Sunday, March 25, 2018

Selection committee takeaways

Let's just do a quick recap.  I usually like to wait a couple of weeks to let the dust settle, then analyze what happened.

1) The committee went full S-Curve on the top 2 lines.  They did not place teams by geography; they matched 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, and so forth.  This is a pretty big admission.  They said they had trouble creating balance in the bracket if they went based on geography.  So in the future, we now know the NCAA will protect balanced brackets, even over geography, if they have to.

2) Non-conference SoS just doesn't matter anymore.  It's all about overall SoS.  Kansas St skated by with an atrocious number; Florida St and Virginia Tech's seeds weren't punished at all.  The committee is now showing the trend of forgiving a bad non-con SoS - IF your overall SoS is good.

2b) By that same token, if your conference is weak, then you WILL be punished, period.  St Mary's had a non-con SoS around 180.  Not good, but not awful either.  Played the Wooden Legacy, played a few name teams.  But since they failed to get tournament-caliber teams, they eventually got punished for it.  A bad CUSA conference was the downfall of MTSU, even though their non-con SoS was in the top 10.

2c) This brings up a bigger-picture thing.  The committee has increased the use of analytics, of additional statistics and metrics.  This has benefited the Power 6 conferences.  Make no mistake, the use of these new metrics are anti-mid major.  Mid-majors simply do not have the resources to build the same type of resume as a Power 6 school. 

Many believe it's the responsibility of the committee to account for these imbalances, and to help out the mid-major during the selection process.  The committee has gone the other way.  They are now saying that they will evaluate each school based on these metrics, without consideration to context or the ability of each school to build a good resume.  The committee is basically saying it's not their responsibility if mid-majors can't build the same type of resume that a Power 6 school can.

On one hand, it's not the worst position in the world to take.  The committee is stripping all context, all outside influences.  They are simply stating that they will evaluate schools based solely on what is on their resume.  However, it ignores that not all schools have the same chance to build the same resume.  The NCAA is basically telling the mid-majors that their plight isn't their problem.  I think that's the wrong approach.

In many sports, we're seeing the use of advanced metrics.  Baseball has changed with sabermetrics.  Basketball has changed once people realized long 2s are no longer good shots.  Metrics and analytics are changing the ways sports are played in general.  However, the NCAA is trying to apply the same methodology that other sports use for how to play the game, and applying it to a selection process.  Selection of teams for a tournament, and style of play of teams are two different things, and the same process of applying metrics cannot be applied to both in the same way.  What I'm saying is that we're getting a little too analytical in the selection process.  We have a selection committee because we know the numbers by themselves are insufficient to judge teams.  The road we're going down; we might as well create a BCS formula.

3) Seeding by the committee has improved.  This year?  I kind of have no major qualms.  My biggest miss this year was Providence by 3 seed lines, but even I admitted going into Selection Sunday that I was overseeding Provi by default, and that I wasn't enthusiastic about it.  I have no major issues with what they did.

4) I went 67 of 68.  Missed Kansas St and USC.  Had USC last in.  In retrospect, I should've excluded USC for the same reason I excluded Louisville - lack of signature wins.  But I didn't want to put in K-State's non-con SoS either.  In the end, I'm okay with 67.

5) Seeding on the 11-12-13 lines is getting tougher.  This year, it appears they highlighted signature wins first.  Hence SDSU and Loyola on the 11 line, and Buffalo and Charleston slipping to the 13 line.  I'm also surprised Marshall was so low given their wins over MTSU.  Seeding these autobids are getting tougher and tougher by the year.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

NIT projections FINAL

The 1 line:  Notre Dame, Baylor, St Mary's, USC
The 2 line:  Louisville, Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Oklahoma St
The 3 line:  Boise St, Utah, Penn St, Nebraska,
The 4 line:  Oregon, Western Kentucky, Washington, LSU
The 5 line:  Mississippi St, Northeastern, Tulsa, Temple
The 6 line:  Vermont, Louisiana, Rider, UC Davis
The 7 line:  Harvard, Northern Kentucky, Wagner, UNC Asheville
The 8 line:  SE Louisiana, FGCU, Hampton, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Last 4 out:  Georgia, Maryland, Stanford, BYU
Next 4 out:  Toledo, Old Dominion, Colorado, Memphis
Next 4 out:  Boston College, South Carolina, Central Florida, New Mexico

1) Notre Dame vs. 8) Hampton
4) Western Kentucky vs. 5) Temple
3) Penn St vs. 6) Vermont
2) Middle Tennessee vs. 7) Wagner

1) Baylor vs. 8) SE Louisiana
4) Washington vs. 5) Mississippi St
3) Nebraska vs. 6) Louisiana
2) Louisville vs. 7) Northern Kentucky

1) St Mary's vs. 8) Arkansas-Pine Bluff
4) Oregon vs. 5) Tulsa
3) Utah vs. 6) UC Davis
2) Marquette vs. 7) Harvard

1) USC vs. 8) FGCU
4) LSU vs. 5) Northeastern
3) Boise St vs. 6) Rider
2) Oklahoma St vs. 7) UNC Asheville

S-CURVE FINAL

I don't know.  I just don't bleeping know.  Give me 67/68 right NOW.

