Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008 Mens Tourney

Well it is that time of the year again, the best three weeks of college Basketball is about to kick off. Today there are five tournaments looking to get the automatic bids while teams on the bubble sit around and root, root, root for teams that are already in the dance to win.

First up is the Southland and the ACC tournaments at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. Basically these are meaningless games as the winners won't cause any angst among the bubbleites (is that a word?). The Southland will only get one team in the dance and both UNC and Clemson are locks for the tournament which means they are only playing for their final seeding in Clemsons case and bragging rights (UNC is a mortal lock for a 1 seed).

Next up is the Big-12 tournament game at 3:00 p.m., with both of these teams (Texas and Kansas) also just playing for bragging rights and their final seeding. With the Tennessee loss yesterday (yeah boy!!! sooooie pig sooooie!!!) the winer of this game could become a #1 seed. Look for Kansas to win this game by 4+.

The last two championships though will have the VCU's of the world though reaching for the Maalox. At 3:30 the Big-10 and the SEC tip off and both have underdogs that can cause havoc in the brackets.

Wisconsin plays Illinois in the Big-10 and the fighting Illini are not a good team this year. With a 16-18 record an upset win here would leave a more worthy team looking in instead of putting on the dancing shoes. Wisconsin will be ready though so switch the tube to ESPN2 and watch the Georgia Bulldogs play the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is the upset special of the day as the Dogs can beat Arkansas (see 1/19/2008 for the last time these two teams met). Still, the hat is ready and the beer is cold, so I am ready for this game!!!!

Who will make the cut? Well, let us look at some RPI numbers and try to make a good guess for the teams.

TeamRPIW'sL'sBid
Memphis
3rd
32
1
Champ
UCLA
6th
29
3
Champ
Drake
10th
26
4
Champ
Butler
17th
29
3
Champ
Pittsburgh
19th
24
9
Champ
Kent St.
23rd
27
6
Champ
UNLV
26th
24
7
Champ
Davidson
36th
25
6
Champ
W. Ky.
41st
25
6
Champ
ORU
53rd
23
8
Champ
Temple
57th
20
12
Champ
George Mason
62nd
23
10
Champ
Cornell
66th
21
5
Champ
Siena
68th
22
10
Champ
Belmont
78th
24
8
Champ
Austin Peay
84th
24
10
Champ
Cal St. Fullerton
86th
22
8
Champ
American
89th
21
11
Champ
UMBC
90th
22
8
Champ
Portland St.
91st
21
9
Champ
Boise St.
92nd
23
8
Champ
San Diego
95th
20
13
Champ
Winthrop
109th
20
11
Champ
Mount St. Mary's
160th
18
14
Champ
Miss. Valley St.
237th
14
15
Champ
Coppin St.
246th
13
20
Champ

Just looking at RPI's there are fourteen teams that are presently in the dance would not be in this thing if we went by RPI alone to decide the contestants. Ah the beauty of March Madness!

So, who then is on the bubble? Well, lets take a gander at the top 50 (the Southland will also be above 65) RPI teams . (L means a Lock, A = Auto)

Tennessee(L), UNC(L), Memphis(A), Duke(L), Texas(L), UCLA(A), Georgetown(L), Kansas(L), Xavier(L), Drake(A), Vanderbilt(L), Louisville(L), Wisconsin(L), Michigan St.(L), Stanford(L), Indiana(L), Butler(A), Connecticut(L), Pittsburgh(A), Marquette(L), BYU(L), Clemson(L), Kent St.(A), Notre Dame(L), Oklahoma(L), UNLV(A), Washington St.(L), West Virginia(L), USC(L), Gonzaga(L), Arkansas(L), Miami (FL)(L), Dayton, Illinois State, Mississippi State(L), Davidson(A), Arizona(L), South Alabama, Saint Mary's(L), Texas A & M, Western Kentucky(A), St. Joseph's, Baylor(L), Massachusetts, Purdue(L), Ohio State, Kentucky(L), Mississippi, Creighton, and Kansas St.(L). (autos and L's make for 58).

Those are some big names in that top 50 and some surprising names in that mix (South Alabama, St. Joseph's just to name two of them). Will all of these teams make the dance? Not a chance. So let's look at some other criteria to decide the teams that will be leaping for joy!

TeamRPIW'sL's1-100
W
1-100
L
SOS
Creighton
49
20
10
4
7
71
Dayton
33
21
10
9
6
25
Illinois St.
34
23
9
5
5
65
U-Mass
44
21
10
6
7
66
Mississippi
48
21
10
7
4
70
Ohio St.
46
19
13
7
11
10
S. Alabama
38
24
6
4
3
120
St. Joseph's
42
21
11
8
7
51
Texas A & M
40
23
9
8
9
64

That is nine teams for only six spots, so actually this isn't too bad, I only have to get rid of 3 of the top 50 RPI teams. I think we can eliminate Creighton, U-Mass and Ohio State from these teams. So based on RPI we have our 65 teams but are we missing any?

Actually I think there are a couple of intriguing teams not in the top 50 of RPI that do merit some consideration. VCU with a 24-7 record and a 56 RPI ranking, New Mexico with a 24-8 record and a 59 RPI, and Utah State with a 23-10 record and a 70RPI.

Let us look at these teams with the same additional Criteria
TeamRPIW'sL's1-100
W
1-100
L
SOS
VCU
56
24
17
3
3
160
New Mexico
59
24
8
6
6
169
Utah St.
70
23
10
6
4
156

Well, they are all viable, based on the W/L record you could make a case for inserting them into the table above, but I think the SOS kills them. Still, I would not be surprised if one of these three make the tournament. Later I'll have a projected seeding chart.