Anonymous Resume: Which teams are most deserving of a 2024 men’s NCAA Tournament bid?

Championship week in men’s college basketball means it’s finally time for America’s favorite sport of confusing partial information: the unsung NCAA Tournament to resume.

Anonymous Resume

In principle, the selection committee tries to compare the team’s resumes without any kind of bias. This is both impossible and impractical, because if you’ve watched as much basketball as these committee members have, all you need to do is take a look at the opponents’ list to know whose resume this is.

But we can actually remove the names and talk almost exclusively in metrics to compare two (or more) teams in anonymity.

On these resumes, you will find the following abbreviations/abbreviations:

NET: NCAA Assessment Tool. This is the primary sorting metric by which quartile records are determined. Generally, a team’s net is not as important as its opponents’ net, but it still matters to some extent.

RES: Resume or Results-Based Metrics. It is the average of the Kevin Pauga Index (KPI) and Strength of Record (SOR). The lower the number, the better.

QUAL: Quality or predictive metrics. This is an average of Kenpom and BPI. Margin of victory is a big factor here, and again, the lower the number, the better. As a rule of thumb for bracketology, when it comes to deciding whether a team makes the field or not, RES is more important, while QUAL starts to play a factor in where teams should be seeded. . (Frankly, NET should also be a part of this average, as it is also a predictive metric. But it is viewed separately as its own sorting tool.)

SEE ALSO : Three Leaf Clover: Pritchard and Hauser answering all the questions

SOS/NCSOS: Strength of schedule/Strength of non-conference schedule. For the most part, this is not important as a standalone data point, as the strength of the schedule lies in the numbers. But a team with a top-10 schedule may get some benefit of the doubt, while a team ranked 300th or worse in the NCSOS may be penalized for lack of effort. More on that soon.

Q1/Q2/Q3/Q4: Quads. In olden times, we used to only talk about records against top 50, top 100 etc., but they changed the team sheet a few years ago to track where the games were played.

Quadrant 1 includes home games against the NET Top 30, neutral-site games against the NET Top 50, and road games against the NET Top 75. Q2 Home vs. is 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100 and Road vs. 76. -135. Q3 home vs. is 76-160, neutral vs. 101-200 and road vs. 136-240. And Q4 is everything else. But don’t worry about those actual numbers. Just know that a Q1 win is good and a Q4 loss is bad. (Q1A is the top part of Quad 1, or Home vs 1-15, Neutral vs 1-25 and Road vs 1-40. It’s extra nice to have these.)

Notably, these are records that can change overnight as the net refreshes, making any team suddenly look more attractive or less attractive for no apparent reason. My favorite example from the season was two weeks ago when Marquette lost at Creighton, but improved from 6-6 vs. Q1 to 8-6 the next morning when its previous home wins over Villanova and Texas improved from Q2 to Q1, as they Both the teams moved from around 35th position in the nets to top 30 by a small margin.

With those terminology notes out of the way, let’s get into the dirt.

Anonymous Resume Comparison #1: Predictions vs. Results

Team A: 22-9, NET: 51, RES: 34.5, Quality: 59.5, 1-4 vs Q1A, 2-6 vs Q1, 6-3 vs Q2, 14-0 vs Q3/Q4, SOS: 79, NCSOS :169

Team B: 18-13, NET: 24, RES: 46.0, Quality: 19.0, 2-6 vs Q1A, 3-8 vs Q1, 5-5 vs Q2, 10-0 vs Q3/Q4, SOS: 18, NCSOS :39

Often, this parlor game is used to make you believe that a team that is not even close to the field is actually worth a bid, or that a projected single-digit seed may actually be headed to the NIT. But it’s a comparison between two teams hot on the bubble that is likely destined for a showdown in Dayton early next week.

So, which number is most special to you? Is it Team B’s disturbing amount of total losses, or its ridiculously impressive predictive metrics? Or maybe it’s just that none of the predictive metrics paint Team A as a top-50 team? It sounds bad, doesn’t it?

The problem for Team A is that it is destroyed when it loses. All nine losses have been by double digits, with an average losing margin of 20.4 points. Compared to Team A’s nine losses totaling 184 points, Team B’s 13 losses were by a combined margin of 90 points, often coming straight down to the wire.

But is it better to not occasionally claw your way to an 8-9 record vs. Q1/Q2 or lose consecutive close games on your way to an 8-13 record against that group? Team A is ranked slightly ahead of Team B in results-based metrics, which tells us that team is better, and winning 67 percent of the games against Q2 is much better than winning 50 percent of them.

