It’s time for another installment of Villanova’s Quad Goals, our ongoing series in which we track the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament Resume. If you need a refresher on the NET rankings or the Quad System, check out our previous article for additional details. And if you’re looking for more information on all the rankings, read Rankings 101.
One of the staples of early March is the blind resume game that announcers will play during a broadcast. Usually it’s played between teams on the bubble, and the commentators will pick one of three resumes that they think is most deserving of making the tournament without knowing which school they’re picking. Then the schools are revealed, everyone laughs, and no one really cares.
Today we’re going to try a similar game but with a little twist. I’m going to give you five blind resumes, and I’ll let you know up front that one of them IS Villanova. Each one of these schools currently has a different seeding 4-8 per BracketMatrix.com. My challenge to you is to determine which order you believe they should be seeded in. I’ll also note that this data doesn’t include yesterday’s games. With that in mind, here we go:
Two things come to mind when I look at these five resumes. The first is that I need to give a little more slack to the announcers on TV because this is harder than I thought, and I have all the answers! But the second is that outside of the Top 3 seed lines, these teams are going to be bunched awfully close together. While I’d certainly pick a few of them over the others, it’s hard to imagine that all five of these teams currently occupy different seed lines.
That’s the screwy part of the late March push that Villanova has thankfully been able to avoid the past few seasons. The Wildcats have been placed as a 1 or 2 seed in each of the past five years. Up at the top you may bump up or down a seed line on occasion, but you’ve got a pretty clear picture of where you’ll be going into Selection Sunday.
However, the further into the meat of the bracket you fall, the more things can shift quickly. Not only are there more teams with similar resumes, but the rules of the bracket seeding start to have bigger effects as well. Things like not being able to play a conference opponent in the first two rounds, not being able to play an opponent you already faced in the first round, geographic considerations, and a slew of other seeding guidelines can force teams up and down the bracket. And that’s why the committee has an organizing tool like the NET, or NCAA Evaluation Tool.
While the NET may not include some of the seeding guidelines I mentioned, it does take into account a considerable amount of metrics including those I placed in the above blind resume. But not only is the NET useful, it’s brand new. The NCAA put a lot of time and effort into creating and defending this new tool, which means they probably don’t won’t Selection Sunday to come around and have the final seedings make the NET look like it wasn’t used. Sure, it won’t be an exact match to the rankings, but I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a pretty strong correlation. With that in mind, let’s add the NET Ranks to our blind resumes and see if that changes where you had these teams seeded:
Changes things up a little bit, doesn’t it? I’ll admit, I was being manipulative by showing you a narrow window of the data. The selection committee won’t have that issue as everything will be at their fingertips. But the point I’m trying to make is that when projecting where Villanova could or should end up, it’s important to keep their NET ranking in mind. That means it’s not just about what the Wildcats do between now and Selection Sunday, but what the teams around them do as well.
I’ll reveal the teams and their current seeds at the end of the article. But for now, let’s jump into Villanova’s Quad Goals. That should at least help you figure out which team is the Wildcats if you haven’t already.
Villanova Quad Goals
The Wildcats have bounced back nicely and could potentially make a run back at a 4 Seed by Selection Sunday. Of course, that would not only require them running the table and winning the Big East Tournament over Marquette, but they’d also need some other teams to stumble down the home stretch. Let’s see where Villanova’s Team Sheet stands today:
Here are a few things that jump out to me:
- Keep pulling for Providence! If the Friars can climb just three more spots in the NET it gives Nova another Q1 Win without even having to beat anyone. This also means we’d rather not see Ed Cooley’s team on Villanova’s side of the Big East Tournament Bracket.
- Georgetown and Xavier are still right on the edge of the quadrants, both within 5 spots in the NET rankings of both of their games dropping down a level. Not only would both of those Q1 losses drop to Q2, but the Q2 wins would drop to Q3. The new NET rankings will be out later today, so we’ll have to see if Xavier’s loss to Butler last night pushed them over the edge.
- Despite a down year for the Big East, Nova’s overall SOS is remarkably strong at 14th. Even the Non-Con SOS, which holds a little more weight with the selection committee, is Top 25. Regardless of the talent or experience on the team, it’s always good to schedule tough teams. Or, in the case of the Big 5, make sure some of those games are on the road. It really helps with the NET and Quadrant systems.
- Only one of the predictive rankings (Sagarin) has Villanova in the Top 16, a.k.a. Top 4 seeds. Villanova not only has to win, but they’ll need to play better in order to climb those rankings. Especially on defense!
And finally, here are the answers for the blind resumes. And yes, if you figured it out, they were color coordinated: