ACC BB – Preseason Summary

Normally I kick back on New Year’s Day, watch football, and contemplate the meaning of life; which for the next several months is better known as the RPI Ranking. However, an ugly stomach bug killed any desire for blogging, and hence my late entry to start the basketball season.

In round numbers, the OOC games comprise roughly 40% of the regular season schedule. So while there is a lot of basketball left to play and there are plenty of questions left to answer, we do know a few things and it’s nice to summarize those things that we do know and highlight those things that are worth watching for as the season unfolds.

So let’s start with that most misunderstood and maligned calculation of all time – the Rating Percentage Index and more importantly, the RPI RANKING.

Random Observations

Top 50 wins are highlighted because of their importance in picking through the Bubble region for the last teams to make the NCAAT.

For new readers we use RPI rankings 1-40 as “IN” and 41-75 as “Bubble”. As the season winds down, the ACC results will also be considered because the Selection Committee has shown their disdain for teams that finish below 0.500 in conference play.

It’s quite a bizzaro universe when FSU and Clemson lead the ACC in Top-50 wins.

11 of 15 ACC teams in the RPI Top 40 have to be a record (at least for the ACC). While there might be enough wins for this many teams to keep a high RPI ranking, I’m not going to hold my breath.

NC State and WF are my picks as the first two teams who have had high rankings throughout December to stumble downward. (Obviously a VT loss in Raleigh on Wed would likely drop them back to the Bubble.) Neither State nor WF has a top 50 win and State has looked bad in every game against decent competition.

One nice thing about waiting to do the first entry is that Saturday’s results moved ND (road win at Pitt) and VT (shellacking of Duke) from the Bubble to IN.

At first glance, it would seem to be surprising that UNC has the 40th ranked OOC SOS while playing only one Top-50 team (Kentucky). However, this falls perfectly in line with what we’ve been saying for years: You don’t have to play the best OOC teams to improve your SOS. Just eliminate the real dogs from your schedule. For reference, UNC only played three OOC teams ranked 150+.

Clemson has dramatically improved their OOC SOS for the first time in a while.  VT and Miami have questionable OOC SOS which we will keep an eye on as the season unfolds (if their results warrant).

State’s OOC SOS seems high for the lackluster group of teams played. But it is what it is. However, the OOC SOS can be prone to huge swings between now and Selection Sunday:

 

During the Sendek and Lowe years, I used to start the season with a diatribe on the stupidity of scheduling a weak OOC schedule. But that hasn’t been an issue with Gott:

I restarted the averages after Gott was hired. While that’s not necessarily fair to anyone else, who cares? Here’s what we used to see:

I just realized that I haven’t heard recently from all of those State fans who used to claim that OOC SOS was just a matter of luck. Oh well, I can’t say that they’re missed.

NC STATE ACC SCHEDULE ANALYSIS

Chronologically, here’s State’s Schedule:

Notes:

I hate Monday games so I highlighted State’s only one.

State’s mid-season break is shown with the gap between Louisville and Duke.

State starts the year with three of four on the road. Not a great schedule for a team with so many new pieces. Just to be fair(?), State also ends the year with two of three on the road. All in all, not a good split.

State has three sets of back-to-back road games. But in each instance, one of the road games is in NC, so not a horrible setup. The toughest set of back-to-back road games is probably Louisville/Duke so it’s nice to have State’s break show up between those two games.

Ending the year with Clemson…..really?

I hope that most people know that State plays UNC and WF twice each year. This year’s two other home/home opponents are GT and Miami. Which is a nice segue into the next breakdown of State’s schedule:

ACC SCHEDULE DIFFICULTY

 

For the last several years, I’ve ranked the ACC schedules based on the four home/away opponents of each team. It’s not a perfect system, but it doesn’t suck either. For my money, it looks like State’s schedule difficulty will hinge on how good/bad WF and Miami turn out to be.

In general, your best chance at an upset would come if you play your toughest opponents at home. But based on today’s info, State doesn’t look to have a good split between the Home and Away opponents.

