Penn State basketball loses to Rider

Submitted by WolverineHistorian on December 22nd, 2017 at 9:09 PM

Up 70-68 with 7 seconds left, PSU misses both free throws, Rider makes the 3 at the buzzer, wins 71-70. 

Bad for the conference but oh well, fuck Penn State. 

ETA: Rutgers also loses at the buzzer, 75-73 to Stony Brook. 



December 22nd, 2017 at 10:44 PM ^

The older folk would remember - PSU was actually fairly competitive in its first 5 years in B1G play.  Ferndale's Jarrett Stephens was a nice player in that era.

Since then, the coaches have progressively been balder, and the teams have progressively been less competitive.

Frank Chuck

December 23rd, 2017 at 1:45 AM ^

Best scoring freshman guard (or forward) I've seen since Kevin Durant in 2007.

But what sets Young apart from someone like Chris Jackson (LSU, became Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf) is his combination of court vision, passing ability, and playmaking ability. Young is a true point guard / court general. He's averaging 29 ppg and 10 apg. I never thought I would see a player average like that in this era...


December 22nd, 2017 at 10:17 PM ^

This is slightly off the topic, but since Beilein's scheduling has been much discussed on the board recently, I thought this would be a good time to revisit it.  Both Stony Brook and Rider are projected to wind up in the RPI 100-200 range (Wofford is another good example).  These teams are always looked at as walkover games, but they have a pulse, and there is maybe a 20% chance they jump up and steal a game.  If you play enough of those games, eventually you're going to lose one.  I don't think Penn State had much of a chance at the NCAAs, but this blew a big hole in it.  

I have less of an issue with Beilein's scheduling than most do, and this is why.  Beilein likes to have 6-7 top 100 games and about 5-6 guaranteed wins that basically act as scrimmages.  We had the Maui Tournament (2 or 3 games against good competition, with likely 1 or 2 losses), games at UNC and Texas, and home games against UCLA and a fairly decent CMU team, to go along with 6 games against RPI 200+ competition.  By comparison, Michigan State (always regarded as playing a tough nonconference schedule), played UNC, Duke, and Notre Dame, but the only other team they played with a chance at an at-large bid is UConn.  Meanwhile they have 6 teams on their schedule with a projected RPI over 200.  There is an argument to be made that, before the season (when UCLA and Texas had all their players), Michigan had the tougher schedule, especially had they beaten LSU. 

The last thing we needed, especially without Wagner right now (and we have a bad recent history with injuries in nonconference games), is a loss to a team like Rider or Stony Brook.  A win over Alabama A&M hurts the RPI (and the NCAA resume) a lot less than a loss to Rider does.


December 22nd, 2017 at 11:06 PM ^

Sorry, no.  You are greatly overestimating the chance that any of these teams wins.  Rider's KenPom probability was 4.5% at the start of the game, which is pretty close to OSU's when Michigan went up 20.  Sometimes stuff just happens, and this should not be used as a justification of bad scheduling.

The boat anchor effect of teams like Alabama A&M is real.  Their 0-12 record -- projected 5-26 by KenPom -- goes straight into Michigan's opponent winning percentage, which makes up 505% of the RPI; their conference's overall poor recods go into Michigan's Opponents' Opponetns' Winning Percentage, which is 25% of the RPI.  Overall, 75% of the RPI is based on whom you play, not how well you do against them.

6 games with a 99% winning percentage gives you a 94% chance to go 6-0 and tank your RPI. 6 games with a 95% winning percentage gives you a 74% chance to go 6-0 and won't tank your RPI.  One out of every four years, you might take a bad loss.  The other three years, you might be one or two seedlines better in the tournament because the RPI is a dumb formula.  To me, that's an obvious trade-off.

Mr Miggle

December 22nd, 2017 at 11:31 PM ^

These games have no negative effect on our seed or tournament chances. It's pretty clear they haven't in the past few years.The committee considers all home wins against teams #160+ the same.


