I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Before I start, I just want to thank whoever created the "groping for optimism" tag before I could. After last night's miserable ending, I felt like looking for a reason to be positive.
Anyway, a few days ago I put up a side-by-side comparison of Michigan and Virginia Tech. The Hokies are a team that most bracketologists not only have in the tournament, but many have above the "last four in", and the case can certainly be made that Michigan's resume is stronger.
Today, I thought I'd look at a bubble team that the BTN compared Michigan with last night: the Butler Bulldogs. Butler is 19-9, with a 12-5 record in a fairly competitive Horizon League. Michigan, however, is now 16-12 in D1 play, and 7-9 in the B1G. Here, again, are each team's wins and losses, with common opponents in bold. I did the losses a little differently this time; since Michigan has three more losses, I listed those first and then did the remaining 9 side-by-side. Also, these RPI numbers are from before last night's games. Wisconsin's RPI is probably a little higher, Florida States is a little lower, but it's not a big deal.
RPI Team RPI Team
37 @Cleveland St. 36 @ Michigan St.
37 Cleveland St. 41 Harvard
48 vs. Florida St. 61 @ Penn St.
55 Valparaiso 61 Penn St.
81 vs. Washington St. 64 @ Clemson
107 vs. Utah 67 Oakland
112 Wright St. 80 Northwestern
141 Stanford 107 Utah
153 @ Detroit 172 @ Iowa
153 Detroit 172 Iowa
171 @Wisc. Green Bay 181 Indiana
171 Wisc. Green Bay 250 Bowling Green
183 Ball State 255 Bryant
202 @ Siena 263 Gardner-Webb
212 @ Loyola (Ill.) 280 N.C. Central
233 Miss. Valley St. 319 S.C. Upstate
273 Youngstown St.
290 @ Illinois-Chicago
RPI Team RPI Team
4 @ Ohio St.
4 Ohio St.
6 vs. Duke 9 Purdue
23 @ Louisville 19 @ Wisconsin
24 @ Xavier 19 Wisconsin (guh)
55 @ Valparaiso 22 vs. Syracuse
108 @ Wisc.-Milwaukee 39 Minnesota
108 Wisc.-Milwaukee 41 @ Illinois
112 @ Wright St. 51 vs. UTEP
133 Evansville 76 @ Northwestern
273 @ Youngstown St. 178 @ Indiana
The quality of top wins is about the same. Butler's top five wins are roughly equivalent to Michigan's top five. While the RPI numbers average one spot better for Butler, Michigan has three road wins in that group to Butler's one road win and two neutral-site wins. Michigan's next three wins are all significantly better than Butler's. Where Butler cleans up in this comparison is in their wins against teams with an RPI over 150. Their wins against terrible teams are against less terrible teams than the ones Michigan played. Apparently bracketologists find this to be important.
As for the losses, there is truly no comparison. Even comparing Butler's 9 losses to Michigan's worst 9 losses, Michigan wins the comparison by a wide margin. Purdue and the two Wisconsin losses are roughly the same as Butler's top three losses, but Butler's five losses outside the top 100 stand out like a sore hand. Youngstown State? Really?
The way I look at this is that Michigan has better wins against the top 150, and Butler has better wins against the bottom 150. Michigan has lost to far better teams, a result of their much more difficult schedule. Against all teams ranked outside the top 25, Butler is 19-6, while Michigan is 16-5. Both have about the same winning percentage in that regard, but Michigan's losses were to much more difficult competition.
Let's look at it a different way, the way that the bracketologists do:
RPI: Michigan is #58, Butler is #47.
SOS: Michigan is #25, Butler is #74.
Record against the top 100: Butler is 5-4, Michigan is 7-11.
When you look at it in this simplistic a form, you can understand why Butler frequently gets put into the field (also, last year's tournament) and Michigan doesn't sniff the bubble. However, a closer look shows the comparison is far closer. It also shows that wins in the last two games might not be enough. Unfortunately, what gets left out in this view is:
Against teams 100-200: Butler is 8-4, Michigan is 4-1.
Against teams with RPI>200: Butler is 6-1, Michigan is 5-0.
If Michigan, rather than playing Kansas, OSU twice, and Purdue, had lost to IUPUI (RPI #102) four times, both teams would have 5 bad losses, but Michigan would now be 7-6 against the top 100, and the resumes would look the same, except Michigan's losses would be to better teams.
If Michigan beats Minnesota on Saturday, I'll continue this series of comparisons with a look at Gonzaga. If not, it will be time to focus fully on hockey.
Lunardi's Espn S-curve currently has us sitting at #78 which puts us 10 out for the tournie. Minnesota's loss last night put them at #71 (3rd out). It is behind the espn paywall but I will post the story here.
Take our "solid" at-large candidates (current Tournament Odds at 75 percent or better) and you have exactly 38 teams in the field. Add in the remaining automatic qualifiers and that's another 20 spots. All told we have 58 of the 68 spots accounted for, with only 10 up for grabs among current "Bubble" teams.
"BUBBLE" (21 teams for 10 spots)
IN (10, in S-Curve order): 39-Michigan St, 40-Alabama, 41-Georgia, 42-Marquette, 43-Virginia Tech, 45-Butler, 46-Boston College, 47-Gonzaga, 48-Colorado State, 49-Richmond
OUT (11, in S-Curve order): 69-UAB, 70-Baylor, 71-Minnesota, 72-VCU, 73-Wichita State, 74-Nebraska, 75-Clemson, 76-Maryland, 77-Southern Miss, 78-Michigan, 79-Penn State
Big East (11), Big 12 (6), SEC (6), ACC (5), Big Ten (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (3), Pac-10 (3), Colonial (2), Horizon League (2).
Link for those with insider access:
Most bracketologists have Virginia Tech in the tournament. Joe Lunardi said that the Hokies were above his “last four in”, even after their loss to (and sweep by) Virginia yesterday (Virginia is about even with Iowa in RPI). FWIW, Michigan’s current RPI is 57, Va. Tech’s is 64. I thought it would be interesting to compare Va. Tech’s resume with Michigan’s, and I’m doing it by comparing their individual wins and losses to each other. I used the RPI numbers coming into Sunday, put common opponents in bold, and tried to format as best I could.
RPI Team RPI Team
50 Florida St. 42 @ Michigan St.
59 vs. Oklahoma St. 43 Harvard
61 Penn St. 61 @ Penn St.
65 Miami 61 Penn St.
91 @ N.C. St. 66 Oakland
94 @ Maryland 73 @ Clemson
94 Maryland 76 Northwestern
102 vs. St. Bonaventure 108 Utah
130 vs. Miss. St. 161 @ Iowa
168 Georgia Tech 161 Iowa
236 Mt. St. Mary’s 178 Indiana
243 Wake Forest 249 Bowling Green
259 Campbell 253 Bryant
266 vs. CSU Northridge 260 Gardner-Webb
299 @ UNC-Greensboro 262 N.C. Central
317 S.C. Upstate 317 S.C. Upstate
RPI Team RPI Team
9 Purdue 1 Kansas
10 @ North Carolina 4 @ Ohio St.
26 vs. UNLV 4 Ohio St.
31 @ Kansas St. 9 Purdue
45 @ Boston College 19 @ Wisconsin
144 @ Virginia 22 vs. Syracuse
144 Virginia 39 Minnesota
168 @ Georgia Tech 41 @ Illinois
51 vs. UTEP
76 @ Northwestern
178 @ Indiana
The biggest differences between these schedules, in terms of difficulty, is that Va. Tech played Longwood, while Michigan played Ohio State twice and Kansas. Our wins are better than their wins. Our losses are better than their losses. But Michigan is punished for playing a more difficult schedule. If Michigan had played and beaten #144 Virginia rather than losing to #1 Kansas in overtime in their out-of-conference schedule, there would be no argument; Michigan would have the better resume.
So why is it that Va. Tech is above the bubble while Michigan is not even mentioned? They have 1 top 50 win (against #50, at home); are only 3-3 against teams ranked 100-200 (the Iowas and Indianas of the world), including a home loss; and their best road win is at #91 N.C. State. Michigan has 2 top-50 wins, has road wins at #42 Michigan State, #61 Penn State, and #73 Clemson, and is 4-1 against teams ranked 100-200. Virginia Tech’s only advantages are a 7-5 record against the top 100, compared to Michigan’s 7-10, and a 7-5 conference record where they have only played one game against either of the conference’s two ranked teams.
