Sunday, March 16, 2008

Virginia Tech

With the brackets revealed tonight, there's obviously a lot to talk about regarding who got in, who didn't, what seed they got, etc. But there's one item that I definitely feel very strongly about: Virginia Tech did not deserve a bid. I'm watching Bracketology on ESPN right now, and all of the analysts seem very adamant that Virginia Tech should be in the tournament, based partially (or maybe mostly) on their "run" in the ACC Conference tournament. What was their "run"? One win over Miami and a well-played loss to North Carolina.

To start, I'm going to list the teams they beat this season, their records, and the conference they play in.
Elon (14-19, Southern)
Eastern Washington (11-19, Big Sky)
UNC-Asheville (23-9, Big South)
UNC-Greensboro (19-12, Southern)
George Washington (9-17, Atlantic 10)
Liberty (16-16, Big South)
Hofstra (12-18, Colonial)
St. John's (11-19, Big East)
Charleston Southern (10-20, Big South)
Maryland (18-14, ACC)
Virginia (15-15, ACC)
Boston College (14-17, ACC)
Florida State (19-14, ACC)
Virginia (15-15, ACC)
Maryland (18-14, ACC)
Georgia Tech (15-17, ACC)
Boston College (14-17, ACC)
Wake Forest (17-13, ACC)
Miami (22-10, ACC)

So what stands out about this list? The fact that one, just one, is an NCAA tournament team, and they are only a #7 seed. Their next best win is either against Florida State or their two against Maryland. What about out of conference? Their best win is... UNC Asheville? UNC Greensboro? St. John's? The point is, who cares?! That's their best win outside of conference?! And, as I said, you look in the ACC and you can see they didn't beat any of the top teams (North Carolina, Duke, or Clemson). All in all, Virginia Tech did not prove, in the least, that they could beat good teams.

Now, how about their losses? Let's take a detailed look at those.
Butler (29-3, Horizon)
Gonzaga (25-7, West Coast)
Penn State (15-16, Big Ten)
Old Dominion (17-15, Colonial)
Wake Forest (17-13, ACC)
Richmond (16-14, Atlantic 10)
Georgia Tech (15-17, ACC)
Duke (27-5, ACC)
NC State (15-16, ACC)
Miami (22-10, ACC)
North Carolina (32-2, ACC)
Clemson (24-9, ACC)
North Carolina (32-2, ACC)

Again, what marks this list? Most of them are good teams, which in and of itself is not bad. But what it does show is that Virginia Tech played good NCAA tournament teams and could not beat them (North Carolina twice, Duke, Clemson, Gonzaga, Butler, Miami once), and played bad teams and beat them for the most part. By looking at their specific wins and losses I've concluded that: 1) Virginia Tech's wins were of very low quality and 2) They lost to mostly good teams, but also to some pretty bad ones (Penn State, Old Dominion, Richmond). All of this is supported by a 1-7 record versus the RPI top 50.

Still, that resume isn't awful. They could have a chance to make the tournament. But then I have to look at the other teams they would displace, and the other teams that didn't make it who they would have to be ahead of. Here they are, with their overall records and wins over tournament teams (or ones that just missed) listed.

Oregon: 18-13, Stanford, Arizona State, Arizona twice.
South Alabama: 26-6, Mississippi State.
Saint Mary's: 25-6, Drake, Oregon, Gonzaga.
Arizona: 18-14, Texas A&M, UNLV, USC, Washington State twice.
Kentucky: 18-12, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia twice.
Saint Joseph's: 21-12, Xavier twice, Villanova, Temple, Siena.
Kansas State: 20-11, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas.
Baylor: 21-10, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Mississippi Valley State.
Villanova: 20-12, West Virginia, UConn, Pittsburgh, Temple, George Mason.

Arizona State: 19-12, Xavier, Stanford, USC, Oregon, Arizona twice.
Illinois State: 24-9, none.
VCU: 24-7, none.
Dayton: 21-10, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Temple, Saint Joseph's.
Ole Miss: 21-10, Clemson, South Alabama, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi State.
Ohio State: 19-13, Michigan State, Purdue, UMBC.

From this, we can see that Virginia Tech has among the worst record and the worst quality of wins. All of the power conference teams, which are most comparable, have significantly better wins, while Illinois State, VCU, and South Alabama have much better records. Not only should Virginia Tech not make the tournament, but I would definitely have them behind at least Ole Miss, Arizona State, Ohio State, and Dayton, in addition to all of the teams which actually made it.

But I have yet to address the so-called run Virginia Tech had at the end of season. I'm not sure if the people referring to this are pointing to their last ten games, where they went 5-5, or the ACC tournament, where they finally beat an NCAA team in winning one game and losing another, albeit close. Neither of those stand out and neither pushes Virginia Tech any closer to the tournament after their aforementioned shortcomings. But wait--they were so close against North Carolina. Shouldn't that count for something?

I think this got way too much attention, in part because of Seth Greenberg's animated comments about it after the game. They lost, and that's the end of it. Only in the case of minutely similar cases for inclusion in the tournament should this ever be considered. But let's pretend we are going to look at this. Should we also ignore South Alabama's three-point losses to Vanderbilt and Ole Miss or Villanova's losses to NC State and Georgetown on very questionable foul calls, just to name a few, simply because they weren't on the day before Selection Sunday? No way! So now, if we were to consider these almost wins (AWs), records would have to look like this:

South Alabama: 26-4-2 AW
Virginia Tech: 19-11-2 AW (the second one was last Sunday versus Clemson)
Villanova: 20-10-2 AW

You get the point. This is not a good idea, so throw away the idea of a close loss to North Carolina; it was quite simply another loss for Virginia Tech. I think that this categorically proves why Virginia Tech, despite a solid season, clearly does not deserve to be in the NCAA tournament.

Thanks for reading and sorry for the loooong break. We've both been swamped with work, but now that I'm on break I'll be able to catch up and start writing regular entries, especially once the Twins get their season underway. It's only two weeks away!

1 comment:

  1. No need to bring Georgetown into this. Everyone knows they would have dominated Villanova in overtime even if that foul hadn't been called, especially since at least 2 of Nova's big guys had already fouled out (can't remember how many exactly). Plus, we all saw how much better GU is than Nova when they played in the first round of the BET.


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