901 P

December 23rd, 2017 at 9:00 AM ^

How easy is it to anticipate (roughly) RPI rankings of opponents when the schedule is made? Is it possible to know ahead of time which teams are going to be in that RPI "sweet spot" so you can schedule them, or is there so much movement from year to year that you might schedule teams that you think will be in the 100s, but then it turns out that they are near the bottom when you play them?

(I know that a little internet sleuthing could find me the answer, but you guys seem to know what you are taking about and I'm lazy.)

Mr Miggle

December 23rd, 2017 at 9:46 AM ^

The SWAC is at the bottom every year. Others will have a bunch of middling teams. Scheduling isn't done very far out, so there isn't that much movement in the individual teams.

There is no benefit to a team in gaming the RPI. The only way to do it is conference wide like the Mountain West has done. If your conference opponents have artificially good RPIs, then you get credit for more good wins and are hit with fewer bad losses. That's what the committee uses, not your own RPI. The Big Ten could get together and do that too. It would help come tournament time until the committee caught on and adjusted.

Mr Miggle

December 23rd, 2017 at 9:49 AM ^

If a school wants to improve their tournament resume they need to adjust their schedule based on the factors the committee actually uses. That means doing things that toughen the schedule in meaningful ways, not exploit quirks in a formula. They also have to keep winning games. Just having a harder schedule doesn't help.

A key thing is that all home wins vs teams in the bottom half count the same, #180 or #350. Scheduling more teams around #200 is the worst thing to do. Schedule more road games (not likely here), more high quality teams, more opponents just in the top half, 

The last part is tricky to do. You may get no reward for playing some of those teams and some of them may make your schedule tougher than you intended. I think most teams at Michigan's level look at the same things in drawing up a schedule. How tough do I want it to be this year? Give me a few marquee games and some easy wins and arrange them to best prepare for the conference. Fill in the rest.


December 23rd, 2017 at 2:37 PM ^

Sorry, but you’re wrong. The RPI is absolutely used — if not directly, the way it is in hockey, at least indirectly, by computing the number of “top 25” and “top 50” wins that a team has. You seemingly can’t have a conversation about college basketball in March without discussing RPI. It’s completely disingenuous to suggest that the committee members understand how badly it’s flawed, and in what specific ways, and adjust for it. They’re ADs and former basketball coaches and the like, not mathematicians.

If Michigan is on the bubble, the public conversation will include the relatively weak RPI, and I’m quite certain that the committee discussion will as well. It may be less relevant in seeding, if only because seeding appears to be accomplished mostly by throwing darts at a dartboard.

I look forward to the day when the RPI is completely replaced. Until that happens, I can see no reason whatsoever that Michigan shouldn’t look to improve its RPI by scheduling, if only to make sure they end up on the right side of the bubble should it come to that.

Mr Miggle

December 24th, 2017 at 9:34 AM ^

but it's getting largely replaced by Kenpom.even for that.

It takes a certain level of arrogance to think that the committee is perpetually ignorant of things that message board posters understand. Not just the committee, but active coaches like Beilein too. These are people for whom making the tournament and seedings were and are a very big deal in their careers. I can't understate that. But they are too stupid to understand even some basic math in the one formula that's used? Not just individually, but as a group. No one can point this out and explain it to the others in their meetings? Or that's why teams got left out so they can change their scheduling going forward?

These people have been in charge of their own scheduling for a long time. Give them credit for understanding how things actually. work. Have more than a little doubt that posters that have never been involved in the progress know better.

There are public discussions before the selections every year. Yes, they talk about the RPI. Talking heads use them because it's easy for even the most casual fan to follow. Then the seedings come out and they have to explain why the committee seemed to ignore RPI in some cases while following them in others. Again, thinking these public discussions influence the committee gives them no credit whatsoever.




December 22nd, 2017 at 11:50 PM ^

I'll give you a few scenarios based on the RPI calculator.  A disclaimer that the record is calculated based on % chance to win as it currently is listed.  

