Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2010 NCAA Basketball Rankings, part 5: #5- 1

#5: Arizona

(No wonder Lute Olson hung around as long as he did.)

Points: 71
NCs: 1(1997)
Final Fours: 4(1988, 1994, 1997, 2001)
Made the NCAAs: 96.15%

Lute Olson was the NCAA metronome: put together a solid team, make the tournament every year, & get bounced well before they should. The 71 points here is due in no small part to him recording a couple points a year every single year since 1985, but his teams underachieved more often than not. Their 10 1st round exits is by far the most of any program in the top 10 and speaks to the difference between Arizona and the top 4 teams in this list. The top 4 are in a class by themselves and will be for a few years barring a major collapse.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2010 NCAA Basketball Rankings, part 4: #10 - 6

#10: Louisville

(I don't know what's funnier, the idea that somebody believes Kentucky women look like this or the caption that came with the picture.)

Points: 55
NCs: 1(1986)
Final Fours: 2(1986, 2005)
Made the NCAAs: 73.08%

I've had fun both times I've been to Kentucky; once for a gig in Lexington a decade ago and once to watch an Ironman race in Louisville. The people were friendly...but none of them looked even remotely like the girls above, Ashley Judd, or any of the women in 'Justified'. (Well, maybe Mags Bennett.) I saw a lady ordering food in a White Castle drive-through from the backseat of her mini-van. Why is that notable? Because she was too large to fit in the passenger seat, her husband had to give his order then roll forward 5 feet; she had the sliding door open & gave an order that must have taken 5 minutes to get through. I can only imagine it was hard for the White Castle employee to make out "43 SLIDERS, YES WITH EXTRA CHEESE" through her wheezing & the sounds of the over-burdened minivan shocks groaning every time she re-adjusted her position on that poor, poor middle seat. What does this have to do with the Cardinals? Nothing, but it was this or Rick Pitino adultery jokes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2010 NCAA Basketball Rankings, part 3: #11 - 15

#15(tie): Arkansas

(Mascot, or Homecoming Queen? That's a trick question, it's both.)

Points: 49
NCs: 1(1994)
Final Fours: 3(1990, 1994, 1995)
Made the NCAAs: 65.39%

Next up in our list is possibly the most prominent of the teams that are living on past glory. If you had done this list in 1998, Arkansas would be in the top 5. Alas, the glory days of '40 Minutes of Hell' are long gone; perhaps hiring Mike Anderson back to the program will revitalize a derailed program. I kinda hope not, but that's my old SWC bias showing. Damn you, Oliver Miller.

Friday, March 25, 2011

2010 NCAA Basketball Rankings, part 2: #16 - 20

#20: Villanova

(According to Google, she's from Villanova. According to my penis, I don't care if she's from Mars. Look at that thing. )

Points: 43
NCs: 1(1985)
Final Fours: 2(1985, 2009)
Made the NCAAs: 57.69%

I gotta be honest, I expected Nova to be a little higher on this list. '98 - '04 were lean years for one of the few programs with a title in the last 25 years, and it's dragged down the rankings for a program that's been much better the last 6 years. Did you know that Jay Wright is a dynamic steward? It says so in his bio, so it must be true. I wonder if that's what he tells the recruits when they ask why he doesn't have any rings.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2010 NCAA Basketball Rankings, part 1: #21 - 25 & honorable mention

Before I start into the top 25, here are the 5 that almost made the list:
#29(tie): Wisconsin - 32 points
#29(tie): LSU - 32 points
#28: Stanford - 34 points
#26(tie): Cincinatti - 35 points
#26(tie): Utah - 35 points 

#25: Ohio State

(Wrong sport, I know. It's still funny. Plus, I had to save my couch-burning picture for another school later on.)

Points: 37
NCs: 0
Final Fours: 2(1999, 2007)
Made the NCAAs: 50%

Ohio State's feast or famine; they only made the field of 64 half the time, but when they do they have a better chance of making a deep run.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why in the hell am I doing this?

Great question; I don't know. What started as me trying to get a reasonably objective handle on how competent the coach is at the school I follow turned into a multi-colored spreadsheet with Excel functions & database arrays(neither of which I knew how to do 3 days ago) that I'm pretty sure didn't actually help me validate what I already knew beforehand. But hey, I ended up with a rankings system that seems reasonably accurate for someone that has no background in statistics. Oh, and I got to charge a client 8 hours worth of my time in the process, so there's that.

Let me repeat an earlier point: I'm not a statistician. I never took a statistics course in college - I was an economics major for awhile, but that was over a decade ago so let's not pretend I remember a damn thing - and I don't claim this is any sort of innovation in qualitative(or is it quantitative? It's probably neither, come to think of it) analysis. If you have a better method, bully for you. The method for calculating the ranks was inspired in part by a local radio show host who does an annual NFL franchise ranking (which is worth a read when you have some time) & adapted to better suit the NCAA Tournament.

Here's the general premise:

1) The NIT is great for bad programs that are looking for signs of progress or good programs that need a consolation prize for a disappointing season, but let's be honest: nobody at a school the level of the top 25 in this list cares about anything other than NCAA appearances. So I didn't give points for NIT/CBI/etc. appearances.

2) NCAA coaches & programs at the upper tiers are generally judged(fairly or not) on how many Final Fours & National Championships they achieve. Hell, even in 'Survivor' they make a big deal about making it to the Final Four(It's probably cross-promotion, now that I think about it. I bet Jeff Probst gets another million every time Russell screams 'FINAL FOUR, BAYBEE').  Reaching either/both of those markers got a bonus.

C) The data goes from 1985 - 2010, the time in which the tournament has been a 64-team bracket(seriously, I'm not giving halfsies for winning a play-in game to get throttled by a #1 seed. Sorry, but if you're in that game, you're not making this list anyway.)

C) 2011 isn't counted because the tournament isn't over yet.

4) I only looked at programs that made it to at least one Final Four in that time-frame. I could have delved deeper, but when you see the list you'll notice that there's pretty much no way a team could crack the top 25 without making a run to the final weekend at least once(#25 on the list made it twice). If you can come up with a team I missed, by all means post it in the comments & I'll amend the list.

6) The point system goes like this:
1 point for making the NCAAs
2 points for winning the 1st round
3 points for winning the 2nd round
4 points for winning the 3rd round
6 points for making the Final Four
7 points for making the NC
9 points for winning the NC

F) If you're thinking to yourself "how is he going to account for the 68 team bracket in 2011", good question. I have no idea. I've got a few weeks to sort that out....which I probably won't. If you have suggestions, feel free to post it in the comments. Use small words, I'm not as smart as I'd like to think I am.

Enjoy the list for what it's worth, a non-scientific, vaguely statistical, possibly pagan, & probably wrong look at what programs have been successful in the post-season. The first part of the list will be up tomorrow.

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