NCAA Basketball 2010: The BCS Version

Posted by nvr1983 on April 2nd, 2010

With all the talk about the coming 96-team tournament, many in the sports media have forgotten that there is already another ridiculous major college sport championship in place: the BCS. We took you through this process in a post last year, but it’s worth going over again as the blogosphere is ablaze with opinions on changing our beloved NCAA Tournament.

Here are the basic ground rules:

  1. We are following the BCS Football guidelines as closely as possible. Obviously there are some differences. A college basketball team is expected to win more than 9 games (we kept a cut-off at a 75% winning percentage). We replaced the Notre Dame rule with the Duke rule since they both have sketchy TV contracts (Notre Dame with NBC and Duke with ESPN).
  2. I used the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls as the human polls and ESPN.com’s InsiderRPI, KenPom.com, and Sagarin’s ratings as the computer polls. The computer polls include data from the NCAA Tournament, but as you will see it didn’t affect the results that significantly.
  3. We used the traditional BCS calculations for determining each team’s score weighing the two human polls and the combined computer poll average as 1/3 of a team’s total score each.

Here are the results:

We will let you digest that for a minute and will provide more information/analysis and the BCS Bowls after the jump.

Some interesting pieces from the rankings:

  • Kansas and Kentucky remain #1 and #2 despite losing in the NCAA Tournament. Their ranking is surely bolstered by the human polls, which have not been updated since the start of the NCAA Tournament, but Kansas still holds a slim lead over Duke in the computers even though the former has been eliminated while the latter is still playing.
  • The ESPN Inside RPI system really hates the Big 10. Not only did Final Four participant Michigan State get left out of the Top 25 (understandable as the Spartans came in as a #5 seed), but it also left #2 seed and Big 10 regular season and tournament champ Ohio State out of the Top 25.
  • The human polls and ESPN Inside RPI really like New Mexico. Sagarin and Ken Pomeroy? Not so much.
  • Conversely, the computers sort of like California, but the human voters had no faith in the Bears and didn’t even give them a single Top 25 vote on any of the 96 ballots cast by humans.

Now for some analysis before we announce our BCS match-ups.

  • Automatics bids: Kansas (#1 overall and Big 12 champ), Kentucky (#2 overall and SEC champ), Duke (ACC champ), West Virginia (Big East champ), Ohio State (Big 10 champ), Washington (Pac-10 champ), and Syracuse (under paragraph 6 of the automatic qualification guidelines as the #4 overall)
  • Other potential teams in the top 14 for at-large spots: Kansas State, Butler, Purdue, New Mexico, Temple, and Baylor
  • Butler doesn’t qualify under the top 12 automatic bid as a conference champ because the Horizon League isn’t recognized as a potential automatic qualifier (partly because it does not play football — ok, that has a big effect) under the top 12 rule
  • New Mexico does not qualify automatically out of the Mountain West because it won the regular season title not the tournament title (San Diego State won that)
  • Villanova and Georgetown are ineligible because two Big East teams are already in the BCS and neither is in the National Championship Game

Now onto the games:

Rose Bowl

Washington (Pac-10 champ) vs. #7 Ohio State (Big 10 champ): For the second year, the Pac-10 regular season champ (California) loses in its conference tournament leaving the Rose Bowl with an unranked team in the “Granddaddy of Them All”. Fortunately for the Rose Bowl, this is probably a more compelling match-up as the NCAA Tournament demonstrated. To show you just how poorly the Pac-10 was viewed this year take a look at California’s line in the rankings graphic above. The Bears did not have a single vote in the AP or ESPN/USA Today poll. They couldn’t even find a homer in Berkeley or San Francisco to throw them a bone. Getting back to the game at hand, this could actually be an entertaining game with what could be amazing individual match-up between Evan Turner and Quincy Pondexter. Turner has the edge in that match-up, but Thad Matta will have his work cut out for him having to come up with a scheme to defend Isaiah Thomas with the roster available to him. We’re guessing Isaiah will get his points, but Turner and the Buckeyes superior depth (especially David Lighty‘s excellent all-around play) should be enough to let Mark Titus walk out of the stadium with a rose in his mouth.

Sugar Bowl

#5 West Virginia (Big East champ) vs. #9 Purdue (At-large)
Yikes. Another less-than-appealing match-up for the BCS, but instead of Tempe this one happens in New Orleans. West Virginia earns the invitation as the Big East champion and it has been legitimized after the fact with their run to the Final Four knocking. The big question here is Purdue, which is a team that fell all the way to a #4 seed, which would imply an overall ranking between #13 and #16, but in the BCS they qualify as an at-large team and the Sugar Bowl/BCS is faced with a difficult dilemma:

  1. Select Syracuse with the 2nd at-large. Great match-up, but the teams are from the same conference and already played this year. Even though it was an excellent game decided by one point the BCS won’t pair these teams.
  2. Select Butler, New Mexico, or Temple. In the words of Dana Carvey/George Bush: “Nah guh do it.”
  3. Select Purdue.
  • No Robbie Hummel? Ouch.
  • Coming off an embarrassing loss to Minnesota? Is there anybody else available?
  • They are a Big 12 school with a big fan base that will travel? We’re sold.

Welcome inside the mind of the BCS Selection Committee. The game will be interesting for about a half and we’ll enjoy watching Chris Kramer getting under the skin of Da’Sean Butler, but this game should be over with plenty of time remaining given the way the Mountaineers and the Boilermakers finished the season.

