Thursday, February 15, 2007

Potential winless teams in conference play

If you don't win a conference game, other teams don't get their wins on your home court included in your at-risk profile.

Current candidates for the application of this policy:

Arizona State (0-13), Pac-10: This is a tough one as Arizona State did beat Iowa at home Novemeber and have been frequently competitive at home. At-risk wins in limbo: Northern Arizona, Portland State, Davidson, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State.

East Carolina (0-11), C-USA: East Carolina started the year 2-1, with a home win over Morgan State and a win @UNC-Greensboro bracketing an overtime loss @Richmond. Since then they have failed to beat a Division 1 team. At-risk wins in limbo: South Florida, Winthrop, Rice, Tulane, Memphis, UAB, Central Florida, Southern Miss.

North Florida (0-14), Atlantic Sun: North Florida hasn't beaten a single Division 1 team so far this year. At-risk wins in limbo: Loyola (MD), Florida Atlantic, Binghamton, Florida A&M, Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, Stetson, Mercer, Kennesaw State, East Tennessee State.

MD-Eastern Shore (0-12), MEAC: Both of their Division 1 wins have come away from home. At-risk wins in limbo: Wagner, Dartmouth, Norfolk State, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman, Coppin State, North Carolian A&T, South Carolina State.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Status of my at-risk assumptions

I define the at-risk games I'm tracking as follows: all losses plus road/neutral wins plus home wins against NCAA Tournament teams. Obviously, until March 11th, I don't know exactly which teams fit the third of those criteria. So I make assumptions and try to keep those assumptions as conservative as possible.

As of today, I'm including home wins over the following teams in at-risk profiles: North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Duke, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Kansas, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, Southern Illinois, UCLA, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Butler, Air Force, Memphis, Nevada, and Winthrop.

Less than a month out, those are the locks per my determination and subject to change.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Down to cases: The WCC

Santa Clara won in Spokane last night, giving the Broncos a one-game lead over Gonzaga in the WCC regular season title race.

Gonzaga has a home game against Portland and road games @San Francisco and @San Diego to finish the season. Santa Clara gets San Diego at home before finishing @Pepperdine and @Loyola Marymount.

Santa Clara lost to Loyola Marymount at home in January, a result that appears to be Gonzaga's last, best hope to get a share of the conference title.

Having no idea how the tie-breaker for seeding in WCC Conference Tournament would work in the case of co-champions who split their regular season meetings (with Santa Clara a single point per 100 possessions to the good over the two games), let's speculate on which team would be favored to gain the WCC's automatic bid.

vs. WCC8-311296+16

Wins: vs. UNC (+10), vs. Texas (+11), @Santa Clara (+13), @Portland (+21), @Stanford (+4), @Pepperdine (+37)

Losses: vs. Butler (-17), @Washington State (-14), vs. Georgia (-13), vs. Duke (-19), vs. Nevada (-12), @Virginia (-32), @St. Mary's (-7), @Loyola-Marymount (-8), Santa Clara (-14)

Gonzaga wouldn't figure to have much of a chance hosting Memphis this Saturday with Josh Heytvelt. In the two games without him, they've barely topped a point per possession offensively. If Heytvelt is out for the rest of the year, I seriously doubt the selection committee takes Gonzaga's at-large bid seriously.

Santa Clara8-797970
vs. WCC9-210894+14

Wins: vs. Alabama State (+43), @Pacific (+27), @Stanford (+24), @San Diego (+17), @San Francisco (+6), @St. Mary's (+9), @Portland (+39), @Gonzaga (+14)

Losses: @Cal (-36), Nevada (-16), @Missouri State (-37), @Kentucky (-18), Air Force (-58), Gonzaga (-13), Loyola-Marymount (-4)

Santa Clara has almost caught Gonzaga in the WCC average efficiency margin standings, and, though they have an even worse resume for an at-large bid than does Gonzaga, I think they would have to be favored over a Heytvelt-less Zags squad in the WCC Tournament.

If they can't avenge their home loss to Loyola Marymount, though, I'd probably waffle on my speculative outcome.

