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Quick Takes: Composite rankings and the Seed List

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015This past week, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee hinted that it may consider integrating a wider range of metrics into its selection and seeding process.  Although the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) has been the NCAAs primary tool for organizing teams, committee members have been free to utilize other metrics for several years – so this isn’t totally new territory.  Additional metrics include KenPom (Ken Pomeroy), Sagarin, and BPI ratings, among others.  Using various analytics, the ratings are designed to provide an objective overview about how teams perform beyond wins/losses, team records, etc.  You can decide for yourself how well the various ratings work.  We all have our preferences.  And the goal here isn’t to discuss the merits and pitfalls of each.

Interestingly, the Selection Committee also hinted that it could end up integrating a type of composite score (rating) for teams based upon the metrics selected for inclusion.  How that might look (and be calculated) remains to be seen.  But in the interest of college hoops fans (and a certain bracket nerd), I took the liberty of developing a composite for the teams at the very top of our seed list, and for some along the proverbial bubble.  Let’s take a look at how the process worked, along with some interesting side notes.  For this story, the composite rankings include the RPI, NPI (Nolan Power Index – Warren Nolen), ELO Chess, KenPom, and Sagarin.

Here’s the Top 10 on our Seed List – in order for Jan. 16, 2017 – with composite ranking in parenthesis: Read more…

Quick Takes: Can FSU take it on the road?

January 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Florida State keeps piling up quality wins.  After beating Duke in Tallahassee on Tuesday, the Seminoles are 4-0 in the ACC and have seven wins against the Top 50 of the RPI – the most of any team in the nation.  The only remaining question is this: Can FSU take it on the road?  We ask because, to date, the Seminoles only true road game has been their win at UVA.  Next up, a trip to Chapel Hill.  There’s also a three-game road swing at the end of January.  Navigate those and FSU will be in the No. 1 seed discussion as the calendar flips to February.

No real surprise that Baylor lost at West Virginia.  The margin might be a little surprising, but the Mountaineers are a tough matchup, particularly in Morgantown.  We’ll see how the Bears respond. Read more…

Quick Takes: Oregon finding its Mojo

December 31, 2016 Leave a comment

Dave2015In early November, we contemplated when Dillon Brooks would return and how good the Oregon Ducks might be without him.  He returned in Maui, during a loss to Georgetown.  Since then, the Ducks have won 11 straight, including a home sweep of UCLA and USC, both of whom arrived in Eugene without a loss.  It appears that Oregon is finding its Mojo at the perfect time.  If they can navigate a trip through Washington next week, the Ducks could be 7-0 in the Pac-12 heading into road trips to Utah and Colorado.  With Brooks back, Oregon’s position as a protected seed in March looks pretty safe.

Arizona is also hot, winning 10 of 12, with those two losses being to Butler and Gonzaga. And it’s worth noting the Wildcats are doing it without Allonzo Trier, arguably their most talented player.  We still don’t know if, or when, he’ll return.  Final note on the Pac-12 … it’s looking like a four-bid league right now.  The question is whether a team like California or Colorado (or someone else) can join the conversation. Read more…

Bracketology: The race for No. 1 seeds

December 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s New Year’s weekend.  Conference play has started.  The race toward March is upon us, and with it, the race for No. 1 Seeds.  Today, those slots belong to Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, and UCLA.  Villanova’s survival against DePaul, and UCLA’s last-second loss at Oregon do not change those team’s positions.  Opinions vary, of course, but the next four spots on the Seed List look like this: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Gonzaga.  If you have a different order, that’s fine.  For me, UCLA’s win at Kentucky still trumps a one-loss Duke team, whose best win is Florida on a neutral court.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

Indiana and Texas AM take the biggest slides.  When the Hoosiers are good, they’re really good – as noted by wins over Kansas and Carolina.  But IU has also been inconsistent and played a rather ugly non-conference schedule for a team with its roster and pedigree.  The result?  IU has an RPI of 122 (as of this posting), with the loss at Fort Wayne and then at home to Nebraska.  The Hoosiers are too talented to be concerned, but a protected seed has to be earned.  With that in mind, Louisville awaits on Saturday. Read more…

2016 Tourney: Ranking a power-heavy Elite 8

March 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Dave2015Given what we’ve seen this season, we shouldn’t be overly surprised to find a six and ten seed in the Elite 8.  We also shouldn’t be surprised to find six power-heavy teams.  At various points during the 2016 campaign, Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Villanova all grabbed spots along the No. 1 seed line.  Oregon was among the Top 8 for the better part of February and ended at No. 5 on our list.  They were the final No. 1 seed on the NCAA Board, which fits the theme.

If you believe in destiny (or maybe redemption), then you embrace Notre Dame and Syracuse.  The Irish needed a miraculous tip-in to beat Stephen F. Austin and a pair of late steals/turnovers to upend Wisconsin.  Syracuse was undoubtedly helped by an incredible performance from Middle Tennessee that ousted Michigan State in the opening round.  The Orange deserve all the credit for reaching the Regional Final; they beat the teams they faced.  We can say that and still acknowledge that reaching the Elite 8 required beating a seven seed, 15 seed, and 11 seed.  Good fortune is important in March.

So … heading into the Regional Finals, how would you rank the remaining eight teams?  Based on what I’ve seen the past two weeks, here’s my list: Read more…

Bracket Bits: The gift of Saturday hoops

December 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Dave2015Given the Christmas season, it’s appropriate that Saturday is wrapped with an extravaganza of college hoops.  You can start with the Crossroads Classic and meander through a variety of resume-worthy matchups.

Visit the Schedule page for a complete list of games worth tracking.

Here’s a quick peek at a few of the more important resume games on tap …

Utah vs. Duke – After a drubbing at the hands of Wichita State (with Fred VanVleet in the lineup), the Utes are searching for a signature win and this is their last chance before Pac-12 play begins.

Wichita State at Seton Hall – The Shockers certainly look like a different team with VanVleet on the court.  But with four early losses on the docket, every quality win counts.  As for Seton Hall, beating a healthy(ier) WSU team would add another notch to the  Pirates’ profile that already features wins over Ole Miss and Georgia. Read more…

Bracket Bits: 5 opening weekend games with March in mind

November 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Dave2015All games matter, but not all results are equal.

If you’re a team that plays in a power conference you can survive an average (or even below average) non-conference slate and still earn an at-large bid.  Last year’s Purdue team is a good example. The Boilermakers dropped non-conference decisions to Kansas State, North Florida, Vanderbilt, and Gardner-Webb.  What Purdue was able to do, however, was win 8 of 9 Big Ten games during a mid-season stretch and finish 12-6 in league play en-route to a 9-seed in the Midwest Region.

If you’re a team from outside the power conferences, non-conference results become much more critical.  Opportunities for resume-changing wins are more limited. With that thought in mind, here are five opening weekend games with March in mind … Read more…