Fiesta Bowl

#6 Kansas State (At-large) vs. #11 New Mexico (At-large)
I know what you’re saying because we were saying the same things when the BCS Committee announced the pairing as a stunned Greg Anthony and Seth Davis stared at the screen blankly as Greg Gumbel tried valiantly to bring them back to the show. Let’s take you through the Fiesta Bowl’s thought process here. With the first at-large pick they take a Big 12 replacement in Kansas State which would appear to make sense since they are a solid team. After the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl get their selections, the Fiesta Bowl is left to pick between Butler, New Mexico, and Temple because all of the other possibilities were eliminated by prior BCS bowl selections taking a second team from a conference. The selection of Kansas State eliminated Baylor and the automatic bids for West Virginia and Syracuse eliminated Villanova and Georgetown. Scared by the possibility of having a half-full stadium of people wearing purple shirts featuring either a poorly drawn octagon or an angry man in a poorly-tailored suit, the Fiesta Bowl selects the relatively local team in New Mexico with the hope that the Lobo locals will make the drive out to Tempe to watch their team take on the Wildcats. Unfortunately for the Lobo fans, this game could turn ugly real quick as Frank Martin focuses on limiting Darington Hobson‘s touches. The combination of Jacob Pullen, Denis Clemente, and Curtis Kelly proves to be too much for Hobson, Dairese Gary, and Roman Martinez. After the game, which is played in front of a 75% capacity crowd and draws the lowest TV rating in BCS history, several members of the Fiesta Bowl organizing committee are overheard talking loudly with John Feinstein over a speaker phone in a luxury box about Feinstein’s new book about Greg Shaheen’s time at the NCAA.

Orange Bowl

#3 Duke (ACC champ) vs. #4 Syracuse (At-large): The BCS gets its one non-title game that it gets to showcase when trying to prove that one right outweighs a hundred wrongs. The media loves this one from the moment it is announced. The obvious media angle here is Coach K versus Jim Boeheim for just the third time (tied 1-1) with the last meeting occurring in the 1998 Sweet 16 when Coach K led a ridiculously talented group of freshman into Saint Petersburg, Florida and knocked off a good but by no means great Syracuse squad before blowing a late lead against Kentucky in the Elite Eight. This time the game has great match-ups all over the place. The marquee match-up is between potential lottery picks Kyle Singler and Wesley Johnson, but Jon Scheyer versus Andy Rautins, Nolan Smith versus Scoop Jardine, Brian Zoubek and the Plumlees versus Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson, and of course Boeheim’s famed 2-3 zone against Duke’s perimeter shooters. Needless to say CBS will have no problem hyping this game and it should be a fantastic game which the BCS head honchos will be sure to remind you of whenever you bring up the Fiesta Bowl.

BCS Championship Game

#1 Kansas (Big 12 champ) vs. #2 Kentucky (SEC champ)
And here is your payoff. The title game nearly everyone had in their office pool bracket comes to fruition. There isn’t much to not like about this game. You have your youth with a little experience (Kentucky) against your experience with a little youth (Kansas). You also have the two winningest programs in NCAA history with the coaches (Bill Self and John Calipari) from what might be the most memorable NCAA title game of the past 20 years. There are match-ups all over, but the big ones are John Wall versus Sherron Collins, Patrick Patterson against Xavier Henry, and DeMarcus Cousins against Cole Aldrich. This game could feature the most NBA talent on a college basketball floor since the early 1990s and even a NBA homer like Bill Simmons would be sucked in. This game would be so big that SportsCenter would ignore Tiger’s initial Masters press conference (OK, maybe not). We could go on and on about this match-up, but we are already starting to twitch. It’s almost enough to make you wish there was a BCS.

So there are your BCS bowl match-ups. What do you think? Is leaving Butler out worth it to get Kansas versus Kentucky and Duke versus Syracuse? We can already hear the cries from the talking heads on CBS and ESPN, but we are sure that the talking heads and some less egalitarian sportswriters would prefer to have the big boys still around. What about Tom Izzo‘s Spartans? They barely missed the top 14 cut-off to be included in the at-large pool and now they find themselves in yet another Final Four. Should they be excluded from the BCS action?

nvr1983 (1290 Posts)


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2 Responses to “NCAA Basketball 2010: The BCS Version”

  1. Spike says:

    Take it a step further, and imagine what might happen if a BCS formula put Duke into the championship game instead of Kentucky. You think some deranged UK fan (and I’m perilously close to being one myself, and sometimes wonder if there’s any other kind) would park a Timothy McVeigh special outside of NCAA headquarters?

  2. Boston Joe says:

    If it’s not broke, why mess with it. No one like the BCS crap bowls and all my friends would prefer a playoff game in the BCS football instead. The best thing about March Madness isn’t watching the highest most revered big school teams play games, but instead to watch the lower seated teams beat the big programs with all their NBA bound stars.

    Leave it alone; stop trying to mess with the NIT. It is nice to have the little brother along with its Major Giant.

    Secondly, if you didn’t include the women’s teams at exactly the same time, maybe more people would get interested in Women’s Basketball too. But when you only have a limited amount of time, you have to focus on the most important games.
    Stop trying to add teams and draw out the season even longer. Instead focus on bringing more teams up to the top and allow more fans to appreciate the great college atmosphere.
    ONE GREAT WAY TO ACCOMPLISH THIS WOULD BE TO REQUIRE 3 YEARS OF COLLEGE AND/OR GRADUATION; BEFORE NBA BOUND.

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