Right now Michigan is projected to go 20-10, RPI 46, and SOS 69.

Now let's assume that Michigan schedules Rider instead of Alabama A&M.

A win would give Michigan a projected 20-10 record, RPI 34, and SOS 52

A loss would give Michigan a projected 19-11 record, RPI 49, and SOS 51


So in the grand scheme of things, a loss to Rider is worse only in total record, not even worth noting a difference in RPI, and still improves the SOS by 18 spots.  This is the point trying to be made by folks groaning about scheduling 250+ RPI teams.  The downside isn't even that bad.  The upside is that a win is a HUGE boost in both RPI and SOS.  This only represents one game.  Imagine replacing the other tomato cans with teams around 150 in RPI and what that would do.


December 23rd, 2017 at 1:01 AM ^

The dreaded "bad loss" on the resume. The difference between 20-10 and just one bad loss to LSU versus 19-11 in a weak (this year) conference with two bad losses is exactly the sort of difference between a First Four team and an NIT team. Bad losses have to be counteracted by impressive wins, and those are hard to come by (especially this year, with only 3 more possible top 25 games on the schedule, 2 on the road). I think Beilein saw the losses to Eastern and NJIT three years ago (with a schedule similar to what you would advocate, by the way) and realized that they prevented that team from having a chance at postseason play. I doubt that the 2015 team would have made the NCAAs if you replace those losses with tomato can wins, but the NIT was certainly within reach. Instead a pair of back-to-back December stinkers after a big win over Syracuse totally torpedoed the season as it was just starting. I don't blame Beilein for wanting to avoid that like the plague.

I agree that if Beilein wants guaranteed wins he should get them against teams like North Florida and their eventual 200ish RPI, if gaming the RPI is the only goal. However, he also knows that while RPI is a somewhat useful tool, it is not used in basketball the way it is used in hockey, where it largely determines the tournament field and seed order. The outlier games of big wins and bad losses are far more determinative, and Beilein is right to maximize the former while minimizing the chances of the latter. Again, if you'd rather he schedule fewer Alabama A&Ms and more North Floridas, that's fine, but I'm fine with him staying away from the mid level teams that have the talent to win but that inexperienced players would naturally take too lightly.


December 23rd, 2017 at 1:33 AM ^

Meh - they went 16-16 that year.  That's what kept them out of postseason play.  Not because they scheduled two 150-ish teams.  Sub those two games for 300+ teams and Michigan is likely 18-14 and not getting an NIT bid.  Sorry, but 18 wins with a poor resume isn't getting you into the NIT.  Eastern went to the CBI and NJIT went to the CIT.  It wasn't like those guys were world beaters that year either.  Michigan was just bad.  Probably not the best example of avoiding 150-ish RPI teams by using 2014-15 as an example. 

Mr Miggle

December 23rd, 2017 at 9:03 AM ^

that the committee doesn't use the RPI for seeding, you just found it.

That a win could hurt your ranking so much is obviously completely ridiculous. Michigan is not a worse team than if they forfeited the AAM game. This is a huge flaw in the RPI formula.

RPI has been around for 40 years. Every coach knows how it works. So do ADs and the people on the committee. I find it hilarious that people keep thinking Beilein of all people doesn't. So he keeps making the same stupid mistake every year. And no one in Michign's employ can figure it out either. It's not like making the tournament is an afterthought in their jobs.

If you think losses to bad teams are better than blowout wins vs very bad teams, you haven't been paying attention to what actually happens on selection Sunday. 


December 23rd, 2017 at 8:24 PM ^

Yes, Wisconsin got screwed, and probably should have been about a 6 seed, and I think Michigan should have been a 6 as well. On the other side of things, I thought Minnesota should have been about a 7 instead of a 5, especially after an injury to a key player late in the season. The other seeds were about right, although Northwestern could have been a 9 instead of an 8.