The final kerjigger:  Louisville out.  Needed signature wins.  So does USC frankly.  To me it was 4 teams for 2 spots, Syracuse and USC in, K-State and UL out.  Others are too flawed.

USC scares me.  St Mary's scares me.  EVERYONE on that mini-list below scares me.

The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Purdue, Cincinnati
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Michigan St, Auburn, West Virginia
The 4 line:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
The 5 line:  Kentucky, Clemson, Houston, Wichita St
The 6 line:  Ohio St, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami
The 7 line:  Arkansas, TCU, Seton Hall, Providence
The 8 line:  Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Nevada
The 9 line:  Butler, Creighton, Alabama, Florida St
The 10 line:  North Carolina St, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA
The 11 line:  St Bonaventure, Arizona St, Syracuse, USC, Davidson, San Diego St
The 12 line:  New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo, Marshall
The 13 line:  Charleston, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Montana, Bucknell, Wright St, Iona
The 15 line:  Georgia St, Penn, Lipscomb, Stephen F Austin
The 16 line:  UMBC, Radford, Cal St-Fullerton, LIU-Brooklyn, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern

Last 4 in:
St Bonaventure
Arizona St
Syracuse
USC

Last 7 out:
Louisville
Kansas St
St Mary's
Middle Tennessee
Baylor
Oklahoma St
Marquette

BRACKET FINAL

SOUTH
@Charlotte
1) Virginia vs. 16) Cal St-Fullerton/Texas Southern
8) Nevada vs. 9) Creighton
@San Diego
4) Texas Tech vs. 13) Charleston
5) Kentucky vs. 12) Marshall
@Nashville
3) Tennessee vs. 14) Bucknell
6) Ohio St vs. 11) Syracuse/Arizona St
@Pittsburgh
2) Cincinnati vs. 15) Penn
7) Seton Hall vs. 10) North Carolina St

WEST
@Detroit
1) Xavier vs. 16) UMBC
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Alabama
@San Diego
4) Arizona vs. 13) UNC Greensboro
5) Wichita St vs. 12) New Mexico St
@Wichita
3) Michigan St vs. 14) Montana
6) Texas A&M vs. 11) USC/St Bonaventure
@Charlotte
2) North Carolina vs. 15) Lipscomb
7) TCU vs. 10) UCLA

MIDWEST
@Wichita
1) Kansas vs. 16) Radford
8) Missouri vs. 9) Butler
@Boise
4) Gonzaga vs. 13) South Dakota St
5) Houston vs. 12) Loyola
@Dallas
3) Auburn vs. 14) Wright St
6) Miami vs. 11) San Diego St
@Detroit
2) Purdue vs. 15) Stephen F Austin
7) Providence vs. 10) Oklahoma

EAST
@Pittsburgh
1) Villanova vs. 16) LIU-Brooklyn/North Carolina Central
8) Rhode Island vs. 9) Florida St
@Boise
4) Michigan vs. 13) Murray St
5) Clemson vs. 12) Buffalo
@Dallas
3) West Virginia vs. 14) Iona
6) Florida vs. 11) Davidson
@Nashville
2) Duke vs. 15) Georgia St
7) Arkansas vs. 10) Texas

3/11 recap

SEC final:
Kentucky 77, Tennessee 72 - makes the call for UT on the 3 line a bit easier

A-10 final:
Davidson 58, Rhode Island 57 - ruh roh

AAC final:
Cincinnati 56, Houston 55

Ivy final:
Penn 68, Harvard 65 - one final bid thief for NIT, which is facing a real crunch...more in a couple hours

Southland final:
Georgia St 74, UT Arlington 61

3/11 morning bracket

Bracketing has turned into a secondary concern for me....so much depends on the exact order of teams on the S-Curve, so I try not to get too deep into it.  It's a futile effort.

I'll revise this later today based on results, naturally.