The strange thing about all this is that both teams failed the proverbial eye test.

You would think that being in the top-20 in predictions would mean that Team B (Michigan State) looks significantly better than Team A (Virginia), but I’m not even sure if that’s true. Yes, the Cavaliers have suffered huge upsets in their losses, but Sparti probably has one game per month where he actually looks the part of a tournament team. It’s surprising that they’re consistently hovering in the 15-20 range on KenPom, no matter how many times they lose.

Both of these teams have work to do in their conference tournaments, and will likely be eliminated with a loss on Thursday.

Anonymous Resume Comparison #2: At Least One of You Tried

Team C: 18-13, NET: 47, RES: 49.5, Quality: 42.5, 2-4 vs Q1A, 5-6 vs Q1, 6-3 vs Q2, 2-4 vs Q3, 5-0 vs Q4, SOS :17, NCSOS:21

Team D: 21-10, NET: 44, RES: 50.5, Quality: 39.5, 1-4 vs Q1A, 2-6 vs Q1, 5-2 vs Q2, 7-2 vs Q3, 7-0 vs Q4, SOS :83, NCSOS:342

From a purely NET/RES/QUAL perspective, these power-conference resumes are nearly identical. But there is one huge difference: non-conference strength of program.

People get annoyed that the NCSOS is not applied equally across brackets. Iowa State’s non-conference schedule was every bit as creamy as Team D’s, yet the Cyclones are in no worse shape than the No. 3 seed. Similarly, Northwestern’s NCSOS rank is also just north of 300, but the Wildcats – even with a terrible home loss to Chicago State on their resume – are viewed by most people as a lock, No. 8. /9 is projected for the seed.

However, when we get into the bubble, now all we suddenly care about is, did you try something in November?

Listen, I agree with you. If it were up to me, teams would be completely ineligible for a top-four seed if they didn’t meet a certain threshold of “give a darn” when putting together a non-conference schedule. Not playing anyone for two months will cost you at least one seed line, no matter where you are in the projected region.

But our job is to explain what the selection committee will do, and history shows that NCSOS is only a real problem when you get just below the cut line. This could be disastrous for Team D and quite beneficial for Team C.

Even without trying to implement any kind of SOS idea, the Quad 1 record is a big plus for Team C in this comparison. Even though two of those Quad 1 wins were road games against teams ranked around 60th in NET and unlikely to make the field, five Quad 1 wins and a team with a winning record vs. Q1/Q2 made it It would be highly unusual to leave. of the field.

How unusual is this, you ask? In the three full seasons since the switch to NET (2019, 2022, 2023), 69 teams met the criteria of five Quad 1 wins and a winning Q1/Q2 record. Not only were all 69 admitted, but in 2019 Seton Hall was the No. 38 seed overall (top half of the No. 10 seed line) to receive a double-digit seed.

Granted, none of those previous teams took four losses outside of the top two quads, but can we really blame Team C (Texas A&M) for some not-so-terrible mistakes in favor of Team D (Pittsburgh ) are going to leave? ), whose best non-conference wins came against dead-last-in-the-Big 12 West Virginia and dead-last-in-the-Pac-12 Oregon State?

What about the fact that Pitt’s best win of the season so far came against Duke on a night when the Blue Devils were without two starters, Jeremy Roach and Mark Mitchell? Fans may place more emphasis on the injury situation than the selection committee, but when we’re talking about a big win for the Panthers, it’s important to make sure that win passes the smell test.

Texas A&M should be comfortably ahead of Pittsburgh at this point, but there has been a lot of pressure for the Panthers lately. He still has a lot of work to do, mainly due to his NCSOS. A rank in the mid-300s with the cut line is missed almost every time.

Anonymous Resume Comparison #3: How Much Does NET Really Matter?

Kadri Richmond

Team F: 19-13, NET: 43, RES: 67.0, Quality: 37.5, 3-10 vs Q1, 3-1 vs Q2, 13-2 vs Q3/Q4

Team G: 18-13, NET: 52, RES: 63.0, Quality: 54.0, 4-8 vs Q1, 4-3 vs Q2, 10-2 vs Q3/Q4

Team H: 20-11, NET: 62, RES: 47.0, Quality: 60.5, 5-7 vs Q1, 4-3 vs Q2, 11-1 vs Q3/Q4

We’re going with a slightly more concise version of the resume for this one. Not because we’re intentionally leaving out numbers that might sway you one way or the other, but because there are three teams instead of two and we want to focus on the purpose of this comparison, which is the Nets.

