Tag:NCAA Tournament
Posted on: December 3, 2008 4:11 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2008 4:16 pm

College hoops minus playoff would look different

There's obviously been a lot of BCS talk this week, and I got a few emails in response to my comment in the Monday Look Back about how if college basketball relied on a computer system (specifically the RPI) to produce participants in a national title game we would've been treated to Tennessee vs. North Carolina last season because those two schools finished the regular season first and second in the RPI.

Curious, I took it a step further.

I went back and looked at the past 10 RPI calculations and past 10 AP polls before the NCAA tournament, and what I found was that the actual national champion would've been invited to the title game just once in the past 10 seasons if we relied on the RPI, and just three times in the past 10 seasons if we relied on the AP poll. In other words, though those measuring devices might help identify the supposed best teams heading into the NCAA tournament, they haven't been good indicators of who will eventually be crowned the national champion. And if you translate that to football, then it's fair to assume the record books would look very different under a playoff system, because basketball shows that the teams ranked first and second in the computer formula or human poll usually don't survive the playoff.

Anyway, see for yourself ...

2008: No. 1 in the RPI (Tennessee) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (North Carolina)

2008: No. 1 in the AP poll (North Carolina) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Memphis)

  • Actual champion: Kansas

2007: No. 1 in the RPI (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (North Carolina)

2007: No. 1 in the AP poll (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Kansas)

  • Actual champion: Florida

2006: No. 1 in the RPI (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Villanova)

2006: No. 1 in the AP poll (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Connecticut)

  • Actual champion: Florida

2005: No. 1 in the RPI (Kansas) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Illinois)

2005: No. 1 in the AP poll (Illinois) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (North Carolina)

  • Actual champion: North Carolina

2004: No. 1 in the RPI (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Kentucky)

2004: No. 1 in the AP poll (Stanford) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Kentucky)

  • Actual champion: Connecticut

2003: No. 1 in the RPI (Kentucky) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Arizona)

2003: No. 1 in the AP poll (Kentucky) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Arizona)

  • Actual champion: Syracuse

2002: No. 1 in the RPI (Kansas) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Cincinnati)

2002: No. 1 in the AP poll (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Kansas)

  • Actual champion: Maryland

2001: No. 1 in the RPI (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Stanford)

2001: No. 1 in the AP poll (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Stanford)

  • Actual champion: Duke

2000: No. 1 in the RPI (Cincinnati) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Duke)

2000: No. 1 in the AP poll (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Michigan State)

  • Actual champion: Michigan State

1999: No. 1 in the RPI (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the RPI (Michigan State)

1999: No. 1 in the AP poll (Duke) vs. No. 2 in the AP poll (Michigan State)

  • Actual champion: Connecticut
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 6, 2008 1:26 am

Here's hoping the title game is close, at least

SAN ANTONIO -- Four great teams couldn't even give us one great game.


Chalk me up as disappointed.

But there is no denying how impressive Kansas and Memphis were while recording victories here Saturday. The Jayhawks jumped to a 40-12 lead and never trailed in their 84-66 victory over North Carolina. That came after Memphis overwhelmed UCLA in a 78-63 win that provided John Calipari with an opportunity to take a shot at one of his biggest critics, Bill Plaschke.

Plachke wrote a column for Saturday morning's Los Angeles Times that described the UCLA-Memphis game as a coaching mismatch. He basically wrote that Howland is great and Calipari is not while explaining how though Memphis was favored by 2.5 points UCLA was actually favored by "one coach."

Naturally, somebody asked Calipari about this after Memphis blew past UCLA.

Here's the exchange ...

Reporter: There was a column in the Los Angeles Times today that said this was a coaching mismatch ....

Calipari: I don't think Ben is that bad . I respect Ben and think he's a heckuva coach.

Classic, right?

Calipari provided a little joke and allowed the moment to pass without many words, instead choosing to let the play of his players deliver any message. And how about the play of his players?

"Memphis has obviously played better than anybody in this tournament so far," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "But we're going to try to change that Monday."

If you're wondering -- and I know you are -- Vegas has already posted a line on Monday's title game.

Kansas opened as a 1-point favorite over Memphis.

So this is essentially an even matchup.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 30, 2008 11:41 pm

Four top seeds? That's fine by me

Four No. 1 seeds.

Four talented rosters.

Four accomplished coaches.

Man, is this gonna be fun or what?

Now I know some don't like it, having all four top seeds heading to San Antonio. They swear it's predictable (even though it had never happened before) and complain that it eliminates the Cinderella factor. My view: Screw Cinderella! She usually gets exposed in the Final Four anyway. I mean, as nice as that George Mason story was two years ago we all knew the Patriots had no shot to win the national title; it just wasn't gonna happen. So I'm pleased this NCAA tournament produced four legitimate powers, any of whom can reasonably expect to cut nets next Monday night.

Memphis opened as a 1-point favorite over UCLA.

North Carolina opened as a 3-point favorite over Kansas.

That's an indication these games are expected to be tight. And though I've never claimed to be a historian, I can't recall another year when we had four teams so good that there was no way to make a dumb prediction about how things might unfold. Seriously, is there any combination of Final Four winners that could be mocked?

Taking Memphis and North Carolina to advance is reasonable.

