WAB 2/24: Shockers, Bulldogs, and Worlock, oh my!

Wichita State has been in the headlines recently. Gary Parrish wrote this column:

http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/a-bubble-a-double-standard-and-a-wichita-st-team-on-the-wrong-side-of-both/

In it he compared Wichita State with TCU. He included this thought:

“In fairness, I do think TCU — which I like and would love to see in the NCAA Tournament, but that’s not the point of this column — would probably be 15-1 against Wichita State’s league schedule with a home win over Illinois State and a road loss to Illinois State — just like the Shockers.”

Now, I’m not sure where he got 15-1 from. Wichita St. is currently 16-1, and was at the time of the writing. However, that’s not the key point. The real issue is the idea that we presume every game where a team would be favored should count as a win, and every game where a team would be an underdog gets considered a loss. He’s absolutely right that TCU would be favored in all of the games but the road game at Illinois State. However, when I ran the KenPom projections for TCU though I found their expected record would currently be 13.42-3.58. They’d be undefeated 1.24% of the time, and 16-1 7.00% of the time. In other words, there is around a 92% chance that they’d have two or more conference losses if they were playing Wichita State’s schedule. Now, is it possible the KenPom’s are a bit optimistic about the strength of the MVC? Sure. It’s also possible that the KenPom’s underrate TCU. However, no matter which numbers we run, it is going to be highly unlikely that TCU would be 16-1 or better. It’s very hard to win that many while losing so few.

(I just ran the numbers for Sagarin. The expected record improved to 13.60-3.40, with the odds of being undefeated jumping to 1.72%, and 16-1 to 8.65%.)

The MVC isn’t great, but what Wichita State (and Illinois State) are doing to it is very impressive. Also, I just discovered an amazing fact via Mark Adams:

That is a lot of road wins. They’ve been a mainstay in the KenPom top 20 since 2011. They are one of the best teams in the country. You know what… let’s come back to Wichita State in a bit. I want to shift gears and talk about Gonzaga for a moment.

In the preseason the top 2 teams were clear: Duke at #1, UK at #2. Duke has had a few moments where the looked like a super team, but for the most part they are still a sleeping giant who hasn’t fully awoken. Kentucky looked great for a while, but teams have learned how to break down their defense, and they haven’t fully adjusted. Their game tomorrow vs. Florida is going to be fascinating. Kansas and defending champ Villanova have put together the most impressive resumes, but neither appears to be the best team in the country. That nod goes to a school from the WCC: Gonzaga. Massey and KenPom have them well clear of the field, as does Dolphin. BPI and Sagarin have then slightly above their closest competitors. Either way, they are absolutely dominating their competition in a way that reminds me a bit of UNLV. No, they aren’t as talented as the team Duke took down in the final four, but they are incredibly impressive in conference play. I am very excited to see what they’ll do in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Right now, they are the favorite, which is an amazing thing to write.

My distaste for the “Blind Resume Taste” runs deep. I don’t care about not having the team names, but I very much mind not having all the relevant information about a team’s resume. The issue came up on Twitter last night:

I commented:

That caught the attention of David Worlock:

I replied that while the committee almost certainly doesn’t waste time playing blind resume games, the real issue is the information presented on the team sheet. However, even beyond that (and the use of RPI), there is the issue of the lack of clarity between “Best Team and Best Resume”

David referred me to “Page 1 of the principles and procedures: Select the best 36 at-large teams. Not sure how much more definitive we can be.”

http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2016-03-13/march-madness-bracket-how-68-teams-are-selected-division-i

The problem is that there is a following modifier “based upon play to date”. Ken Pomeroy talked about the conflict here:

“In the past, the NCAA has sent conflicting messages about whether its selection and seeding process is fundamentally a forward-looking endeavor or a backward-looking one. “In terms of the how the committee should select teams, it actually says in [the NCAA guidelines] that they need to select the best 36 at-large teams — based on results,” Pomeroy said. “Best” and “based on results” don’t always line up, though. “It’s like a contradiction right in that sentence.””

“Best” describes what something is. We quantify such things in power ratings, such as Pythag. “Play to date” traditionally has referred to the proverbial “Body of work”, which is a teams resume. The contradiction can be eliminated in multiple ways. If the “Play to date” clause was removed, and the committee was directed to simply pick the 36 best teams, they’d have a clear objective. Alternately, they could be directed to pick the 36 most accomplished teams. That doesn’t have the ring of “best”, but it would make it clear that we are looking for the 36 best bodies of work.

