On this edition of CrimsonCast, we talk about the latest news with #iubb, what it means for the overall atmosphere surrounding the program, and the context of the past 15 months. We also talk about the (momentarily) finalized roster for the 2015-16 season, the rather strange lack of high-level expectations for this squad, and concerns over a lack of marquee home games.
On this episode of CrimsonCast, Scott is joined by Ken Bikoff (@) of Peegs.com. They discuss the end of the IUBB season, where we go from here and what, if anything, should be done.
On this episode of CrimsonCast, we break down the loss to Wichita State in the tournament, and talk about what went wrong for IU at the end of the 2015 season. We also recap the season as a whole, talking about whether or not this year was a success in the big scheme of things, and evaluate the way in which the year developed for the Hoosiers. We also take a look at several key players on the team, and talk about their overall contributions and development.
We had to split this into two parts, so look for part 2 sometime later on this week.
We dust off the podcast-making machine and dive into the IU basketball expanse in this latest edition of CrimsonCast. We chat a bit about the end of the season, and find time to embed an extended discussion about free throw making (and missing). We then turn our attention to the looming threat of Wichita State on Friday, and discuss the statistical and emotional backdrop of this contest. Can IU impose their offensive will on Wichita State’s stout defense? Is the Shockers’ lack of size an IU advantage, or a disadvantage? And did IU receive a big favor in their 2015 tournament draw?
It’s time for our penultimate bracket! This is always a sad moment…a flurry of activity all week ends up collapsing in on itself in a few hours. And then it’s all over for 10 months. Sad.
Anyway, here we go:
Since we’re close to the end, let’s look at the Last Four In more closely than normal:
(33) – Temple: Temple did themselves no favors in the AAC tournament, but at least they didn’t lose to a bad team. We’ve definitely proven that they cannot beat SMU. Wyoming’s victory last night moves them into the play-in game.
(34) – Indiana: We covered IU in-depth yesterday. Not much else to say except that I think they’re still safe, and I think they made things way too hard on themselves in this whole process.
(35) – BYU: Okay, here’s the deal with BYU (and Miami) – If the committee values good road wins and SOS, then BYU and Miami will likely be in. If they don’t, then you could very easily see Colorado State or Boise State (or both) in this spot. I’m placing my bets on the committee opting for quality of wins over quantity of wins. If the committee breaks the other direction, that could mean good news for the Mountain West…and very good news for Murray State (who I don’t even have as a factor right now due to a lack of quality wins).
(36) – Miami: (See above)
Last Four Out: Boise State, UCLA, Illinois, Colorado State
Listen to the Chairman: Every year, attentive bracketologists tune in to CBS during the break between Big Ten semifinal games to listen to the Selection Committee chairman talk about the process. While they generally don’t go into specifics, there are normally some clues dropped about what the committee is thinking about. This year they had the VP of Basketball on instead of the committee chairman, but he nevertheless had some interesting things to say. Here they are, in order of how they were mentioned:
- The top 8 teams in the field are pretty much set
- UK is the #1 overall seed
- As of yesterday afternoon, there were 14 teams left on the Under Consideration board with 5 teams remaining to be selected. Possibility that a few more teams could be added depending on results.
- Number of opportunities to play against top-50 or top-100 is “often a consideration”. Mentioned Murray State in comparison with Texas. This was in response to a question that Seth Davis asked about whether the “percentage of wins you have against top-50 or top-100 opponents” is looked at, instead of just the total number of wins.
- Compared to the last couple of years, the decisions are “tougher”. The number of teams involved is more difficult. The bubble is smaller but the differential between the teams is smaller. The committee is having a challenge differentiating.
- The committee is having more trouble seeding the field, particularly between seed lines 3 and 9.
Take from that what you will.
- Notre Dame leaps up and grabs a well-deserved 3 seed, knocking UNC back down to a 4.
- My order for the 1 seeds is: Kentucky, Villanova, Duke, Wisconsin. I think it stays this way regardless of today’s outcomes. I also don’t see how Arizona gets serious consideration as a 1 seed, but I do think they have secured the top 2 seed spot.
- Who will be the last “protected seeds”? I’m not sold on West Virginia and Georgetown but it’s also hard to see anyone in the current crop of 5 seeds vaulting into that range.
- Northern Iowa continues to be trouble, going back to the “quality/quantity” debate I talked about earlier. Right now I have them as a 6, but I’m seriously considering moving them up to the 5 line before the final bracket update.
