Blog Entry

An argument for Illinois State

Posted on: March 17, 2008 11:28 am
Edited on: March 17, 2008 6:00 pm

NEW YORK -- Illinois State was the lone team I had in the field that did not make the field.

So naturally, I'm gonna defend the Rebirds and address some of the complaints about their body of work.

Here goes ...

People say Illinois State didn't beat anybody. OK, I'll concede the point. ISU didn't beat many (if any) good teams. But some of this is about opportunity, and with the MVC supposedly down this season how many opportunities was ISU ever really going to get? The three games against Drake and a game against Indiana is it, best I can tell. But the Redbirds still had two Top 50 wins, and am I supposed to believe that because they came against Creighton they do not count? Seems Top 50 wins only matter if they come against Top 50 teams from power leagues, or at least that's the message sent.

Anyway, two Top 50 wins.

That's terrible, right?

But UNLV only has two, and if the Rebels would've lost to BYU in the MWC title game they'd be stuck on one.

You think UNLV would've been left out under that scenario, with just one Top 50 win?

Answer: Not. A. Chance.

Meantime, Baylor only has three Top 50 wins.

Clearly, that's one more than Illinois State.

But the Bears also had 11 games with Top 50 opponents. So they were 3-8 against the Top 50, meaning they won 27.3 percent of those matchups. Illinois State was 2-5 against the Top 50, meaning they won 28.6 percent of those matchups.

Baylor got in.

Illinois State did not.

(I'm not saying, I'm just saying.)

Anyway, let me be clear about something: Illinois State's omission is not a reason to riot. Had the Redbirds played Drake close in the MVC final my guess is they'd have made the field. But they got killed, just run straight off the court. So on Selection Sunday they paid the price, and on some level they did it to themselves. But it's still difficult to ignore that 13 schools with lower RPIs than Illinois State's 33 were awarded at-large bids, and that it always seems to be the Missouri Valley Conference schools that are getting left out despite high RPIs (No. 33 Illinois State and No. 46 Creighton in 2008; No. 36 Missouri State and No. 38 Bradley in 2007; No. 21 Missouri State and No. 39 Creighton in 2006, etc.).

Is this merely a coincidence?


But if I was MVC commissioner Doug Elgin, yeah, I'd be a little pissed, too.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: March 20, 2008 6:51 pm

An argument for Illinois State


Before you start talking trash about Parish's math, you need to review a mathbook. Here is why Parish's math is right and your's is wrong.

3 wins and 8 losses = 11 total games. 3 wins out of 11 games = 3/11 = 27.3%

2 wins and 5 losses = 7 total games. 2 wins out of 7 games = 2/7 = 28.5%

you don't calculate winning% by dividing wins by losses, you figure it out by dividing wins by total games. If a team wins 5 games and loses 10 games, they didn't win half their games, the won a third. It's simple math.

I hope you feel silly now.

Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: March 19, 2008 1:11 pm

An argument for Illinois State

Of all the retarded arguments you have tried to make during your less-than-stellar tenure for CBS, I think this takes the cake for retarded......ness.........

Since: Mar 12, 2008
Posted on: March 18, 2008 2:13 pm

An argument for Illinois State

The Missouri Valley is tough and it is time that they start getting a little love from the nation. The MVC is so much better than Conference USA and any other "mid Major" conference. The past two years Missouri State has had a very high Rpi but been left out. These schools all are winning on a high level with regional players and the league is a vault for coaches going to big time programs (Ex: McDermott, Turgeon, Bruce Weber, Alford). Another reason Illinois St. should have gotten in is because the Mo Valley always has a sleeper in the tournament. Southern Ill, Wichita State, Bradley all have made great runs the past three years. I think the tourney wants to keep the mid majors out to stop the potential for a long run and bad ratings for their games. I on the other hand loves to watch these guys play so hard, and I thought George Mason's run would have opened it up for these schools. Apparently not.

