Monday, March 12, 2007

We're Number 66! (or 74)

Selection Sunday was yesterday. I don't know where you've been if you didn't know that, but I don't feel too sorry for you. I wish I wasn't following along as the teams were revealed yesterday. Of course I watched, and I was left very bitter after it was all said and done.

My Drexel Dragons got screwed big time. Left out of the bracket. Even the nations premier bracketologist didn't predict that. Off to the NIT, to get screwed again.

It follows as such: If Team A was one of the last four teams to miss the big dance, then logically, Team A should be one of four number one seeds in the little dance. That makes since right? According to the "old guys" who selected teams to the NIT it doesn't.

The NIT selection committee consists of 8 former coaches who seeded the teams according to "would we want to play this team or not," according to one of the members. I can see how this played out.

Gene Keady: So Dean, would you rather play Mississippi State or Drexel?

Dean Smith: Did you just ask me If Michael Jordan could be Clyde Drexler? Of course he could.

Gene Keady: How much would they win by?

Dean Smith: He'd win by at least three.

Gene Keady: OK boys, Mississippi State is a one seed, Drexel is at least a three.

Alright, maybe that was a little harsh but you get the point. The NIT was seeded solely on name recognition, which is wrong for a number of reasons. But it doesn't matter anyway. The only teams that win in the NIT are the teams that are happy to be there.

Going back to the NCAA tournament, I'm still trying to figure out what happened? There are a couple of teams who won at large bids over Drexel that make you scratch your head.

Purdue - The best teams they beat this season were Virginia (before Virginia put it together), Illinois, Michigan St. and Indiana - all at home. Their RPI is one point below Drexel and their non-conference computer numbers are 37/92 (RPI/SOS). They didn't go out of their way to play anybody, and their big wins happened to come against good teams in their conference, all at home. Coincidentally, Indiana is the only team I named that Purdue played twice. Indiana defeated Purdue in Indiana 85-58. (Luckily for them, they play Arizona in the first round.)

Old Dominion - Yes ODU easily defeated Drexel twice this season, but after that it's not even close. By essentially taking ODU over Drexel (Selection Committee commissioner Gary Waters said they took ODU over Drexel, as mentioned in this article. And to think I thought conference affiliation didn't matter.), the committee is saying if ODU and Drexel had the same schedule, ODU would either duplicate their record or do better. That's not true. Drexel plays better against teams that they usually never plays. Their two non-conference losses came against Penn and Rider, two teams they play on occasion. ODU is a different case.

Kentucky - I'm not going to go in depth with these guys, but I will say they are very suspect and will lose to a team in the first round, Villanova, that Drexel defeated on the road. Kentucky is eating off conference affiliation and inflated computer numbers.

Illinois - Their best non-conference win came against Bradley and their three road wins came at Minnesota (9-22), Northwestern (11-18), and Penn St. (11-19). Yet, that's good enough to earn them a spot in the Big Dance, opposed to what Drexel did non-conference and on the road.

Stanford - With an RPI of 65, Stanford has the lowest RPI of any at large team. They play in a tough conference and had some big wins in conference (all at home). On the road, the only beat the Cardinal defeated worth mentioning is Virginia. It pays to play in the Pac-10.

Xavier - They're here because they tied with UMass for the A-10 regular season title. Another "Home Warriors" favorite, their only loss at home was to Bucknell, while their three conference losses all were on the road (to St. Louis, Duquesne, and St. Joe's). They also picked up two decent wins in paradise.

Arkansas - They're the classic "hot at the right time team." On February 24th, they lost to Tennessee at home, leaving them with a record of 16-12, 5-9 in conference. Five wins in a row later, and they're a tournament team.

The moral of the story is this: If you are fortunate to play in a major conference, win all of your games at home, and pick up road wins against the worst teams. Don't play anybody good non-conference, and win most of your games at home. Home Warriors go to the Big Dance, Road Warriors get seeded 3rd in the NIT.

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