I will note that CBS’s resident bracketologist Jerry Palm has Wichita State in the first four out:

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/bracketology

For a team that is universally considered on of the top 16 teams in the country to be on the bubble suggests that Worlock’s claim of clarity is inaccurate. Committee or not, there can be no realistic debate that Wichita State is one of the 36 best teams in the country. That means that Jerry Palm is looking at other metrics when selecting and seeding the field. It might look a bit like this:

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/teams/rpi/WICHST/wichita-state-shockers

The key takeaway is they are 1-4 vs. the RPI top 50. A rational observer might look at the neutral court loss to Michigan State and the home loss to Oklahoma State and anchor off of that. You’d need a lot of information to realize that Wichita State is actually an elite team with a resume that is significantly better than those of their competition

By the way, while Illinois State isn’t nearly as good as Wichita State, their resume is better than those of most bubble teams. Gary Parrish finished his column with this:

“Either way, in a perfect world, the Shockers will win the MVC tournament and render this entire debate moot. But if the world were perfect, or at least fair, such wouldn’t even be required.”

It’s highly likely either Wichita State or Illinois State will win the MVC conference tournament. On Selection Sunday I expect the other one to be very nervous.

Full WAB’s here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hof8DT8OCt_9A-f93NnXnSfMdp97B1qvmQ8Hw_X3X8Y/edit#gid=0

