A closer look at mediocrity

Editor's note: Charlie Creme will project the 2007 NCAA Tournament bracket right up to Selection Monday in March. Click here for his most recent Women's Bracketology and Charlie's team-by-team analysis. The following questions were submitted after he announced his field of 64 on Monday.

I don't have a lot of time so I will make this brief. The MWC should get BYU, TCU and New Mexico in the field. Haven't you guys learned yet? Why do you guys continue to want to reward mediocre teams from big conferences?


Thanks for your brevity, Patrick. I'll also give you some credit for having some guts. Making reference to mediocre teams in big conferences as a defense for TCU and New Mexico is highly ironic. Patrick, I've got news for you: TCU and New Mexico are also mediocre -- at best. The Horned Frogs have a 50-plus RPI, a schedule just inside the top-100, zero top-50 wins, one bad loss to Arizona, and nine of their 19 wins have come against sub-150 competition. Not much of a résumé. New Mexico does have good wins over Texas and BYU, but neither is outstanding. The Lobos' RPI and SOS are actually worse than TCU's, and their record minus the 11 sub-150 wins really looks like 8-6. Those kinds of wins don't mean a ton to the committee. Perhaps you want to re-evaluate your definition of mediocre.

Mr. Creme, I can understand why you left West Virginia out of the tournament, but I don't think you are taking a close look at its wins -- your 16-seed Oakland, your 15-seed Coppin State and your 9-seed South Florida. And the Mountaineers' SOS and RPI are solid. What does West Virginia have to do to get into your bracket?


We can drop the formalities, Ryan. Just call me Charlie. West Virginia is getting closer and the win the other night at Pittsburgh was very big. Beat Louisville in the regular-season finale and the Mountaineers would definitely be in. They are right on the cusp, if not in, now. However, be careful about giving West Virginia credit for wins over Oakland and Coppin State just because they are in the field. Those teams are in because they are their respective league's automatic qualifier, but they would hardly be classified as good wins. It's better than playing the bottom clubs in the Mid-Continent and MEAC, but that isn't what will get West Virginia in.

I was just wondering why Kentucky was not even in your consideration to be in the tournament. Kentucky beat both Mississippi and Auburn. Mississippi is a 7-seed and Auburn is in your "last four out." Kentucky was not even in your "last four out." Kentucky beat Arkansas by 27 yesterday and has had overtime losses to Mississippi (we played them twice), Georgia, and Mississippi State, all of which you have in the tournament. Kentucky also lost to Vanderbilt on a buzzer-beater with 2 seconds left. Kentucky also lost to Ohio State by two in Columbus. Kentucky has six wins in the SEC and going on seven if the Wildcats beat the struggling Florida. Mississippi State has six wins in the SEC and is one game below .500 -- like Kentucky. I agree that the Wildcats are on the bubble, but they should at least be considered. Thanks.


Do your neighbors in Nashville know that you are writing to me about Kentucky, Tom? That can't go over well. First, Mississippi State is actually 6-6, which puts the Bulldogs at .500. And, you neglected to mention that Kentucky also lost to Mississippi. But the biggest problem here, Tom, is you rattle off a bunch of close losses, but not much mention of wins. Teams still need to actually win games, not just be competitive. The difference is that Auburn has put together the same overall record against a decidedly better schedule. Kentucky is actually a 9-11 team minus those sub-150 wins. That is the heart and soul of what the committee wants to see. Bad wins are not great résumé builders, either.

Now, I'll grant you this. Auburn is fading and I don't like its chances at the end of the day, but Kentucky's certainly aren't better.

Charlie, I think it's time to seriously think about moving Bowling Green up to No. 4 seed. They lost two games. Duke by the second-lowest margin of the season and Notre Dame in South Bend in overtime. BGSU destroyed Temple, beat Texas-Arlington and Ball State -- teams that all look to make the tourney -- and beat the Big Ten's Indiana by close to 40. Does Middle Tennessee State have a résumé like that?


Actually, no, Todd. Middle Tennessee State has a better résumé. The Blue Raiders' schedule was much tougher, their RPI is higher and they boast a win at Georgia. Middle Tennessee State didn't come close. It beat Georgia. And the Blue Raiders' second-best win -- Old Dominion -- is better or at least considered on equal footing as Bowling Green's best win (Delaware). I can't just arbitrarily move Bowling Green to a 4-seed. There can only be four of them and the Falcons' résumé isn't as good as anyone there now.

Dear Sir, this Bracketology has me really steamed. Supposed to be based on what a team has done this year, not traditionally. Therefore, how can the ninth-ranked RPI team with only four losses, three of which were on the road to ranked teams and the fourth coming at home to UConn by only four points, be a No. 6 seed?

Mr. Reality

I will assume we are discussing Marquette here and, although it wasn't part of my analysis over the weekend, I suppose Tuesday's loss to Seton Hall sort of makes this a moot point. But I will say this. In order to move Marquette up from a 6-seed, someone in the No. 5 line has to come out. Who might that be? Not Michigan State, which has a similar record and a better collection of wins, including two top-10 road wins in the last two weekends.

You might want to argue Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights beat Marquette, have three top-25 wins to the Golden Eagles' one, and have been playing better basketball of late. It's hard to deny that.

Marquette and Baylor have the same number of throwaway (sub-150) wins I've been talking about here, but the Lady Bears have 10 top-50 wins to Marquette's seven. Baylor is also co-leading its conference right now. And, while I did argue against Bowling Green above for a 4-seed, the Falcons seem fairly placed at 5. That might be your best argument because Bowling Green's schedule isn't very good thanks to too many gimmes in the MAC. But it's hard to argue with 25-2 and the Falcons will get points for their play against Duke. Maybe not as much as some might like to make of it, but it does count.

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