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KenPom Bracketology: Crosstown Shootout Edition

Xavier beat their hated rival last night, did it help them move up the S-curve at all?

The thing about games like last night's is that the final result doesn't make that much of a difference in ranking systems like Pomeroy's. The unfeeling heart of the computer sees only the process, not the product. If Trevon misses the front end and Xavier loses by one instead of winning by a pair, they're still probably sitting in the mid-20s according to KenPom.

In the real world though, the people who put teams into the tournament need to see wins. That's why you'll see a snake-bitten Florida team with a favorable seed on this page but not showing up on any reputable bracketology. The Pomeroy ratings see a staggering seven one-possession losses that could have just as easily gone the other way; the Selection Committee sees a 13-13 team with a 1-8 record against the top 50.

This focus on the process rather than the result accounts for the difference between what you see here and what you see in most bracketologies, and it also sheds some light on why the KenPom numbers have Xavier safely in but we're riding out a stressful three weeks here in the real world.

Here's the s-curve:

The KenPom s-curve 2/19
1 KENTUCKY VIRGINIA ARIZONA WISCONSIN
2 Duke VILLANOVA GONZAGA Utah
3 KANSAS Oklahoma NORTHERN IOWA Baylor
4 Iowa St. North Carolina Ohio St. Wichita St.
5 Georgetown Louisville Texas Notre Dame
6 SMU SAN DIEGO ST. Butler Michigan St.
7 Xavier VCU Oklahoma St. Arkansas
8 Providence Florida Mississippi West Virginia
9 LSU BYU Iowa Dayton
10 St. John's Davidson Stanford Maryland
11 Georgia North Carolina St. UCLA Indiana
12 STEPHEN F. AUSTIN Vanderbilt Cincinnati Arizona St.
12 GREEN BAY HARVARD
13 LOUISIANA TECH BUFFALO MURRAY ST. GEORGIA ST.
14 NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UC DAVIS WOFFORD IONA
15 SOUTH DAKOTA ST. NEW MEXICO ST. WILLIAM & MARY VERMONT
16 ST. FRANCIS NY EASTERN WASHINGTON FLORIDA GULF COAST HIGH POINT
16 COLGATE TEXAS SOUTHERN
First 4 out Texas A&M Temple Alabama Purdue
Next 4 out Boise St. TCU Rhode Island Syracuse

And here's the bracket itself:

KenPom 2-19

That WVa.-Dayton matchup would be amazing. I'd love to see Juwan Staten take UD apart after he felt obligated to transfer out of UD following his freshman season. Xavier lines up with a bad matchup here, as Stanford's 6'9" power forward shoots 41.6% from behind the arc. If you've watched Xavier play this year, I'm sure you understand why that's troubling.

How about that MVC? Northern Iowa is sitting at a three seed and Wichita State is slotted as a four here. I'm not sure how the Selection Committee will see those two, but it's hard to imagine that they're not both comfortably in the tournament at this point. With a combined 49-5 record, they're the clear class of the mid-majors this year.