Missed at-large predictions and NCAA games to watch
NCAA At-Large Predictions: Where I Went Wrong
The committee announced 19 Pool C bids on Monday. I missed three teams I had on the right side of the bubble (Wheaton (Mass.), Williams, and Middlebury), one team I had on the wrong side of the bubble (Kean), and one team I missed completely (Dubuque). Here’s why:
(1) New England: Wheaton (Mass.), Williams, Middlebury. This miss was part me, part NCAA-selection process. I predicted—correctly—that Wheaton (Mass.) would jump in the final New England rankings. They did, all the way from 12th up to 6th. What I did not predict, however, is that the committee would not give Wheaton an at-large bid. I thought four ranked wins and a very high strength-of-schedule (SOS) would be enough, but it wasn’t. I’d guess that Wheaton’s seven losses and nine blemishes (and the resulting low winning percentage) were too much to overcome. And while the record-versus-ranked was great, it also means Wheaton lost five games to unranked teams. Considering only one Pool C team had more than five losses total, that poor record may have been the difference.
Then comes the NCAA selection process. The committee only considers the top team in each region as “on the board” for discussion. In other words, the 5th-ranked team in a region is not even considered for a Pool C bid until the 4th-ranked team has one. So while Williams and Middlebury had profiles that matched up favorably with many Pool C teams that got in—they have similar profiles to OWU, Washington U., etc.—they never even had a chance.
(2) Kean. As I reached the end of the night (around 1 a.m.) and tried to decide between those last few slots, I realized Kean had a profile that could earn a Pool C. Ultimately, I did not think Kean would jump Emory without playing a game, especially when Emory’s profile wasn’t going to change all that much. They did, and once Kean was up...[read more]