We are less than 36 hours from Selection Show time, and there’s been a bunch of small but significant movement throughout the bracket. As we do every year, Saturday morning was spent re-evaluating the entire seed list, trying to take into account the results of the week and reconsidering the resumes of the various teams involved. As such, there has been a decent amount of change from yesterday’s bracket to today’s bracket. Here’s what we’re looking at before the start of the Saturday games:
Since we’re close to the end, let’s look at the Last Four In more closely than normal:
(33) – Indiana: IU is in a weird position, where they are struggling to climb up the bracket due to their overall depth of wins, but probably can’t drop a lot further due to the fact that they’ve beaten some teams that are definitely in the tournament. The biggest knocks on IU’s resume are 1) once again, they’ve done almost all of their damage at home, 2) their non-conference SOS is a joke, and 3) They haven’t beaten a tournament-caliber team since January 22nd. If some of the other contending teams had done anything of note this week, I think IU would be in big trouble. But given the way the rest of the bubble looks, I’d say they are the safest of the in-danger teams right now.
(34) – BYU: They weren’t in my last field, and I feel weird about putting them in the field now. But so many contending teams have lost, and none of those teams have a recent win as good as winning at Gonzaga. They also played a very good non-conference SOS. The Cougars are in the field mostly because they are the prettiest pig in the pen.
(35) – Miami: Back from the dead! Miami shouldn’t be in the field, but much like Indiana and BYU, they’ve accomplished more than the other debris at the end of the bubble. That win at Duke is likely going to be their salvation, along with their winning record in the top-rated ACC.
(36) – Boise State: They’re really only in because they were the sole team to beat San Diego State on the road this year. The rest of their resume is pretty much interchangeable with the last four out.
Last Four Out: UCLA, Tulsa, Illinois, Colorado State
A Caveat About the Bubble: One of the biggest misconceptions about the NCAA selection process is that there’s a set list of immovable criteria that the committee robotically applies each season. That’s just not the case. Each committee is slightly different, and individual years have seen them value different things, both in terms of selection and seeding. Historically there have been a boatload of surprising decisions made by the various NCAA selection committees over the years, from Iona making it as an at-large in 2012 to Air Force in 2006, and a whole host of odd seeding decisions.
I say all that to simply remind you all that what we think we know about the selection committee’s criteria from year to year is generally a lot of guesswork, rather than certainty. If the committee is valuing wins away from home against good teams, then Boise State, Miami, and BYU should be in good shape. If they’re valuing total wins, then Tulsa and Colorado State may be far better off than we’re projecting. To some degree, you have to figure out which hill you want to die on among the criteria and then go with that. So if you’re seeing a lot of variance in the teams selected or the seeding of those teams, that’s probably why.
- North Carolina moved up to a 3 seed in this latest projection due to their appearance in the ACC Final. This is likely to happen in real life, because despite UNC having already lost 10 games, they have a very impressive overall roster of wins, and the Committee tends to significantly over-reward teams that make deep runs in major conference tournaments.
- The 1 seed situation is rather fluid at this stage. Right now, Virginia is likely the odd man out, due to a combination of injuries and untimely losses. They’re almost certainly behind Duke in the pecking order at this stage. The biggest question mark is what the committee decides to do with Villanova and Wisconsin. To my eye, it seems that Duke definitely ranks ahead of both teams, and I’m guessing the committee sees it the same way. But if they don’t, you could see Villanova in the East, Wisconsin in the South, and Duke in the West, with Virginia slotting into the East (and avoiding Kentucky’s Midwest Regional). It does appear that the four 1 seeds are going to be decided between five teams, and the ultimate decision may come down to whether Wisconsin can win the Big Ten tournament.
- As we look at Utah’s resume more closely, they keep dropping. They’ve gone from a 3 seed all the way to a 6 seed in this latest projection. That’s probably their floor.
- I see a lot of high seeding for Northern Iowa. I don’t get it. Look at their resume, and then look at the resumes of the current 4 seeds. Other than “the eye test”, I don’t see the justification for seeding UNI higher than a 5, and their manifest of wins should probably land them as a 6, which is what I have here today.
- If you’re an Indiana fan today, you need to root for the following teams to lose: Auburn, Temple, Rhode Island, UConn, Wyoming.
Here’s the pre-Friday Games bracket update:
Last Four In: Temple, UCLA, Tulsa, Ole Miss
Last Four Out: BYU, Miami, Illinois, Texas A&M
Next Four Out: Richmond, Colorado State, Rhode Island, Buffalo
Check out our Twitter feed @CrimsonCast for commentary and analysis. We’ll have a full set of comments up on the site tomorrow.