I’m not saying that Michigan belongs in the tournament; they have to get to .500 in the conference, which would include two more top-50 wins, and then win at least one game in the BTT. But can someone explain why everyone seems to have Va. Tech in their brackets but no one (outside of mgoblog.com and Andy Katz) mentions Michigan?
CCLA Conference Tournament
Michigan will participate in its conference tournament this weekend, trying to take home their fourth consecutive championship. The field is as follows:
Michigan and Buffalo are the top two seeds, by virtue of winning the North and South Divisions, respectively. Michigan State and
Eastern Central Michigan also make the field from the North Division, and Miami (That Hockey Miami) joins Pitt from the South Division. Eastern Michigan earned the third North Division slot, but was disqualified because they be cheatin', yo. Central Michigan takes the spot instead.
In the first round, Michigan State and Miami are the favorites to advance. In the semi-finals, the Spartans should probably take down Buffalo, but that was the case last year as well, and it didn't turn out that way. Michigan should win the whole thing, regardless of which teams they face.
The CCLA auto-bid is up for grabs, but there are also MCLA At-Large implications. Michigan State has the chance to add two wins, and wash the taste of a three-game losing streak out of their mouths. That would help their bid to the national field. No other team (outside of Michigan, who is in regardless of outcome) will crack the MCLA field without winning the conference.
After Friday's first-round games, I'll keep updated review/previews going in the Diary section. For now, I'll briefly preview Miami, Michigan's likely semifinal opponent (see a brief preview of Central and a Recap of their game against Michigan for more on the Chippewas.
The RedHawks have gone 8-3 on the year, 3-1 in the CCLA South. Their losses have come to Missouri (7-9), Indiana (5-8), and Buffalo (5-7). They played a non-divisional game against Eastern Michigan earlier this spring, beating their Round 1 opponent by a comfortable 15-9 Margin.
Their All-Conference performers include Joe McLaughlin (2nd Team Midfield), Alex Manners (2nd Team Faceoff Specialist), Tyler Wallace (3rd Team Midfield), Brooke Slowinski (3rd Team Defense), Josh Ebel (Honorable Mention Short Stick Defensive Midfield), and Daniel Culp (Honorable Mention Goalie). McLaughlin, only a freshman, has done the majority of the team's scoring, with 22 goals and 10 assists.
Michigan's first game, against Miami or Eastern, will take place Saturday at 4PM at Saline High School's main (East) field. Full preview of Michigan's opponent after it is determined.
All-Conference Teams, MCLA Bracketology, and more after the jump!
The CCLA released their all-conference lists on Monday, and they're full of Wolverines:
- Attack Trevor Yealy
- Attack Kevin Zorovich
- Midfield Anthony Hrusovsky
- Defense Harry Freid
- Faceoff Specialist David Reinhard
- Long-Stick Midfield Matt Asperheim
- Short Stick Defensive Midfield Jordan Kirshner
- Attack Thomas Paras
- Midfield David Rogers
- Midfield Svet Tintchev
- Defense Austin Swaney
- Goalie Mark Stone
- Defense Justin Burgin
- Attack Josh Ein
- Attack Clark McIntyre
- Midfield Jamison Goldberg
- Short Stick Defensive Midfield Michael Bartomioli
Michigan composes seven of the thirteen first-team honorees (Michigan State has four, and Buffalo has two. Those are the only teams represented), and 17 of the 59 total players honored. Making this more impressive is the fact that a number of Michigan players were injured for significant portions of the year (David Rogers, Clark McIntyre, and Michael Bartomioli all missed multiple games), and several more were suspended for one game.
The players who made the first team are likely to gain consideration for All-American honors. Among them, Trevor Yealy is a lock for the First Team, and is in the running for Player of the Year honors.
A couple conference tournaments took place last weekend, which helped settle the MCLA Tournament field a bit. We now know the Automatic Qualifiers from the SELC (Florida, previously a bubble team) and LSA (Texas State, the only team from their conference who will make it).