WAB Rank School WAB-AVG Pythag Pythag Rank
1 Kansas 9.79 0.9519 7
2 Villanova 8.55 0.9605 3
3 Gonzaga 7.28 0.9752 1
4 Baylor 7.20 0.9390 14
5 North Carolina 6.96 0.9603 5
6 Louisville 6.50 0.9554 6
7 Florida 6.47 0.9603 4
8 Arizona 6.10 0.9205 21
9 Kentucky 5.83 0.9514 8
10 Butler 5.67 0.9178 22
11 Duke 5.46 0.9420 11
12 UCLA 5.37 0.9343 15
13 Oregon 5.34 0.9417 12
14 Wisconsin 4.98 0.9254 19
15 Purdue 4.86 0.9452 10
16 Florida St. 4.77 0.9265 18
17 West Virginia 4.59 0.9617 2
18 Notre Dame 4.58 0.9114 25
19 Cincinnati 4.56 0.9214 20
20 Maryland 4.06 0.8568 37
21 SMU 3.87 0.9284 16
22 Oklahoma St. 3.75 0.9151 24
23 Creighton 3.60 0.9053 26
24 Virginia 3.48 0.9482 9
25 Saint Mary’s 3.34 0.9269 17
26 Iowa St. 3.14 0.9168 23
27 Minnesota 3.09 0.8732 29
28 Virginia Tech 2.86 0.8269 49
29 Wichita St. 2.55 0.9391 13
30 Miami FL 2.50 0.8851 28
31 Arkansas 2.21 0.8321 45
32 South Carolina 2.14 0.8704 31
33 Xavier 2.07 0.8554 38
34 USC 1.93 0.7859 62
35 VCU 1.91 0.8419 42
36 Northwestern 1.85 0.8472 39
37 Dayton 1.81 0.8672 33
38 Illinois St. 1.24 0.8114 57
39 Middle Tennessee 1.15 0.8261 50
40 Seton Hall 0.81 0.8101 58
41 Michigan St. 0.79 0.8305 47
42 UNC Wilmington 0.67 0.7762 65
43 TCU 0.59 0.8358 44
44 Kansas St. 0.58 0.8725 30
45 Michigan 0.57 0.8864 27
46 Monmouth 0.52 0.7232 83
47 Vermont 0.33 0.7525 73
48 Marquette 0.22 0.8677 32
49 Wake Forest 0.10 0.8622 35
50 Providence 0.03 0.8145 54
51 UT Arlington -0.17 0.7545 72
52 Nevada -0.18 0.7727 66
53 Belmont -0.24 0.7212 84
54 Georgia -0.43 0.8286 48
55 California -0.48 0.8316 46
56 Texas Tech -0.49 0.8648 34
57 Clemson -0.57 0.8591 36
58 Syracuse -0.69 0.8417 43
59 Valparaiso -0.74 0.6739 100
60 East Tennessee St. -0.83 0.7615 69
61 Auburn -0.87 0.7340 78
62 Akron -1.03 0.6570 102
63 Houston -1.06 0.8464 40
64 Georgia Tech -1.07 0.7247 82
65 Mississippi -1.14 0.7572 70
66 Pittsburgh -1.18 0.7883 61
67 Princeton -1.21 0.7551 71
68 Tennessee -1.29 0.8239 51
69 Rhode Island -1.29 0.8194 53
70 Illinois -1.37 0.7765 64
71 New Mexico St. -1.56 0.6298 111
72 Vanderbilt -1.56 0.8236 52
73 Winthrop -1.67 0.6091 119
74 Florida Gulf Coast -1.79 0.6202 116
75 Alabama -1.93 0.7941 59
76 Indiana -2.04 0.8462 41
77 College of Charleston -2.05 0.6790 97
78 Ohio St. -2.08 0.7902 60
79 Utah -2.14 0.8141 55
80 UCF -2.47 0.7431 74
81 Arkansas St. -2.48 0.6232 114
82 Boise St. -2.53 0.6863 94
83 Georgetown -2.54 0.8120 56
84 Cal St. Bakersfield -2.56 0.6388 109
85 Memphis -2.58 0.7062 88
86 UNC Asheville -2.62 0.6451 108
87 UNC Greensboro -2.63 0.5728 131
88 Bucknell -2.76 0.7038 90
89 Iowa -2.89 0.7424 75
90 North Carolina St. -3.00 0.6859 95
91 Texas A&M -3.06 0.7815 63
92 Stanford -3.10 0.6765 99
93 Oakland -3.11 0.6238 113
94 Penn St. -3.22 0.7411 76
95 Harvard -3.25 0.6221 115
96 Colorado St. -3.25 0.6932 92
97 Chattanooga -3.26 0.6457 106
98 Nebraska -3.42 0.7278 81
99 Louisiana Tech -3.49 0.6929 93
100 North Carolina Central -3.49 0.5057 167
101 BYU -3.52 0.7361 77
102 St. Bonaventure -3.77 0.7207 85
103 Richmond -3.80 0.6713 101
104 George Mason -3.81 0.6500 104
105 Ohio -3.99 0.6786 98
106 San Francisco -3.99 0.6455 107
107 Colorado -4.10 0.7334 79
108 Connecticut -4.11 0.7298 80
109 Grand Canyon -4.16 0.4670 184
110 Yale -4.18 0.5277 149
111 North Dakota St. -4.32 0.5442 139
112 Furman -4.39 0.6371 110
113 Eastern Washington -4.41 0.4888 177
114 Old Dominion -4.42 0.6244 112
115 Texas Southern -4.63 0.4172 204
116 Davidson -4.67 0.7137 87
117 Fresno St. -4.69 0.6473 105
118 Oklahoma -4.75 0.7649 67
119 Mississippi St. -4.78 0.7046 89
120 St. John’s -4.82 0.6993 91
121 La Salle -4.83 0.6088 120
122 Georgia St. -4.85 0.5826 126
123 New Mexico -4.92 0.6004 122
124 South Dakota -4.99 0.5379 143
125 North Dakota -5.02 0.5057 166
126 San Diego St. -5.06 0.7147 86
127 Rice -5.10 0.5341 146
