It is time for another edition of the Talk to the Palm Bracketology mailbag. Once the college basketball season really gets rolling, I tend to get a lot of questions about my brackets and the selection process in general. This will give me a chance to answer some common questions, or better yet, uncommon ones.
You submit your questions on Twitter, and every Wednesday, I'll answer the best ones here in the much beloved Q&A form.
Q: In 1985 when the tournament expanded to 64 teams, there was a few over 200 D1 teams. We now stand at 357. If the same % increase was applied to the tournament, we'd have 108 teams. Is it time for an expansion? Say to 96? -- @Gregsintheocean
Talk to the Palm: No. I still want to go back to 64. All of those teams that moved up were hoping for a piece of the pie. The NCAA should not make earning that easier just because membership has bloated.
Talk to the Palm: No. There are anomalies in the rankings every year, although they are not typically so obvious. Also, there are more anomalies this season because of the shorter schedules in general and especially because there are significantly fewer nonconference games. Nonconference games are what mathematically connect conferences and teams together in the rankings. Fewer nonconference games make the rankings less reliable.
Colgate, like most Patriot League teams, played no nonconference games at all. In fact, only Navy and Army were allowed to play any, and each played four games. Therefore, the league is not connected well enough to the rest of college basketball for computer rankings of their teams to be meaningful. PL team rankings in any system – not just the NET -- are for entertainment purposes only.
If you really want to see something odd in rankings, check out KenPom, who has somehow found a way to (and a reason to) rate the 10 teams that opted out before the season and have not and will not play any games at all.
Q: Is there precedent for the committee to evaluate if a team played better in light of a roster change (say a player leaving) the same way they evaluate a team getting worse after a player is injured? -- @BlueDevil202
Talk to the Palm: Yes, it's the same for all roster changes. What you are describing is more common with a player addition than subtraction, but it does not matter how it happens. The rule of thumb is that teams get evaluated a little more on what they did with the roster it is taking into the tournament than otherwise. The key word there is "little." If a team's resume isn't good enough to get it selected, it won't get selected. The adjustment, if any, typically comes in seeding. Again, don't expect much.
Q: If a team has a chance to win regular season conference championship by playing 2 makeup games (opponent they are trying to catch had BOTH games this week cancelled), do you think conference should force a make up? -- tigersgrizz07
Talk to the Palm: I believe the question refers to Wichita State's games with SMU being canceled this week due to COVID issues at SMU. The Shockers have actually had four straight games postponed due to COVID problems for their opponents, including one with Memphis, which is a game back in the standings.
There is only so much that can be done with the little time left. Ideally, yes, it would be nice to be able to make up these games, but that may not be possible. Being fair to the teams chasing the Shockers (Houston and Memphis) is not a primary concern. Houston and Wichita State each have two conference games left, and Memphis has four. If Houston doesn't win the title, it will be because it couldn't beat East Carolina, not because WSU had games canceled. For Memphis, the problem is not being able to beat Tulsa.