Lunardi: Tournament Eligibility Criteria

Jive36

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Nov 20, 2019
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If they changed the policy it would be interesting to see if P6 schools reverse the trend of playing 20 conference games.

He ran a twitter poll yesterday asking if people were for or against the proposed rule change and it was something like 60/40 when I voted in it. The replies supporting no change were using this year's Big 10 standings to argue that Ohio State (KP 9) could finish the year a game or two below .500 and still be a top 30ish team but be disqualified if they didn't beat some really good teams in their conference tournament.

I think Lunardi lays out a good argument that sub .500 power conference teams don't win games in the tournament. And really when you look at the sub. 500 teams that have made it most of the time they were sub .500 for a reason and have a hole somewhere that can be exploited or had a major injury for most of the year. The injury issue is the best argument against having a must be .500 rule, but you could always benchmark how many games missed to injury a team needs to have in order for the .500 rule to be waived and stipulate it can only be waived the the injured players played in the team's final game or something.

There are much more convoluted selection and seeding rules already in practice so there should be no reason to not implement this.
 

brownindians85

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Nov 13, 2019
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I think Lunardi lays out a good argument that sub .500 power conference teams don't win games in the tournament.
With factual evidence too. I'm surprised ESPN let that get through their P5 shill content filter this morning. .231, seriously. I also like that he put into writing what we've all talked about, when a P5 goes sub-.500 in conference and builds a resume on "good losses" they've proven nothing other than that they can lose to good teams. Which everyone can do. They often have much worse Q1/Q2 records %-wise than the mid-major left off the bubble.
 

GrantLabedz

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Nov 12, 2019
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I could see this leading to some major snubs too, though (of Power 5 teams that deserve to get in). Look at a team like Michigan. Currently 8-7 in the Big Ten, top 30 NET, and 3 out of 5 games on the road to end the season (@ Purdue, @ Ohio St., @ Maryland). A team like that with 2 incredible non-conference wins (Gonzaga, Creighton) deserves to get in, even if it finished 9-11 in the Big Ten and only won one game in the B10 Tournament. I think the Selection process needs more transparency in a lot of ways, but the NET has been a nice way of fixing that. However, taking out ALL subjectivity with an arbitrary conference record cut off could really screw over some teams that would deserve to get into the field.
 

PYBonnie05

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St. Bonaventure
I could see this leading to some major snubs too, though (of Power 5 teams that deserve to get in). Look at a team like Michigan. Currently 8-7 in the Big Ten, top 30 NET, and 3 out of 5 games on the road to end the season (@ Purdue, @ Ohio St., @ Maryland). A team like that with 2 incredible non-conference wins (Gonzaga, Creighton) deserves to get in, even if it finished 9-11 in the Big Ten and only won one game in the B10 Tournament. I think the Selection process needs more transparency in a lot of ways, but the NET has been a nice way of fixing that. However, taking out ALL subjectivity with an arbitrary conference record cut off could really screw over some teams that would deserve to get into the field.
Perhaps, but I bet Michigan will get some of those road wins and finish above .500 this year. I get your point, though. My problem is that I don’t really care about “deserving” sub-.500 P6 (yuck) teams and am uncontrollably biased against them.

Lunardi gives a strong argument and presents empirical data with an open perspective (despite being a St. Joe’s guy). It’s the type of tangible evidence that may (may) sway some fans towards the idea.
 

Bona84

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Dec 29, 2019
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St. Bonaventure
I could see this leading to some major snubs too, though (of Power 5 teams that deserve to get in). Look at a team like Michigan. Currently 8-7 in the Big Ten, top 30 NET, and 3 out of 5 games on the road to end the season (@ Purdue, @ Ohio St., @ Maryland). A team like that with 2 incredible non-conference wins (Gonzaga, Creighton) deserves to get in, even if it finished 9-11 in the Big Ten and only won one game in the B10 Tournament. I think the Selection process needs more transparency in a lot of ways, but the NET has been a nice way of fixing that. However, taking out ALL subjectivity with an arbitrary conference record cut off could really screw over some teams that would deserve to get into the field.
Has the NET really been a nice way of fixing the selection process transparency issue? Have they published the formula? People can say what they want about the RPI. It has it's faults like every other rating/ranking system. But, it least we know how it is calculated.

