The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Big Ten Running Out of Non-Conference Chances

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on December 15th, 2017

Michigan’s 59-52 win at Texas on Tuesday was important for the Big Ten, and not just because it could use some respect after taking a beating in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Rather, the road victory was big because it helps provide some much-needed heft to the league’s overall non-conference resume. With several bad losses under its belt and an underachieving middle tier, the Big Ten needs every quality win it can get before for turning on itself in conference play.

Iowa, like several Big Ten teams, has struggled during non-conference play. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

The Good. As of Thursday, the Big Ten has eight teams ranked in both the KenPom and Sagarin top 50, which suggests there is some depth of quality in the league. In fact, Michigan State and Purdue rank second and third overall in the latter ranking system. Although the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) remains the most widely-referenced metric, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has been increasingly influenced by advanced metrics in recent years. The more teams viewed favorably by advanced analytical tools, the more opportunities for quality intra-conference wins in the committee’s view. What’s more, the league does have a few quality non-conference true road wins to its name. Minnesota beat Providence (KenPom #52) by double-figures in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Purdue pounded Marquette (KenPom #52). Michigan topped them both by upending Texas this week (KenPom #31). According to reports last summer, the committee will be “placing greater emphasis on winning road games.” Victories like these — on the road against NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents — will go a long way towards boosting the the Big Ten’s overall profile.

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Evaluating Clemson’s NCAA Tournament Resume

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on February 6th, 2014

With college basketball halfway through conference season and the NFL finally finished, sports fans across the country are starting to look more closely at this season’s version of  bracketology. My microsite colleague Chris Kehoe did a nice rundown of ESPN’s latest bracket focusing on the six ACC teams currently in the projected field. In this post we will take a hard look at a seventh ACC team that appears to have the best chance to join the others in the Big Dance this season. But as we will see, the Clemson Tigers have a lot of work ahead of it in order to merit serious consideration from this year’s NCAA Selection Committee.

K.J. McDaniels and Coach Brad Brownell Have Clemson Looking Stronger than Expectations (Photo:

K.J. McDaniels and Coach Brad Brownell Hope Clemson Wins Enough To Crash The NCAA Party

After Tuesday night’s low-scoring home win over Georgia Tech, Clemson has a nice ACC record of 6-3 that is good for fifth place in the league standings. That puts them ahead of two teams that most pundits believe are going to the NCAA Tournament — North Carolina and Florida State. Of course, it doesn’t matter where you are right now, but rather how you are viewed by the Selection Committee on Selection Sunday. So with that in mind, let’s try to project where Clemson will be after the ACC Tournament concludes and its resume is complete. Below we list the Tigers’ remaining schedule along with Ken Pomeroy’s current ranking of each opponent and his predicted outcome for each game.

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