FanPost

Roadmap to the NCAA Tournament

Our recent upset victories of the past week haven't just given us a reason to celebrate. They've revived our NCAA tournament hopes. That I even have the gall to post this is a minor miracle unto itself, since we were barely looking like an NIT bubble team for much of the season. But what will it take to get into the field of 64 65 68?

Fortunately for us, the NCAA recently went public with their selection criteria. Even more fortunately, the criteria are relatively simple to follow: "The nitty gritty reports include data on strength of schedule, performance against top 50 teams, conference and non-conference performance, and road and home records.*" SOS, top-50 opponents, and W-L record. Obviously RPI is factored in and/or is a conglomeration of these factors.

  1. RPI and W-L: Currently we sit at #52 in the nation. According to statsheet,com, our SOS will improve by the end of the year, so we need to go 6-5 over our last eleven games to consolidate our position. We would finish 19-12 and move up to about #45 on RPI. Then we hold serve by winning one game at the Big East Tournament, finishing the year with 20 wins.
  2. SOS: We are currently #31, and are projected to #28. Our ranking doesn't move much, despite the fact that the SOS calculation will significantly improve. This is because most teams in the SOS top-50 are in the same boat as us: tough conference schedules to close out the season. Nevertheless, we are strong here.
  3. Record against top-50: Obviously, most teams on the bubble are ranked at around #50, so a losing record here is perfectly acceptable so long as we don't go 1-10. We currently sit at 2-2 against teams that are solidly in the RPI top-50, an excellent record for a bubble team. We are 1-3 against top-50 bubble teams, so to speak. I don't know if the NCAA counts the #51 team as basically the same as #50, or if top-50 is really some sort of magical threshold by which the NCAA abides. Nevertheless, we have defeated St. John's (RPI 48). We lost to Pitt, Temple, and Alabama (RPI 53, 55, and 61, respectively)

tl;dr: Get to 19 wins by the end of the year, get #20 in the BET. (Better yet, get to 20 before the BET.) 20 wins, by my calculations, probably gets us in. Here's our schedule:

  • Part 1: @ Notre Dame: Tough road game after an emotional high. If we win this, it will be a massive bonus, so I'll just mark this down as a loss and move on. 13-8. Hopefully I am wrong.
  • Part 2: Provi, @ DePaul, S. Florida: This is our best opportunity to rack up a few wins. If we want to go to the Big Dance, it would very much behoove us to go 3-0 here. 16-8.
  • Part 3: @ Cincy, @ UConn, Rutgers, Marquette: ...this is where the schedule gets hard again. If we just go 1-3 here, we'll be okay. If we drop a game in part 2, we are more than capable of going 2-2 here; however, I'd rather not rely upon that. The target it to be at least 17-11 with three to go...
  • Part 4: @ Seton Hall, @ Pitt, Georgetown: Going 2-1 here puts us at 19-12 overall /10-8 BE. Bubble, but solid bubble as long as we take care of business at Madison Square Garden.
Bottom line: It's there. Villanova has control over its fate, and a reasonable path to the goal of playing meaningful games in March. Our resume and schedule are strong enough that, in my opinion, 20-13 should be enough to get us in.

* "conference and non-conference performance, and road and home records." Umm. This sounds like a convoluted way of saying "we account for W-L record. Oh and also W-L record!!"

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of VU Hoops.

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