 

SUMMARY ON NC STATE

State didn’t have many chances to notch a note-worthy win in the OOC schedule and certainly didn’t get one. (St Joe’s at #60 is State’s best win to date). On the other hand, State didn’t dig any holes since they had a decent OOC schedule (based on RPI – not watchability) and no embarrassing losses. So as normal, State’s chances of getting an at-large bid are all tied to the conference results.

I read back through several years’ worth of my opening basketball entries and found a comment that I found interesting (name withheld to protect the guilty):

Most long time Pack supporters such as myself will tell you they share a similar “hopeful” feeling at the start of every season. But, by season’s end, we collectively are reminded that, in fact, hope is indeed a bitch.

Hopefully, this will turn out to be just my normal pessimism. But I always say that the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is experience. So I’ll need to see some of the wild optimism on message boards turn into impressive performances on the court before I change my mind. The team that got hammered by Creighton, Illinois, and Miami will not make the NCAAT. Let’s hope that the horrible version of the Pack gets replaced soon.

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

16-17 Basketball ACC Teams Stat of the Day

Home Forums ACC BB – Preseason Summary

This topic contains 52 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  McCallum 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #113522

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Normally I kick back on New Year’s Day, watch football, and contemplate the meaning of life; which for the next several months is better known as the
    [See the full post at: ACC BB – Preseason Summary]

    #113523

    Rick
    Keymaster

    Va,
    Good stuff as always. I am guessing the post was from BJD.

    #113524

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Not a bad guess, but no. But I’m not sure that BJD ever has a “hopeful feeling”. 😉

    #113525

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Forgot to include the ACC schedule for the next week. Hopefully, this link will give you the whole she-bang.

    http://raycomsports.com/sports_labs_docs/m-baskbl/2016-17_m-baskbl_schedule.pdf?utm_source=all&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=mbb&utm_content=schedule

    #113527

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    When I do, it will probably just be the beginnings of a stroke.

    #113529

    TheAliasTroll
    Participant

    Great read. Yes, this year has been a waiting waiting waiting period to see when we turn that proverbial corner. It seemed inevitable that would happen earlier in the season but here we are in conference play getting blowed out (as Emmitt Smith might say).

    If they are going to turn that corner we better do it sooner rather than later. The ACC looks to be tough this year.

    #113530

    Tau837
    Participant

    I haven’t been prompted to log in to the site to make a comment in quite some time, but I had to do it to praise this post.

    I can see 11 conference wins out of this schedule. 9 wins or fewer would be a disappointment. Looking forward to watching it play out. Hopefully I won’t regret saying that…

    #113531

    choppack1
    Participant

    VA Wolf – I am tempted to say you’re unduly pessimistic in this case since we have a head coach who has made the NCAA tournament 4 of his 5 years.

    However, we also have a coach who had a similar period of consistency at his last stop only fall off the wagon.

    The question from his previous stint is really 2 fold:

    Did he fall off the success wagon because a) he pursued other interests and / or was running his program in a way that made it susceptible to falling off or b) does he just lose interest focus after reaching a certain level and/ or is he doomed for a similar arc here in Raleigh.

    If you believe in (A) – then you should be optimistic. If you believe in (B) – you shouldn’t.

    Nor could anyone blame a state fan for fatalism. Iforgot who said “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of American people.” But a similar phrase applies to NC State: no one ever looks like an idiot predicting mediocrity for the Pack **since V was fired.

    #113532

    ryebread
    Participant

    VaWolf: I always love your work. It is one of the main reasons that I keep coming back to this site. Nice job.

    The ACC is strong and that cuts both ways. On the positive, losses probably won’t hurt the RPI too much, so we can get a lot of teams in. On the negative side, there are a lot of potential losses and then teams don’t look that good against “the eye test.”

    With the talent on the roster, we SHOULD be able to go about 13-5 or even 14-4 and secure one of the top 4 spots. There’s 6-7 coaches in the league that could do that with our roster.

    The reality is we have Gott coaching, will start slow and are already 0-1 in conference after laying an egg. Anything that is 9-9 (or worse) should have heavy scrutiny on Gott. We need to grow up fast.

