Chat with Pat Forde
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Pat Forde (2:02 PM)
Go crazy, Blue Demons, go crazy! The Madness is now official, with previously winless-in-the-Big-East DePaul shocking Cincinnati in the Big East first round. Could be a wild five days in the Garden. Let's get rolling!
JL (Hoboken, NJ)
Hey Pat, you're gonna get a lot of this questions: What does [X Team] have to do in the [Y Conference] tourney to get in? Anyway, here's my variant: What does Vandy have to do, do they have to win it all or would a run to the finals, coupled with their strong conference finish (7-3 in last 10) warrant a berth?
Pat Forde (2:04 PM)
JL: You are absolutely correct, the inbox is jammed with exactly those kinds of questions. Let me say first that I'm not on the committee so I'm only guessing, but I'll do my best to guess where applicable. Starting with Vandy. Two things there: the Dores have an RPI of 85 and couldn't get into the top two in the worst SEC East of all time. So I'd say it's pretty simple: win the tournament or get out the NITting needles.
magic johnson (LA)
Why is there not more talk of MSU being a #1 seed. Almost half of their wins came against the RPI top 50 (12 of 25). They won their league by 4 games in a league that could get 7 teams in. They were 9 - 1 on the road. What gives?
Pat Forde (2:06 PM)
Magic: There would be more talk about Michigan State if you were playing point. But in this week's Minutes I have included the Spartans among seven teams still in the mix for the fourth #1 seed. So there's a little love. If the Minutes aren't on the site yet, they will be shortly. Look for it.
Considering the jumbled mess that is the current bubble,do you forsee a scenario where there really won't be any head scratching snubs?Meaning, alot of these teams are just so alike that the committee could justify anything they do and not come away looking too bad.Agree? Thanks
Pat Forde (2:07 PM)
Dave: Yeah, I pretty much agree. There always will be complaints from those left out, but this year it's hard to feel bad for anyone who doesn't earn a bid. The bubble is a pretty mangy group of teams, many of whom have blown repeated chances to secure bids. (Ahem, Cincinnati. Unbelievable late choke losing to South Florida and DePaul in the last two games.)
Jon (Dublin, Ohio)
Do you believe Davidson will get an at-large bid just based on last year and Stephon Curry?
Pat Forde (2:09 PM)
Jon: No. I think Davidson is out -- and trust me, I'd love to see Curry in the tournament again after last season. But they throw out what happened last year and judge each team by what it's done this year -- and this Davidson team is nowhere near as good as last year's.
Ryan (Norwalk CT)
What do teams have to do to stay fresh in order to make a big run in any tourny? How did Georgia win 4 games in 3 days last year?
Pat Forde (2:11 PM)
Ryan: I don't know how Georgia did it, beyond incredible willpower and mental toughness. That's the biggest key when you're playing every day -- being tough-minded enough not to give in to fatigue. That said, teams are still going to get really tired. Smart coaches will use their benches more in league tournaments, rest their stars around timeouts and keep their players off their feet between games. Trainers really earn their pay during tournament time, keeping players hydrated and taking care of bumps and bruises round the clock.
Mid Majors Everywhere
So you really believe when it comes down to team X from a non-big 6 conference and nationally known team such as UK Notre Dame, or Georgetown, the committee isn't swayed by name recognition?
Pat Forde (2:13 PM)
Mid: The proof will be in the bracket Sunday, but yes, I do believe that. They're human and probably have some natural tendency toward the big names, but the committee also is made up of people from all levels of Division I, so the representation is fairly equal. I know this much, unless ND, UK or Georgetown makes a remarkable run, none will be on the board Sunday. If they do, you win the argument.
Billy Clyde (Lexington, KY)
Okay, i've lost my team... but am i also losing my job?
Pat Forde (2:16 PM)
Clyde: I'd say that's up in the air -- and I'm shocked to be saying that at the end of Year Two. Never saw this coming. But then again, I never saw your team collapsing and you handling it as poorly as you have. I believe UK wants you back next year -- but not with business the same way it's been. I believe they want you to handle the public spotlight better, handle the media better and handle your players better. I believe there will be a very important meeting with your athletic director that will require you to make some changes. Now, you may not want to change and may not want to be at Kentucky, I don't know. I think there will be a third year, but nothing would shock me at this point.