128 New Orleans -5.14 0.4310 196
129 Temple -5.21 0.6514 103
130 Texas -5.22 0.7649 68
131 George Washington -5.27 0.5836 125
132 Wright St. -5.30 0.4893 176
133 Texas A&M Corpus Chris -5.34 0.3842 216
134 Towson -5.38 0.5847 124
135 Northern Kentucky -5.40 0.5067 165
136 Rutgers -5.59 0.6022 121
137 Tulsa -5.64 0.5700 132
138 Iona -5.85 0.5541 136
139 Northern Iowa -5.91 0.5137 161
140 Tennessee St. -5.93 0.4917 174
141 Ball St. -5.94 0.5180 157
142 Loyola Chicago -6.06 0.6858 96
143 Green Bay -6.09 0.5138 159
144 Tennessee Martin -6.09 0.3941 213
145 Arizona St. -6.12 0.5733 130
146 Fort Wayne -6.15 0.5748 129
147 Sam Houston St. -6.17 0.3531 227
148 Georgia Southern -6.22 0.4878 179
149 UMBC -6.23 0.4428 191
150 Lehigh -6.26 0.6139 118
151 New Hampshire -6.27 0.5008 169
152 Louisiana Lafayette -6.38 0.5355 144
153 Samford -6.55 0.5018 168
154 Weber St. -6.57 0.4942 171
155 Wyoming -6.57 0.5288 148
156 Washington St. -6.57 0.4328 195
157 Liberty -6.67 0.4224 202
158 William & Mary -6.70 0.5622 134
159 Albany -6.75 0.5514 137
160 Penn -6.77 0.5444 138
161 San Jose St. -6.79 0.4221 203
162 Loyola Marymount -6.88 0.4926 173
163 Nebraska Omaha -6.92 0.4448 188
164 Marshall -6.92 0.5168 158
165 Canisius -6.94 0.4882 178
166 Lipscomb -7.08 0.5231 153
167 Stony Brook -7.09 0.4170 205
168 Buffalo -7.10 0.5938 123
169 Elon -7.12 0.5440 140
170 Santa Clara -7.16 0.5780 127
171 UAB -7.25 0.4771 181
172 UC Irvine -7.33 0.5439 141
173 Saint Peter’s -7.37 0.6179 117
174 Houston Baptist -7.41 0.3296 241
175 Kent St. -7.41 0.5246 152
176 Alcorn St. -7.46 0.2092 296
177 Texas St. -7.53 0.4025 208
178 Southern Illinois -7.55 0.5072 164
179 UC Davis -7.62 0.3840 217
180 LSU -7.62 0.4763 182
181 Central Michigan -7.64 0.4240 201
182 Gardner Webb -7.75 0.4431 190
183 Troy -7.77 0.5138 160
184 Denver -7.82 0.4941 172
185 East Carolina -7.91 0.4258 200
186 LIU Brooklyn -7.99 0.2994 258
187 Northeastern -7.99 0.5352 145
188 Coastal Carolina -8.14 0.4284 198
189 Stephen F. Austin -8.16 0.3193 249
190 Mount St. Mary’s -8.26 0.3802 219
191 Missouri St. -8.26 0.5755 128
192 Boston University -8.32 0.4392 193
193 Boston College -8.32 0.5555 135
194 Massachusetts -8.34 0.5422 142
195 Charlotte -8.34 0.3288 242
196 UMKC -8.38 0.3590 225
197 Utah St. -8.46 0.5288 147
198 Fordham -8.50 0.4905 175
199 Toledo -8.53 0.5675 133
200 Morehead St. -8.59 0.4561 187
201 DePaul -8.76 0.4985 170
202 Evansville -8.81 0.5089 163
203 Western Michigan -8.81 0.4760 183
204 Fairfield -8.86 0.3888 215
205 Wofford -8.87 0.5200 156
206 Saint Joseph’s -8.90 0.5263 150
207 Idaho -8.92 0.3505 229
208 Columbia -8.94 0.3963 211
209 Jacksonville St. -8.96 0.4115 206
210 Wagner -8.99 0.3436 233
211 Northern Illinois -9.02 0.4431 189
212 Eastern Michigan -9.08 0.5227 155
213 Washington -9.09 0.5228 154
214 Loyola MD -9.12 0.3119 252
215 Siena -9.16 0.4660 185
216 Holy Cross -9.41 0.3764 220
217 San Diego -9.43 0.3029 255
218 Long Beach St. -9.44 0.3419 235
219 Lamar -9.45 0.3453 231
220 Norfolk St. -9.49 0.1911 306
221 Montana -9.51 0.4405 192
222 Rider -9.61 0.3924 214
223 USC Upstate -9.63 0.3448 232
224 Hawaii -9.66 0.3393 237
225 Western Kentucky -9.71 0.3530 228
226 Cal St. Fullerton -9.73 0.2555 278
227 High Point -9.80 0.3055 254
228 Little Rock -9.83 0.3430 234
229 IUPUI -9.87 0.4279 199
230 Mercer -9.92 0.5117 162
231 South Alabama -10.00 0.3594 224
232 Portland St. -10.08 0.3369 238
233 Utah Valley -10.09 0.3961 212
234 Radford -10.14 0.2214 290
235 Seattle -10.23 0.2829 264
236 Navy -10.23 0.3975 210
237 Hofstra -10.34 0.4779 180
238 Brown -10.44 0.2703 269
239 South Dakota St. -10.47 0.4284 197
240 Indiana St. -10.50 0.4633 186
241 Nicholls St. -10.55 0.1538 319
242 Southeastern Louisiana -10.64 0.3216 248
243 Montana St. -10.67 0.3224 247
