"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

Monday, March 05, 2012

RPI Minutia

Thanks to rpiforecast.com, there is now a website that tells us how much every team in Division I impacts Marquette's RPI. With that in mind, I decided to look at the various conference tournaments to see which teams Marquette fans should be cheering for based on how much of our RPI they make up. For tiebreakers, I tried to look for reasons to either cheer for or against certain teams. I'm leaving off conferences that either have no automatic bid or whose bid has already been decided.

ACC - Virginia (0.08%)
Virginia Tech and Miami have the same impact on Marquette, but I chose Virginia because I generally like Tony Bennett. The ACC tourney starts on Thursday.

America East - Vermont (0.03%)
Vermont and Stony Brook have the same impact on Marquette, but I chose the Catamounts because we hosted their women's basketball team at the Al for a win this past December. The America East final is Saturday.

Atlantic 10 - St. Louis (0.08%)
St. Joe's, La Salle, and Xavier have the same impact on Marquette, but I'll be cheering for Rick Majerus and St. Louis to win it all in the A-10. How can you not cheer for an old Marquette guy (whose initials aren't TC)? The A-10 tourney kicks off Tuesday.

Big 12 - Kansas (0.08%)
Missouri has the same impact on Marquette, but it looks like the Jayhawks have wrapped up a 1-seed, so I'd rather Mizzou loses to enhance the Warriors' chances of being on the 2-line. The Big 12 tournament starts Wednesday, but KU doesn't play until Thursday.

Big Sky - Weber State (0.06%)
Northern Colorado would have been the pick, but they didn't make the field. While the remaining teams all have the same impact on Marquette, my fiancee is taking online classes as a Wildcat, so they get my nod of approval. Big Sky tourney play continues on Tuesday.

Big Ten - Wisconsin (1.67%), Penn State (0.14%)
The obvious choice are the Badgers, as they are one of our best wins, and the better they do, the more value that win has. But for Marquette fans who follow the "Better Dead Than Red" philosophy, the Nittany Lions of Penn State are the next best option, as we had 5 common opponents. I still say Wisconsin, however, not only because of the RPI impact, but because Penn State knocked the Marquette women's soccer team out of the NCAA tournament. The Big Ten tourney starts on Thursday.

Big West - Cal Poly (0.06%)
When I picked the Broncos as a possible bubble-buster, I had no idea they were the Big West team Warrior fans should most want to win. Since they played both DePaul and Northern Colorado in the regular season, the Broncos are the Big West horse we should ride with. They kick off conference tourney play on Thursday.

CAA - Drexel (0.08%)
No surprise here, since Drexel was in the Paradise Jam with us. While it might cause some bubble chaos, cheer for the Dragons as they take on VCU for the league title Monday night.

C-USA - Memphis (0.14%)
This one was pretty easy. The Tigers are coming to the Big East soon, and also played Georgetown twice and also Louisville. Georgetown alone gives us in effect four common opponents, since Memphis is counted twice for each time we played the Hoyas. The C-USA tournament starts Wednesday, but Memphis doesn't play until Thursday.

Horizon - Detroit (0.16%)
Since both UW-GB and UW-M are done, the Titans are the best remaining option. It should be easy to cheer for a fellow Jesuit school. Detroit takes on Valpo in the Horizon final Tuesday night.

Metro Atlantic - Fairfield (0.08%)
Not only did the Stags take on Providence and UConn, but they also landed UW-Milwaukee in the Bracket Buster game, giving us 3 common opponents. They take on Loyola-Maryland Monday night.

Mid-American - Miami-Ohio (0.08%)
The RedHawks played Vanderbilt as well as one of our mirror opponents, Cincinnati, giving us 3 common opponents. In addition, they also had to change their mascot name for PC reasons (though to be fair, Redmen is far more offensive than Warriors). For them to win the MAC title, they'll have to win 5 games this week, which would equal their win total for all of 2012. The MAC tourney starts Monday night.

Mid-Eastern - Norfolk State (3.23%)
Outside of our mirror opponents in the Big East, no other team in the nation has as much impact on us as do the Spartans. They've slipped up of late, but still have the 2-seed in the MEAC tournament. The tournament starts Monday, but NSU doesn't play until Tuesday.

Mountain West - TCU (0.08%)
Even if they hadn't been in the Paradise Jam, the Horned Frogs would be a fun team to cheer for. TCU is only the 5-seed in the MWC, but in the past month have defeated three of the top four teams in the league (UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado State) and taken the other to overtime (San Diego State). They are definitely the type of team that could burst someone's bubble when the MWC tourney kicks off on Thursday.

Northeast - Long Island (0.11%)
Since Mount St. Mary's isn't in the field, the best remaining option are the Blackbirds, who take on Robert Morris in the final on Wednesday.

Pac-12 - Washington (1.61%)
If the Huskies have a solid run, Marquette could end up with another top-50 win as well as another win over a tournament team. They still have at-large hopes as well, and the further they get in their conference tourney, the better odds Washington will make the bubble-line cut. The Huskies have the top seed, and while Pac-12 tournament play begins Wednesday, their first game will be on Thursday.

Patriot - Bucknell (0.05%)
Too bad playing a team the previous year doesn't help your RPI. Even still, the Bison are the team to cheer for on Wednesday night in the Patriot final.

SEC - Mississippi (1.72%)
My personal vote is for the Rebels, since we actually beat them, but LSU does have the same impact on us. Both have slightly more than Vanderbilt (1.69%) since we played the Commodores at home. The SEC tourney starts Thursday.

Southern - Western Carolina (0.03%)
Most would think there's no difference between Western Carolina and Davidson for Marquette fans. Same RPI impact, neither are particularly close to DJO's hometown of Raleigh, but despite all that, I was able to Google up a reason. In 2000, the Marquette men's tennis team lost an away match to Davidson. So I will be pulling for the Catamounts to get revenge for the MU tennis team on Monday night. Go Catamounts!

Southland - Northwestern State (0.05%)
It's a minute difference, but the Demons have a slightly larger impact on our RPI than any other Southland team because they played Cincinnati, one of our Big East mirrors. Another alternative when the Southland starts tourney play on Thursday is Sam Houston State, since former Marquette player Erik Williams will be sitting on their bench.

Summit - Oral Roberts (0.03%)
IUPUI would have been the pick, but they were already knocked out. My choice is ORU, as their inclusion (along with Marquette and Southern Miss) would put three teams with the Golden Eagles mascot in the tourney, even though South Dakota State has the same RPI impact on Marquette. Summit tourney play continues on Monday night.

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky (0.05%)
Hard to argue with the Hilltoppers, who have a great mascot name and the highest RPI impact on Marquette of any team in the league. Sun Belt play continues Monday night.

SWAC - Mississippi Valley State (0.11%)
First of all, the mascot name of Delta Devils is awesome. Second, like Bucknell, they played at Marquette last year. Third, they have the highest RPI impact of any SWAC team on Marquette. All that makes for an easy choice for MU fans when the SWAC tourney starts on Wednesday.

WAC - Nevada (0.03%)
Granted, Idaho and New Mexico State have the same impact on Marquette's RPI, but Nevada's best player is named Deonte Burton. Cheering for them will be like a primer to help Marquette fans cheer for Milwaukee's own Deonte Burton when he arrives on campus in 2013. The WAC tourney starts on Thursday.

WCC - Gonzaga (0.03%)
Another easy call. First, Gonzaga is the only team in the final to have an impact on our RPI. Second, they are a fellow Jesuit university. The West Coast final is Monday night.

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