    #113537

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    VA Wolf – I am tempted to say you’re unduly pessimistic in this case since we have a head coach who has made the NCAA tournament 4 of his 5 years.

    Maybe. I would have agreed with your reasoning before the season started. But I’m not sure that Gott’s previous records have much impact when making projections on this season once we have some hard data. Specifically, State has looked like crap in all of their losses. IIUC, Pomeroy is projecting State to have a losing ACC record (which wouldn’t surprise me).

    Maybe Gott will find a magic switch to flip. If not then given the strength of the ACC, this season is going to get ugly. But I’ll change my mind when the facts change….and certainly not before.

    (I’ve never really liked that quote. “Facts” don’t change, you just get new ones.)

    #113538

    TheAliasTroll
    Participant

    Va, if you had to assign a percentage to us NOT making the tourney what would you put it at?

    My off the cuff guess is that it’s a coin flip at this point in time.

    If we miss the tourney this season Gott’s seat will certainly start to flare up a bit.

    #113539

    Tau837
    Participant

    Pomeroy is projecting State to have a losing ACC record (which wouldn’t surprise me).

    I am not intimately familiar with Pomeroy, but I assume his projections do not account for improvement over the course of the season. To put it another way, I suspect that at this point in the season, Pomeroy has probably projected us with a worse ACC record than we ended up with in every season except possibly 2012-13. Can anyone check this?

    I know “young team” is a tired excuse around here. But Gott’s teams at State have pretty consistently improved over the course of the season, and this year he is using a rotation that includes 6 players who now have a total of 1 game each of ACC conference play experience (DSJ, Dorn, Henderson, Yurt, Kapita, Johnson). I expect at least as much improvement over the course of this season as we have seen in the past, which suggests to me that Pomeroy is likely underprojecting our ACC record.

    #113540

    Rick
    Keymaster

    Tonight is pretty much a must win (at least as close as you can come to one this early in the season). I doubt we beat UNC if we are 0-2 so 0-3 would be a disastrous start.

    #113541

    wolfpack92owen
    Participant

    Va, if you had to assign a percentage to us NOT making the tourney what would you put it at?

    My off the cuff guess is that it’s a coin flip at this point in time.

    If we miss the tourney this season Gott’s seat will certainly start to flare up a bit.

    A bit?

    If he whiffs this year then thats a wrap. He should be fired even with his insane contract. I think if he just goes in on the bubble then his seat should get warm.

    But who are we kidding Yow isnt going to fire him under any circumstance.

    #113542

    ryebread
    Participant

    A bit?

    If he whiffs this year then thats a wrap. He should be fired even with his insane contract. I think if he just goes in on the bubble then his seat should get warm.

    But who are we kidding Yow isnt going to fire him under any circumstance.

    I tend to agree with you on this. Flare up? Have people forgotten mulligan #1 (year 2 where we started #6, backed into the tournament and lost an 8/9 game)? Have they forgotten that we had one of the best players to lace it up for the red and white in 30 years (TJW), and lost a last 4 in play in game? Have they forgotten last season and the offseason?

    Do they not understand that DSJ is a one and done, and this roster will only be around for one season? The time is now for Gott. I don’t think the roster is getting any better for him. If Gott misses the tournament with this roster, he should be gone and Yow with him if she tries to stop it.

    The reality is that he won’t miss the tournament, but he’s seemingly trending towards underachieving relative to the talent on the roster. When that happens, Yow will do nothing as Gott is her man.

    If I were Randy though and Gott underachieves, I would probably be asking for Yow’s early retirement. She’ll have done about what she realistically can at NC State. Almost every measurable element has improved under her watch. It’s time to pass off to a successor to try to take “good to great” in the revenue sports. Bring someone in and let them “assess” Gott and DD on the final year(s) of their contract. I’d directly link athletics to the goal of raising the overall endowment as part of a new AD’s metric of success.

    #113543

    choppack1
    Participant

    Tau – that’s a good question and where I would go. What would our kenpom ranking be over the last 4 or 5 or something. Still, without knowing where kenpom had us at similar points the other 4 years, it’s hard to say whether or not VA Wolf is being pessimistic or simply realistic.

