Thursday, February 02, 2006

No, I'm not obsessed with the RPI, but...

I can't help but continue to think that Nebraska may have a decent resume to make the NCAA tournament if they finish the season with 6 wins in their last 10-11 games (9 in the reg season remain, 1-2 in the Big XII tournament, I assume). That would put them at either 9-7 or 10-6 in conference and 20-10 or 20-11 overall (more on the chances if that happens here).

While they've now jumped into the #82 spot in the RPI (prior to Thursday night's games), they still have a distinguishing amount of games and success against RPI top 100 teams when compared with their RPI peers.

One side note, yesterday was something of an historic day as the NCAA for the first time ever made their RPI calculations public. This used to be only available to the folks on the selection committee, which made people like Jerry Palm money. Palm will still probably be OK though, as the NCAA is only releasing this weekly, while sites like his and several others still update daily.

Back to the Huskers, though. Nebraska is currently 2-3 vs. teams in today's RPI top 50 and 4-3 vs. teams with an RPI from 51-100.

I know I've harped on this not long ago, and maybe I'm just grasping at straws, but this compares favorably to teams that Nebraska might have to battle on the bubble if they finish 9-7 or 10-6 in conference.

Teams with 10+ RPI games against top 100 RPI teams and a .500 or better record in those games:

Team Record (RPI)
Duke 11-1 (1)
Memhis 10-2 (2)
Villanova 9-2 (3)
Tennessee 7-3 (4)
UCONN 10-1 (5)
Illinois 11-2 (6)
Michigan St. 6-5 (7)
Pitt 9-1 (8)
Texas 9-3 (9)
Iowa 7-5 (10)
UCLA 6-4 (11)
Wisconsin 9-4 (13)
Ohio St. 7-5 (15)
Arizona 7-5 (16)
Michigan 7-3 (17)
Creighton 8-3 (18)
Indiana 6-4 (21)
LSU 6-5 (23)
NCSU 7-4 (26)
Wich. St. 6-5 (28)
Marquette 6-6 (29)
West Va. 7-3 (31)
Seton Hall 6-5 (33)
Kentucky 7-6 (34)
North Carolina 6-5 (36)
Bradley 5-5 (54)
Iowa St. 6-5 (58)
Kansas 6-6 (64)
Arkansas 5-5 (65)
Hawaii 6-5 (79)
BYU 8-4 (80)
Nebraska 6-6 (81)

That's the end of the list. Notice that of the 50 teams between 40 and 90, only 7 of them are in this group. Thus, Nebraska is going to have a leg up on any other teams that make a similar charge onto the bubble.

The reason Nebraska's RPI is so low is because they have only played 6 road/neutral games and only won 2 of them and, to a lesser degree because they played 7 games against teams with an RPI higher than 201.

On a related note, while looking at the records against RPI top 100s, it may be a good time to start pre-picking NCAA First Round upsets victims--its never too early to thinking about the bracket strategy. Here are some teams that may be a little overrated coming down the stretch:

Team: Record (Conference Record), RPI

Oklahoma: 14-4 (5-2), 19.

Only one team in the RPI top 40 has fewer games against RPI top 50 teams than Oklahoma (the Sooners had 3, Wisconsin-Milwaukee has had 2). In the RPI Top 40, only 8 teams have one or fewer victories over RPI Top 50 teams than Oklahoma, and OU is the higest ranked of that group of 8. Imagine what that would look like if they hadn't beat Texas.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee: 15-4 (9-1), 22.

Now these guys will probably be a facing a higher-seeded team in the first round, but will also be everyone's upset special. Don't buy it. Not only did they already use up all of their luck last year, which will probably jack up their seeding, but they also have 0 wins against RPI top 50 teams in two attempts and have losses to two 100+ RPI-rated teams (Wisconsin Green Bay and Tennessee Tech)

Maryland: 13-5 (4-2), 25.

Only win in 5 attempts against RPI Top 50 teams was a 2-point nail-biter at home against shaky Boston College in early December. Only one legit away game victory this year, which was against the ACC's worst team, Georgia Tech.

George Washington: 16-1 (6-0), 45.

Everyone likes to get on GW's bandwagon because they've got a guy with a really cool name, not to mention only one loss, and I can see that happening even more in March. But GW has gotten fat on a whopping 10 games against teams with RPIs of 201+. That makes Barry Collier's schedule look the NBA playoffs. OK, that's going a little far, as Longwood may not be able to compete in the Atlantic Division, but this is the worst schedule of any NCAA at-large contending team in the nation.

Here's me going out on a limb: If I were a betting man, I'd be all of Xavier -3 against these guys tonight. I'll make it my lock of the season.


Blogger Luca Brasi said...

You just missed your lock of the year. 89-85 Washington.

Good thing you're not a betting man.

9:45 AM  
Blogger JohnnyMitchell said...

Glad that someone finally noticed that. It's a little disappointing when I make a blatantly wrong pick and label it my lock of the year and no one throws me crap about it. At least now I know someone read it.

4:19 PM  

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