Of those teams, Michigan had the highest RPI (23), yet was still only given a 7 seed due to a complete failure to beat anyone good on the road (the win over SMU was a neutral site game). Maryland had a lower RPI than Wisconsin (38 vs 30), lost to them head to head,finished behind them in the B1G and got knocked out in the BTT quarterfinals, yet was given a 6 seed compared to Wisconsin's 8 because they had road wins over Michigan, Minnesota, and Northwestern, while Wisconsin struggled down the stretch and only had two road wins against tournament teams (Minnesota and Marquette). You can argue about the validity of these decisions, but the point still stands that RPI was not determinative in these decisions, while significant weight was clearly given to big wins, especially those on the road.

Actually, 2016-17 Northwestern makes this point even better. RPI of 48 due partly to playing 5 teams with RPI over 200, with their best wins being @ WIsconsin, home vs Michigan, and neutral site wins over Dayton and Maryland, but more importantly, no losses outside the top 100. Their RPI says "bubble team," but they wound up with an 8 seed.


December 23rd, 2017 at 10:15 PM ^

I got the 2016-17 RPI rankings here. Perhaps Michigan was 30th before the BTT, or perhaps these rankings for some reason continued through the NCAA tournament for some reason, I don't know, but they seem pretty reputable to me.  I don't think it's particularly fair for you to accuse me of "making up" information, but feel free to "correct" me again if you wish.


December 23rd, 2017 at 10:39 PM ^

But you were off by a day.  The ones I looked at were post-NCAA tournament (which is a little silly to keep track of, honestly, so I assumed that wasn't done).  The correct RPI rankings would have been for Monday, March 13, after the BTT was completed, which is here.  The win over Wisconsin jumped Michigan from 30th to 25th.  The final RPI rankings (pre-NCAAs) have Michigan 25th, Minnesota 20th, Maryland 34th, Wisconsin 36th, and Northwestern 51st.  If we can agree on those numbers, then the following points still stand:

1. Northwestern was seeded WAY above its RPI level, likely because it had no bad losses to go with some good wins away from its home floor.  MSU (RPI 50) also got a 9 seed when they could have been seeded lower as well.

2. Wisconsin did get screwed, probably in part because of late bad losses to Iowa and Ohio State.  

3. Minnesota's seed may have been somewhat influenced by its RPI, but also by the massive winning streak it was on toward the end of the season that got them to 4th in the B1G, ahead of the 4-team logjam that included Michigan.  Personally, I think they were overseeded.  If you want to argue that RPI plays an outsized role in seeding, this is your best argument, except that SMU and Cincinnati both had higher RPI rankings and only got 6 seeds, so it's not a great argument.

4. You can argue if Maryland deserved a 6 seed, but they were definitely not underseeded.  It's pretty hard to justify giving them anything higher. 

5. Most importantly, and most relevant for the argument I was making that started all of this, is that Michigan was given a 7 seed when many thought they deserved a 6, but that slight snubbing was inarguably NOT due to a deficient RPI, but rather to the fact that their road record was terrible. The biggest wins (SMU, Wisconsin, Purdue) were neutral site or home games, which are (rightly) less valuable.

Overall, I don't think the Big Ten overall got screwed by the committee, although Wisconsin certainly did and Michigan probably did.  I don't think that RPI had a huge part in those discrepancies though, especially not in the cases of Northwestern, MSU, Maryland, or Michigan.


December 23rd, 2017 at 11:20 PM ^

I think the original discussion focuses around this - RPI and SOS are most definately used by the selection committee.  While these are not the only factors, they are used as a baseline.  Then the road wins, impressive wins against spread, hot hand at the end of the season, and records against top 100.  So it begs the original question knowing that these are used as baseline factors - why would you intentionally give up 20 spots in SOS to play one game against the worst team in college basketball?  That's essentially what Michigan did by playing one game against Alabama A&M.  You do this knowing that SOS will be a discussion point when your resume is complete.  That's the real beef with scheduling teams beyond 300 in RPI.