What team that is not going to be in the tournament would have been most suprised about before the season started?
Pat Forde (2:17 PM)
Phil: Notre Dame. I bought into the Irish and figured they'd be top 10-top 15. They're barely top 10 in the Big East. Still don't play much defense in South Bend.
Greg (Champaign, IL)
Can you complete the following sentence? If DePaul wins the Big East Tournament, I will....
Pat Forde (2:18 PM)
... Wear Joey Meyer's 1980s glasses and a Mark Aguirre throwback jersey every day for the rest of the month.
Arty (Alaska) [via mobile]
I'm a big Gonzaga fan, do you see them making a run this year in the ncaas?
Pat Forde (2:19 PM)
Arty: I was a bit down on the Zags after a soft performance against Memphis, but I have to say they've come back nicely from that. Gonzaga has a LOT of talent and firepower. If they play loose and hit shots, they can make a run to a regional final. If the bracket blows up, maybe a Final Four.
Dan (Law School)
What do you think of Saint Mary's adding a game to be played after the WCC tournament? Risky or smart move?
Pat Forde (2:21 PM)
Dan: I like it for two reasons. 1) It gives Patty Mills another game to shake off the rust and show how good this team can be with him; and 2) the teams who play in the early conference tournaments can sometimes go stale waiting for the Big Dance. Remember, you spend all season playing twice a week, then sit around for 10 days waiting to play. St. Mary's looked a bit out of sorts last year in the NCAAs against Miami in the first round, I was there.
Keno Davis a possibility for Big East COY?
Pat Forde (2:22 PM)
Ryan: You'll have to read The Minutes today and see whether we agree or disagree.
Dan (Buffalo, NY)
Forde, You can take either UNC,UCONN, Louisville, Pitt, MSU or the field to cut down the nets. Who you got?
Pat Forde (2:23 PM)
Dan: I'd definitely take that group of teams and feel very good about my chances of having the winner. You can have the field. I think there are only about eight teams that can win it, and you just gave me five of them.
Lou (Bethesda, MD)
Pat, have fun in Indy. How do you see the Big Ten tourney shaking out?
Pat Forde (2:25 PM)
Lou: Thanks. I hope there is some scoring, but I'm a realist. Actually, though, I think this will be a really interesting tournament, given the number of bubble teams. Thursday alone you have Penn State, Michigan, MInnesota and Northwestern all needing to win. Then you mix in Ohio State-Wisconsin on Friday. Should be a lot of tension and some really competitive ball.
Pat Forde (2:25 PM)
Oh, to answer your question: I thnk Michigan State wins it. Much the best in that league.
Jay (ABQ, NM)
Pat, how many wins in the MWC Tournament/UNLV Invitational do the Lobos need in order to get an at large bid? Or do they just need to win it all?
Pat Forde (2:27 PM)
Jay: With a 58 RPI and double-digit losses, I'd say the Lobos need to win at least two games to feel secure. That would mean a likely game against Utah --- I watched some of the New Mexico-Utah game last week and was impressed by the Lobos. If they beat the Utes again, I'd think they'll get in.
Whats the update on the Kentucky "Hoosiers" high school team?
Pat Forde (2:29 PM)
Eric: Glad you asked. The Elliott County Lions (enrollment 325) are one win away from going to the Sweet Sixteen in Rupp Arena next week. Last night they beat the winningest school in Kentucky history by 33 points. Tonight they play Lewis County for the 16th Region title, and they beat Lewis once by 49 and once by 48 in the regular season. So I like their chances of making it to Rupp. I will update that story either this week or next if they win tonight, stay tuned.
Didn't take long to get a shot at the Big Ten in, Pat. New record?
Pat Forde (2:30 PM)
Steph: Nah. I was much faster during football after Penn State lost to Iowa.
Jerry W (DePaul)
Can we become the first team to win 5 games in 5 days?