    This VA Tech game is critical. If we can get buy this team, we will be “on track”. Lose, and simply making the tournament becomes an uphill slog. (Looking at our schedule and our results thus far against solid competition, one might rightly conclude that already.

    Of course, the one factor slightly in our favour is that we haven’t had one of these games at home yet. So, it can be said that the data set is somewhat lacking in terms of what this team will do over the next 17 games where they need to win 9 of them since 9 of those games will be at home.

    #113544

    choppack1
    Participant

    Rye – correction for you on TJ’s season. We won the NCAA play-in game, but lost in the round of 64 when we forgot how to shoot foul shots vs. SLU (A meltdown rivaling the Vandy meltdown in 2004).

    #113545

    Rick
    Keymaster

    chop,
    Great point about being at home. That can really help a floundering team.

    #113547

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Va, if you had to assign a percentage to us NOT making the tourney what would you put it at?

    Interesting question….I wish I had an interesting answer.

    I frequently make fun of Lunardi and his endless brackets, but that approach has one useful aspect. You don’t have to consider a team until they’ve done enough to warrant thought. Here are two bracket projections:

    Lunardi: (10 ACC teams)
    Louisville, Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Clemson, Miami

    Palm: (8 ACC teams)
    Projected Champion: Louisville
    At-large bids: Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

    (Differences highlighted)

    Yea….I didn’t see State mentioned either.

    The approach many take seems to make a subjective evaluation of “talent” and then pull projected results out of thin air. I completely reject this approach. The results on the court mean something, while “talent” evaluators’ opinions frequently do not.

    Anyway….back to the original question. I put State’s chances of making the NCAAT at less than 50/50. I hate to be so pessimistic after just one ACC game, but I haven’t seen anything to be optimistic about.

    Let’s put this another way, you generally want to go 10-8 with a couple of Top50 wins to secure a bid before the ACCT. Where do you think State can accumulate those wins?

    #113549

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    it’s hard to say whether or not VA Wolf is being pessimistic or simply realistic.

    There’s not really any doubt that I’m being pessimistic. Only time will tell whether it is realistic or not.

    Here’s an article I did on Digging Yourself Out of a Hole. While State isn’t exactly in a hole (yet), we may want to consult these examples later.

    http://www.statefansnation.com/2010/01/how-to-get-out-of-a-hole/

    (Sorry for the formatting issues. Shit happens when you go through as many server changes as SFN has been through.)

    #113550

    JeremyH
    Participant

    This VA Tech game is critical. If we can get buy this team, we will be “on track”. Lose, and simply making the tournament becomes an uphill slog. (Looking at our schedule and our results thus far against solid competition, one might rightly conclude that already.

    100% agree, choppack. These games at home against teams that are round about our RPI or where we think we should be are crucial. Got to protect home court, especially with how this team reacts to the road thus far. Home is also where the role players tend to shine and makes the difference when the teams are about even. And we have a separate team worth of role players.

    #113685

    bill.onthebeach
    Participant

    Top Nine after two Conference games each…

    This…

    ACC Standings
    TEAM CONF OVERALL
    Florida State 2-0 14-1
    Notre Dame 2-0 13-2
    Duke 1-1 13-2
    Virginia Tech 1-1 12-2
    North Carolina 1-1 13-3
    NC State 1-1 12-3
    Pittsburgh 1-1 12-3
    Clemson 1-1 11-3
    Miami 1-1 11-3

    Some Crazy sh#t….

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
    #113703

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Va, if you had to assign a percentage to us NOT making the tourney what would you put it at?

    Found a new site today that supposes it has the answer to your question. It appears to be updated after last night’s game:

    https://www.teamrankings.com/ncaa-basketball/team/nc-state-wolfpack/bracketology

    I don’t know anything about this site, but at least someone has attempted to make a projection.

    #113704

    TheAliasTroll
    Participant

    Thanks for shaaring! 67% chance of whiffing even after yesterdays game. Yikes!

    #113719

    Fastback68
    Participant

    Was just googling acc standings. Then saw BOTB post. Yes very crazy. Only 2 undefeated teams out of 15 just 2 games in.

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