Friday, November 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Crunchy Numbers: Why Villanova fans should back away from the ledge

Despite the mass outbreak of paranoid hysteria on Lancaster Ave., I find it very hard to believe that the Wildcats could miss the NCAA Tournament.

Crunchy Numbers: Why Villanova fans should back away from the ledge

Now that it's March, I'd like to take a bit of a different approach towards our weekly stats roundup.

Specifically, I'd like to tell Villanova fans to back away from the ledge and breathe. Despite the mass outbreak of paranoid hysteria on Lancaster Ave., I find it very hard to believe that the Wildcats could miss the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova just has too many quality wins. Despite the Wildcats' ugly losing streak and even uglier brand of basketball being played at the moment, the team's non-conference schedule is almost certainly going to carry the 'Cats into the Big Dance.

Now you may not like the RPI - I certainly would rather go by Pomeroy ratings - but it's what the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee uses. So for this blog post, we'll use it too.

Through Monday night, Villanova had six RPI top 50 wins: at No. 16 Syracuse, vs. No. 20 Louisville, vs. No. 22 West Virginia. vs. 29 Temple, vs. No. 36 UCLA on a neutral floor (Madison Square Garden) and vs. No. 39 Cincinnati.

In addition, Marquette is right on the edge at No. 51. If the Golden Eagles beat Cincinnati in Milwaukee on Wednesday and the Bearcats don't fall too far, the Wildcats will have seven RPI Top 50 wins going into Pittsburgh on Saturday.

By comparison, Kentucky has six RPI top 50 wins, Wisconsin has five, North Carolina has four, and Pac-10 leader Arizona has just two. All of those teams are certainly going to be in the NCAA Tournament.

So yes, Villanova is playing terribly right now. Yes, the Wildcats are more likely than not to be playing on the first day of the Big East Tournament. And yes, it is possible that they might not win another game until November if they get Providence or Rutgers on Tuesday at the Garden.

Still, I just can't see the Wildcats not making the NCAA Tournament. It's going to be a rocky ride for the rest of March, but the plane is going to land, and you'll be able to get off it and go on with your lives just fine.

Here's another way to look at the matter. I've put together a table with NCAA Tournament teamsheet data from the 10 teams above Villanova in the RPI and the ten teams below them. Take a look at that along with our weekly local ranking tables, and let me know what you think.

A reminder that all data reflect results through Monday's games.

Team
Record
Conf.
Big 5
Drexel
20-9
11-7
2-0
98 (99)
64 (70)
79 (86)
92 (99)
138 (134)
La Salle
13-16
5-9
2-1
184 (188)
178 (183)
166 (169)
219 (222)
139 (147)
Penn
12-13
6-5
1-3
176 (169)
181 (155)
177 (170)
224 (214)
171 (149)
St. Joe's
8-20
3-11
0-4
203 (202)
195 (198)
198 (199)
231 (230)
62 (54)
Temple
22-6
12-2
2-1
35 (34)
29 (t32)
31 (30)
17 (17)
75 (86)
Villanova
21-9
9-8
4-0
26 (16)
32 (28)
21 (17)
44 (30)
18 (21)

 

Team
Top 50 wins
201+ losses
Avg. win
Avg. loss
6
0
128
42
2
0
163
43
2
2
172
95
3
1
119
53
1
0
194
39
1
1
182
112
0
2
226
121
0
4
215
126
0
0
218
106
0
1
200
94
1
2
218
96
0
6
247
178
0
4
266
139
0
0
185
97
0
5
283
152
0
7
220
179

 

Team
Top 50 wins
201+ losses
Avg. win
Avg. loss
6
0
103
33
3
1
132
77
5
0
129
50
2
0
151
79
3
0
155
39
3
0
152
56
4
0
151
30
2
0
163
43
4
0
142
51
0
0
168
56
6
0
128
42
4
0
142
81
6
1
102
70
3
0
158
20
3
0
154
53
0
0
158
65
3
1
121
65
1
0
136
70
4
0
166
17
3
0
120
35
0
0
180
86

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected