Some Simplified Bracketolololology…

We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: the “soft bubble” you hear quoted all over the place is a dodge. A misnomer. A sexy yet inaccurate sound bite. You see, it isn’t a soft bubble; rather, what we are seeing is the cumulative effect of years of dominant program erosion in college basketball. Nobody suddenly looked at the Grand Canyon and remarked “wow, soft dirt.” Likewise, this isn’t a sudden or one-year phenomenon.

This erosion has left a multitude of teams with worthy credentials for an at large berth. I’m here to tell you they all have an argument, major or mid major, and they are all correct. It’s actually a strong bubble. The fact that it is unclear is clouding the judgment of many. The problem is that while there are many deserving teams, it’s about the number 65. No more, no less.

This is also why I continue to posit that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will be making a policy-influencing, landmark-shaping decision or five this year. It is going to be monumentally interesting to see the makeup of the field. The Committee has annually talked about lofty ideals such as not looking at conference makeup and using only this year’s numbers, but we all know better. We know who they are protecting.

Or, at least we like to say things like that because it fits our mid major agenda. And you know what? I believe this year we find out.

The difference is that this year they have nowhere to hide. With VCU, South Alabama, Kent State, four A-10 teams, and the Valley all fielding worthy basketball teams the decisions of the Committee will be scrutinized like never before. On the other side, everyone sees the numbers. There are enough games on television to gauge the Marylands, Texas A&Ms, and Villanovas of the world. We know. The policy decision: a 24-6 first or second place mid major or a 19-11 sixth place major. You decide.

It’s about the number 65, and there’s nowhere to hide.

Personally I fear Sunday, and its consequences.

***

So here’s CAA: LAMM Bracketometry, so titled because it’s far more clear than those others, and every other Bracket(fill it in) has been used.

SIMPLE NUMBERS

One Bid Conferences, No Matter What: 19

You Are In: 37—ACC (4); Big 10 (4); Big 12 (4); Big East (7); Pac 10 (4); SEC (4); Valley (1); A10 (2); WCC (3); Mountain West (2); Sun Belt (2).

THE SUMMARY

That gives us a total of 56 teams, making nine spots open, assuming the You Are Ins win their conference tourney. Kent State is IN regardless, so this number is actually eight. But you only get to count to seven if they lose in the MAC.

THE RULES

The Big Six major conferences will get five spots. Call it Ohio State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Arizona, and Arizona State. It might not be Arizona State but that would mean it’s Arkansas. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s the way of the world. Just call it five and move on.

That leaves three bids open.

Your Final Three will come from the following teams: VCU, Maryland, Va Tech, Oklahoma St., Villanova, Oregon, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois St., Creighton, Temple, St. Joseph’s, and Dayton.

THE KEY TO THIS APPROACH

You only have two major risks. Someone from the bottom of a major conference winning its tournament is the first. Risk factor: low. The second risk is the one to manage: a questionable team winning enough to strengthen its bid.

With that known, don’t bother analyzing and re-analyzing the numbers. Maryland can’t win games, period. That’s all you care about. Five RPI spots doesn’t matter as much as “Maryland plays in the ACC.” Deal with it.

Keep it simple.

***

Up next: ordering the simple, so that it is even more simple, and you have your things to get angry about three days prior to the selection show.

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~ by mglitos on March 13, 2008.

One Response to “Some Simplified Bracketolololology…”

  1. uab helping the cause this afternoon.

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