Conference Tournaments Rooting Guide (thru Friday) Comment Count

Seth March 7th, 2018 at 4:15 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon (oui, CE Campredon)]

After playing a compressed schedule then four games in four days Michigan gets to watch the rest of college basketball sort out their seed resumes this week. We’ve had a couple of rooting guides pop up on our radar. The one by Mercury Hayes included some I’ve left out, and the board post by ish goes into a bunch of scenarios. There’s also this very useful twitter thread. We figured since you’re all probably junkies like us, you’d also like to know when these games are taking place. So here’s a rooting guide with gametimes and stuff! I’ve highlighted the team you’re rooting for in each (in blue if it only matters to getting Penn State to 75th in RPI). All times eastern.

UPDATE 3/8: Noted the scores and winners from last night. Now Maryland is 74th in RPI and Penn State has fallen to 80th, so really you're rooting for nobody else to pass Maryland now. I don't know how much the quartiles will actually mean to the committee--maybe not at all--but it's a number they see so we might as well track it.

Wednesday, March 7


  • Cal vs Stanford (Pac12 Network). Why: Penn State is currently 77th in RPI and Stanford (76th) losing would be one fewer teams ahead of PSU. If PSU gets up to 75th that’s another Q1 win for Michigan.
    RESULT: Stanford 76-58, but Cal is such a schedule weight they dropped to 83rd.


  • Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech (ESPN2). Why: Same reason; ND is 70th in RPI. Also why: they’re an MSU non-conference win, and State needs to cherish every tournament team victory since they skipped out on a lot of chances in-conference. Also also why: Screw ND.
    RESULT: Notre Dame 76-65. VT pissed away a 19-point lead with some Teddy V assistance. ND is up to 64th.

  • Vanderbilt vs Georgia (SEC Network). Why: ditto. Georgia is 83rd.
    RESULT: Vanderbilt 78-62. Georgia moved up to 81st anyway.


  • Texas vs ISU (ESPNU). Why: Michigan beat Texas on the road earlier this year so any little boost to that victory should help. Even if they ride Mo Bamba all the way to a banner they can’t catch up to Michigan but a decent run could put them in the tournament. Also Shaka Smart was college roommates with one of our big sponsors. Hook ’em!
    RESULT: Texas 68-64

  • Ole Miss vs South Carolina (SEC Network) Why: Back to helping Md/PSU. South Carolina is 80th in RPI and a run in the SEC could push them up.
    RESULT: SC 85-84, up to 75th in RPI

  • North Carolina vs Syracuse (ESPN2). Why: This is an argument because UNC is a two seed right now to Bracket Matrix, so UNC losing to Syracuse miiight give a Michigan a shot to move up a line. But honestly, nah, the H2H settles things if it’s close, and I hate Cuse.
    RESULT: UNC 78-59

Thursday, March 8


  • Clemson vs Boston College (ESPN2). Why: Clemson is currently 12th in RPI--one spot ahead of Michigan--so the sooner they go out in this tourney the better.


  • Colorado vs Arizona (Pac12 Network). Why: Zona is currently the last 4 seed on Bracket Matrix and Michigan is the last 3, so a run could pull the Wildcats ahead of us. Root against them all the way: they probably get UCLA in the 2nd round by the way.


  • Cal State Bakersfield vs Utah Valley (ESPN3). Why: Utah Valley is 73rd in RPI and we want Penn State to get to 75th to convince the committee to count that as a Quartile One victory instead of a Quartile Two victory because Penn State’s non-conference schedule was crap so RPI has them severely underrated. This should be all the explanation you need for streaming WACball when your family is begging you to come to dinner.


  • Texas Tech vs TEXAS (ESPN2). Why: The Red Raiders are currently predicted to be a four seed so a run in a very strong Big XII tournament could push them past us. Texas is also a non-conference win.
  • LSU vs Mississippi State (SEC Network). Why: An LSU run would make for a boost in Michigan’s strength of schedule and also knock Mississippi State (72nd in RPI) below Michigan's conference rivals.
  • Duke vs Notre Dame (ESPN). Why: I flipped this because Notre Dame is an important non-conference win for Michigan State, who skipped double-plays against every tournament or bubble Big Ten team, and only played one ranked conference team on the road, until they lost by double-digits again to Michigan in the tournament and if you thought it was getting old to point this out you don't know me very well. If ND gets blown out here the committee will remember they were a legendary Teddy V'ing away from losing to Virginia Tech; if they pull off the upset MSU has a stronger case to be ranked ahead of the team they lost to twice, once at home and once at a neutral site, by double digits. Nope, still not old. Michigan can't pass Duke.


  • Baylor vs West Virginia (ESPN2) Why: Though we’re all secretly hoping West Virginia ends up in Michigan’s bracket we’re not hoping for West Virginia to steal Michigan’s spot. At 31st in RPI we probably shouldn’t worry about WVU, but Baylor can’t hurt us at all and the Mountaineers could.
  • East Carolina vs UCF (ESPNU) Why: UCF is 78th to RPI so that removes another Md/PSU problem but also UCF is 5th in defense to Kenpom and Michigan is 6th so YAR ME CAROLINA MATEYS or whatever the kids say when they’re not saying “We in here!”


  • Old Dominion vs La. Tech (no TV). Why: ODU (77th) is another team that needs to get out of Maryland and Penn State’s way.