Pat Forde (2:30 PM)
Jerry: Nope! But congrats on getting 1. Now good luck in your next job.
Chris (Albany, NY)
Pat, love your work and Ashley Judd even more. Does Depaul's upset help or hurt Providence? Obviously they are an easier to team to beat, but a win over the Demons doesn't help the resume the way a 3rd win over Cincy would have. Either way, they probably had to beat Louisville anyway to have a chance. Thoughts?
Pat Forde (2:31 PM)
Chris: I was discussing that with a co-worker just before this chat. Beating DePaul doesn't help, but in Providence's position they probably need to beat Louisville anyway -- and it's easier to get to the 'Ville by playing DePaul than playing Cincy.
Harry ( Wilkes-Barre - Pa )
Pat, Does Bama have a shot at winning the SEC tourney?
Pat Forde (2:32 PM)
Harry: EVERYONE has a shot at winning the SEC tourney. League is awful this year, and wide open.
Ryan (LA, CA)
What's your take on UCLA? Sometimes they look great, but other times dreadful. Are they bound for an early upset, a Sweet 16 team or can they even make it to the Final 4 if a top team in their bracket is upset?
Pat Forde (2:33 PM)
Ryan: I don't think these Bruins have what it takes to make a fourth straight Final Four. I'd say Sweet Sixteen seems about right for them.
Drew (Gainesville, FL)
Anthony Grant and VCU looked real good last night. Does VCU get out of the first weekend (depending on matchups of course)? Does Anthony Grant land in the SEC next year as a head coach (shudder)?
Pat Forde (2:34 PM)
Drew: Second question first -- Anthony Grant probably just drove up the bidding between Georgia and Alabama last night. I do expect him to land in the SEC, although some ACC teams might be taking a look at him as well. I'd love to be his agent right now. As for VCU's NCAA chances -- yeah, I think the Rams will be a tough out. Maynor is the kind of player who can carry a team and make clutch shots, and Larry Sanders was huge last night. If he can come close to replicating that, VCU could be a Sweet Sixteen team.
Creighton...in or out? Why?
Pat Forde (2:37 PM)
Nick: Tough, tough call. As a Missouri Valley administrator told me, a team from a Top 10 RPI conference with 26 wins has never been left out of the dance. And winning 11 in a row in that league is impressive. But the blowout loss to Illinois State really hurts. It's hard now to take Creighton ahead of ISU, since the Redbirds were 2-1 against the Bluejays and blew them out twice. I think Creighton and ISU will be among the last few teams either in or out.
Pat, how do some justify a lofty win percentage in weak conferences against the teams that play in power conferences and lose a few more games. In the end isn't it obvious which team is better in spite of lofty (almost tainted) win records? In that regard, are we really putting the best field in the tourney?
Pat Forde (2:41 PM)
Paul: I don't know, ask Davidson if its 29 wins last year were justified. Better yet, ask Georgetown or Wisconsin. Ask Weber State whether its 24 wins in 1999 were justified. Better yet, ask North Carolina, which lost to Weber in the first round. I know this: if we start excluding teams from the smaller conferences, this tournament loses its romance and charm ... and for what? So we can see the 10th best team in the Big East or the 9th best team in the ACC -- teams with much bigger budgets and many more chances to redeem themselves after a bad loss? No thanks. I'll take the tournament as it is right now.
Matt (Nashville, TN)
I know you love the BCS. What do you think of computer rankings determining who gest at large bids?
Pat Forde (2:43 PM)
Matt: No thanks. I like the human element as it exists right now -- a select number of smart guys from a wide cross-section of the country making the tough calls but ultimately not deciding who wins the national title. That gets decided on the floor. The computer cannot factor in injuries or suspensions or who got hot late vs who played well early. The computers produce a lot of data that can help people make decisions, but computers should not decide.
Jon (Franklin, OH)
How about the 90 footer hit by a Dayton Christian player in the OHSAA tourny? I've heard you've seen it... craziest shot you've ever seen?
