Xavier Snubbed, Doesn’t Get Into NIT

ESPN: The NIT selection committee snubbed Xavier despite quality the Musketeers’ wins over Temple, Butler, La Salle, Memphis and Saint Louis. Xavier coach Chris Mack and outgoing athletic director Mike Bobinski were expecting to get an NIT bid. When one didn’t come Sunday night they both agreed not to pursue the CBI. So, Xavier’s season is over and likely its longtime history in the A-10 has come to a close as well. The Musketeers are expected to be announced, according to multiple sources, with Butler and Creighton, as a member of the new Big East later this week.

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Xavier being denied a bid to the NIT is one of the biggest oversights in the history of the NIT. Xavier should have been a top-half seed (a 4-seed or higher) at a minimum but were denied a bid altogether. I don’t blame Xavier for saying “screw it, our season’s done.” They were a deep run in the A-10 tournament away from climbing into the ranks of NCAA tournament bubble teams.

I’m thoroughly confused and I think selection committee chairs for each tournament should make themselves available to the media to discuss and defend their decisions for why they added certain teams and not others. NCAA tournament selection committee chair Mike Bobinski (Xavier’s soon-to-be-former AD) went on to CBS and ESPN to answer questions about certain bubble teams making it over other bubble teams. If he is willing to step in front of a camera to defend and explain picks, why won’t others? Agree or disagree with the selections/snubs, you have to respect Mike Bobinski for at least addressing the questions.

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Temple’s Tournament Chances and ESPN’s BPI Index Is Bullshit

Yes, has nothing to do with Temple.  Still makes ESPN look silly.

Ha, Dick Vitale in drag sitting behind Dick Vitale.

ESPN: With March Madness just about a month away, talk of bubble teams is on the rise. One such club at the moment is Temple. And our own Jay Williams likes the program’s chances at making a sixth consecutive appearance at the Big Dance.

At just 14-7 with an inexplicable loss to Canisius on their resume, the Owls still have work to do. But Fran Dunphy always seems to get the most out of his players when it matters most, and their victory over Syracuse in late December gives them a huge win to lean on. Plus, the majority of their key remaining games — including tonight’s matchup with Charlotte — are at home, where they’re currently 9-1.

Khalif Wyatt and his 18.6 points per night give Temple a legitimate scoring threat every time he hits the floor, while Scootie Randall and Anthony Lee give the Owls some solid secondary offense to fall back on as well. As Williams contends, this is a group that could not only make the trip to the NCAA Tournament, it has the potential to cause some problems for opponents if it gets there.

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I think Temple is fine. They are #47 in RPI and #58 in BPI. Typically, teams in the top 60 of those rankings are fairly safe in terms of receiving bids for the NCAA tournament. They have games left against quality opponents like La Salle and VCU. Both of those games are at home and Temple could win. If Temple can beat VCU (and everyone else they are expected to beat), I think they are a lock (regardless of how they do in the A-10 tournament). Luckily, the selection committee isn’t ESPN using nonsensical BPI rating that uses subjective data such as “pace of game” and “diminishing returns for blowouts.” I know ESPN will talk up their ranking system because, well, it’s THEIR system.

For example, BPI will weight a win or loss differently if a key player (as defined by ESPN – more subjective data) does or does not play in a game. There, in fact, is ESPN turning a team game into being more about individuals. If a player goes down, it should be the next man up. There are too many games and too many players where minor injuries (requiring a player to miss 1-3 games) occur all the time. That should not have any bearing on rating a team’s win or loss.