I like Lunardi's article and idea. I've liked that league .500 requirement for years, and Lunardi actually provided some stats/history to show that there is something to it. As for Michigan, their NET is 25 and Massey's Composite ranking is also 25. But, their RPI is squarely in bubble territory at 48. In the days when RPI carried more weight, Michigan would be at risk of not getting in with their potentially sub .500 conference record.
 

TullyBonnie11

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Dec 29, 2019
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The NET is opaque as shit and has not helped the situation.

The compounding conference effect raises the status (in NET, RPI, etc.) of those Big Ten teams. They play 20 games to avoid extra chances to slip up in their OOC schedule. That, in addition to playing almost entirely at home in the OOC (excepting neutral tournaments and the challenges that each conference partakes in), blows up their NET rankings, etc. There is a reason why a team like Syracuse barely leaves the state of NY during OOC play and almost always plays all OOC games in the dome or MSG. Not sure if jpschmack is on this forum, but he is quite skilled at explaining the issues with number inflation and P5/BE scheduling over on the A10 Basketball Forum that I lurk on.

Lunardi thankfully had the numbers ready to go for his argument and it was refreshing to read. I wonder if Chuck over on the BW will do his own analysis and discover different (read: inaccurate) numbers. He needs to say this shit EVERY TIME he gets air time for bracketology segments. The sports-viewing populace must understand what the situation is in college sports. I disagree with his "wins in conference tournament" idea, though. Teams that have not proven themselves in the regular season should play with reckless abandon to get the AUTO-BID, not to get a win or two to pad a weak-ass resume in the hopes of the committee giving them a bid (which always fucking happens). I'm tired of the conference tournament talk about teams "playing themselves in". You should play your way in by WINNING YOUR CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT. P5/BE teams get shots at high NET teams (see: paragraph one) in their conference tournaments (it only helps P5/BE) and a team like us in 2016 plays a dangerous team like Davidson and loses our potential at-large bid due to an overtime quarterfinal loss (it only hurts non-P5/BE conferences). Basically, teams should be locked into their resumes prior to conference tournament play, but you have the ability to go on a tear and win your auto-bid to make it to the dance.

But, I digress. The bottom line is that a team like 14-13 Purdue should not be in the NCAA tournament discussion (Lunardi has them as a 10 seed safely in). They've had their chances and haven't won enough (5-10 vs Q1). They're 3-8 on the road with no significant road wins. Winning 1 or 2 games against high NET conference foes at home in MANY MORE OPPORTUNITIES (see: paragraph one) should not give you an advantage over a team that has a far better winning percentage against Q1 albeit in fewer opportunities. I'm sure I am preaching to the choir here on a Bona forum, but it just irks me to think that many people accept the P5/BE teams as teams that deserve the benefit of the doubt with tourney berths.
 

res

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Dec 29, 2019
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St. Bonaventure
I'm agnostic as to whether Purdue "deserves" to be in the tournament. I do believe, however, that they are easily one of the best 48 teams in the country, fwiw.
 
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brownindians85

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As for Michigan, their NET is 25 and Massey's Composite ranking is also 25. But, their RPI is squarely in bubble territory at 48.
Well thank God for the NET fixing that silly RPI rating which is based on something so subjective like... arithmetic. Here's the NET spreadhseet... Football? Check. Millions of alumni? Check. TV market? Check. Yes, very high Team Value Index, very high. Huge.
 

Bona84

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Dec 29, 2019
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St. Bonaventure
I'm agnostic as to whether Purdue "deserves" to be in the tournament. I do believe, however, that they are easily one of the best 48 teams in the country, fwiw.
Yeah, my mouth waters in anticipation of watching this team play in March.
 
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res

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St. Bonaventure
Yeah, my mouth waters in anticipation of watching this team play in March.
Mine doesn't either, but it doesn't change what I said.

And whose mouth waters in anticipation of watching Richmond or Rhode Island in March except for us fans of the A10? Frankly, I don't look forward to watching the great majority of teams. If that's the selection criteria, it's going to be a pretty small tournament.
 

PYBonnie05

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St. Bonaventure
That’s part of the issue here. It’s what the tourney (and college sports) should be about versus what works for larger interests (ratings, tickets, and more). The tourney is the only “level” playing ground where a Richmond can beat a Syracuse or Duke or Florida. College football does not offer up this kind of excitement or opportunity. Casual fans (see: people who did not attend college or went somewhere without D1 athletics) should want to see some underdogs have a chance at the big boys. Isn’t that part of what makes it so fun? I guess the bigger question is whether or not the masses want the underdog in the event at all. I think it’s trending that way and it really pisses me off.
 

