Thursday, February 11, 2016

That's enough, Texas Tech and Kansas St

They are in way too many brackets right now.

Can we look at the numbers for the moment?

Texas Tech (14-9) (4-7) RPI 47 SoS 8
Vital signs:  3-6 road/neutral, non-con SoS 58, 2-7 vs. Top 50, 5-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Iowa St, Texas, UALR
Bad losses:  @Arkansas is the worst

There are a couple positive things here - no truly bad losses (once you account for home/road, losses at Arkansas and K-State aren't the end of the world).  The SoS number is great, but is obviously inflated by the Big 12.  Even the non-con SoS is good, and was a large reason TTU spent a lot of time in projected brackets.

But let's look at it more closely.  Teams on their non-con schedule:

neutral site (multi-team tournament):  Utah, Mississippi St, Minnesota
road:  Arkansas
home:  South Dakota St, UALR, Richmond, Hawaii, Sam Houston St, High Point, UT-Martin, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

It's pretty obvious to see what happened.  SDSU and UALR have rolled out to big-time records.  Hawaii is one of the 2 contenders in the Big West, Sam Houston St is a contender in the Southland, HPU is a contender in the Big South.  Essentially, they picked the perfect mid-majors.  They have great records, which lead to inflated SoS numbers.  Texas Tech has one of the most fraudulent SoSs I can ever remember.  Their non-con SoS is really about 150 in strength, but is 50 based on the numbers because of inflation (because of teams like UALR and Hawaii rolling their conferences).  Plus, the opponent SoS factor is in great shape because they lucked out and played 3 power conference teams in their neutral site tournament.  Also, the SoS number fails to consider there's only one true road game on the schedule - that they were forced to take because of the Big 12/SEC challenge.  The committee hates teams who avoid the road - this is that team.

If you remove the SoS from profile consideration, all they have is wins over two sure tourney teams at home (ISU and Texas), and a third over a bubble team in UALR.  Everything else is miserable.  And Iowa St just happened.  Now, if they get some more wins, sure we'll talk.  But come on.  Don't just blindly look at the SoS numbers and assume everything's great.

Kansas St (14-10) (3-8) RPI 59 SoS 9
Vital signs:  3-7 road/neutral, non-con SoS 118, 2-10 vs. Top 50, 4-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oklahoma, @Georgia, Texas Tech
Bad losses:  none

Again, a couple positives here.  The worst loss is home to Baylor.  That's really good.  Bad loss avoidance does mean something, and K-State is the best in the country at it.  They have played 11 games against the top 25.

But won just one of them.

This case is simpler than Tech's.  They have played 11 games against surefire tournament teams, and have beaten exactly one (Oklahoma).  Every other metric is fair to poor.  The committee has shown they'll reward good SoS numbers, but you do have to show you can at least win once in a awhile.  One overall win isn't enough.  @Georgia and Ole Miss are the next best wins.  That's simply not good enough.  Period.

Let's compare these two to other marginal power conference teams:
Georgetown - is 5-6 on the road/neutral, so better, with a good non-con SoS and a win at Xavier
Wisconsin - is 4-4 on the road/neutral, and beat Michigan St, N-VCU, and @Syracuse among others
Alabama - 5-6 road/neutral, beat A&M, S Carolina, N-Notre Dame and Wichita
UCLA - poor road/neutral, but at least beat Kentucky, Arizona, @Gonzaga
Clemson - poor road/neutral, but a bevy of signature wins, too many to list

And I could go on and on.  Comparing TTU and KSU to other bubble teams, they have less quality wins despite getting as many or more chances for quality wins.  It's that simple.

Please, I beg of all of you.  Stop looking at just the RPI and assume these teams are fine.  Please.  Be sensible.  Now, either of these teams can still play their way in - heck, the Big 12 provides signature win chances everywhere.  Let's just wait for them to pile up before putting them in.  One isn't enough.

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