Monday, March 21, 2011

Why was UAB Selected?

I was preparing my annual 96-team tournament field. In trying to determine the last couple of teams, I kept coming back to the question of why the selection committee picked UAB. I think UAB had three things going for it:

  1. High RPI
  2. Regular-season conference champion
  3. Played in a highly rated conference

In particular, the fact that it won the conference championship of Conference USA, which overall had a very good RPI, was very important to the team's selection. Also, the conference did not have any obvious other at-large teams to select. I think everyone has only focused on the high RPI, but I think the latter two elements actually mattered more and will be important to my analysis of an extended 96-team tournament.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clemson and UAB are the same

Clemson and UAB play tonight in one of the First Four games of the tournament. As I said in my previous post, there has been a lot of whining about UAB's selection. However, there has been almost nothing said about Clemson's inclusion, even though when you look at their profiles they look very similar. UAB has the better RPI and the better record. They both beat one marginal tournament team (VCU for UAB, Florida St. for Clemson). Clemson beat 6 NIT or NIT-bubble teams, UAB beat 7. Clemson had more losses to good teams, but neither of them had any real bad losses. If you remove Clemson's three losses to UNC, they lost the same number of games and the profile of teams they lost to look amazingly similar. Heck, they both lost to Duke on the road.

It seems like the only reason to include Clemson is that they beat Virginia Tech and Virginia Tech beat Duke. Virginia Tech's win over Duke might be reason to include them in the tournament, but it seems like a bad reason to include Clemson.

Must be that Clemson plays in the ACC and UAB is in Conference USA.

Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 Bracket Announcement and ESPN

The wailing and gnashing of teeth from ESPN over the inclusion of UAB and VCU over Colorado and Virginia Tech is quite annoying.

Hubert Davis talked incessantly about the Eye Test, which near as I could figure meant: (i) Teams he saw play, (ii) Teams from big conferences and (iii) Teams with big-name recruits. Pretty much teams from the BCS conferences.

Digger Phelps talked about getting things done in the conference season. Of course the big-conference teams will be the only ones who can beat top teams in the conference portion of the season. Also it seems a little strange to talk about teams that were denied after getting the job done in the conference season when they were 8-8 in conference (Colorado).

I am half-convinced that Jay Bilas would be perfectly happy if they just took the 68 best teams from the BCS conferences. It is particularly annoying when he complains about how worthless RPI is and then talks about how poor a team's record is against the RPI Top 50.

Dick Vitale must have three or four rants prepared and then picks the one that makes the most sense given the bracket that is announced. In the past he has railed against the exclusion of the small schools. This year he complained about the exclusion of Colorado and VPI.

The whole program had a tendency to make "My father can beat up your little brother" arguments, i.e. focusing on the positives of Colorado and the negatives of VCU and UAB. They posted a graphic on VCU that only had the negatives, such as their worst loss against Georgia St. Meanwhile there was no mention of the fact that in addition to playing a weak non-conference schedule, Colorado played most of those games at home.

This all should not necessarily mean that the committee got it right. I personally would have taken St. Mary's, VPI and Colorado over UAB, Clemson and Georgia, but this number of changes is not much different than my usual preferences.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baseball’s Blackout Policy

Yet another sign of spring, discussing MLB's idiotic Blackout policies for (H/T). Let me suggest one reason why the NFL gets their package right, and MLB gets theirs wrong. The NFL splits up the revenue amongst their teams evenly, so when they sell an additional package the money is split the same way as their national deal. However, MLB teams sell their games individually, so they do not want people to move from the local broadcasts to the national one.

Of course the biggest complaints are in the cases where fans are in a team's market and yet have almost no local coverage of the team. I have lived in the split market of the Royals and Cardinals for 10 years, and I have seen a grand total of one Royals game on here. You cannot even pick-up the radio broadcast until you get 20 miles north of where I am. Six teams split Iowa. There is no way that a fan in Des Moines will be able to watch every game of the Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Twins, Brewers and White Sox on local TV. A more rational policy on blackouts would definitely be beneficial to MLB's worth.