Sunday, March 16, 2008

Final NCAA Tournament Projections

I have no problem admitting right off the top that I stand little chance of predicting a perfect NCAA Tournament field. There isn’t a whole lot separating the last few teams being considered for at-large bids. The problem isn’t that I can’t figure out how to separate the teams. The problem is that I can’t figure out how the Selection Committee is going to separate the teams. For one, the fact that the Selection Committee chairman is the Athletic Director at George Mason makes me a little nervous that there might be some Colonial Athletics Association (CAA) favoritism going on. VCU could get a much-needed boost from that. I’m also discouraged that there is no representative from the Big XII which means there might not be enough people fighting for Kansas St. I really have no idea how much credence to give the makeup of the committee. There is supposed to be no bias or favoritism. Committee members are supposed to leave the room when their team is being discussed. However, that doesn’t prevent members from putting up a fight against other teams that are up against their team for a bid. I didn’t consider the committee’s makeup at all last season. And, I don’t think it’s going to change my projections this season. Just don’t be shocked if things go against Kansas St. or for VCU.

I have a pretty good idea of the “bubble” teams that will receive serious consideration. I’m going to assume St. Mary’s, Kentucky, Mississippi St., and S. Alabama are “in” which could be a mistake but a mistake I’m willing to live with. So, that leaves seven spots left with 12 potential teams to take those spots. I put together a comparison of those 12 teams in 12 different categories. I assigned point values 12-1 in each category. The team finishing first in each category got 12 points. The team finishing last got one point. Here are the overall results…

Texas A&M--------95
St. Joe's-----------85.5
Kansas St.-------72
Ohio St.----------70
Va. Tech-----------55

Before I did this comparison, I had Arizona, Dayton, Texas A&M, St. Joe’s, and Baylor “in” the tournament. So, I am going to stick with those teams. That leaves two spots remaining. Notice in bold the proximity of the next five teams. The committee could rationalize their way into choosing any of those teams. However, I think Kansas St. and Villanova are the two best choices of that group. Kansas St. has a few subtle advantages over the rest of the group. It has Michael Beasley who everyone wants to see in the tournament. It has a 10-6 conference record. It plays in the Big XII which is the third toughest conference. Also, it was left out of the tournament last season wit a 10-6 conference record. The committee would have to be soulless to do that to a school two years in a row. Some of the factors I just mentioned aren’t supposed to matter. However, I would be surprised if they didn’t matter. So, with an extreme amount of trepidation, I am going with Kansas St. as the second-to-last team in the tournament. Villanova’s resume is superior to the rest of the group so it will be my last team in.

Notice VCU and Va. Tech are way behind. Neither team deserves a bid and despite Seth Greenberg’s comments to any detractors, I am not “certifiably insane”—rather vaguely familiar with logic and reasoning. Va. Tech had zero wins against the RPI 50 before the ACC Tournament and a non-conference SOS of 138. Plus, Va. Tech only had to play Duke, N. Carolina, Clemson, and Maryland once each in the regular season. That might be the easiest ACC conference schedule of all-time and it still was only good enough for a 9-7 record. Va. Tech might get in because of its ACC-affiliation but that would be a travesty. Few teams in the RPI 75 have accomplished less than Va. Tech.

One final note: I neglected to include Illinois St. in this comparison. I went back afterwards to get an estimate of how ISU would've fared and ended up with a 66.5. "The Valley" hasn't had less than two bids in 10 years. I hesitate picking against that track record but I don't think ISU's resume is there. I could see Va. Tech, VCU, and Illinois St. receiving bids for various reasons but none of them are related to their resumes.


1 ACC North Carolina
2 SEC Georgia (!!!)
3 Big East Pittsburgh
4 Big 12 Kansas
5 Big Ten Wisconsin
6 Pac-10 UCLA
7 MVC Drake
9 WAC Boise St.
10 A-10 Temple
11 Colonial George Mason
12 MAC Kent St.
13 WCC San Diego
14 C-USA Memphis
15 Sun Belt W. Kentucky
16 Horizon Butler
17 MAAC Siena
18 Big Sky Portland St.
19 MCC Oral Roberts
20 Big West Cal St. Fullerton
21 OVC Austin Peay
22 Ivy Cornell
23 Southern Davidson
24 Patriot American
25 Southland Texas Arlington
26 Northeast Mount St. Mary's
27 AEC MD Baltimore County
28 Big South Winthrop
29 Atl. Sun Belmont
30 SWAC Mississippi Valley St.
31 MEAC Coppin St.
32 At-Large Gonzaga
33 At-Large St. Mary's
34 At-Large Clemson
35 At-Large Miami FL
36 At-Large Duke
37 At-Large Marquette
38 At-Large Georgetown
39 At-Large West Virginia
40 At-Large Notre Dame
41 At-Large Connecticut
42 At-Large Louisville
43 At-Large Villanova
44 At-Large Stanford
45 At-Large Arizona
46 At-Large Washington St.
47 At-Large USC
48 At-Large Oklahoma
49 At-Large Kansas St.
50 At-Large Texas A&M
51 At-Large Texas
52 At-Large Baylor
53 At-Large Purdue
54 At-Large Michigan St.
55 At-Large Indiana
56 At-Large Kentucky
57 At-Large Vanderbilt
58 At-Large Arkansas
59 At-Large Mississippi St.
60 At-Large Tennessee
61 At-Large Dayton
62 At-Large St. Joe's
63 At-Large Xavier
64 At-Large S. Alabama
65 At-Large BYU

Last "in"

Kansas St.
St. Joe's
Mississippi St.

Last "out"

Ohio St.
Illinois St.
Va. Tech

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