Last 2 In: Florida State, Michigan State
First 2 Out: UC-Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount
Out From Last Time: Texas, UC Santa Barbara, Virginia Tech.
I'm waffling on whether Florida State or Virginia Tech (or both, or neither) should be in the field. They were similarly-ranked heading into the SELC Tournament, and Florida State lost in the first round, whereas the Hokies made it to the final. I still like Florida State's overall schedule a bit more.
Other than that, nothing was too tough. Michigan State probably needs to paste Pitt and Buffalo to feel really safe in the tournament. There's still quite a bit of variability with all the auto-bids (except two) still up in the air. If I can get around to it before the official bracket comes out, I'll hopefully have another Bracketology post early next week.
Inside Lacrosse gives their take on a bubble watch.
I gave a bit of insight into my methodology in the last lacrosse bracketology, so I'll spare that discussion. This time, I'm going to compare resumes rather than going by the polls, to try to figure out what the committee will do when seeding the teams.
Don't forget, the Wolverines play Purdue this Saturday at 7PM in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse (Preview Here). It's their fourth and final home game of the year, so I encourage anyone who can make it to do so. It's the perfect post-spring game activity!
The loss to Colorado over the weekend, thankfully, will not be enough to bump Michigan out of the number one spot. As long as they take care of business for the rest of the year (and hopefully the loss can be a motivating factor to do so), the top line is locked up.
The next few weekends have some very important games between ranked teams that could radically alter the way the field looks. Take this post as a snapshot in time right now, not a prediction for the future. There are enough games left to be played that the field can look very different from what it would be if selected today. The resumes will be much easier to shake out at that time as well.
Last 2 in: UC Santa Barbara, Florida
First 2 out: Simon Fraser, Loyola Marymount
New since last time: Illinois, UC Santa Barbara
Out from last time: Lindenwood, Loyola Marymount
Next Bracketology: April 29, 2010
There are a few distinct groups right now, with a solid top 3 of Michigan-Colorado State-Chapman, A few schools who will only get in by winning their conference's autobid in Texas and Illinois, a group of BYU-Arizona State-Duluth-Florida State-Oregon that are all in the tournament barring complete disaster, and then a muddled middle. I compared resumes within those groups to end up with the seeding as I did.
The Illinois/Lindenwood switcheroo from last Bracketology post was based solely on the fact that the Illini have fewer losses at this time. Either way, the winner of the conference tournament is in, and the other is out. One of the SELC teams could miss out as well. I would guess Florida misses the tournament unless they, at the very least, make it to the finals in their conference tournament.
The top group is still volatile, with Michigan State playing a key role. They play Colorado, Colorado State, and Michigan, with two of those squads vying for the #1 overall seed and the Buffaloes trying to play their way back into the tournament field.
The WCLL, GRLC, and PCLL bids are still too close to call definitively. Once conference tournaments are over, I'll know who's in for autobids, and fill in the remaining six slots much more easily. The next bracketology will come April 29th, before the CCLA conference tournament that weekend.
If you're interested in learning a bit more about lacrosse (particularly the riding game), or finding out what went wrong against Colorado last week, check out the comments of my previous lax post. Lots of knowledgeable people, including the awesome "laxalum" are more than willing to educate some fools.
Quick reminder before I break into this: the team plays two home games this weekend (for the only time this season). They play Western Michigan tonight and Central Michigan on Saturday. Both games take place at 7pm in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. I encourage everyone to make it out and support the team.
On to the show...
The MCLA regular season still has several weeks left to go, but CollegeLax.us blogger Buffalowill has already started breaking down the bubble watch for the 2010 MCLA Tournament, taking place May 11th-15th in Denver. The tournament consists of 16 teams, including the 10 conference champions and 6 at-large bids.
Michigan's conference, the CCLA, has traditionally been a 1-bid league, while the national scene has been dominated by the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (Colorado State, BYU, and others) and the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (Chapman, Arizona State, and others). Will, however, predicts that the CCLA should get two teams in this year, giving the Wolverines an in-conference companion out in Denver.