Down to cases: Louisville

At 8-4 in Big East play and with home games remaining against St. John's and Seton Hall, Louisville has to be favored to win at least 10 conference games. Both of their remaining road games (@Marquette, @UConn) are winnable, if unlikely.

As of today, Louisville's at-risk profile looks like this:

vs. Big East8-410898+10

Wins: @South Florida (+39), @DePaul (+13), @Cincinnati (+24), @Pittsburgh (+16)

Losses: vs. Dayton (-7), vs. Arizona (-12), UMass (-8), Kentucky (-21), @Notre Dame (-22), Marquette (-12), @Villanova (-8), Georgetown (-17)

Last night's convincing win @Pittsburgh at least puts Louisville on the bubble. Though they're third in the Big East in average efficiency margin, they certainly don't have the third-best non-conference performance to go along with that. They figure to need to win at least one game on the road and/or in the Big East Tournament to separate themselves from the mass of mediocre big conference teams that will contend for the final at-large bids. They're playing better than the likes of Oregon, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Illinois, and Oklahoma State at this point in the season, but it sure would have helped to beat Dayton or UMass.

Down to cases: Oklahoma State

The Cowboys are 18-6, 5-5 in Big 12 play. Half of their wins are by 10 or fewer points per 100 possessions. Only one of their losses has been that narrow.

The at-risk profiles are designed to measure team quality looking forward. It is entirely appropriate that Oklahoma State get credit with the selection committee for all those close wins when considering their prospects for an at-large bid. However, as of last Saturday, Andy Glockner of still listed the Cowboys as a "lock" to make the NCAA Tournament. This despite being outscored by eight points per 100 possessions in conference play through eight games. (Following the narrow win over Texas Tech and the blowout loss at Texas, the Cowboys are now being outscored by ten points per 100 possessions against Big 12 opposition.)

The most likely final conference record for the Cowboys is 8-8. They have home games remaining against Missouri, Texas A&M, and Kansas State. They travel to Texas Tech, Baylor, and Nebraska. Considering that Oklahoma State has struggled to beat Baylor (+7), Texas (+5), Oklahoma (+9), and Texas Tech (+2) at home and has yet to win a road game in conference play they could realistically lose any of those games.

This is a team on the tournament bubble. Should they manage to split their final 6 games, they may well benefit from getting to play on Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament with its accompanying chance to guarantee a .500 record in conference play.

Oklahoma St5-698106-8
vs. Big 125-598108-10

Wins: vs. Auburn (+2), vs. Missouri State (+6), vs. Syracuse (+4), vs. Ball State (+33), vs. Pittsburgh (+4)

Losses: vs. Tennessee (-5), @Kansas (-38), @Texas A&M (-26), @Colorado (-21), @Oklahoma (-14), @Texas (-39)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Conference Standings Through 2/5/07

All conferences ranked by average efficiency margin. Mid-major report coming tomorrow. Updated at-risk profiles appearing later in the week.

TeamEff MarginRecord
North Carolina+206-2
Boston College+87-2
Florida St+45-4
Virginia Tech06-3
Georgia Tech-53-6
NC State-93-5
Wake Forest-122-8
Miami, FL-182-7

Big East
TeamEff MarginRecord
West Virginia+97-3
Notre Dame+36-4
Seton Hall-93-6
South Florida-103-6
St. John's-154-6

Big 10
TeamEff MarginRecord
Ohio St+208-1
Michigan St+84-5
Penn St-131-7

Big 12
TeamEff MarginRecord
Texas A&M+168-1
Kansas St+76-2
Texas Tech-24-4
Oklahoma St-64-3
Iowa St-63-5

TeamEff MarginRecord
Missouri St+118-5
Southern Illinois+910-3
Wichita St+16-7
Northern Iowa07-6
Illinois St-94-9
Indiana St-105-8

TeamEff MarginRecord
Washington St+148-3
Arizona St-160-11
Oregon St-251-10

SEC WestEff MarginRecord
Ole Miss+14-5
Mississippi St03-5

SEC EastEff MarginRecord
South Carolina-202-6