Sunday, March 16, 2014
Why Louisville & MSU should be No. 1 seeds
By Ryan Feldman
It seems clear that Arizona, Florida and Wichita State will receive No. 1 seeds. But which team should be the 4th No. 1 seed?
Are choosing No. 1 seeds about who the best four teams are? Or are they about selecting the best 4 resumes using RPI data?
Using RPI data, Louisville doesn't have the best resume based solely on quality wins.
But there's certainly an argument that Louisville is one of the best four teams in college basketball, maybe even the best team.
Louisville has the best net efficiency in the country. Net efficiency is the difference in offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) and defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions).
The Cardinals are the only team that ranks in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Louisville ranks No. 4 in BPI, which takes into account scoring margin, opponent strength, pace, location and key players missing.
The Cardinals also rank No. 2 in KenPom rating. They rank in the top 10 in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency, which take into account opponent strength.
Louisville has 19 wins by at least 20 points this season. No other team has more than 15 such wins.
The Cardinals have no bad losses, something that can't be said for Duke, Michigan and Villanova. Each of Louisville's five losses are by single digits against teams ranked in the top 50 in both BPI and RPI.
It's often mentioned that the NCAA selection committee evaluates how a team performs at full strength -- if that team is entering the NCAA Tournament at full strength.
If that's true, then Michigan State should be a No. 1 seed if it wins the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan State is 13-3 with all of its key players (defined as top five players in minutes per game among players who have played at least half of their team's games): Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Denzel Valentine, Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne.
Michigan State has the fifth-best BPI of any team with all of its key players.
The Spartans are 20-3 with Branden Dawson in the lineup (5-5 without him). Their only three losses with Dawson in the lineup are North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio State.
With all of their key players, the Spartans are 6-2 against the BPI top 50 and 8-3 against the BPI top 100.
Kansas, Arizona, Florida and Wichita State are the only teams that rank in the top five in RPI, BPI and KenPom.
Kansas has the No. 1 overall strength of schedule, the No. 1 non-conference strength of schedule, the most RPI top-50 wins of any team (12) and the most RPI top-100 wins (18).
The Jayhawks have no losses outside the RPI top 100.
Michigan has 10 wins against the RPI top 50. Only Kansas (12) and Arizona (11) have more.
If Virginia and Florida don't win their conference tournaments, Michigan could be the only "major conference" team to win its regular-season conference title outright and its conference tournament.
Duke has five wins against the RPI top 25, the most of any team. The Blue Devils have a head-to-head win against Michigan, another team competing for a No. 1 seed. They also have wins against Virginia and Syracuse.
Villanova has 16 wins against the RPI top 100. Only Kansas (18), Arizona (17) and Wisconsin (17) have more. The Wildcats have a head-to-head win against Kansas, another team that could potentially receive a No. 1 seed.