Friday, March 9


  • Cincinnati vs Winner of UConn/SMU (ESPN2). Why: Michigan’s competing for a protected seed and there are too many Midwest teams for too few Detroit slots. Cincy is a 2 in the bracket matrix but an early tourney loss could have an outsized effect given their weakish schedule (best non-conf win is @UCLA) and deny Wichita State a shot at a signature win later on.


  • Winner of A&M/Bama vs Auburn (ESPN). Why: Auburn has a similar resume to Michigan’s right now. A loss could lock them below Michigan, however Auburn could also do us a favor if we get stuck behind them by winning the SEC and keeping Kentucky, Florida, or Tennessee from passing us. So if Auburn wins, just root for them the rest of the way and if they lose root for LSU and upsets galore.


  • Kentucky vs Winner of Georgia/Vandy vs Mizzou (ESPN). Why: Kentucky is currently a five seed to Bracket Matrix but a run in the SEC Tourney could conceivably pass Michigan while boosting the resumes of Tennessee and Auburn. Florida is the last double-bye in the SEC tourney and are currently a six seed by the way. Mizzou probably has the best shot to blast the SEC threats out of the water.


  • Winner of LSU/Miss St vs Tennessee (SEC Network). Why: Any chance of Michigan moving up means passing one or two SEC teams, and Tennessee is currently one spot ahead of us in the bracket matrix.
  • Winner of Temple/Tulane vs Wichita State (ESPNU). Why: Wichita State can’t play in Wichita because they’re the hosts so we really don’t want them winning the AAC tournament and passing Michigan for a protected seed (they’re the second four-seed to Bracket Matrix). Better Cincy than Wichita.


  • GW/Fordham/St Louis vs Davidson (NBCSN). Why: Davidson is 84th in RPI.


The Fugitive

March 7th, 2018 at 4:25 PM ^

I'm not rooting for UNC. I don't want Staee's win over them to count more than it currently does. We want to stay ahead of them in the RPI and hope we get the nod over them to play in Detroit.


March 7th, 2018 at 4:36 PM ^

kerfuffle is getting all the attention but Maryland is now 73rd in RPI and them dropping below 75th is even worse because we played them twice. Our road would would go from Q1 to Q2 and our home win would go from Q2 to Q3.

The silver lining is that MSU also played PSU once and Maryland twice so if the committee is comparing us head-to-head (which I have to beleive they'll do for a spot in Detroit), we'll both be hurt or helped equally by what happens with Maryland and PSU.


March 7th, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

It's basically the same games to root for anyway. FWIW it would only affect our game at Maryland. A q1 win is top 25 at home, top 50 neutral, top 75 on the road. It's a bad metric for Michigan because our quadrant 1 wins are like Top 5 on the road, top 5 neutral, top 5 neutral, yada yada.


March 7th, 2018 at 5:23 PM ^

because that's a Q2 right now and would drop to Q3 if they drop below 75th.  Double whammy.

We're definitely still rooting for the same outcomes in the same games, I'm just pointing out that Maryland's eventual RPI impacts two of our games instead of one for PSU.  And now that Colorado just beat ASU, ugh, I think the PSU ship has sailed, anyway.

It's #HoldOnMaryland now.


March 7th, 2018 at 4:41 PM ^

FYI, NC State just lost, which is a PSU opponent and PSU has dropped to #78. Really need some of those teams on the 75 bubble to lose. 


March 7th, 2018 at 4:44 PM ^

which will bring them from 86th to 77th and put them ahead of PSU so that is bad.  Amazing that in about 10 coin flips that have impacted PSU in the past two days, I think every single one went the wrong way.


March 7th, 2018 at 5:44 PM ^

But I just read an interview with the Chairman of the committee over at CBS, and he said fans and bracket guys are way, way over estimating this Q1-4 thing and the committee doesn't care about these thresholds the way people think they do.



March 8th, 2018 at 1:48 AM ^

This is pretty much the least surprising news ever.

Every single year, the committee announces some tweak that they swear is going to help them get better at the thing they're (a) paid for and (b) tragically bad at.

Every single year, people buy into it.

Every single year, they ignore what they said and do the same thing they've always been doing, including paying almost no attention to seeding.  (Whenever they have the media do a mock selection event, they always report that they had almost no time to do the seeding, and the actual committee members say "yep, we feel the same way.")

In this case, the Q1/Q2/etc. thing is a blessing and a curse.  It's a blessing because it's so much better than the old, non-location-adjusted quadrants they used (1-50, 51-100, 101-200, 200+).  It's a curse because the sharp thresholds are ridiculous and it still uses the RPI, which is pretty much generally accepted to be garbage and yet keeps getting used.

This is why the crashingthedance methodology makes so much sense to me.  They built a machine learning algorithm that's trained based upon what the committee has done in the past.  They more-or-less ignore what the committee promises each year and use indicators that have historically proven to be the most accurate.  FWIW, as of Wednesday morning, they have Purdue / MSU / Michigan at 8/9/10 in the S-Curve, with Michigan just ahead of Auburn and Tennessee:


March 8th, 2018 at 12:57 AM ^

If Baylor wins, maybe helps MICH, cool and all.  But that school is PSU-level "I will NEVER root for them" in my book.  On Women's Day, especially (but every other day too)...f*ck that school.


March 8th, 2018 at 1:49 AM ^

You're not rooting for them.  Just root for their opponent to fail more than they do.  Root for them to forfeit because they can't stand being on the floor with representatives of that university. :)