Thursday, March 25, 2010

What a Hypothetical 96-Team Field for the NCAA Tournament Would Look Like

The NCAA seems pretty insistent on expanding the NCAA Tournament to 96-Teams. Just like with last year's tournament, I wanted to see what a 96-team field this year would look like. I assume that the teams who made the actual tournament (65), plus all of the at-large teams for the NIT (24), plus any automatic bids for the NIT who had a higher seed than the lowest at-large team (1-Kent St.) would all make it. That leaves six slots. I will primarily use RPI as a measure of the best teams, though I will actually examine the records of the teams and generally teams from big conferences get in with lower RPI's. A dubious assumption I will also make is to also assume that any team with a losing record will not get in. Using those criteria I would say that the additional six teams would be Arizona, VCU, Marshall, Miami, SLU and Alabama. Based on my selections every BCS conference team with a strictly winning record, except an ineligible USC, would have made the tournament.

Here is a full bracket for a 96-team tournament from the Washington Post. The only differences between mine and his, other than 1-bid conferences, are that he includes Georgia, South Carolina, Charlotte and La Tech, and I include Ohio, Houston, Alabama and Nevada. I had excluded Georgia and South Carolina because they had losing records. Ohio and Houston won automatic bids; Charlotte continued its tail-spin and Nevada beat LaTech after the other story was written. So the differences can be explained by either one assumption (including losing teams) or when the selections were made.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Baseball Leaving Oneonta

At the Hardball Times there is an article bemoaning the departure of minor-league baseball in Oneonta. As I have discussed previously, Oneonta is a pretty small city to support a minor-league baseball team. In my study I had it as the third least likely city to host a baseball team that was hosting a baseball team. I would like to admit to one limitation of my study. I was not able to incorporate any measure of tradition and longevity of a team in a location. Tradition and history are an important part of the appeal of baseball, so this is a legitimate concern. For instance, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh with long histories would seem to be better markets for baseball than similarly-sized markets without much baseball history such as Portland and Sacramento. Even with this consideration, the small size of the Oneonta market does not seem to be able to support a Short-Season A team.

I realize there will always be fans who are upset about the loss of a team, but Norwich just seems to me to be a much better market than Oneonta.