Monday, March 12, 2012

Why not JMU?

We have no idea whether James Madison will be invited to the NCAA Tournament later tonight. But you know what? ESPN's Charlie Creme doesn't, either.

The man certainly does his homework. But he's offering one opinion, the opinion of a man who is not on the NCAA selection committee. His mock bracket has JMU on the outside looking in. But the people with the actual say-so may see things an entirely different way.

The Dukes' resume certainly has flaws, the most recent one being Saturday's beatdown at the hands of Drexel in the CAA Tournament semifinals. The loss to Northeastern a couple of weeks ago may have been even more damaging.

But they also have points in their favor. JMU's RPI is a robust 35. That's higher than Temple (46), Virginia (50), Texas (54), way better than North Carolina (89). Better than any of the so-called bubble teams. In most years, an RPI of 35 is an NCAA at-large RPI.

JMU also has a win over Middle Tennessee State, a team some folks think has a stronger at-large case. Since JMU also has better strength of schedule and RPI numbers, we're not sure why. But if MTSU gets in the field, why shouldn't JMU?

Here's the thing - when you get down to the last 2-3 at-large spots, every team under consideration has flaws. Each committee member has factors it weighs more heavily than others. If this particular committee is a sucker for RPI, the Dukes may be going dancing. If it wants to see a lot of wins over high-profile opponents - or a team that finishes strong - hello, WNIT.

But make no mistake, even with Saturday's tournament loss, the numbers argue the Dukes ought to still be in the mix. No one should be surprised if JMU gets left out tonight, though.

Just don't be shocked if they're not.


  1. They belong in the field - better RPI and much better quality wins after 1/1/12 than UVA.

  2. JMU has a win at Liberty (the Big South Champion) to their credit, as well.