt to predict what any particular Selection Committee would decide.

I wish the Dance Card professors would explain their technique. I would really like to understand why St Bonny is rated so high and Tulsa so low. But all I have on their methodology is a list of parameters that was on their website the first time that I wrote about the Dance Card:

– RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) Rank
– Conference RPI Rank
– Number of wins against teams ranked from 1-25 in RPI
– Difference in number of wins and losses in the conference
– Difference in number of wins and losses against teams ranked 26-50 in RPI
– Difference in number of wins and losses against teams ranked 51-100 in RPI

They have removed this list and don’t really say anything about it anymore. Interestingly enough, they found that their “formula” works better with the old RPI formula than the current one that rates wins/losses based on where they are played (home/road/neutral). I’m not sure if their formula is the same as it was a decade ago or not. But it’s all we have for now.



I wish someone had asked the committee chairman about St Bonny. I hadn’t looked at their resume until writing this up. I would take them over Wichita St every time.

But frankly, no one on this list has a resume that is screaming out for inclusion in a tournament to crown a national champion. If we ignore Wichita St (and resist the temptation to attribute it to reputation), then it doesn’t look to me like the Committee did a horrible job this year.

If you see any interesting articles detailing the Bubble Selection or seeding, then be sure and quote the relevant points and include a link. It’s always good to keep what few tidbits we get from the Selection Committee together for our future discussions.

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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    I looked over KenPom’s ranking. I have to question anything that ranks Wichita St as #12 in the country.

    gso packbacker

    @ Cowdog – Actually, my Grandfather finished in mid 1920’s (basketball/football/baseball/track), but was inducted in 1973. I was only a wee lad, but I remember it was a really big deal (the game) as they played a South Carolina team coached by Frank McGuire that had Alex English and Mike Dunleavy on the roster.

    My Pops also did a “short tour” of Bonnies before they decided he might want to pursue other endeavors before returning and later decided to finish at Syracuse.

    They had more great stories than you could shake a stick at!


    I looked over KenPom’s ranking. I have to question anything that ranks Wichita St as #12 in the country.

    Wait ’til they knock off Zona, Thurs. 🙂

    @gso: Maybe, one day, I’ll spill the beans as to why Bob Lanier missed 8 minutes in a NCAAT game to have…A sneaker taped!!


    I looked over KenPom’s ranking. I have to question anything that ranks Wichita St as #12 in the country.

    Sigh. SFN, home of snark. Was it you that has blasted posters for cherry picking data in the past?

    To answer your question, my input on advanced metrics is to say I don’t know what other information the committee would use other than what I listed; well also ESPN BPI. Yes I “like” this data, but if someone were to inform me of other advanced metric data the committee may have used I may like that as well.

    Do with it what you want.

    john of sparta

    For Don Horton, who coached football at both North Carolina State University and Boston College, the need for a specific kind of adaptive shirt arose when he didn’t expect it. Following a NC State loss against Maryland, Don got trapped in the locker room— unable to button his shirt— until one of his players, Russell Wilson, now quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, helped him do so.


    It would be nice if the committee used some kind of transparent methodology… Of course, of they did that there would be no need to have a committee, no all-expense paid trips, and no back-room politicking.

    Good game tonight though and I am enjoying it.


    Watching Wichita state play is painful… Not because of how “ugly” they play – but only because it’s pretty darn obvious being good defensively is not about talent, but rather effort and emphasis.


    Vanderbilt may be as bad as any team I’ve seen play all year. Wichita looked as if it had no business in the tourney, and won by 20.


    Stallings is in that Sendek, Gottfried category… Decent coach, (coach being a combo of recruiting, teaching, gameplanning, managing personnel and scheduling) – but hasnt hung banners and isn’t going to unless something catastrophic / miraculous happens.


    There was never the slightest chance Wichita State wasn’t getting an at-large if they didn’t win the Missouri Valley tournament. They racked up 4-5 losses early in the year against quality competition, including several NCAA tournament teams, when their PG and reigning MVC conference POY played hurt, or didn’t play altogether. Take away close losses and they were essentially a 3 loss team in a pretty good league. They’re not as good as the teams with Cleanthony Early from a few years ago, but they’re a top 25 club

    As for Kenpom, as I understand it, it is not intended to be a predictive ranking. The ranking is intended to rate what the team would do against an average opponent.


    It would be nice if the committee used some kind of transparent methodology…

    I don’t know if they did it this year, but for several past years the NCAA hosted a mock selection committee for various media outlets. They illustrated their process and then had groups of media go through their own selection/seeding process…including confusion caused by upsets in conference tournaments.

    The talking heads refuse to learn the process, evidently preferring to make up their own rules so that they will have something to bitch about. But there are all kinds of people that do their own predictive brackets and do a fairly decent job at predicting which teams will get in. If complete outsiders can predict the results, then the selection process is not that opaque.

    However, I am curious about what “advanced” metrics they are using and under what circumstances these other metrics are used. While I poked fun at kenpom/wichita st; they were included for some reason and I am interested in learning that thought process.


    Yea – but that’s the thing… The conference tournaments shouldn’t create chaos – it’s just more games.

    Regarding the NCAA committee – is that open to the public?


    if the media had access, then I’m sure we would know about it.


    Sorry to bring this back up, but I wanted to leave a note where I would be sure to see it next year:

    Syracuse entered Selection Sunday losing 5 of 6, including their opening round game in the ACCT. Their selection supports previous statements made by the Selection Committee that all wins/losses are given equal weight, regardless of when they occur in the season.

    Several years ago, Iowa lost 6 of last 7 games and got in:

    And The Bubble Bursts…(major 3/18 update)

    Syracuse’s RPI from the NCAA doesn’t agree with either CBS or ESPN. (But since the NCAA doesn’t give daily updates, their “official” numbers come out too late to be useful to us.) I believe that SYR’s NCAA ranking of 71 sets a new record low for a power conference school….and supports the outer edges of the bubble region I use in the weekly RPI updates.


    Selection Committee seeding

    1. Kansas
    2. North Carolina
    3. Virginia
    4. Oregon
    5. Michigan St.
    6. Oklahoma
    7. Villanova
    8. Xavier
    9. West Virginia
    10. Miami (FL)
    11. Utah
    12. Texas A&M
    13. Duke
    14. California
    15. Kentucky
    16. Iowa St.
    17. Indiana
    18. Purdue
    19. Maryland
    20. Baylor
    21. Texas
    22. Notre Dame
    23. Arizona
    24. Seton Hall
    25. Wisconsin
    26. Dayton
    27. Iowa
    28. Oregon St.
    29. Texas Tech
    30. Colorado
    31. Southern California
    32. Saint Joseph’s
    33. Providence
    34. Butler
    35. Cincinnati
    36. UConn
    37. Pittsburgh
    38. Temple
    39. Syracuse
    40. VCU
    41. Vanderbilt
    42. Michigan
    43. Wichita St.
    44. Gonzaga
    45. Tulsa
    —————Last at-large bid
    46. UNI
    47. Chattanooga
    48. Little Rock
    49. Yale
    50. South Dakota St.
    51. UNCW
    52. Hawaii
    53. Stony Brook
    54. Iona
    55. Green Bay
    56. Buffalo
    57. Fresno St.
    58. Stephen F. Austin
    59. Middle Tenn.
    60. CSU Bakersfield
    61. UNC Asheville
    62. Weber St.
    63. Austin Peay
    64. Hampton
    65. FGCU
    66. Fairleigh Dickinson
    67. Southern U.
    68. Holy Cross

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