Another way BPI tries to differentiate itself from RPI, and other systems, is by counting “scoring margin.” I do not get this part of BPI. If a school plays another school and blows them out, that actually lowers their BPI compared to winning a close game. I kid you not, “Another way that BPI can rank teams differently than Sagarin or Kenpom is counting close games at home versus on the road. In BPI, a close win at home is better than a close loss on the road against the same opponent. This isn’t necessarily true in other methods and, in methods that do that, they don’t typically account for bigger wins. BPI gives marginally decreasing credit for bigger wins, with a 30-point win being only about 20 percent better than a 15-point win, not twice as good, which can happen in other methods.” Is this a joke, ESPN? Take, for example, UMass playing URI last night. UMass just embarrassed URI and ran them off the court. They won 81-53. They proved URI did not deserve to be in the same gym as them. ESPN is saying that UMass beating URI by 28 actually had a lesser impact on their BPI than if they only beat URI by 5. If I were on the selection committee and deciding the tournament field as of today, and UMass was a bubble team, I would be more likely to put them in the field with the 28-point drubbing. If UMass only beat URI by 5, I would think “if a team like URI can push UMass to the brink, what would much better teams do to this team” and maybe not let them in. ESPN’s logic seems almost counterintuitive.

“By capturing blowouts, but not overweighting them, BPI credits the ability of good teams to easily beat poor teams without providing incentive to win by 30 when 20 is a safe margin. By capturing both blowouts and close games in this way, BPI summarizes a team’s résumé for the NCAA tournament well.” What in the hell does that even mean, ESPN? When playing the game, a team should continue to score until the other team can stop them. What do you expect to happen, ESPN? For schools to say “well we’re at 20 points, let’s just dribble out the clock and keep taking shot-clock violations because only winning by 20 is more favorable than winning by 30”?

Luckily, for Temple and everybody else, the selection committee uses rankings indices like RPI instead of BPI. BPI is just ESPN coming out with another rating system that they can call “proprietary” and pat themselves on the back for coming up with it. It will catch on as well as their bullshit “Total QBR” system. ESPN needs to learn that creating any ranking system that is based on subjective data is inherently flawed. It is flawed because those data points mean something different to everyone. What a blowout is to ESPN may not be a blowout to you, or me, or the selection committee. Same can be said for trying to quantify the impact of a single player.

I think Temple should get in and I think ESPN tries too hard and needs to cool it a bit.

UPDATE: Duquesne beat Temple last night. That is a terrible loss for a bubble team. Now I think Temple needs to beat VCU or else it’s time to gear up for the NIT.

A-10 Only Good Because Of Butler and VCU…Andy Katz Has Spoken

Andy-Katz-Sweaty-Belushi-

Andy Katz Blog: Every team in the A-10 needs to thank the Horizon League and the Colonial Athletic Association for their stringent rules preventing Butler and VCU from playing in the conference tournament.

Take those two teams out of the A-10 this season, and suddenly the league is suspect and loses the high-profile matchups that have occurred this past week and resulted in court storming.

The A-10 has had a number of teams take turns at the top, with the two most consistent programs being Xavier and Temple. Temple will be gone to the Big East next season. When the A-10 secured Butler and VCU as members and then actually got them a year earlier, it turned out to be the biggest coup in all of the realignment moves.

And that’s why it will be imperative for the A-10 to do whatever it can to keep them from being poached by the departing Big East Catholic seven schools. If those schools take Xavier and/or Dayton, then it will be a hit for the league. Losing Butler, though, would be devastating.

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Where to begin with this diatribe Andy let loose on us? Yes, it was an incredible feat to nab these two programs and add them to the Atlantic 10 conference. But to say that those 2 teams are the only reason the A-10 is good is just lunacy.

There are no high-profile match-ups without them? What does Andy, and by extension, ESPN, think a high-profile match-up is? A game that involves a ranked team? The A-10 is, and always has been, a solid conference with an RPI that has been higher than at least one of the “power conferences” each year. Anyone who is a fan of a school in the A-10 knows that there are always high-quality match-ups that do not always look good on paper. Take my URI Rams, for instance. They are by no means a top program in the conference and have not been in a couple of years yet they seem to have a couple of teams’ numbers, so to speak. URI seems to, no matter the talent disparity, play Dayton and St. Louis tough each year. Those games are always fun to watch and come down to the final minutes.

I know there are also other match-ups that are just as much fun to watch as those between other schools.

Just last year without the big, bad VCU and Butler in the conference, the A-10 had 4 teams go to the NCAA tournament and another 4 teams go to the NIT tournament. I do not notice that much of a drop-off from last year with these teams and most of these teams are reloading with high quality, young talent and will be even better in the next year or two.