PYBonnie05

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St. Bonaventure
Yeah, my mouth waters in anticipation of watching this team play in March.
Res, you may be agnostic now, but what if we were on the bubble and Purdue lost their last three games and got in ahead of us? Would your convictions change? Because that could definitely happen next year.

Other teams deserve to get into the tournament, bottom line. Regardless of conference affiliation, schools should be put in based on their success during the season. The lack of at large bids outside of the major conferences is unfair.
 

Bona03

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Dec 29, 2019
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St. Bonaventure
I thought the article was excellent and have nothing new to add about it. I want to touch on something that tully mentioned and that is setting the field prior to the conference tournaments. Some of you have heard me say this the last few years and its a great idea. It is actually Jay Bilas' idea so credit where it's due. If you combine Jay and Lunardi's ideas, you would get a really good tournament.
 

TullyBonnie11

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Dec 29, 2019
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St. Bonaventure
That’s part of the issue here. It’s what the tourney (and college sports) should be about versus what works for larger interests (ratings, tickets, and more). The tourney is the only “level” playing ground where a Richmond can beat a Syracuse or Duke or Florida. College football does not offer up this kind of excitement or opportunity. Casual fans (see: people who did not attend college or went somewhere without D1 athletics) should want to see some underdogs have a chance at the big boys. Isn’t that part of what makes it so fun? I guess the bigger question is whether or not the masses want the underdog in the event at all. I think it’s trending that way and it really pisses me off.

In my opinion, "March Madness" insinuates upsets by schools that are not well-known over the bigger schools that are well-known. The trend to bump deserving teams in favor of middling P5/BE teams is disconcerting (Miller, Captain John), much like the statue of liberty being kaputt. 1582291967843.png
 

res

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Dec 29, 2019
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St. Bonaventure
Wow, you guys are so emotionally invested in this that reading comprehension seems to have fallen to bandwagon levels. I never advocated here for any particular set of tournament selection criteria and never said I was an agnostic with respect to what those criteria should be. I said that I was agnostic as to whether or not Purdue deserved to be selected. "Deserved" is a value judgment. I simply stated that I thought them to be a top 48 basketball team implying, if anything, that they shouldn't be easily dismissed from consideration -- and also that perspective colors everything.

Would I like to see more non p5 +1 teams in the tournament? Of course I would. That's the perspective I have and is almost entirely a result of for whom I root. Depending on results, I sometimes stop watching the tournament after the 1st weekend. I'm older than you guys and have seen Duke play Kansas enough to be unable to give a shit who the hell wins. That, and the fact that unless I have a direct rooting interest, I almost always root for the underdog in any sports contest.

On the other hand, if I were a Purdue fan and sitting at #25 in kenpom, I would probably have a different perspective and I suspect the rest of you would, too.
 

Community Bank 3Pt Tee

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St. Bonaventure
I guess the bigger question is whether or not the masses want the underdog in the event at all. I think it’s trending that way and it really pisses me off.
I think it's more a question of polarization, than it is whether or not the masses want the underdogs left out. There’s a sizable contingent out there who love the underdog inclusion, and I don’t imagine them wavering on that.

There's definitely a large segment though who like a team because they're on tv all the time (see: upstate NY Duke or UNC fans), and their only perspective is what's on tv all the time. Which means P6, with a little AAC, A10, WCC, and MWC in the peripheral (probably in that order, too), and then almost nothing else. Which also makes for a limited to nonexistent appreciation for, or understanding of, the sport, as a whole. Nuances, such as how impressive it is to do things that schools like Monmouth and MTSU have done in recent years, regardless of what conference they are in, simply don’t register. They can’t get past the limited scope perspective they hold of “BUT EVERY GAME IS TOUGH IN THE ACC!!!!”

And whose mouth waters in anticipation of watching Richmond or Rhode Island in March except for us fans of the A10?
And as a build on both this comment, and my peripheral note above, I think that underscores an issue that’s unique to the A10, MWC and to an extent the AAC. We’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place as A10 fans. A good deal of teams in the A10 do hold a certain level of brand name recognition among college hoops fans, but not enough. The A10 doesn’t have enough buying power with fans to get the same recognition as P6, but it has too much buying power to be viewed as a conference breeding ‘giant killers’. I think this results in a lot of indifference toward our conference, both in terms of how good it's perceived as, as well as how much fans want to see our teams dance.
 
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