Pat Forde (2:44 PM)
Jon: It was pretty awesome. My brother in law was there and gave me a DVD of it. For those who haven't seen it -- a baseball throw from 90 feet on the sidelines swished to end the third quarter. I passed that along to the folks in Bristol to see if they want to air it.
Not a lot of talk about Pac 10 Regular Season Champ Washington. After the consensus top 6 of Pitt, Uconn, UNC, LVille, MSU and Memphis, I think the Huskies have a good a shot as anyone to make the Final Four. Thoughts?
Pat Forde (2:45 PM)
Brian: I wish the Huskies had shown more in the non-conference season. Not a lot of wins there to get excited about. That said, I believe they're playing very well and will be tough to beat given their firepower from a number of sources. Matchups will be key.
Jay (tallahasse, FL)
Any consideration for Toney Douglas for POY?
Pat Forde (2:46 PM)
Jay: I gave Douglas a lot of consideration for ACC POY. He's been awesome this year and really carried that team. I went with Hansbrough but it was a tough call among six or seven different guys in that league. What a bunch of studs there are in the ACC right now.
Greg (Champaign, IL)
Do you think you'll be a little disappointed after Selection Sunday or are you usually pretty happy with who's in and out?
Pat Forde (2:48 PM)
Greg: I'm usually pretty happy with it. And like I said earlier, I won't feel sorry for much of anyone who gets left out this year -- this is a mediocre bubble field. If you can't make this tournament, hey, you had your chances. I don't like the fact that Sunday night and Monday have almost been given over to the complainers who didn't get in -- I'd rather talk about the teams that are in.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Forde: Are there too many teams in Division I college basketball? If so, what criteria should be in place to reduce the number?
Pat Forde (2:50 PM)
JB: We're probably a bit bloated right now, with 344 including the provisional members. I can certainly understand why they want in -- and, hey, it's nice to have the Dakotas represented for the first time and even hosting a conference tournament. But enough is enough, and we probably have too much. As for criteria: average attendance and budget baselines, perhaps? If you're playing on a shoestring budget in front of 500 fans per game, can you really be in the same division with Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas?
Forde Minutes (Always Excluded, Ohio)
Over at our fan website there have been comments on why you never, ever mention Dayton or Xavier in any of your Forde Minute articles. It is like they don't exist. They play in a top 8 conference in the country and no one seems to care. If both of them do not achieve top 8 seeds, it really is a crime.
Pat Forde (2:52 PM)
Dear Ohio: The Pac-10 peeps think they're excluded. And the Mountain West. Oh, and the WAC. Kansas wants to know why it doesn't get enough love. Washington is angry. Memphis wants more respect. So does the Big Ten. You notice a trend here? That said, I did ask whether we wanted a column from Dayton-Xavier late in the season. We opted against because we'd just done the Chris Wright feature. But trust me, we know both Dayton and Xavier exist.
JL (Hoboken, NJ)
Pat, I don't get why so many people want to see the system changed. Isn't March Madness awesome as it is right now? Why is anyone advocating for change (other than to see their school in the dance)?
Pat Forde (2:53 PM)
Pat, are you in favor of the last 2 at large teams playing in the play-in game (and a #12 seed) rather than the 2 lowest RPI teams. I think Florida vs. Arizona (for example) would be more compelling, and more fair. The smaller conference teams that win their conferences should have the experience of playing in the tournament.
Pat Forde (2:54 PM)
Brian: I am in favor of nuking the play-in game, period. Reduce the at-large pool by one game and go back to 64. I hate the play-in game.
Nathan: (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Do you think Michigan NEEDS to beat Iowa on Thursday to solitify them a spot in the big dance, or do you think they're in no matter what happens?
Pat Forde (2:54 PM)
Nathan: Losing to Iowa is never a good thing. Win that game or get very nervous.
Steve (Seattle, Wa)
Have you actually even seen a PAC-10 game this year Forde?
Pat Forde (2:55 PM)
Steve: Why, yes I have.
Ryan (LA, CA)
Can we please put some basketball people on the selection committee? Right now it is all administrators and AD's. There needs to be some former coaches or someone with a background in basketball on there. Would they put a basketball coach on a university admissions board? No so why aren't there basketball people on the selection committee?
