What I Learned from the NCAA Rejection

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We’re new at this bubble thing, and new at learning how the NCAA Selection Committee deals with teams on the bubble. That being the case, here are some quick thoughts on what I learned from VT’s rejection by the NCAA committee. This isn’t a complete list, and certainly some of you understand this process better than I … unless you don’t.

A lot of it is based on RPI — unless it isn’t. (To borrow a turn of phrase from the great Jim Alderson.) There’s a whole litany of reasons why the Hokies didn’t get in, and most of them are based on RPI:

  • Four losses to teams ranked below 100 in the RPI.
  • No OOC wins against teams in the top 120 of the RPI.
  • Only 1-7 against Top 50 RPI teams.

Those reasons were used to justify Tech’s non-inclusion. But it didn’t matter that VT finished fourth in the top RPI conference, and only four teams from that top RPI conference got invited. So RPI matters … unless it doesn’t.

Take the case of Dayton, for example. They’re the top RPI team to not get in, at #32. But Dayton started out 14-1, then went 7-9 from that point on, and that’s why they lost the bid. So that must mean …

How you finish matters … unless it doesn’t. Virginia Tech was 14-11 at one point, then went 5-2 down the stretch, including a win over #34 Miami, losses to only #2 UNC and #19 Clemson (on the road), and a semifinal appearance in the ACC tournament, the #1 RPI conference. But … that strong finish didn’t help the Hokies. But … the weak finish hurt Dayton.

I guess the weak finish by Dayton hurt more, because they’re in the A-10, not nearly as strong an RPI league as the ACC. But oh, yeah, I forgot, conference RPI doesn’t matter. Unless it does.

Top 50 RPI wins matter … unless they don’t. VT was only 1-7 against the top 50 in the RPI. Dayton was 4-4, not too shabby. But the 1-7 by VT hurt, and the 4-4 by Dayton, the #32 RPI team in the nation, didn’t help. I’m still confused. Does your top 50 RPI record matter, or not?

Your entire body of work matters … unless it doesn’t. VT had some bad losses, to #120 Richmond, #130 Old Dominion, and #155 Penn State. Dayton had some bad losses, too, to #120 Richmond, #185 GW, #128 Duquesne, and #162 La Salle. Good thing Dayton had that 4-4 record