"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Forecast RPI - MU 36th best resume for 47 spots

I got excited for a minute when I saw Forecast RPI had MU as a 7-seed today. Then I realize they actually have us as the 36th best resume - so the last 9-seed - but because of scheduling we would be moved up to a 7-seed under their scenario.

Based on Forecast RPI, if Marquette finishes .500 in Big East play about 12 teams would have to pass them to miss the tournament.

Figuring out how many spots are really available can be confusing so let me count down:

69 spots available, last 4 get play-in
This year the NCAA is adding four spots, with the last four teams select at-large facing a play-in game in Dayton, OH. MU could well end up there.

19 automatic qualifiers leave spots for 50 best teams
A total of 19 conferences (AE, ASun, BSky, BSth, BW, Horz, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, MVC, NEC, OVC, Pat, SB, SC, Slnd, Sum and SWAC) do not have any team that would break the Top 50, so only the winners of each of these conferences will go to the NCAA, leaving room for the 50 best teams in the country.

2 spoilers likely to leave spots for 48 best teams
That leaves 12 conferences where a spoiler could take away another spot – so if all 12 of these conferences had spoilers win, then only the 38 best teams would be selected. However this won’t happen.

The Big East is the least likely conference to produce a “spoiler.” With Marquette being the 11th Big East team in the tournament according to Forecast, that means Seton Hall or one of the teams below them would have to win the conference tournament, and there is only a 0.4% chance of that happening.

A spoiler is much more likely to come from Conference USA, where Memphis, UAB and Central Florida would be selected at-large right now. However, there is only a 36% chance that one of those teams wins the conference tournament because UTEP (32% chance of winning tourney) as well as DJ Newbill and Southern Mississippi (17%) project to finish tied for first place, and other spoilers also have a shot a the conference title. That means that there is a 64% chance that a fourth team comes out of CUSA by virtue of a conference tournament title. Here are the chances of a new spoiler emerging from each conference to take away one of the 50 spots.

CUSA 64%, WCC 54%, A10 47%, WAC 25%, CAA 21%, P10 7%, ACC 7%, MWC 4%, B10 2%, SEC 2%, B12 2% and BE 0.4% = 2 likely spoilers, but actually 2.35, so let's assume 3 spoilers win to be safe.

At 36th, MU would have 11-team cushion
That leaves a 12-team cushion between MU and elimination. A CAA team will move ahead of MU one way or the other because even if no spoiler wins the CAA, either ODU or George Mason from the list above will pass MU by winning the tournament – we just need to make sure they don’t BOTH pass.

Therefore, if MU finishes 9-9 and with the 36th best resume, and there are three spoilers to make a total of 22 automatic bids that would not otherwise be selected, that means MU has an 11-team cushion behind them and elimination and would need to be passed by 12 teams to be eliminated. But we know one CAA team will pass us, whether ODU, GMU or a spoiler, so that means 11 others would have to pass to knock us out. The list above are teams most likely to pass MU – if 12 of them do, MU would be out.

Here are the teams trying to knock MU out and games they have against teams in Pomeroy’s top 50, or if none in the top 50, their toughest remaining opponent.

Marquette BE at #26 UConn thur, vs. #27 Cincy Mar 2
1. Old Dominion CAA at #98 JMU Wed
2. Utah St. WAC at #119 NM St. March 2
3. Memphis CUSA at #72 UTEP Sat
4. George Mason CAA vs. #200 Northeastern Thur
5. Virginia Tech ACC vs. #1 Duke Sat, at #36 Clem Mar 5
6. Michigan St. B10 at #39 Minn today, vs. #5 Purd Sat
7. UAB CUSA at #64 Southern Miss Mar 2
8. Alabama SEC at #31 Flor Mar 1
9. Central Florida CUSA vs. #64Southern Miss Sat.
10. Maryland ACC at vs. #40 Flo St Wed, at #12 UNC Sat
11. UCLA P10 vs. #15 Ariz Sta, at #10 Wsh Mar 3
ELIMINATION LINE assuming 3 spoilers win tourney
12. Georgia SEC at #31 Flo Thur, at #33 Bama Mar 5
13. Florida State ACC at #23 MD Wed, vs. #12 UNC Mar 2

While Forecast RPI has MU as, in essence, the last #9 seed, others have us as a #10, 11, 12 or even a few have us out of the tournament.

MU has to look in the rear view mirror for teams that might jump them with a big win.

The game at UConn Thursday is probably the last chance MU has to win a game that will leave them looking ahead at who they might pass for a better seed. If that doesn’t happen, MU will need to take care of business and we have to do a little scoreboard watching, like it or not.

However, if MU makes the tournament it is possible the logjam of MU teams might forces them up to a higher seed.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great stuff. However, I believe there are only 68 teams in the 2011 tournament. I guess it's a simple as subracting one.