Bracketology: North Carolina tumbles down the bracket after getting whipped at home by Louisville
The Tar Heels' loss to Louisville was ugly and costly to UNC's seeding in the projected bracket.
The game that ended up having the biggest impact on the top of the bracket was North Carolina's 83-62 to Louisville. The Tar Heels dropped two seed lines as a result and are now behind Louisville on the S-Curve. The Cards profile is a bit of a mixed bag. That win is huge, along with an overtime win over Michigan State, but they also lost at Pitt. Still, Louisville looks like a team with some upside as we go forward.
At the bottom of the bracket, Purdue and Iowa broke up the logjam of Big Ten teams in the First Four of Friday's bracket. The Boilermakers picked up a big road win at Wisconsin on Friday night, while Iowa knocked off Ohio State on Saturday. Both teams were able to move up to the middle of the bracket based on those wins and the results of other teams.
That is something to keep in mind if you are tracking the movement of your favorite team. Such movement is rarely only about your team. Rankings, including the 1-68 used to fill in the bracket, are relative. Your team can pick up a big win and not move up appreciably if the teams ahead of you did well also. In fact, your team can win and drop if someone behind them did even better. Also, each team's entire resume gets reevaluated with every bracket. A win that looked big earlier may not look so big now. Conversely, what was once thought to be a bad loss may not look as bad.
No team is benefitting more from the new NET rankings that NC State. The Wolfpack ranks 113rd in the RPI because of a putrid non-conference schedule that features nine Quadrant 4 home games. However, NC State is 16th in the NET because it is one of the best teams at running up the score. The Wolfpack is No. 5 in Net Efficiency, which is essentially a measure of uncapped margin of victory.
Liberty and Murray State are the other two teams that are outside of the top 100 of the RPI, but in the top 50 of the NET. Florida, which is not in the bracket, but not terribly far off, is 96th in the RPI and 40th in the NET.
Teams from all walks of life in college basketball are represented among the teams benefitting most from the change from the RPI to the NET, but the teams that are most negatively affected are all from outside the power conferences. The 60 teams with the biggest negative difference in ranking from the RPI to the NET are all from non-power conferences.
St. John's took a head-scratching loss to DePaul at home on Saturday, but was without the services of its best player, Shamorie Ponds. The committee will note that Ponds did not play, and that is given some consideration when it comes to seeding, but keep in mind that the committee will not ignore the loss or assume the Red Storm would have won if Ponds had played. A loss is a loss.
The committee does put a little more weight on what a team does with the roster it is bringing to the tournament than otherwise – good, bad or otherwise – but the consideration given for injuries and other roster issues is rarely dramatic.
And, yes, the committee knows all about your team's injuries, suspensions, travel problems, and whatnot. The schools report all of that to the committee. I may not know about every one of those situations (though I do try), but the committee does.
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