The NCAA selection committee’s sorting tool has come under much criticism this season. Some teams (mostly from the Big 12) “gamed” the Nets by putting together weak non-conference schedules and eliminating those overmatched foes. This helped artificially inflate their efficiency metrics to the point where basically every game in league play looked like a prime opportunity for both teams.

I won’t rehash that entire debate, but this comparison should demonstrate that a team’s NET is not a particularly important standalone data point when it comes to field selection.

Out of this trio, you can clearly see that Team H not only has the worst net but also the worst predicted metrics. This suggests that it would have been the underdog if it had faced Team F or Team G on a neutral level.

However, what really matters is ranking in outcome-based metrics. Being at 47.0 doesn’t make Team H a slam dunk for the field, but ranking outside the top 60 should prove fatal for both Team F and Team G.

Since the switch from RPI to NET for the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the worst REC ranking to receive an at-large bid was Rutgers in 2022. The Scarlet Knights team made it through with a 57.5 average, doing so with a remarkable 5–5 record. Against the top half of Quad 1. (By the way, Team F and Team G do not have the same symbol.)

That Rutgers team also had a NET ranking of 77, as well as a KenPom/BPI average of 74.0, proving who you beat is more important than how badly you beat them.

This is why Team H (Seton Hall) should be headed to the tournament, while Team F (Cincinnati) and Team G (Utah) are almost certainly on the outside looking in, despite better predicted metrics.

Having said that, this was written before Cincinnati’s solid win over Kansas on Wednesday night. This is definitely going to help the Bearcats’ metrics, even though the selection committee will surely know the Jayhawks were without two of their best players. If they can even beat Baylor on Thursday night, they’ll at least be back in the conversation – but almost certainly still well behind Seton Hall.

Anonymous Resume Comparison #4: The Way Is Hard (But Necessary)

Team J: 19-12, NET: 38, RES: 57.0, Quality: 28.0, 1-2 vs Q1A, 2-5 vs Q1, 6-6 vs Q2, 11-1 vs Q3/Q4, SOS: 71, NCSOS :253, Road/Neutral Record: 3-11

Team K: 27-6, NET: 29, RES: 41.0, Quality: 41.0, 0-2, vs Q1A, 1-4 vs Q1, 4-1 vs Q2, 22-1 vs Q3/Q4, SOS: 130, NCSOS: 187, Road/Neutral Record: 15-5

We’ve added a few extras to the resume for this final comparison, but it’s an important factor that’s often overlooked in our bubble discussions: the ability to win away from home.

This came to the fore this season in regards to both Nebraska and Northwestern in the Big Ten. But both of those teams played a fair amount of stretches on the road versus the bottom half of the league, so that makes their road/neutral records while playing outside the bubble all the more palatable.

Team J, on the other hand, did not do so. Not only did Team J record a miserable 3-11 away from home, but here are the NET rankings from those games:

Win: At 91, At 126, At 147 Neutral
Losses: 7 hrs, 10 hrs, 44 hrs, 51 hrs, 52 Neutral, 56 hrs, 79 hrs, 93 Neutral, 96 hrs, 101 hrs, 121 hrs
The losses suffered by net numbers 7 and 10 are completely understandable. Even 44, 51 and 56 are anything. They are quad 1 games. They are considered difficult to obtain, even for teams close to the bubble.

But six Quad 2 defeats are hard to swallow, as well as a complete lack of away wins against teams in the top 90.

On a fairly rare occasion, Team K got at least one Quad 1 win away from home, went 2–1 on the road against Quad 2 and went 12–0 away from home against Quad 3 and 4 .

As a result, Team K (Indiana State) clearly has a better overall resume than Team J (Wake Forest). For now, anyway.


The problem for the Sycamores is that they’re finished playing, while the Demon Deacons and a whole bunch of other teams on the bubble still have a chance to improve their resume in these final few days.

Indiana State should definitely be in the field today, but there is a lot of pessimism around the bracketology world as to whether it will still be eligible for a bid by Selection Sunday.

One big thing working in Indiana State’s favor is that there aren’t too many mid-majors in the conversation for at-large bids this year.

Drake, James Madison and Samford have already secured automatic bids, and Princeton, McNeese State and Grand Canyon will likely do the same. If that’s the case, it would just be Indiana State — and, with a much less compelling argument, Appalachian State — sitting there with more than 27 wins on the bubble.

That and 15 away wins should bode well for the Brees.

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