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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:35 am 
The NCAA tinkered with the RPI over the summer, penalizing teams for home losses & giving bonus points for road wins. The result is that there are some strange names with high rankings in the RPI - which could mean some unusual names getting picked for the tournament & some odd seeds.

Based on the latest RPI, the MAC would get 4 teams in the tournament - as many as CUSA & the Pac Ten. Included would be Miami (O), Akron, Kent State, & SUNY Buffalo. The Missouri Valley Conference would get 3 - Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, & Wichita State. The West Coast would get St. Mary's in addition to Gonzaga. The Big West would get Nevada in addition to Pacific.

Gonzaga would get a #3 seed.
Southern Illinois would get a #4 seed.
Utah would get a #5 seed.
Miami (O) would get a #6 seed.
Pacific would get a #7 seed.
Northern Iowa would get a #8 seed.

Theoretically this means that all of the above would be favored in the first round. It also sets up potential second round match-ups of Gonzaga-Miami (O) & Southern Illinois-Utah, with the winners going to the Sweet Sixteen. While these are all programs that have had their moments in past tournaments, they did so via upsets, not because seedings made them favorites in the first two rounds.

I don't think that this will happen, but it shows that the selection committee has its work cut out for them. If they honor the priorities set up by the revisions, some teams that are not household names will have an inside track early in the tournament.

At the other end of the seeding process, there will be some interesting problems at the top of the brackets. North Carolina & Duke would be #2 seeds, using the latest RPI. They are arguably 2 of the top 3 teams in the country. If either of them is placed in the same bracket with Illinois, that would be one heck of a regional final! Kentucky is in line for a #3 seed & they are arguably one of the top 6 teams. Paired against Duke or Carolina, the loser would then be shut out of the Elite 8.

The potential wild card in the tournament could be Louisville, based on current RPIs. Although they are probably a top 8 team, they are currently in line for a #6 seed. I'd hate to be the #3 seed that gets matched up against Louisville in the second round! :o

To a lesser extent, Michigan State, probably a top 10 caliber team, could sink to a #5 seed, making a miserable day for some #4 seed in the second round.

Potential first round nightmares could be Florida (#10 seed) & Pitt (#12 seed). How would you like to meet either of them in the first round if you are a #7 or #5 seed. Northern Iowa & Old Dominion could be seeded ahead of Florida & Akron, St. Mary's, Kent State, Holy Cross, & SUNY Buffalo could all be seeded ahead of Pitt! :P Until their upset at BC Monday night, Pitt was in danger of not even making the tournament, based on the RPI.

Of couse, much will change after the conference tournaments. But nonetheless, it promises to be an interesting Selection Sunday. Look for Billy Packer to go even more wild than usual. >:( It promises to be an even more interesting tournament. 8-)

P.S. - Gunnerfan, Georgia Tech is positioned to make the tournament & get a #9 seed. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:02 am 
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Even without pulling a homer I wouldn't be surprised to see GT not make the dance. But it would seem ludicrous, of course, if the ACC did not get 4 teams in. Even in admitting the conference is not the best in the country right now, it is clearly deep enough that you cannot just take the top 3, even if #4 has a 7-9 record. I just wouldn't buy it. No way, no how.

And I just read Grant Wahl's article on SI.com criticizing how the changes to the RPI went too far. I tend to agree with him: They don't need to revert back to the old formula, but move somewhat back in that direction. Your potential seedings above point out the errors of the new formula. Hopefully the selection committee will realize their not supposed to be placing Miami (O) on even terms with Louisville.

Side note 1: I've always wondered why some times the "last teams in" can be seeded as high as #8. I realize some automatic berths from poor conferences might actually deserve the bottom seedings, but shouldn't a final at-large team be punished somehow for not making a clearer case? Or is the notion that their second round match-up with the 1-seed would be the punishment? It just seems funny to me that team A would be listed the last team selected and yet they could be given an easier first round match-up than if placed in a 10-12 seed. Maybe it's just me!

Side note 2: I'm dreading the upcoming game against Clemson. We'd better win convincingly or else the ACC tounament would harbor no love for this group.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:21 am 
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Gunner, right now, your Yellow Jackets have an RPI rank of #34 & Maryland has an RPI rank of #39. Their schedules are ranked #18 & #7 respectively (based on RPI ratings). Given that OOC games are done, teams are just trading RPI points within the conference. Therefore, I see the ACC getting at least 5 teams into the tournament.

I have a hard time imagining Clemson beating Tech in Atlanta. I think that's an 8-9 point win for your guys. 8-)

Re results of changes in the RPI, there's something wrong when Gonzaga & Southen Illinois could be just an upset away from a spot in the Elite 8. While I have rooted for both of these schools at times in tounaments past, they should have to earn their way to the Sweet Sixteen or Elite 8 with upsets given the schedules they play - & more power to them if they do. They should not have the skids greased for them to get there easily. ::)

Re your other side point, it's a mystery to me, too. ::)


Last edited by friarfan on Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:46 pm 
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Location: Dothan, AL for the time being.

Quote:
The NCAA tinkered with the RPI over the summer, penalizing teams for home losses & giving bonus points for road wins. The result is that there are some strange names with high rankings in the RPI - which could mean some unusual names getting picked for the tournament & some odd seeds.

Sounds very interesting Friarfan. I'll have to watch more March Madness this year. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:42 pm 
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Hey, Gunner, the Yellow Jackets came through for you. Clemson made them work for it, but nice way to end the regular season! :)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:11 pm 
Thank you, good Friar. I think Tech is a dance lock, now, and hope that a first round W against VT might take us off the 8-9 seed everyone has us slated for. Many of us Jacket fans would love to play Kentucky, however: We're upset local prodigy Randolph Morris spurned us for the Cats - He'd fit in perfectly in replacing Schensher in the middle. As well...

Clemson is playing really good ball right now. Had they done this earlier in the season they'd be NIT locks and at least warrant bubble talk. Coach Purnell is a great guy though and I seriously hope they can contribute to the depth of the larger league. The school has included a Final Four under their wish list for sports accomplishments tied to their current fund raising drive, though I'm sure we all know that's packaging material. You'd like them, though: Built very much like a BE team. Pitt-lite, you could say.

I see the Providence squad is poised to play bubble-buster for some BE teams in the tournament. Another squad with a late season surge, and another player coming off injury to boot, no? Should be fun. I just wish Cuse and Pitt appeared more ready to challenge UConn for the tourney title, as the Huskies are peaking at the right time. Again.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:06 pm 
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Thanks for the insights into the ACC, Gunner. Sounds like Clemson is going about it the right way. You've got to set your goals high or you'll never accomplish anything. I'll never forget Rick Pitino, as the new coach, coming into Providence off a losing season & talking national championship. People bought into it He & the team were the darlings of the city. Within 2 years he had them in the Final Four, led by a guy who had been a disappointing bench player the two years before Rick arrived - Billy donovan. Same thing with Lombardi coming into Green Bay. Guys from the Packers who are in the HOF now were considered no talent bums. Same thing with Belichick coming into New England & turning average guys into defensive monsters.

You really put your finger on what's happening in the Big East. Providence is an underrated team with the best player in the conference, Ryan Gomes. When they were losing all their games in the first half of the conference season, all of those losses were by 2, 3, 4 points. I expect them to catch some teams by surprise in the big East Tournament. I think that they'll beat West Virginia in the first round. After that, you never know. If they win that game, they'll play BC, a team they lost to by only about 3 points in January.

UConn will win the Big East. It has all come together for them in the past month. This is a young tema that starts 3 sophomores - one of whom missed half of his freshman year - and a freshman. You'll hear about Charlie Villanueva, who is playing very well & who has learned how to play with his back to the basket rather than stand outside & take jump shots. Rudy Gay is a phenomenal talent, who will probably be the conference Rookie of the Year. But the guy to watch, the guy who makes this team go is sophomore point guard, Marcus Williams - virtually a big East rookie. This is one special player. One of the best pure point guard I have ever seen. A phenomenal passer & penetrator, who can also hit the 3. He is a joy to watch.

I expect UConn to get to the Sweet Sixteen & to lose there because of their youth. I think that they are still a year away from fully reaching their potential. But they have the potential for an upset or 2 & could make it to the Elite 8 or beyond. Even without Okafor, this is a more talented team than last year's national champs - younger & not yet as good, but more raw talent & athleticism.

My early picks for the Final four:

North Carolina
Illinois
Duke
Wake Forest

Elite 8:

Oklahoma State
Kentucky
Washington
Kansas

Could Pull an Upset:

Michigan State
UConn
Louisville

Mid-Majors to Watch:

Utah
Pacific
Gonzaga


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:09 pm 
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Without having the actual brackets yet I'd place Oklahoma in the Final Four instead of Duke. The Blue Devils, for all their talent, are a very thin team. I'm counting on some non-ACC officials and a team with a strong inside game to turn the tables on the Bluse Devils. Ironically, Oklahoma could be that team.

You really think this year's UConn is more talented? That's a pretty strong statement. I remember watching Villenueva and Boone lst year and thinking they benefitted heavily from Okafor's presence and leadership, and suspect their efforts to come into their own contributed to the early season struggles. They're solid, but IMO they have a looooong way to go before measuring up to the legacy of BE big men. Either way UConn is solid as a team. I like Rudy Gay, too, and expect big things from him.

Illinois and UNC are my Final Four locks, otherwise I'm waiting to see who's placed where before finishing my bracket. Of the teams you listed Kentucky and Utah are the only ones I'd be really surprised to see in the Final Four. The talk of the wildcats being the weakest SEC champ ever may prove correct: They've yet to really impress me over the course of a whole game. Utah also reeks of a thin squad benefitting from a supremely talented player and a meek schedule. If they plow through the MWC tournament and dominate their first opponent in the dance, then I'll be sold.

I'm expecting this year's Cinderella to come from the MAC, in part because I don't think any of the CUSA teams that will make it would qualifiy as unheard-of underdogs. The MAC, meanwhile, has several sides that spent the season beating up on each other. Ultimately the survivor could be a truly battle tested team ready to show their worth. Even Buffalo!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:12 am 
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/luke_winn/03/12/rpi.blunder/index.html


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:17 pm 
Final Four Prediction:

(at Syracuse) Florida
(at Chicago) Illinois
(at Austin) Syracuse
(at Albequerqe) Gonzago

Cinderillas: Charlotte, Mississippi State, Utah State, and Pacific


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