We're only a week through the 2007 Big Dance.. but its never too early to start thinking about next year's Tournament. Here's an early projection of the 2008 NCAA Tournament field:
Big East (8) - Louisville - (DePaul, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, UCONN, West Virginia)**
Pac-10 (6) - UCLA - (Arizona, Stanford, USC, Washington, Washington State)
SEC (6) - Kentucky - (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee)
ACC - UNC (5) - (Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State)
Big 12 (4) - Kansas - (Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas)
- A lot of talk the first two days about the lack of upsets and the lack of excitement.. but I think today's 3 overtime games more than made up for it.
- Mike Conley's 11 points might have owned overtime, but Ron Lewis owned the game. When things broke down for Ohio State, he pretty much got them to overtime by himself.
Best performance: Eric Maynor, VCU
Eric Maynor had reason to be nervous. After all, here he was playing in his first ever NCAA Tournament. He had just come off a brilliant performance against George Mason in the Colonial Athletic Conference title game, to earn his team only their second NCAA berth in 20 years. And who did they find themselves matched up with come Selection Sunday? The Duke Blue Devils.
Game of the Week: #14 Duke at #8 North Carolina (Sunday, March 4th, CBS, 4:00 PM)
Countdown to Selection Sunday can legitimately be made in hours at this point. Less than a week to the start of the tournament. Less than a few months before we start previewing the 2007-08 season..
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: How does Tommy Amaker still have his job? Michigan's loss to Ohio State today means they'll be back in the NIT once again. Maybe they should just call it the Michigan Invitational Tournament at this point..
In the last Dribble, I ranked all 66 2nd tier conferences. Today I've put together a 73-team ranking of BCS schools. I also did this late in January, and those rankings are in parentheses..
BCS Power Ranking, 1 to 73
1. Ohio State 15-1 27-3 (6)
2. UCLA 15-3 26-4 (1)
3. North Carolina 11-5 25-6 (3)
4. Florida 13-3 26-5 (2)
5. Kansas 14-2 27-4 (9)
6. Wisconsin 13-3 27-4 (4)
7. Texas A&M 13-3 25-5 (7)
8. Georgetown 13-3 23-6 (24)
9. Pittsburgh 12-4 25-6 (5)
10. Washington State 13-5 24-6 (13)
11. Oregon 11-7 23-7 (8)
12. Notre Dame 11-5 23-6 (16)
13. Marquette 10-6 23-8 (12)
I love sports stats. Its as simple as that.. baseball has the best stats obviously, but college basketball has some underrated numbers. And I'm not talking about the RPI, I'm talking about Ken Pomeroy's offensive and defensive efficiency numbers. Its not my place to explain these numbers, but you can check out http://kenpom.com/blog/index.php/weblog/stats_explained/ for what the stats mean. But basically a good offensive efficiency rating means a team is good at offense and a good defensive efficiency rating means your good at D. Ken combines these two efficiency ratings into the "Pythag Winning Percentage" which basically predicts how a team will do against an average schedule. For example, last year's national champion Florida, ended up #1 in the Pythag category. They were projected to have a 97.4 winning percentage against an average schedule. The worst, not suprisingly was 1-26 Savannah State with .8% Pythag winning percentage. This means (theoretically), Savannah State would only have won 1 of every 100 games against an average NCAA schedule last year.
These guys might not be the stars of their teams.. but players like Tyrese Rice, JamesOn Curry, and Martin Zeno put up numbers with the best of them.
Does parity exist? More so than a couple years back? Is the gap between the best and worst really shrinking? These were the questions I had in the back of mind as I did some RPI research this afternoon.
I took a look at the records of the top teams over the last handful of seasons or so, since 1999. Particularly, I focused on how many Top 50, and Top 100 RPI wins the best teams had each season. For example, going back to 1999, Michigan State had the most Top 50 RPI wins with 12. The most Top 100 wins that season was Duke with a whopping 26!
From 1999 to now, I tried to see if there was a pattern of the top teams having less good wins and the bottom teams having more good wins. This, it seems to me, would be a sign of parity. All the talk about mid-majors and whatnot, I wanted to see if it really made a difference.