Sunday, March 15, 2009

Initial NCAA Tournament thoughts

- Two helpful barometers based on complex computer rankings:

1) Ken Pomeroy's rankings, probably the closest thing college basketball has to baseball-style Pythagorean judgment, i.e. weighing a team based on its actual performance level.

2) Jeff Sagarin's ratings, derived from a convoluted analysis of statistical performance and the strength of teams that you won and lost to.

- St. Mary's did not deserve to get in, Patty Mills or not, and it showed when he went down with an injury and the team just fell apart. Statistically, Sagarin had them below the bubble (pre-upsets) and Pomeroy had them nowhere in sight of the bubble. The pop bloggers can stop complaining.

26 wins or not, St. Mary's has to learn that you can't pump your schedule full of easy opponents, win a bunch of games and expect the NCAA to care when you don't earn an automatic bid. Quantity does not equal quality. Gonzaga has learned this and gets respect despite playing in a weak conference thanks to a litany of big non-conference foes, many of which Gonzaga beats.

- I want to howl and scream, but when you look at the power ratings, all three Big East #1 seeds have a real case for a 1 seed. UConn is a definite 1-seed. Pittsburgh MIGHT be a 2 (and Pomeroy thinks they are) but they were the top team in the country for a spell, and Sagarin says they're a 1. And while Louisville is ideally a high 2 seed, they DID win the Big East tournament, and to win a tournament with two other one seeds involved has to count. It's top heavy and lacks equity, but I can't really get mad about it. All those teams could destroy 90% of the field. They are legit 1-seeds.

And yes, UNC is a legit 1-seed too and had a real case to play the play-in winner, but I can see Louisville getting that for winning the Big East. So enjoy it while you can, Tyler Hansbrough, because the NBA is going to collectively mug you and take your wallet once you go pro.

Much more later.

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