Pat Forde (2:57 PM)
Ryan: There needs to be some "basketball people" on the committee, I agree. But a lot of administrators and ADs are very diligent and knowledgeable and do a good job. Meanwhile, there have been some "basketball people" who served as Selection Committee chairman who did a pretty poor job. A mix of people would be best.
Here's a more theoretical question. The selection committee keeps deemphazing a team's RPI as a major factor, while emphazing the RPI of the opponents you're playing (to put a premium on strength of schedule). In theory, isn't it hypocritical and unfair to say a team's RPI isn't that important, yet the RPI of the opponents of the team means everything?
Pat Forde (2:58 PM)
Andrew: Good point. When I did the mock selection process two years ago, the point was made (over and over) about RPI not being as big a factor as people said it was. Yet every rundown we got of a team's schedule showed its record against the RPI top 50, RPI top 100, etc. So to say the RPI isn't a major factor is a bit misleading. It's the yardstick that generally shapes the parameters of what is or is not a quality win or a bad loss.
Bennett (Reading PA)
Is the big east better than the big ten even though Lunardi has more from the big ten?
Pat Forde (2:59 PM)
Bennett: I would say the Big East is approximately 7,000 times better than the Big Ten. Maybe 8,000. Not to say the Big Ten is terrible, but there's no way it's as good as the Big East. I see one Final Four caliber team in the Ten (Michigan State) and four in the East (Pitt, UL, UConn and Nova).
big J (morgantown)
you heard it here first....In 2 years WVU will be national champions!!
Pat Forde (3:00 PM)
OK. Thanks for the warning.
Tyler (Jackson MS)
Can you see Duke making a final four run if they get the right match ups?
Pat Forde (3:01 PM)
Tyler: Yes I can. I like this Duke team. Tougher and more athletic than the last two. There obviously are some deficiencies inside and some inconsistency at PG, but I think Duke is an elite-eight team with a chance to go further if things break well.
Pat, if Auburn beats Florida in the quarters will that be enough to get them in? Probably the hottest team in the country and 22 wins would be hard to ignore.
Pat Forde (3:02 PM)
Nolen: Most of those 22 wins are pretty easy to ignore, actually. Not enough quality in there. I think Auburn needs to win at least two games, maybe all three. Beat nobody non-conference and fattened up on a horrible SEC West while going 2-3 vs. SEC East.
Pat, if, as you say, Michigan needs to win on Thursday against Iowa, which five or six teams will pass them if they don't? According to Joe Lunardi, Michigan is not one of the last four in, and of the last eight out, St. Mary's, Davidson and Creighton are done. Are you saying that if all the others on the list win, and/or if Butler and others from one bid conferences lose, Michigan is out? Are you saying that they're absolutely out if they lose, and that some of the teams who are finished will pass them? Or is it just that there's a chance they won't make it in those circumstances? I'm confused.
Pat Forde (3:04 PM)
Jeff: The first thing I'm saying is that Joe Lunardi, whom I like and respect, is not Moses chiseling on the stone tablets. He might be wrong. Im also saying that losing to a bad Iowa team when you're theoreticaly barely in the field is an easy way to back out of the field. Win a game and it's not an issue.
Tanner (Tucson, Arizona)
God forbid Arizona drops another game to ASU on thursday, what are the chances the Wildcats still make it into the tourny?
Pat Forde (3:05 PM)
Tanner: Arizona is another one right on the fault line. The good news for Zona is that it has played a heck of a schedule. The bad news is the poor finish and some of those early losses. But if the Wildcats beat ASU, I'd say they're a lock. Lose and it gets iffy.
DePaul had an 18 game losing streak before beating Cincinnati today. How do you account for that?
Pat Forde (3:06 PM)
Tony: Two words. March Madness. You gotta love it (unless you're a Cincy fan). Since we started with DePaul, let's end there, too. Enjoy the rest of this week -- play hooky and watch the afternoon tournament games, then hunker down for Selection Sunday. These are the best weeks of the year. Talk to y'all next week.