Blog Entry

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:41 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:52 pm

By Matt Norlander

This is the final edition of the 2011-12 Non-BCS Power Pyramid. That sentence will come with not one reaction of anguish or woe on your end, I know, but in the interest of our Monday routine at the blog, I figured I'd bring it up. Instead of giving the usual rankings from my subjective viewpoint, I’ve decided to slot the teams today in order of how I think they’ll ultimately be seeded. Every team in the Pyramid I do believe will play its way into the field, so that means two CAA teams should expect bids. (Don’t you go dying on my, VCU and Drexel.)

It's been a fun and time-consuming process to put together this rankings system every Sunday night for the past 16 weeks, but the responses back and email have made it worth it. It will most definitely be returning next season, only you can expect vast improvements. At least in my own mind they will be.

So here's the final tally, the 15 best teams from outside the Big Six -- and how I expect them to get slotted into the greatest sporting event in the world.

Geographically protected

1. Wichita State, 26-4, four seed. A Sentence: I’m curious to see how the public reaction will be to this team once it gets a good seed, because so often when non-Big Six teams get high billing a backlash effect follows. A Statistic: The Shockers went undefeated in February, only lost once in January and once in December. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley tournament! Runs from March 1 to 4.

Wichita won its first MVC regular-season title since '06. The league has had a different champ six straight seasons. (AP)

2. Murray State, 28-1, five seed. A Sentence: The Racers’ seed has become a big curiosity of mine. A Statistic: The impressive afterthought of this team’s accomplishments this season: it was undefeated on the road and in neutral-court play. No other team can say the same. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the Ohio Valley tournament! Runs from Feb. 29 to March 3.

3. Gonzaga, 23-5, five seed. A Sentence: No one’s truly bought into this team, so can this be a second-weekend year for Gonzaga, being that there’s a lack of pressure? A Statistic: Every Gonzaga starter is scoring more than 1.1 points per possession. It’s a very good sign for things to come. The Schedule: vs. Longwood, Monday; No. 2 seed in WCC tournament! Runs from Feb. 29 to March 5.

The rest of the single-digit seeds

4. UNLV, 24-6, six seed. A Sentence: UNLV hasn’t won on the road in a month, and though that will hurt its seeding I don’ think that’s a factor at all in how this team will play in March. A Statistic: An efficient 65.7 percent of UNLV’s baskets come via an assist. That’s the second-highest in the nation. The Schedule: at Colorado State, Wednesday; vs. Wyoming, Saturday.

5. Temple, 22-6, six seed. A Sentence: I’ve got Temple this high because I think it’s going to with the A10 tournament (it already nearly has the A10 regular-season title). A Statistic: Saturday’s loss to St. Joseph’s marked the first time since 2008 Temple didn’t sweep the Hawks. The Schedule: vs. UMass, Wednesday; at Fordham, Saturday.

Matthew Dellavedova and the Gaels could leapfrog Gonzaga in seeding, but they'll have to win the WCC tourney in order to do so. (US PRESSWIRE)

6. Saint Mary’s, 25-5, six seed. A Sentence: . A Statistic: The Gaels shoot 54.6 percent from the field from 2-point range. It’s eight-best in the country, but it’s also as good as SMC’s ever been under Randy Bennett in the tempo-free era. They are big and can score — and can also grab the O boards 36 percent of the time. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the WCC tournament! Runs from Feb. 29 to March 5.

7. San Diego State, 22-6, eight seed. A Sentence: SDSU closes up its season with a TCU road game, which New Mexico and UNLV already fell prey to, so beware. A Statistic: The Aztecs have never cracked the 30s of this year, and only been in the 40s twice. That indicates this team isn’t likely to win when it gets to The Tournament. The Schedule: at Boise State, Wednesday; at TCU, Saturday.

8. Creighton, 25-5, nine seed. A Sentence: I only hope Creighton doesn’t have a similar ending to Drake in 2008. A Statistic: You want to know why Creighton’s fallen off the radar? Yeah, it had that three-game losing streak, but forget that. The past three Bluejays wins have come by a total of four points, one of them needing overtime. The Schedule: No. 2 seed in the Missouri Valley tournament! Runs from March 1 to 4.

9. Virginia Commonwealth, 25-6, nine seed. A Sentence: I feel real good about writing this on the Rams last week. A Statistic: What I’d love for the committee to pay attention to: details beyond the schedule and teams. VCU finishes the season with a 16.1 percent steal rate, the highest in the nation. A team that good indicates it plays very well defensively and certainly is one of the 37 best at-larges. The Schedule: No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament! Runs from March 2 to 5.

