If you cheer for a team that has gotten snubbed for a tournament spot at any point since the turn of the century, how did you like having Seth Greenberg as your coach? Also, you probably appealed to whomever or whatever your belief system sets as the ultimate power for a more statistically-based approach to setting the field. Pick your favorite ranking to support your case, but I'm a KenPom man, so we run the KenPom bracket once a week here at Banners. I recognize this is a fairly silly exercise in November, but my counterargument to that is that we're watching guys who are barely adults throw an inflated pumpkin through a metal ring and letting their success or failure influence our moods. It's all a momentary diversion on the road to the grave. On that cheery note, here's this year's first edition...
First the s-curve:
|5||Indiana||Miami FL||West Virginia||Gonzaga|
|8||Notre Dame||Oklahoma||Iowa St.||Michigan St.|
|9||Texas A&M||VCU||Florida St.||Seton Hall|
|11||Kansas St.||BYU||Texas Tech||Colorado|
|12||PRINCETON||SAN DIEGO ST.||Georgetown||Virginia Tech|
|13||UT ARLINGTON||FLORIDA GULF COAST||MONMOUTH||OHIO|
|14||WINTHROP||VERMONT||UAB||NORTH DAKOTA ST.|
|15||CHATTANOOGA||BELMONT||LEHIGH||CAL ST. BAKERSFIELD|
|16||TEXAS SOUTHERN||NORTH DAKOTA||STEPHEN F. AUSTIN||UC IRVINE|
|16||WAGNER||NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL|
|First 4 out||North Carolina St.||California||Utah||Northwestern|
|Next 4 out||USC||Maryland||Arkansas||Pittsburgh|
And the bracket itself:
I've been doing this series for a couple of years now, and I think we need to tacitly admit to ourselves that we don't want a purely statistically-based approach to filling in the bracket. The Pomeroy rankings and other such tools are really valuable as predictive devices; a team that keeps winning close games is more likely lucky than good, and KenPom coldly informs us that they aren't going to keep repeating the trick. But...
At some level a team's resume is less about what they'll do in the future and more about what they have done, and the tournament is about rewarding that. IPFW beat Indiana last night. Does anyone think the Mastadons are actually the better team? Of course not. But they were on that night, and that needs to be recognized. The selection committee, for all its flaws, usually performs this task pretty well. They occasionally leave out a team with a legitimate gripe, but - unless you expand the field to 351 - that's going to happen no matter what. I forget what my point was, except maybe to undermine the utility of a recurring feature on our website. Enjoy your Thanksgivings!
[Ed. note: I’m not sure why Joel’s article took on the timbre that it did, but it could have something to do with the fact that he’s stuck at work today. If that’s you too, drive safely this evening, your family will be happy to see you whenever you arrive.]