Numbers, Baby, Numbers
Spreadsheet And Calculator In Hand
Numbers, Baby, Numbers. It’s all about the numbers. And there’s a whole lot of crunching going on right now.
After the AP Top 25 came out Monday, there was a bit of settling in, a calm that coaches abhor. How to get their players to stay in the one game at a time mindset? Not to look too far down the road and get wrapped up in the excitement?
After Virginia and Virginia Tech pulled off upset wins Monday night in the ACC, one would think that it could send shockwaves through the bean counting community. (Video Highlights)
Nope. Realistically, a loss doesn’t always cause the car to veer off the road and over a cliff to sure doom. Fans may think that, but certainly not statisticians.
What do games like the aforementioned do for the winners? Sometimes, just enough to give them a bit of a bump in bracketology. That, to be frank, may not always be to their advantage though.
Let’s compare two brackets and see what, if anything has changed.
Remember, these are projections and not set in stone.
Bracketology – The Teams
The Tar Heels maintain their #1 seed in both brackets. Owing to a strong showing as the season has progressed, North Carolina owns the top spot among ACC teams in the NCAA RPI and the BPI. The Tar Heels are #3 nationally in the Pomeroy Ratings.
Rick Pitino’s Cardinals have had their fair share of bumps and bruises along the way but consistency pays off. Pitino has kept the team’s nose to the grindstone and as a result Louisville is a #2 seed in both brackets. Across the board, AP Top 25, RPI, BPI and Pomeroy Ratings, Louisville is just a breath away from the Tar Heels.
Here’s where the brackets diverge, but only a bit. Seeded at #3 in one and #4 in the other, the Seminoles have a strong RPI but drop off a bit in the BPI. Florida State comes in at #18 in the Pomeroy Ratings. Road wins are a problem here and the NCAA Tournament is all about traveling.
Again, the brackets don’t agree. It’s just the reverse this time as the Blue Devils pull down a #4 seed in one and a #3 in the other. Duke is the fourth ACC team in RPI rankings, the Pomeroy Ratings and the BPI. Coach K’s team may not be as strong as some of those in the past but they’ve had their moments. Stringing those moments together in the tournament never seems to be a problem for Duke.
Will They Live Up To Expectations?
Is Tony Bennett holding something back? The Cavaliers hit a road full of potholes as the season began winding down. It appeared as if someone had pulled a rug out from underneath the team. In Monday’s face off with North Carolina, that old magic reappeared. The Cavaliers are seeded #5 in both brackets. Virginia is fifth among ACC teams in the RPI but in the BPI they are ranked third. That last ranking is very telling. In the Pomeroy Ratings, Virginia is #8, good for third in the ACC.
Mike Brey must be a part time Shamrock farmer. For a team that wasn’t expected to be much more than middle of the pack, the Irish have once again found a pot of gold. Among the ACC rankings for RPI, Notre Dame comes in behind Virginia. They are sixth in the BPI and Pomeroy Ratings. The overall performance of this team earns them a solid #5 seed for the tournament.
Though the team lost an enormous portion of their bench, the Hurricanes have outperformed expectations and then some. Wins and losses within the ACC are not easy. Especially road wins. Miami is a breakout team. Watch their performance in the ACC Tournament and you’ll know what to expect in the NCAA’s. Miami pulls a mixed seed. One bracket has the Canes seeded at #8 while the other at #9. In the RPI and BPI, Miami comes in right after Notre Dame. The Canes rank #29 in the Pomeroy Ratings.
Buzz Williams has built a solid foundation for the Hokies. Here again, we have a difference of opinion. One bracket selects Virginia Tech for the #10 seed while the other bumps them up a notch to #9. In the RPI, Virginia Tech supports their cause as they come in behind Miami. The BPI takes a more cautious approach and has them behind Syracuse, Wake Forest and Clemson. When it comes to the Pomeroy Ratings, Virginia Tech also trails Wake Forest and Clemson. Somebody up there likes Buzz.
Who’s On The Bubble?
Here’s where the fun begins. One bracket has Syracuse seeded at #10 and the other has Wake Forest at #10. But, neither of these teams show up in both brackets.
Both should be considered bubble teams.
Why? Wake Forest needs wins. Syracuse needs road wins. There’s no getting around these factors. And, it’s hurting their chances with the selection committee.
Both the Demon Deacons and Cuse have shown glimpses of being NCAA Tournament quality teams this season. Is a “glimpse” enough?
These two teams, along with Georgia Tech, who needs to win out in the conference, are all possible candidates for post season play.
The Yellow Jackets would be a huge surprise for the NCAA’s and more likely will be an NIT selection. Look for Clemson to go the same route.
At this moment, the overall numbers support Syracuse, mainly because of the big wins within the ACC this season.
Numbers, Baby, Numbers
Where does this lead us? Nine teams out of the ACC in the NCAA Tournament. Plausible? Very much so.
The level of competition within the conference has been fierce this year. The depth of quality teams is reflected in the number with overall records at .500 and above.
For Wake Forest and Syracuse, this week and the ACC Tournament is simply do or die time. It’s a must win time for both teams and an opportunity in the conference tournament to sell themselves to the selection committee.
Who wants the ball?