Double-digit territory

10. New Mexico, 22-6, 10 seed. A Sentence: The great dichotomy with New Mexico is that it’s a really talented team with an overall underwhelming resume, considering that talent. A Statistic: Lobos allow .87 points per possession, far and away the best of any Pyramid team, and it’s been that way most of the season. The Schedule: vs. Air Force, Wednesday; vs. Boise State, Saturday.

11. Harvard, 24-4, 12 seed. A Sentence: Another Ivy playoff is now a possibility, but I still think the Crimson will make the field and avoid a repeat of 2011’s heartbreak. A Statistic: With 61.4 possessions per game, Harvard is the slowest Pyramid team and one of the slowest in the nation, ranking 328 out of 345. The Schedule: at Columbia, Friday; at Cornell, Saturday.

12. Oral Roberts, 26-5, 12 seed. A Sentence: It’s going to take a heck of a five seed for me not to pick Oral Bobs to win its first game (the same goes for if ORU is sent to the First Four). A Statistic: How many teams have only lost once since Dec. 15? You’ve got Syracuse, ORU and the team listed directly below. The Schedule: No. 1 in the Summit League tournament! Runs from March 3 to 6.

13. Drexel, 25-5, 13 seed. A Sentence:  I only have ’em as a 13 because I think the Dragons get in as an at-large after losing the CAA title game. A Statistic: No Pyramid team has less of a bench than the Dragons, who only get their pine guys into the game 24.4 percent of the time. With mid-majors I often don’t think this is a problem, though. The best guys get adrenaline rushes and need to play as much as possible, and at their best, to stand a chance at winning. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the CAA tournament! Runs from March 2 to 5.

14. Southern Miss, 22-5, 13 seed. A Sentence: While I’ve always appreciated the Southern Miss story, this is a team I don’t have much belief in. A Statistic: How can you turn your head from the awful 2-point shooting stat? At 43 percent, the Golden Eagles are pulling off one of the greatest capers ever by fighting for bubble position while being one of the worst teams from inside the 3 I can remember. The Schedule: vs. SMU, Wednesday; at Marshall, Saturday.

15. Iona, 24-6, 13 seed. A Sentence: I'll be furious with the Gaels if they squander this talent and miss the NCAA for the second straight year after winning the league. A Statistic: Cannot get over the fact this team went on a 31-0 run against St. Peter's Sunday. The Peacocks are a bad team this year but they're still stubborn defensively. A 31-0 run? How many times has that ever happened in college basketball? The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the MAAC tournament! Runs from March 2 to 5.


Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:41 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Is Memphis no longer a mid-major team?  Last time I checked, they still played in C-USA.  

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:34 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

  GO SHOCKS!  I hope we keep winning and can get a #3 or #4 seed! 

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:58 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

I'm curious as to why this pyramid totally omits St. Louis U.... Second in the A-10 right now. They belong in the fourth tier of the pyramid, if not the third!

Since: Nov 20, 2011
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:47 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

WOW totally agree on Long Beach State.  They lost most of their toughest games against ranked teams, but they are almost all very close games.  And they dumped Xavier and Pitt to boot.  I will be watching this team come tourney time.

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:43 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Agreed!  BCS stands for Bowl Championship Series and is related to college football only.  There is no such thing as BCS and non-BCS conferences in college basketball.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:38 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

PLEASE STOP CALLING THEM NON-BCS SCHOOLS!!  The tragedy of the BCS is a college FOOTBALL term!!  It has nothing to do with basketball!!!!

Since: Jan 8, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:35 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition


Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:28 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

How the hell is Long Beach State not on here.   Toughest non-conference schedule in the entire coountry for 3 straight years (almost all on the road, BTW), 14-0 in league (admittedly weak Big West), senior-laden team.  I predict a sweet 16 appearance.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:03 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Matt Norlander must hate Memphis.

Since: Sep 19, 2010
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:49 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

I have alwaysn thought this was a bit off.  I agree with most of the teams that are on here every week but almost never agree with the order or logic.  Guess it does not really matter anyway.  An 8/9 seed for a 26 RPI team that is tied for first in the MWC?  I know they should not be in the 3/4 slot maybe even not in the 5 but 8/9 is a bit of a slap.  They lost to Air Force, okay bad but every other loss is against 35 RPI or below.  They have played 10 games and are 5/5 against 1-100 I think.  Also, i think most of those are 1-35.  An 8/9 seed?  Maybe if they lose one of the last two and go out early in the MWC tourney.  Maybe that is what he is banking on for this.  but if they go 2-0 to finish and get to the championship game they must be assured a 6 or less and if they run the table a 4/5 is not out of the question I don't think.

Many if but to say 8/9 right now is crap if you ask me.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or