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: March 18, 2008 12:48 pm

An argument for Illinois State

The notion that the Valley is weak this year is complete garbage.  If Drake and ISU were still doormats in the MVC, then you could factor in losses for them against the traditional conference powers.  SIU would then have a record of 20-11, Bradley would be 21-12, and Creighton would be 25-5!  Everybody would be writing about another great year for the Valley, and all of these teams would get at-large bids.  But factor in those teams' losses to Drake and ISU this year, games that in other years would have been easy wins, and you get what we currently have.  So the Valley didn't get weak this year, but the bottom 2 teams simply got a lot better. 

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: March 18, 2008 8:38 am

An argument for Illinois State

Gary, you are way off here.  UNLV DID get the automatic bid.  That is why they are in the field. 

It would be one thing if Illinois St had literally run through their regular conference (other than the Drake losses.)  I'm not going to pick apart their resume, but they had their share of bad losses.  I'm not saying Baylor didn't (aka Colorado), but just look at the loss column and it is pretty obvious.  Baylor lost a total of 10 games.  Illinois St. lost only one less game total than them!   You cannot remotely compare the SOS.  Even the 3 Drake games - do you really put that on the same level as having to play schools like Kansas and Texas?  And don't try to tell me Oklahoma, Tex A&M, Kansas St, etc. aren't more tough games than Creighton, Northern Iowa, Indiana St.  It's not close at all so that one loss differential on the entire season really says something.  Baylor definitely deserved a bid ahead of them.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: March 17, 2008 9:41 pm

An argument for Illinois State

I think the better argument would be for Arizona State.

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: March 17, 2008 8:21 pm

An argument for Illinois State

A few moths ago I did a rundown of top 40 rpi teams left out of the tournament from 1999 to 2007. I did not share the results with anyone because I did not want to be considered just another Missouri Valley Conference fan/moron/idiot or whatever. I found that from 1999-2005 (7 years) there were a total of seven teams in that level left out of the tournament. One of those was a MVC team. There were two years in that stretch where no top 40 teams were left out.

In the years 2006-2008 (3 years) there were a total of nine top 40 teams left out. Five of those were MVC teams. As I recall, 2005 was the year that four MVC teams made the tournament and enjoyed a great amount of success. As I also recall, this caused much consternaton for quite a horde of BCS athletic departments and old-school media guys.

A suspicious person such as me might believe that after the 2006 tournament someone had a meeting somewhere and the qualifications for inclusion were suddenly adjusted. That aside, I really think that a logical, disinterested observer would conclude that at some point criteria were altered for the purpose of further advantaging the already advantaged.

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: March 17, 2008 5:15 pm

An argument for Illinois State

I'm an Illinois State fan and I don't consider it a major snub.  Had they won one of the Drake games, or beat Indiana or Kent St. then we would have something to really talk about.  The auto bids going to teams like W Kentucky, and San Diego hurt alot of bubble teams. 

I will agree though that its the MVC that gets the short end of the stick. every year .  In my years of following the tourney no one has been shafted like Missouri State was in 06.  The good thing that I saw was that the big 10 only got 4 in.  FINALLY!!!! The most overrated conference for every sport under the sun finally just got in the teams that deserved to be in.  How many years of 5/6  teams from the big ten, just to watch most of them go out in the first round?  For some stat geeks out there, I'd be intersted in seeing what % of teams the big ten sent to the tourney made it to the Sweet 16 vs MVC teams that made it over the past 5 or six years.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: March 17, 2008 3:05 pm

An argument for Illinois State

Any team that loses its conference championship game by 30 points has little to complain about! 

That sounds about right to me ...

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: March 17, 2008 2:57 pm

Your math skills suck

I'm not searching 13 pages of responses or going to bother looking up your Top 50 facts, but:

If Baylor had 3 wins and 8 losses, their winning percentage is not 37.5%, it's closer to 27.3%.
If Illinois State had 2 wins and 5 losses that's not 40%, it 28.6%.

(I'm not saying, I'm just saying.)

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