Moving on to the bracket at large, here's a very enlightening chat from the selection committee last year on some of the specifics about how they select the field gives us a great idea of the criteria. I won't go into quite as much detail this far out from the tournament, since there's still a lot of lacrosse to be played, but down the road, I'll compare using their criteria:
[MCLA Tournament Selection Committee member] Tony Scazzero: A team’s body of work was the overall focus; quality wins, quality losses, strength of schedule, quality of schedule, OOC games, and record and scores against top divisional opponents.
Team factors that were also considered included; conference playoff seeding and record, injuries/circumstances affecting team performance, when wins/losses occurred, and travel.
Committee members used a variety of information during this process. Statistical analysis, various polls, first-hand game accounts, common opponents.
So that's the general criteria, much like the NCAA Basketball tournament, and unlike the NCAA Hockey tournament, which results from a pretty strict adherence to the PWR numbers. Last year was also the first year of a committee-based approach, rather than using the polls.
[Committee member Ken Lovic] klovic: We did not look at who was where, rather, who deserved to be where. We also did NOT (though people want to believe it) look at conference match ups. We as a committee came to a decision that we should not factor that into seeding.
So, unlike the hockey tournament, they do not switch teams compared to their seeds to avoid early-round conference matchups, and since all the games are played at the same site, there is no need for swaps based on location, such as how Michigan got shipped to Fort Wayne.
Autobids (bids per league are according to Will's breakdown, though I adjusted based on current poll rankings):
- Chapman - SLC - 3 bids.
- Colorado State - RMLC - 3/2 bids.
- Florida State - SELC - 2/3 bids.
- Michigan - CCLA - 2/3 bids.
- Minnesota-Duluth - UMLL - 1 bid unless Duluth doesn't win autobid.
- Oregon - PNCLL - 1 bid unless Oregon doesn't win autobid.
- Boston College - PCLL - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
- Cal Poly - WCLL - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
- Lindenwood - GRLC - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
- Texas - LSA - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
The at-large bids, according to current rankings, would go to #4 Arizona State (SLC), #5 BYU (RMLC), #8 Michigan State (CCLA), #10 Florida (SELC), #12 Virginia Tech (SELC), and #15 Loyola Marymount (SLC).
According to Will, it's more likely the SELC loses one of its bids (Virginia Tech) by the end of the year, and that ends up going to Colorado or Utah, both languishing out of the MCLA The Lax Mag rankings at this time (and, as noted above, Colorado is pretty bad this year, and shouldn't be ranked in the other two polls). I think the more likely situation is that either the SELC holds onto that bid or the CCLA gets three bids. Since Virginia Tech is currently projected in by the rankings, I'll say they get in.
Without further ado, your 2010 MCLA Tournament Bracket (by the way, if anyone knows of a web-based bracket program that's a little more aesthetically appealing, let me know):
Last 2 in: Virginia Tech, Loyola Marymount.
First 2 out: UConn, Indiana.
Next Bracketology: April 15, 2010
Very rough draft with a lot of lacrosse still to be played. For this edition, I just went by my composite of the 3 main MCLA polls, but now that I have most of the background information out of the way, I'll compare teams a little more in-depth for future editions.
Michigan State would be a possible opponent in the second round for the Wolverines, but they have an opportunity to improve their seeding with a trip to play #3 Colorado State and Colorado this coming weekend. Other than that, they should be expected to win the rest of their games, except against Michigan to close the regular season and in the CCLA Tournament. I'll go into much more depth at a later date, but a strong Michigan State lacrosse team is good for Michigan.
Man, these lacrosse updates always seem to be filled with bonus info at the bottom. H/T CollegeLax.us for bringing this to my attention, as there's now a video of (HD!) highlights from the Michigan/Oregon game in Dallas a couple weeks back, thanks to Claude Lyneis of Oregon:
It's pretty NFL Films-y with narration and such, so if you want the goods, items of note can be found at:
2:13 Jamie Goldberg
2:58 Svet Tintchev
3:29 Trevor Yealy
3:58 Josh Ein
5:47 Trevor Yealy
6:17 Brief interview with Coach Paul
Two of the Oregon goals (including the 4th, to send it to overtime) came on pretty weak play by Michigan. It was sloppiness that wasn't weather induced leading to a couple turnovers. The first led directly to an easy breakaway goal, and the second gave the Ducks the ball in Michigan's end with just 11 seconds left.