Very interesting read. Keep up the good work.
MBB: The case for an NCAA bid
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.
to .500 in the conference to get any consideration. I think that would put as the 5 seed probably playing Illinios. If lost that game, I would put us on the unlikely side of the bubble. If we win, I would put us at the likely side of the bubble. Pretty much have to win three games in a row, and as long as that third game is a quality (ie we don't end up as the 6 seed) opponent we have a good shot... Or just win the BTT. You play good basketball you never know.
I say let's just win the B1G tourney and go dancing...
I think we sell the idea that UM is needed in the tourney by pointing out the following:
1) 2-9 against the Top 50
2) Took Kansas to OT
3) Two close losses to Ohio State
4) Last second losses to Wisco and Illinois
Therefore, we would be the most entertaining and competive 12-seed to scare a top 25 team, yet, be no risk of actually disrupting the the field.
A more interesting way to look at it is to break it down into smaller components. Michigan is 0-7 against the top 25, but 2-2 against 26-50.
Butler, by contrast, is 0-3 vs top 25, and 3-0 against 26-50.
It's hard to consider 2 wins against Cleveland St (which sports a shiny record based on their #109 SOS and going 0-2 vs top 25 and 0-2 vs 26-50) as a quality win, but that's what it is when you look at the numbers.
It's like the old what if story goes. What if Butler or Cleveland St were in the Big Ten, or Michigan were in the Horizon league? I'd bet you dollars to donuts (although I'm not really sure what that even means) that Butler and CSU would have worse records than Michigan does currently.
"Betting someone dollars to donuts is a rhetorical device that indicates that the person is confident but unlikely to care enough about the future event to put their money where their mouth is. The expression hails from a time when donuts cost less than a dollar, with average cost of donuts at 1.20, dollars to donuts is actually a bad bet."
I was gonna just say its a fake bet, but wikipedia put it so much more elegantly and added unintended humor.
Yeah, I looked it up after I posted it, too.
will take close losses to top teams into considerations but in the grand scheme, it doesn't matter because it's still a L in their record. Still no quality win for Michigan and that will keep Michigan out of NCAA tourney. Committee tends to reward quality wins. Look at St. John's, similar record. They have 2 really bad losses, but they have a bunch of quality wins. They would be in largely on the strength of quality wins.
2 years ago, Michigan has Duke, UCLA, Purdue, Minny and to name a few that would be considered as wins against RPI top 50 and a few that would be considered as quality wins. This is one of the bigger reason why Michigan barely made it in despite their bad road record and sub-par conference record.
1. Win the next four.
2. Win the BT Tournament.
I can't see any scenario other than one of these resulting in an NCAA bid for Michigan.
And, while we're dreaming up scenarios, this is how I would like to see it happen.
Play in over Minny
Quarters over Wiscy
Semis over Sparty
Finals over TSIO
I see them as an NIT team, but if they can beat Wiscy, Sparty, and TSIO in consecutive games, they deserve to go to the NCAA, becuase they will have taken a quantum leap in two weeks.
Depends on the seed going into the BTT. Winning the last two puts us at 9-9. MSU and Illinois would probably also be 9-9. I doubt Penn St. gets there, but it's possible. I don't know how the multi-way tie gets broken, but Illinois and Michigan should be the 4-5 teams. If we end up in the 4-5 game, would a win over Illinois be enough, if followed by a loss to OSU? We'd improve to 10-12 against the top 100, with two more wins over the top 50 (Minnesota would be out of the top 50 by then). Would 4-10 against the top 50 be good enough, especially if four of those losses are to the top 2? I think so.
A loss in one of the last two games means that Michigan would have to make the BTT finals, a la Minnesota last year. They were 9-9 in conference, 18-12 overall going into Selection Sunday. They had a nice OOC win over Butler, but losses to Texas A&M, Miami, and Portland and otherwise played home snacky-cake games until the Big Ten season. In conference, they had home wins against OSU and Wisconsin and a road win against Illinois. 5 of their other 6 wins were against the bottom 3 in the conference. Michigan swept them. The conference was bad enough that Illinois finished fifth at 10-8 and didn't make the tournament.
In the BTT, Minnesota beat a terrible Penn State, then upset Michigan State and Purdue before getting rolled by OSU. They were awarded an 11 seed, and were one of the last four in the field.
Let's say Michigan beats Minnesota and loses to MSU. They then beat an Iowa/Indiana in the first round, then Purdue and Wisconsin in the quarters and semis before losing to OSU in the finals. I think that would also be enough. I also think there is a .0000000001% likelihood (+/- .0000000001%) of that happening.
An in-conference record sub .500 won't be enough for at-large IMO. If Michigan wins out there is a chance for an at-large if we reach the finals of the BTT. If we win the 4-5 seeds game but lose the next one I'm not sure what would happen. I think the team would have a decent shot at winning the BTT if it starts on Friday.
but........not good enough
I don't see how we can win out finish sixth in the conference and not make the tournament. The Big Ten is the number one rated conference in the country and should have at least six teams in. If we beat minny we knock them out out contention. If we beat MSU then we would have a better overall record and the same conference record (assuming they lose to purdue and beat iowa) and beat them twice. The only thing that would put Sparty ahead of us is if they beat purdue. i don't care what the ananlysts are saying now because we haven't beaten Minny and sparty yet. If we don't win those two games then we don't deserve to dance.
Why isnt this or the previous one put on the front page
This is great bubble talk
A few others to compare if the spirit and motivation moves you: Colorado State, Gonzaga or St. Mary's, Nebraska, Boston College, Alabama
Thanks for posting, mfan_in_ohio
If the snow is as bad as advertised, I might do Gonzaga tomorrow. It was either that or St. Mary's, but I think Gonzaga is closer to the bubble. I'm waiting on BC and Nebraska after their losses yesterday (BC's is especially bad, and I don't see them making the tournament now). Colorado State will come after Gonzaga, should Michigan make these posts relevant by winning on Saturday.
That Youngstown State loss was a killer
Losing to the Penguins should eliminate you from at large consideration. It should be a rule
I think the Horizon is a one bid league. I really do. But, if Butler and Cleveland State playoff in the championship of the league tournament, I think both will get in. That's a prediction, not what I think ought to happen. I think Butler has a better resume than CSU for an at large. Other than a guady record, the Vikes dont really have anything of note on their resume. They might as well be Morehead State or Murray State from the OVC where neither will get an at large sniff if they dont win the OVC