Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The 1 line

By my count, I see 11 teams with a legitimate claim to the 1 line:
Big East:  Villanova, Xavier
Big 12:  Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia
B1G:  Iowa, Michigan St, Maryland
ACC:  North Carolina, Virginia
Pac-12:  Oregon

Who has the metrics?  Let's take a deep dive.  I've ranked the 11 teams from top to bottom in each category.

1) Road/neutral record:
Michigan St 10-2 (5-2 true road record)
Xavier 9-1 (6-1 true road record)
Villanova 9-2 (7-1 true road record)
West Virginia 9-3 (5-2 true road record)
Oklahoma 8-3 (5-3 true road record)
Maryland 8-3 (4-3 true road record)
Virginia 8-4 (4-4 true road record)
Iowa 7-4 (5-2 true road record)
UNC 7-4 (3-4 true road record)
Kansas 5-4 (3-3 true road record)
Oregon 5-4 (4-3 true road record)

Pluses:  Michigan St, Xavier, Villanova, and WVU show well here.  UNC is under .500 in true road games; that's a problem.  Kansas and Oregon have troublesome records overall here as well.

2) Average RPI win
Oregon 92
Virginia 102
Kansas 109
Villanova 115
Oklahoma 116
Xavier 119
UNC 120
West Virginia 133
Iowa 135
Maryland 135
Michigan St 142

Here we find the key to Oregon's ascent - the Pac-12 is buoying their resume.  That 93 is a very good number.  Virginia also shows well here.  On the other end, the B1G is actively hurting their best teams, and WVU's number isn't exactly great either.

3) Non-conference SoS
Oregon 25
Villanova 26
Kansas 30
Xavier 35
Virginia 38
UNC 52
Iowa 73
Oklahoma 78
Maryland 84
Michigan St 111
West Virginia 115

No one has a bulletproof number, but the top 5 teams here (and UNC) are in good shape.  This metric is more of a disqualifier, and MSU and WVU are in trouble on this one.

4) Overall SoS
Oregon 1
Villanova 3
Kansas 6
Oklahoma 12
Iowa 13
Virginia 17
West Virginia 26
Maryland 29
Xavier 39
UNC 44
Michigan St 66

While non-con SoS is used more to punish teams, overall SoS is used more to reward teams, it seems like.  Another pillar for Oregon's resume, and big trouble for Michigan St again, and UNC and Xavier to a lesser extent.

5) Record vs. Top 50/Top 100
Oregon 8-2, 14-3
Virginia 9-2, 13-3
Kansas 7-3, 11-3
Villanova 6-3, 10-3
Oklahoma 6-3, 10-3
Xavier 4-1, 9-2
Michigan St 5-2, 8-3
Maryland 3-2, 9-3
UNC 4-3, 10-3
Iowa 6-4, 8-4
West Virginia 6-4, 8-4

Tough to figure out the best way to sort.  But Oregon and Virginia have the bulletpoints on these metrics, while Kansas, Nova, and Oklahoma are in good shape.  Those who have played just 5 top 50 opponents are at a marginal disadvantage, and while 8-4 are good top 100 records, they're not 1 seed good right now.

6) Bad losses:
Oregon:  N-UNLV (at a neutral site in Vegas.  Technically, it's a neutral site loss), @Boise
Virginia:  @VaTech, @GaTech
Kansas:  @Oklahoma St
Michigan St:  Nebraska

The criteria is admittedly subjective, counting all losses against non-bubble teams.  Oregon and Virginia are the ones who absorbed two of them, while Michigan St made the cardinal sin of being the only one with a home loss on here.  6 teams kept it clean and have a leg up on these others.

7) Signature wins (or all wins over surefire tourney teams, adjusting for home/road):
Oklahoma:  N-Nova, WVU, ISU, @Baylor
Michigan St:  Maryland, N-Kansas, Louisville, N-Provi
Virginia:  Nova, N-WVU, Miami, @Louisville
West Virginia:  Kansas, @ISU, Baylor
Kansas:  Oklahoma, Kentucky, Texas
Iowa:  Michigan St 2x, Purdue 2x
Villanova:  Xavier, @Provi
Xavier:  N-Dayton, N-USC, @Provi
Oregon:  @Arizona, USC, Utah 2x
Maryland:  Iowa, Purdue
UNC:  Maryland

Again, there's a lot of subjectivity going on in here.  However, you can identify some winners and losers.  Oklahoma has 2 wins against the other 10 teams in the hunt for the 1 line.  Michigan St and Virginia are in relatively good shape as well.  Xavier's wins aren't as great as the top teams, but their are of the road/neutral variety.  Also look at Iowa with 2 road wins in this group.  The teams in trouble in this metric?  Oregon perhaps.  2 road wins in there, but their best win is worse than everyone else's best win.  Maryland also in trouble with just two good wins, both at home.  And UNC is in the worst shape of all, although they beat Maryland.

It's tough to spot definitive ideas based on this breakdown.  Many teams have their strengths and weaknesses.  Let's pinpoint trends:
- Oregon plays well in many of these metrics, leading a few, but their best win/worst loss pales in comparison to everyone else.  How high they seed might depend on how the committee feels about the Pac-12 as a whole.
- North Carolina is in all sorts of trouble.  They're not in the top half of any single metric.
- Villanova's only real weakness in any of the metrics is in the signature win column.  Needs more depth.
- West Virginia has a great road/neutral record, but lacks pop in the other metrics.
- Michigan St surprisingly has a schedule issue.
- Virginia would be in really good shape if it could erase a couple bad losses.
- Oklahoma really only leads in the signature win category (and that lead is debatable).  The SoS could be a little better.  I have no problem with them at #1 or #2 overall, but I don't think it's bulletproof like others think.
- Iowa is lagging behind a bit in most metrics, people seem to be eye testing them for their seed.  Which is okay, but maybe I should drop them from the 1 line.

Plenty of time in the season for this to sort itself out, but there's plenty of directions the committee can go.

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