"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

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Part 1 - MU is 5th best bet for a run based on who they've beaten

Note for Cracked Sidewalks readers: These two posts of emails I sent to several hundred people at other college basketball programs as well as sports reporters around the country. Therefore these are not rah-rah arguing points for Marquette, since our fans are not the primary audience on this. However, I think it is helpful every time we worry about our lack of depth and size to realize the old adage, "the other side has problems too." When you really look at which teams have the talent Coach McGuire said you needed to win, and which teams have shown the ability to beat the tough teams they would have to beat for an NCAA run, Marquette looks like one of the teams most likely to make a deep run in the tourney. With that:

2 criteria you should consider when filling out your Top 25 and NCAA bracket

Whether you are ranking the weekly Top 25, or just getting ready to fill out your NCAA bracket for an office pool in a couple of weeks, there are two factors that deserve strong consideration.

First, is the team able to beat ranked teams? By that criteria, UConn is clearly No. 1 in the country with an 8-1 mark that gives them at least twice as many wins against ranked teams as all but one other team (Marquette is 5-2). However, Wake Forest (4-0) and UNC (4-1) are the only two teams to beat three teams ranked IN THE TOP 10, and Oklahoma (4-0) and Missouri (3-0) are also undefeated against ranked opponents. Those are some pretty good bets to be at top of your rankings and going deep in your bracket.

Second, does the team have enough talent to be ranked at the top and make a run? Legendary commentator Al McGuire said you need 3 ½ stars to win a championship, and according to the mock NBA draft from a couple of weeks ago, only 11 teams have three players expected to go in the 2-round NBA draft either this year or next. At the top of the list are UConn (6 projected draft picks, though Jerome Dyson may be out for the year to give them 5), and UNC (5). Since those two teams are at the top of both lists, they aren’t a bad bet to make the title game. But this list may also give you a sleeper or two. UCLA is 0-3 against ranked teams, but they are the only other team with 4 projected NBA picks on the court.

The following two lists are how the teams would be ranked using these two different criteria. It might make a good cheat sheet when filling out that bracket or ballot:

Part 1 – Rankings According to Ability to Beat Ranked Teams

The following are the 48 teams that are currently receiving votes and/or in the top 40 of the RPI, ranked by how they have done against ranked teams. The first record is their record against teams ranked in the ESPN Top 25 when they played them (no bias against the AP, which would have only minor differences), and the second record only counts those games against Top 10 teams. The order was determined by giving teams a point for every win, taking away a half point for every loss, and adding 1/3 of a point for each game against a Top 10 team, win or lose. Judging just by their ability to beat ranked teams, the Four top teams and No. 1 seeds today would be UConn, Wake, UNC and Oklahoma:

1, Connecticut (8-1, 2-1)
2, Wake Forest (4-0, 3-0)
3, North Carolina (4-1, 3-1)
4, Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0)
5, Marquette (5-2, 0-0)
6, Louisville (3-1, 1-1)
7, Michigan State (3-1, 1-1)
8, Missouri (3-0, 0-0)
9, Duke (3-3, 1-3)
10, Ohio State (4-4, 1-1)
11, Pittsburgh (3-2, 2-0)
12, Arizona State (2-0, 2-0)
13, Washington (3-1, 0-0)
14, Gonzaga (3-2, 0-1)
15, Dayton (2-0, 0-0)
16, Clemson (2-2, 1-2)
17, Arizona (2-2, 2-1)
18, Syracuse (4-5, 0-1)
19, Minnesota (3-3, 1-0)
20, Villanova (3-4, 1-1)
21, Georgetown (3-6, 2-3)
22, California (2-1, 0-0)
23, Texas (2-3, 1-2)
24, Purdue (2-2, 0-1)
25, Florida State (2-4, 1-3)
26, UNLV (1-0, 0-0)
27, Xavier (1-1, 0-1)
28, Penn State (2-3, 1-0)
29, Temple (1-2, 1-1)
30, Butler (1-1, 0-0)
31, South Carolina (1-1, 0-0)
32, Utah (1-1, 0-0)
33, Utah State (1-1, 0-0)
34, Florida (0-0, 0-0)
35, West Virginia (2-7, 0-4)
36, Illinois (1-3, 0-0)
37, Memphis (1-3, 0-0)
38, LSU (0-1, 0-0)
39, San Diego State (0-1, 0-0)
40, Wisconsin (2-6, 0-1)
41, Brigham Young (0-2, 0-1)
42, Sienna (0-2, 0-1)
43, Saint Mary's (0-2, 0-0)
44, UAB (0-2, 0-0)
45, Davidson (0-3, 0-1)
46, Kansas (0-3, 0-1)
47, UCLA (0-3, 0-1)
48, Oklahoma State (0-5, 0-3)


Unwobbling Pivot said...

I believe you missed a program. This program has three games against the Top 25, which also are all against Top 10 teams (at the time of each contest). This program has a 1-2 record in those three games. If I understand your scoring system correctly, this program should be at #27, instead of the only Top 10 team they beat very recently (first one 1992). This program should have 1.000 pt. score vs. the erroneous #27, which should have 0.833 pts.

(This program: Duquesne)

JohnPudner said...

Yes, you are right in the calculation. I did write that I had limited this list to teams that were either in the Top 40 in RPI and/or getting votes for the Top 25. So in essense, that's how I got the 48 teams, and the reordering was done based on the equation which you did correctly understand. The problem is that if I took every team, well first it took a long time to do these 48 and doing 343 would have taken forever, but also a lot of teams are 0-0 so there would have been a ton of teams tied with Florida.

Unwobbling Pivot said...

Thanks. I read it too fast and missed that. Yeah, Duquesne is probably headed for the NIT. If they finish great, who knows. But if they collapse, maybe nothing. I'm probably talking about them a year or two too early. Watch out for them over the next couple of seasons. The job Everhart has done over there is pretty amazing. Taking a 3-24 team that then has five players shot before he even coaches one game, then beating BC (away) that same year with a bunch of walk-ons. Now two years later, despite some defections: from near oblivion to relevance. One of the finest coaching performances of this decade.

(FYI: I didn't go there, but I know someone who does, so I have been keeping an eye on them.)