SOUTH
@Charlotte
1) Virginia vs. 16) Cal St-Fullerton/Texas Southern
8) Creighton vs. 9) Alabama
@San Diego
4) Texas Tech vs. 13) Charleston
5) Kentucky vs. 12) Marshall
@Nashville
3) Tennessee vs. 14) Bucknell
6) Ohio St vs. 11) Louisville/Arizona St
@Pittsburgh
2) Cincinnati vs. 15) Harvard
7) Seton Hall vs. 10) North Carolina St

WEST
@Detroit
1) Xavier vs. 16) UMBC
8) Virginia Tech vs. 9) Nevada
@San Diego
4) Arizona vs. 13) UNC Greensboro
5) Wichita St vs. 12) New Mexico St
@Wichita
3) Michigan St vs. 14) Montana
6) Texas A&M vs. 11) USC/Syracuse
@Charlotte
2) North Carolina vs. 15) Lipscomb
7) TCU vs. 10) UCLA

MIDWEST
@Wichita
1) Kansas vs. 16) Radford
8) Butler vs. 9) Missouri
@Boise
4) Gonzaga vs. 13) South Dakota St
5) Houston vs. 12) Loyola
@Dallas
3) Auburn vs. 14) Wright St
6) Miami vs. 11) San Diego St
@Detroit
2) Purdue vs. 15) Stephen F Austin
7) Providence vs. 10) Oklahoma

EAST
@Pittsburgh
1) Villanova vs. 16) LIU-Brooklyn/North Carolina Central
8) Rhode Island vs. 9) Florida St
@Boise
4) Michigan vs. 13) Murray St
5) Clemson vs. 12) Buffalo
@Dallas
3) West Virginia vs. 14) Iona
6) Florida vs. 11) St Bonaventure
@Nashville
2) Duke vs. 15) Georgia St
7) Arkansas vs. 10) Texas

3/11 morning S-CURVE



The 1 line:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
The 2 line:  North Carolina, Duke, Purdue, Cincinnati
The 3 line:  Tennessee, Michigan St, Auburn, West Virginia
The 4 line:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
The 5 line:  Clemson, Kentucky, Houston, Wichita St
The 6 line:  Ohio St, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami
The 7 line:  Arkansas, TCU, Seton Hall, Providence
The 8 line:  Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Butler, Creighton
The 9 line:  Missouri, Nevada, Alabama, Florida St
The 10 line:  North Carolina St, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA
The 11 line:  St Bonaventure, Louisville, USC, Arizona St, Syracuse, San Diego St
The 12 line:  New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo, Marshall
The 13 line:  Charleston, South Dakota St, Murray St, UNC Greensboro
The 14 line:  Montana, Bucknell, Wright St, Iona
The 15 line:  Georgia St, Harvard, Lipscomb, Stephen F Austin
The 16 line:  UMBC, Radford, Cal St-Fullerton, LIU-Brooklyn, North Carolina Central, Texas Southern