244 Eastern Illinois -10.69 0.3995 209
245 UTEP -10.76 0.3802 218
246 Murray St. -10.77 0.4374 194
247 Southern -10.79 0.1661 318
248 Missouri -10.83 0.5249 151
249 Bowling Green -10.85 0.3225 246
250 Hampton -10.95 0.1765 311
251 Jacksonville -10.97 0.2623 272
252 Cal St. Northridge -11.00 0.2848 263
253 UNLV -11.16 0.3243 244
254 Illinois Chicago -11.22 0.3402 236
255 Abilene Christian -11.22 0.1903 308
256 Morgan St. -11.27 0.1362 326
257 St. Francis PA -11.38 0.2816 266
258 Bradley -11.43 0.3662 222
259 Duquesne -11.53 0.3663 221
260 South Carolina St. -11.53 0.0952 337
261 Savannah St. -11.54 0.1355 327
262 Southeast Missouri St. -11.55 0.3610 223
263 Saint Louis -11.56 0.2442 281
264 UTSA -11.71 0.2424 283
265 Grambling St. -11.86 0.0986 336
266 North Florida -11.89 0.3027 256
267 Pacific -12.01 0.3478 230
268 Northern Colorado -12.06 0.2379 285
269 Air Force -12.08 0.4112 207
270 Prairie View A&M -12.26 0.1664 317
271 Portland -12.31 0.2594 275
272 Appalachian St. -12.34 0.3146 251
273 Pepperdine -12.42 0.2206 291
274 Fairleigh Dickinson -12.45 0.2812 267
275 Sacramento St. -12.50 0.2177 292
276 Campbell -12.53 0.2059 301
277 Army -12.53 0.3156 250
278 Cornell -12.60 0.2822 265
279 Maryland Eastern Shore -12.62 0.1716 315
280 Jackson St. -12.63 0.1446 322
281 Delaware -12.64 0.2063 299
282 Incarnate Word -12.64 0.1739 312
283 Northwestern St. -12.70 0.1731 313
284 Kennesaw St. -12.73 0.2874 261
285 Florida Atlantic -12.87 0.2865 262
286 Tennessee Tech -12.93 0.3073 253
287 Robert Morris -12.93 0.2600 274
288 South Florida -12.93 0.2216 289
289 Dartmouth -12.98 0.2228 288
290 Charleston Southern -13.22 0.2062 300
291 Eastern Kentucky -13.37 0.2623 273
292 Western Illinois -13.44 0.2142 295
293 Sacred Heart -13.61 0.2068 298
294 Binghamton -13.68 0.1904 307
295 Cal Poly -13.71 0.2082 297
296 Miami OH -13.77 0.2457 280
297 Western Carolina -13.83 0.1348 328
298 Quinnipiac -13.84 0.2558 277
299 Tulane -13.88 0.3262 243
300 NJIT -13.96 0.2638 271
301 Austin Peay -14.00 0.2172 293
302 Bryant -14.08 0.2576 276
303 UC Riverside -14.14 0.1994 304
304 Youngstown St. -14.16 0.2142 294
305 Manhattan -14.28 0.2429 282
306 The Citadel -14.45 0.1719 314
307 Cleveland St. -14.72 0.3227 245
308 Alabama St. -14.78 0.0927 339
309 McNeese St. -14.80 0.1387 325
310 Colgate -14.84 0.2779 268
311 UT Rio Grande Valley -14.85 0.2001 302
312 North Texas -14.92 0.1948 305
313 Louisiana Monroe -14.98 0.2667 270
314 Oral Roberts -14.99 0.3344 239
315 VMI -15.06 0.1507 320
316 Central Arkansas -15.08 0.1794 310
317 Oregon St. -15.31 0.2891 259
318 Drake -15.32 0.3013 257
319 Lafayette -15.43 0.1232 333
320 Southern Miss -15.43 0.1296 330
321 Howard -15.50 0.0913 340
322 James Madison -15.51 0.3554 226
323 Detroit -15.56 0.2316 286
324 Milwaukee -15.60 0.2507 279
325 Niagara -15.61 0.2878 260
326 Delaware St. -15.66 0.0988 335
327 UMass Lowell -15.71 0.2382 284
328 Drexel -15.77 0.3300 240
329 American -15.92 0.1995 303
330 Stetson -15.96 0.1684 316
331 UC Santa Barbara -15.97 0.1237 332
332 Coppin St. -16.08 0.0701 344
333 Marist -16.53 0.1847 309
334 Northern Arizona -16.82 0.1394 324
335 Idaho St. -16.86 0.1403 323
336 Chicago St. -16.90 0.0898 341
337 Hartford -16.92 0.1248 331
338 Bethune Cookman -17.45 0.0835 342
339 Florida A&M -17.51 0.0718 343
340 Longwood -17.52 0.0628 347
341 Mississippi Valley St. -17.53 0.0686 345
342 FIU -17.98 0.2272 287
343 Arkansas Pine Bluff -18.32 0.0623 348
344 Maine -18.50 0.1097 334
345 Presbyterian -18.84 0.0456 349
346 Central Connecticut -18.85 0.0932 338
347 SIU Edwardsville -19.22 0.1467 321
348 Southern Utah -19.52 0.1308 329
349 Alabama A&M -21.28 0.0286 351
350 St. Francis NY -21.95 0.0634 346
351 North Carolina A&T -22.58 0.0448 350

 

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