But so is taking UCLA and Kansas.

Or UCLA and North Carolina.

Or Memphis and Kansas.

And regardless of what happens in Saturday's semifinals, we're gonna have a Monday title game featuring a pair of worthy championship contenders. So buckle in and get ready because this should be great. The Road to the Final Four only has four cars remaining -- high-powered luxury vehicles, every last one of them
Posted on: March 30, 2008 2:22 pm

The Final Four is guaranteed one first-time coach

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Regardless of what happens in Sunday's Elite Eight games the Final Four will feature three coaches who are veterans of the event and one first-timer.

Already in are UCLA's Ben Howland (for the third time) and North Carolina's Roy Williams (for the sixth time). Joining them first will be either Memphis' John Calipari (who took UMass in 1996) and Texas' Rick Barnes (who took Texas in 2003). Then either Kansas' Bill Self or Davidson's Bob McKillop will complete the field. Neither of those have ever made the Final Four.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 29, 2008 2:25 pm

Las Vegas is not impressed with Davidson

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If the four favorites win in the Elite Eight it'll be the first time all four No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Final Four.

For what it's worth, Las Vegas thinks it's going to happen.

No. 1 UCLA is a 6.5-point favorite over No. 3 Xavier.

No. 1 North Carolina is a 6-point favorite over No. 3 Louisville.

No. 1 Memphis is a 3-point favorite over No. 2 Texas.

No. 1 Kansas is a 9.5-point favorite over No. 10 Davidson.

So oddsmakers either love Kansas (which is reasonable) or they still aren't impressed with Davidson (which is unreasonable). Regardless, whatever transpires in Detroit will be a fabulous story given how there are only two options -- one that includes Bill Self making his first Final Four and another that has Davidson pulling a George Mason.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2008 5:17 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2008 5:18 pm

Those 100-point games don't guarantee much

CHARLOTTE -- My pal Andy Demetra is always researching and looking at numbers. While doing so this week he discovered something interesting related to North Carolina.

As you probably know, the Tar Heels scored 113 points in a first-round win against Saint Mary's and 108 in a second-round win against Arkansas. Sounds great, right? But from a historical standpoint this does not ensure future dominance considering that since the field expanded to 64 in 1985 none of the five other teams that have scored 100 in back-to-back NCAA tournament games have gone on to win the national title.

Here's the list ...

1987: North Carolina (lost in the Elite Eight)
1988: Oklahoma (lost in the title game)
1989: Virginia (lost in the Elite Eight)
1990: Loyola Marymount (lost in the Elite Eight)
1993: Kentucky (lost in the Final Four)

The last team to actually score 100 points in back-to-back NCAA tournament games and win the national title was the 1965 version of the UCLA Bruins, according to Andy. Either way, don't expect UNC to score 100 against Washington State in the Sweet 16. The most points the Cougars have allowed to anybody this season is 81 to UCLA on Jan. 12.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 25, 2008 6:58 pm

Preseason rankings do mean something

CHARLOTTE -- I was flipping through some notes on the flight to Charlotte this afternoon and found something kinda interesting. It's that 23 of the 25 teams in the preseason Associated Press poll ultimately made the NCAA tournament, an impressive number given all the variables that can potentially change things from November to March.

The top four teams in that poll were North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas.

Those are also the top four seeds in this NCAA tournament.

The only schools in the preseason Top 25 that didn't make the field were No. 21 North Carolina State and No. 24 Southern Illinois. Again, that's an amazing example of accuracy considering how last season there were five teams ranked in the AP preseason Top 25 that did not make the NCAA tournament -- namely No. 5 LSU, No. 11 Alabama, No. 17 Washington, No. 18 Connecticut and No. 20 Syracuse.

If you're wondering, 10 of the 16 teams in this Sweet 16 were ranked in the preseason.

The omissions were Villanova, Wisconsin, Xavier, Davidson, Western Kentucky and West Virginia.

The only preseason Top 10 schools that did not make the Sweet 16 were No. 5 Georgetown and No. 9 Indiana.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 24, 2008 4:57 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2008 4:59 pm

Gamblers are falling in love with Louisville

The first weekend seems to have changed what the oddsmakers are thinking.

According to Bodog, UCLA and North Carolina are now co-favorites to win the national title. Both are currently at 3-to-1, followed by Kansas (7-to-2), Louisville (4-to-1), Memphis (6-to-1) and Texas (10-to-1). What stands out from that list is that the oddsmakers saw the same thing I saw this past weekend in Birmingham, which is that Louisville is playing at a high level -- so high that the Cards are now considered the fourth most-likely team to win this NCAA Tournament despite being the No. 3 seed in the East Region. If you're wondering, they also opened as a 2.5-point favorite over Tennessee in Thursday's Sweet 16 matchup in Charlotte.

The biggest Sweet 16 spread?

That's UCLA minus-13 over Western Kentucky.

The smallest Sweet 16 spread?

That's West Virginia minus-1 over Xavier.

And how many points will Stephen Curry have Friday against Wisconsin?

The over-under is 27.5.

And my instincts tell me I should tell you to take the under, particularly because Wisconsin just held Michael Beasley to 23 points. But my instincts have been totally wrong about all things related to Davidson. So if you're betting against Curry, you're doing so at your own risk.
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com