Going into Thursday evening’s game versus Northwestern, the tournament prospects for IU basketball could best be described as “tenuous”. There are basically three scenarios at play, each with their own potential outcomes. In order from worst to best, they are:
- Indiana loses to Northwestern: This is a worst-case scenario, because it would saddle the Hoosiers with their second sub-100 RPI loss, and would come at a time when the team desperately needs to show that they can both win games, and win them away from Assembly Hall.
- Indiana beats Northwestern but loses to Maryland: This isn’t that much better of a scenario than the first one listed, simply because beating a Northwestern team on a neutral floor isn’t going to be looked upon as anything special by the committee. Yes, it will show that IU has a bit of life away from home, but only against a non-tournament team.
- Indiana beats Northwestern and Maryland: Book the tickets now. And don’t worry about the play-in game. This scenario could see IU jump a couple of seed lines.
While IU can do a lot to help or hurt themselves tomorrow (and/or Friday), there are other moving parts in the tournament process. IU could lose to Northwestern and still get in, or they could beat Northwestern and still not make it in. Much of that is due to the teams in the same general vicinity of the bubble as the Hoosiers. Those are the teams you really need to be watching for over the next day or two.
Let’s look at the worst-case scenario, where IU loses to Northwestern but still harbors hopes of getting in. In that scenario, you need to be focusing on the following teams:
- Miami: Squeaked by Virginia Tech in their first ACC Tournament game. Really needs a win against an actual tournament-caliber opponent, and they get that chance on Thursday night when they play Notre Dame. By almost any metric, IU is in better shape than Miami right now, and it’s doubtful that the Canes can climb above IU without a victory against Notre Dame, even if IU loses to Northwestern.
- Tulsa: Bereft of quality wins, but possessing a gaudy record in the AAC. They don’t play until Friday, when they face the winner of Tulane/Houston (both of whom are horrendous). Tulsa would pose a threat to IU if they defeated the winner of Cincinnati/UConn on Saturday – particularly UConn, since the game is being played on their “other” home floor.
- Temple: Similar to Tulsa, but with a win versus Kansas in their back pocket, so they are probably closer to overtaking IU (or they are already ahead of them depending on who you listen to). Can do a bit more damage than Tulsa earlier on, by beating Memphis on a neutral floor. They follow that up with a likely shot at SMU on Saturday.
- Texas: These guys are likely in already, thanks to a late-season pair of wins. Beating Iowa State today would leave no doubt.
- Illinois: The Illini are almost certainly behind IU in the pecking order, but that could change if they beat Michigan and IU loses to Northwestern.
- Boise State and Colorado State: I’d be surprised if either of these teams was able to earn an at-large berth as they currently stand. Colorado State has a more generous path in the MWC tournament, since they could possibly get a crack at San Diego State (who is easily in the field already) in the semifinal. Boise State likely needs to win the league to get in, but if they did, that would take away an at-large spot from the bubble.
- UCLA: Has to beat USC, then has to beat Arizona in the second round. Not impossible, and a win over Arizona on a neutral floor would easily trump anything IU has done this season.
- Stanford: If they beat Utah and Oregon, they’re likely in. Anything less than that and they’re likely out.
Even if IU ends up beating Northwestern but losing to Maryland, they still face a decent amount of danger from the aforementioned teams. It wouldn’t be quite as much, because IU would have avoided the baggage of another bad loss, and will have hopefully shown that they can avoid failing the “eye test.”
Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of legitimate bid thieves left in the non-major conferences, so at least that threat appears to be off the table.
It’s time for the daily Bracketology update. Not a lot has changed since our last update:
Last Four In: Indiana, Texas A&M, UCLA, Illinois
Last Four Out: Tulsa, Temple, BYU, Stanford
Next Four Out: Richmond, Miami, Colorado State, Old Dominion
Movement: Utah got dropped one seed line from a 4 to a 5 due to conference avoidance, swapping places with West Virginia.
Louisville got dropped one seed line from a 5 to a 6 due to conference avoidance, swapping places with Wichita State.
Biggest games today (for selection purposes):
- Pittsburgh is on life support but could paddle themselves to life with a win over NC State.
- American and Lafayette face off for the Patriot League title
- Texas CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE TO TEXAS TECH
- Miami REALLY cannot afford to lose to Virginia Tech
- Stanford cannot afford to lose to Washington
Biggest games today (for seeding purposes):
- North Carolina can’t afford to lose to Boston College.