Into the lockbox:
Alabama
Florida St
North Carolina St
Texas
Oklahoma
UCLA

Bubble in:
St Bonaventure

Last 4 in:
Louisville
USC
Arizona St
Syracuse

Last 4 out:
Baylor
Kansas St
Middle Tennessee
St Mary's

Next 2 out:
Oklahoma St
Marquette

Bubble out:  Notre Dame, Penn St, Nebraska, Davidson, Oregon, Utah, Washington

Notes:
1:  Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier
I feel like these 4 teams are the correct 4, in that order.  I don't see much room to argue otherwise.
2:  North Carolina, Duke, Purdue, Cincinnati
UNC and Duke feel obvious at 5 and 6.  For the next spot, I'm flip flopping after one day.  Here's the deal.  In my notes for previous years, I've written a few different times this:  "STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO SUNDAY RESULTS".  I think Tennessee is going to get boned by this.  And their predictive metrics are well behind both Purdue and Cincy.  I think the committee SHOULD put UT on the 2 line; I'm starting to think they won't.  Purdue and Cincy fill the 2 line.
3:  Tennessee, Michigan St, Auburn, West Virginia
I think the 3 line is the perfect compromise for MSU.  Now the fun begins as the next wave of teams (Auburn, WVU/TTU, Michigan, Zona) hit the board.  I think Auburn wins this battle for a simple reason:  the non-con SoS of UM, WVU, and TTU are kind of garbage.  WVU then beats out the rest with a useful head-to-head over TTU and a signature win against UVa.
4:  Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona, Gonzaga
I think you can argue to lower Zona some, but the committee is human and will be biased towards a conference champ.  Gonzaga's predictive metrics are very good, so we're sticking with them on the 4 line although teams with better wins lurk behind.  This is kind of a line of demarcation, as teams with noticeable resume flaws start appearing on the board.
5:  Clemson, Kentucky, Houston, Ohio St
It's finally time to admit defeat on my Houston take, and move them up to the 5 line.  I can't go further, but I can no longer justify going lower.  One team I am now struggling with is Florida.  9 G1 wins is really good, and those 9 wins are legit.  However, 5 G2-G3 losses, with some real clunkers, are in there.  In a situation where 9 G1 wins contradict with RPI 46 contradict with SoS inside the top 25 contradict with 5 bad losses....I think predictive metrics come into play in these scenarios.  Florida is average of 21...right on the 5/6 seed edge.  Let's go Wichita St here, admittedly without a lot of conviction.  11 G2 wins, which is an oblong number.
6:  Ohio St, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami
After OSU and Florida, my next wave of teams:  Miami, TCU, A&M, Arky.  TCU has the predictive metrics but lag in most other categories.  Miami is the one with the sterling road mark but also the one with a very marginal average RPI win.  However, I have 2 SEC teams on the 3 line and 1 on the 6 line already.  So if I go A&M and Arky, I'll have to move one down a seed line anyways.  A&M and Miami it is, with the caveat that this is a spot I want to revisit tomorrow.
7:  Arkansas, TCU, Seton Hall, Providence
I wanted to argue for putting Seton Hall in that category above, but they lack the signature win required to get that high up, IMO.  The last spot here is where things turn ugly.  I surely can't put Providence here with some of their losses, right?  URI beat Provi heads-up...tempting.  Butler and Creighton are both sitting there too....nah, URI.  I think.
8:  Rhode Island, Virginia Tech, Butler, Creighton
Slotting VaTech in here really makes me nervous.  That non-con SoS is 326.  Warning sirens are going off.  But they have 4 signature wins, and mostly avoided the bad losses.  I guess they gotta be in, but this could absolutely be a situation where they get ejected right out of the tournament from left field tomorrow.  Stay alert out there.  And now I just ran into ANOTHER situation where if I put my next 2 teams (Butler, Creighton) up on the 8-9 lines, I have to procedure one of them up to 7 or down to 10 because of conference conflicts (I already have Provi, Villanova, and Xavier in 3 of the 4 regionals).  So I'm going to switch URI and Providence back on the 7 line, and Butler and Creighton both go to the 8.
9:  Missouri, Nevada, Alabama, Florida St
Rough tumble for Nevada down the bracket, they seem to fit in here.  After that?  I hit a wall.  All of a sudden some of these teams are very flawed.  I'm moving Alabama all the way up to here.  Why?  SoS 3, average RPI win of 86.  There are legit flaws in the resume, just in the sheer number of losses and the road record (2 true road wins!).  But some of these other teams have major SoS issues and the committee will lean towards SoS when given the option.  I don't feel good about this seed, at all.
10:  North Carolina St, Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA
I'm going to use Oklahoma here.  I'm not thrilled by it, but the overall body of work is good enough to avoid getting too close to the cutline.  I'm also not excited to burn Texas in this spot, but again it's another resume I don't think anyone can afford to leave out of the bracket.  Both of these resumes are better than K-State's when you really analyze them; not sure how anyone can think otherwise.  Yes, I know K-State has H2H advantages on all these Big 12 bubble teams; the rest of the games count too, though.  UCLA gets the next nod for one simple reason:  they're the 2nd best Pac-12 team and the committee is human and will not want to wait longer to put a Pac-12 team on the board.
11:  St Bonaventure, Louisville, USC, Arizona St, Syracuse, San Diego St
Let's reset.  5 spots to go.  K-State, OSU, Baylor, Louisville, Marquette, Syracuse, USC, Arizona St, Bonaventure, MTSU, and St Mary's are the reasonable choices to pick from.  We're at the point where if any of these teams miss or make, I can see it happening (the teams above, UCLA and Texas and Oklahoma, I can't see missing completely).  When you get to this point, the committee punishes non-con SoS disproportionally.  Negative marks to OSU and KSU.  The committee is human; they'll see RPI.  I reluctantly put Bonaventure, UL, and USC in.  Fuck, I don't know.  I think they have to put ASU in.  So many of these other teams have SoS problems, they have 2 signature wins, timing of losses don't matter anymore.  And I'm covering my eyes at Baylor's road record and putting them in.  Wait, no.  That road record is hideous.  St Mary's and MT are so much better.  Wait, Marquette is .500 there.  Syracuse and MT have the terrific non-con SoSs.  Fuck.  I don't know.  Syracuse barely over Baylor.
12:  New Mexico St, Loyola(Chi), Buffalo, Marshall
SDSU wins the battle over NMSU to move up to the 11 line.  Buffalo benefits from the attrition elsewhere to stick on this line, and I'll take Marshall over everyone else below based on a pocketful of quality wins.
Bubble out:  Baylor, Kansas St, Middle Tenenssee, St Mary's, Oklahoma St, Marquette
Did I really just drop St Mary's that far?  Yikes.  It doesn't feel right.  I'm getting scary vibes from the committee about road games.  Since it's baked into the Groups now, we're hearing less and less about the raw number of road wins being important.  Trouble for them and Middle Tennessee.  I've had Marquette in for awhile; it's really tight at the end of this bubble.  K-State is apparently a hill I'm going to die on.  I don't feel good about any of this.