Posted on: January 4, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 5:26 pm
by Jerry Palm
The first weekly bracket is posted . You will see it here every Tuesday throughout the season, and a little more often as we get closer to selection Sunday.
Since it is still early January, and conference play has barely begun in most places, several teams have yet to really fully prove themselves. That means there's still a lot of "what we think we know" as opposed to what's actually on tournament resumes. Also, RPI numbers are still somewhat sketchy at this time of year, but will get better as we get deeper into the season. It's not even the halfway point yet.
So, I tend to give the top 20 in the polls a little more weight than I usually do later on when trying to predict what the field will look like. (the teams ranked below 20 are often just filler and afterthoughts on a lot of ballots). That is a better represnetation of the "eye test" than the RPI and other measureables at this point of the sesaon.
That's partly why, Kansas is still a number one seed despite not having beaten anyone better than Arizona and only two teams in the bracket (UCLA and Memphis). Despite that, the Jayhawks are second in the RPI because they have avoided playing very bad teams.
The same is not true of Cincinnati, which I detailed in an earlier post . I have them as a 8-seed, even though the Bearcats crawled into the rankings this week. Voters are begrudginly getting on board, but we'll find out if Cincinnati is for real soon enough. After hosting arch-rival Xavier on Thursday, they play six of eight on the road, and five of those six are against current RPI top 20 teams.
Purdue doesn't seem to have the resume or accomplishment befitting a team ranked 11th in the polls. The Boilers are 13-1, with the one loss coming to Richmond. Like Kansas, Purdue has successfully avoided the truly horrible opponents, and thus have a lofty RPI of 11. However, the Boilers have yet to beat an RPI top 50 team and their best win is probably the one at Virginia Tech.
The one team in the rankings that defies explanation though is Memphis. The Tigers do not have any bad losses (Georgetown, Kansas), but only one win against a team in the RPI top 100 (Miami by 4 at home). In fact, all of their wins have come at home except the one against LSU in Tupelo, MS.
Memphis is just one of about a dozen teams that really have no business being in this or any bracket, but are in this one anyway because we have to fill a 68-team field. You might think that your team deserves to be in ahead of one of the those I have in this bracket instead. If you want to split those ratty hairs, go ahead, but I guarantee you your team does not deserve to be in either.