Monday, March 12, 2012

Tough night for Virginia's schools in NCAAs

NCAA bracket

Local entrants

No. 16 Hampton vs. No. 1 Stanford, Saturday, 1:40 p.m. at Old Dominion

No. 16 Liberty at No. 1 Notre Dame, Sunday, 2:40 p.m.

NCAA Selection Monday was a tough one for Virginia's schools, a night when even the good news wasn't really all that good.

Three-time MEAC champion Hampton and perennial Big South heavyweight Liberty both made the NCAA cut, but as No. 16 seeds, the seeding of death for tournament hopefuls. Teams seeded 16th are 1-71 in the first round since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994.

Relegating Hampton to this spot seems particularly harsh. With a 26-4 record and, more importantly, an RPI of 62, the Lady Pirates may be the strongest 16th seed in the history of the tournament. We wonder if the committee didn't drop the Lady Pirates down a line or two to keep them close to home. If so, here's hoping that next time, they refrain from doing Hampton any favors. The players loved traveling to Albuquerque, N.M. last year, where as a No. 13 seed they took Kentucky to overtime in the first round.

Maybe the Lady Pirates will do the same thing with Stanford. We know they'll expend themselves trying. It's just a shame that the NCAA gave them one of the four toughest draws possible.

But at least Hampton and Liberty are in the field. Virginia and James Madison are awaiting further instructions from the WNIT after being bypassed by the NCAA folks. The Cavaliers were revealed as among the last four teams out.

For Virginia, apparently a victory over Tennessee doesn't mean quite what it used to. In explaining the decision to omit the Cavaliers, NCAA committee chairman Greg Christopher noted the win over the Lady Vols but said essentially Virginia had little else in terms of quality wins relative to the other bubble teams. As we've pointed out before, the Cavaliers went 9-0 against the teams seeded below them in the ACC Tournament but 0-7 against the five teams seeded above them.

Christopher didn't break down the reasons why JMU missed out, but the fact that Middle Tennessee, a team the Dukes defeated earlier this season, did get picked triggered this humorous series of tweets from JMU coach Kenny Brooks:

"Man, I wish our RPI was better than Middle Tennessee St. Oh was."

"I wish our strength of schedule was better than Middle Tennessee St. Oh was!!!"

"I wish we had played Middle Tennessee St. head to head. Oh wait...we did!!! JMU 60, MTSU 46. C'mon NCAA. smh"

We gotta admit, the man has a point.


  1. JMU deserved to be in without doubt - UVA did not - Quote from RebKell board by "Turkeytrot" below sums it up - ACC has never been weaker and UVA has not played as weak a schedule since the RPI began:

    Posted: 03/12/12 9:19 am ::: Reply



    benighted has it right - UNC should clearly not make the field and UVA is also very doubtful - especially in comparison with other major conference teams like USC, Texas and Michigan.

    UNC issues are pretty clear - awful RPI and SOS although they have some nice wins over Miami and two over UVA. Sylvia did not get the RPI message that reduced the weighting of home wins and continued to schedule 200+ teams at home doing tremendous damage to the UNC RPI.

    League issues also hurt here - the ACC unbalanced schedule has the potential for wildly unequal schedules - in reg. season UNC played 9 games against the top 5 but only 4 games against the unbelievably weak bottom 4.

    As the Heels defeated Miami and UVA twice their 9-7 regular season record is their strongest argument for NCAA admission and in any other year would put them in the field on this alone.

    However, the far side of the ledger presents 14!!! games against 200+ teams likely dooming their chances.

    UVA is a bit of a different case - also 9-7 reg. season tying UNC for 5th but lost to the Heels twice so really a 6th place team.

    In any other year the 9-7 = automatic admission but not this year - again the unbalanced schedule creates wide differences in the quality of conference records.

    UVA's conference record though is tainted by the shocking weakness at the bottom of the ACC - they racked up five of their 9 wins against BC, VT and CLEM - all with 200+ RPI's - throw in 2 more wins against 100+ and dramatically weakend FSU and the 9-7 record is so diluted it cannot compare with UNC's 9-7 or the traditional strength of such an ACC mark.

    Further - with a new coach usually comes weakened OOC schedule as well so the final RPI and SOS comes at 51 and 61 along with 11 of 22 wins against 200+ opponents.

    The 61 SOS could be the deciding factor when Cave are stacked up against Tex, USC etc... - by far the weakest schedule for UVA since RPI used. Also - biggest wins since January 1st are only WF and NCS.

    If committee does their homework and notes the weakness of the ACC and over abundance of 200+ games by these two it will be a sad night for these teams.

  2. Sure, you can make a case against Virginia. But you can also poke holes in every resume among the so-called bubble teams. That's why they're on the bubble in the first place. I won't argue too strongly with Virginia getting nudged out. But let's not act like the Cavaliers shouldn't have been in the mix, or that giving them a bid would have been some sort of outrage.

  3. I think the other thing we saw with the NCAA draws is that they are not ready to respect mid/low major programs. IMO that's among the reasons Howard got no love. They beat a Big East and ACC team and played Baylor and Ohio State. They cant do anything about their league (which did have 4 20 win teams!) but they did all in their power to play a tough schedule and played it extemely tough. Not saying they would have been George Mason or VCU but they dont even get that opportunity, which is what makes March so "Mad". SMH and Hampton seed--dont get me started.