Sunday, February 27, 2011

Virginia Tech Beats #1 Duke 64-60

I dare say I'm not surprised. For the third time in the last five seasons (tops in the NCAA) the Hokies knocked off the top-ranked college hoops squad in the land, edging Duke Saturday night in Blacksburg.

Thanks in large part to Jeff Allen's monster double-double (18 points, 15 rebounds), the Hokies took a large step towards solidifying an at-large berth in the "Big Dance".

The win puts the Hokies at 19-8 overall on the season with a 9-5 mark in ACC play.

With two games remaining against ACC foes, Tech sits poised to earn a first round bye in the ACC Tournament once again.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Brian expressed via text message following the game that he felt the Hokies still wouldn't get into the NCAA Tournament due to a "poor" non-conference schedule.

We'll have ample opportunity to point out the flaws in that viewpoint this coming week. In the meantime, I'll continue to bask in the glory of another impressive ACC victory.


Brian said...

Let's take a look at current RPI stats for your OOC schedule:

Campbell, #273
Kansas St, #29
UNC Greensboro, #301
Cal State Northridge, #239
Oklahoma St, #63
UNLV, #27
Purdue, #7
Penn St, #48
Mississippi St, #122
St Bonaventure, #120
South Carolina Upstate, #315
Mt St Mary's, #245
Longwood, #316

Sure, there were some nice ones in there but a near majority of the games were against teams north of 200 in the current RPI. Not exactly tournament boosting material right there.

Also, it's definitely too early to call the Hokies a lock for the NCAA tournament because there are still a few games left to be played. Slip ups against BC and Clemson would not bode well, nor would a poor showing the ACC tournament.

That said, the win against Duke certainly helps the Hokies' chances.

A season sweep of the Terps (#47), a home win against Penn St (#48), and a home win against Florida St (#41) are the only other quality (top 50 or better) wins on the Hokies tournament resume.

There is still work left to be done. Good luck to Greenberg's bunch.

Justin Cates said...

I just KNEW you'd use the RPI in your argument. That's without a doubt the most flawed ratings system in sports (I think it's even worse than the BCS which is saying something).

It's the only ranking where you can win a game and drop 10 spots because the opponent hurt your schedule strength.

Also, 8 of those 13 games you mentioned were on the road or at neutral sites which is supposed to help in the RPI.

Since starting 4-4 we're 15-4 and playing pretty darn well. Never mind we've been playing with 8 scholarship players during that run. One starter was lost before the season started, another after a couple weeks of hurting the team on the court trying to play through it.

The committee in all their "wisdom" most certainly considers things like that. This is Coach Greenberg's best coaching job in Blacksburg, which is also saying something.

My favorite part of this time of year is when Tech is listed as a "quality win" on some team's tourney resume, but we still have loads of work to do. Same old, same old I guess.

Brian said...

RPI is probably one of the best indicators in a sport where there are approximately 350 teams competing for 68 spots in the NCAA tournament.

You're road wins and neutral wins help.

Regardless, you would go a long way in securing a berth by beating the Eagles tonight. I am a little surprised at how small the crowd is.

Justin Cates said...

"RPI is probably one of the best indicators..." what of exactly?

Strength of schedule is 75% of the index. A full 1/3 of that is comprised of your opponents' opponents SOS. Not only completely out of your control, but completely irrelevant to determining how good a basketball team is.

The fact that only 25% of the formula is based on a team's winning percentage strikes me as fundamentally flawed.

In the end, you just can't look at stats like these in a static formula and expect to get any meaningful results.

It's a stupid formula, thankfully the selection committee only partially considers it in the whole process.

Brian said...

Statistically speaking, there are better models, I'm not disputing that. This model happens to exclude margin of victory which can be a misleading stat to include. There's always the unknown factor of whether a not a team that is losing gives up and falls completely flat. Also, other teams choose to run up the score, while some do not.

Back to my point about it being a good indicator, yes... it's an indicator. I don't think it should be the end all be all to decide who gets in and who gets out.

That's the beauty of the RPI vs. the BCS... because it is not the final judgment call. You bring up the great point that yes, there is a human element involved in making the decision. The RPI is useful because it is used as a tool by which to help make the selection committee's decision easier. While it is by no means an easy task to whittle 300+ teams down to 68, it helps to have something to base the decision off of that directionally provides an indication of one team's schedule compared to another.

One interesting thing about the RPI is that it not only includes your opponent's schedule into the calculation, but also your opponent's opponents schedule. So, theoretically, your own schedule can be factored into the equation.

My final word, not pertaining to RPI... tough loss tonight. Need to rebound against Clemson (whom is likely to be blown out by Duke tomorrow and thus equally as hungry for a win to close out the season).

From there a strong showing in the ACC tournament would also be helpful.


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