Sunday, March 1, 2015

Schuylkill 16 Week 11: Jumping in at the deep end

A look at where the region's teams stand in the Pomeroy rankings gives us quite a bit to talk about.

Schuylkill 16 Week 11: Jumping in at the deep end

Before we get to this week's numbers, a few news items...

- Remember to vote in the poll asking which City Six school has the best fans.

- Awful Announcing provides this week's schedule of televised college basketball games, highlighted by Dick Vitale's trip to Duke-Wake Forest on Wednesday. Start preparing yourselves now, because we all know how much time he'll spend rhapsodizing about Jeff Teague and Dino Gaudio.

- The Mountain West Conference has started an official campaign to get an automatic bid into the BCS, according to USA Today. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson is trying to arrange a meeting with ACC commissioner and BCS coordinator John Swofford, though from the quotes in the story Thompson doesn't sound too optimistic.

You can't deny the success MWC teams have had in BCS bowls in recent years. But we also know that while the first goal of the BCS is to hold a national championship game, the second is to make as much money as possible, and the big six conferences' teams have larger fan bases and draw bigger TV ratings than the MWC schools have over the years.

My own view is that the Mountain West will continue to be shut out of an automatic BCS bid for that very reason, but will also continue to win BCS bowl games and expose the system for what it really is. What do you think?

- A friend passed along UNC-Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz's Twitter feed, though like so many of these things it appears to be a spoof.

Now before you accuse me of spoiling the fun, I figured it out because clicking on the tweeter's listed website brings up this error message:

CoachBobbyLutz.com has been shut down for non-payment.

I can't help thinking there's a joke about the Atlantic 10 in there somewhere.

Now let's turn to the poll. I've included the latest Pomeroy rankings along with the results, because they tell us some rather interesting things.

- Villanova is No. 25 in Pomeroy and is in eighth place in the Big East at 3-3. Of the seven teams above the Wildcats in the standings, three are ranked lower in Pomeroy. Second-place Marquette (7-0 after winning at Notre Dame tonight, 71-64) is ranked No. 26, fifth-place Providence (5-2) is No. 72, and sixth-place Syracuse (5-3) is No. 34.

Only one team below 'Nova in the standings has a higher Pomeroy ranking: ninth-place Georgetown (3-4 after an ugly loss at Seton Hall) is No. 12.

Overall, the Big East is ranked No. 3 among conferences by Pomeroy. The ACC is first, followed by the Pac-10. The Atlantic 10 is ninth, the CAA is 14th, the Patriot League is 26th and the Ivy League is 28th. There are 32 total spots in the conference rankings, including an aggregation of the independents at No. 31. The SWAC is in last place.

- Temple, which routed two A-10 teams ranked in the low 100's by Pomeroy this week, is ranked No. 42. Penn State, which beat two Big Ten teams ranked in the top 80 at home, is ranked No. 69. If the Owls and Nittany Lions keep winning, we will have a very interesting debate on our hands as to which team is better.

- Rutgers (9-11 overall, 0-7 Big East) has lost eight straight games, including six by double digits. But the Scarlet Knights' Pomeroy ranking of 153 is eight spots higher than Rider (11-8 overall, 6-3 MAAC), which won two road games this week. They say your profile is based on who you beat, but maybe it's really about who you lose to. Or maybe the Broncs' 66-62 loss to Rutgers in Trenton back in December actually meant something.

- Despite a 4-11 record, No. 233 Penn is ranked above three teams with better records: No. 268 Princeton (5-8), No. 293 Lafayette (6-13) and No. 303 Monmouth (6-15). The Quakers are also ranked above No. 243 Harvard, who they'll face in Boston on Friday in their first Ivy League game of the season. The Crimson's 9-7 record includes that win over Boston College but also a home loss to Dartmouth this past Saturday.

Still reading? If so, here are the poll results. As Villanova swept all the first-place votes once again, the number in parentheses next to the points total is the respective team's Pomeroy ranking.

1. Villanova, 13 points (25)
- "Barely got past South Florida. They don't like like a dominating force anymore." (Rob Falcone)
- "I'll put Villanova ahead of Penn State this week, but a Nitanny Lions win at Michigan State coupled with a 'Nova loss at home to Pitt might convince me otherwise." (Zach Klitzman)
- "Villanova's significant win will come soon enough." (Josh Wheeling)

2. Temple, 29 points (42)
- "- "Temple is doing just enough to hold off the Nits for the second spot, though a PSU win at Michigan State would probably change all that." (Josh Wheeling)
- "The Owls looked dominant against the A-10 underbelly... avoiding the bad losses will keep them in the at large discussion." (Dave C.)

3. Penn State, 43 points (69)
- "We learned one of two things last week: either Penn State is for real or the Big Ten isn't." (Jeff Shafer)
- "Seems like people are starting to give the Nittany Lions' backcourt the recognition it deserves." (Josh Wheeling)
- "I still have Temple ahead of Penn State because Temple won the head-to-head and had a much tougher out of conference schedule. If PSU's success in conference continues, they might get the bump." (Tim AumAn)

The Nittany Lions travel to East Lansing this coming Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will air on Big Ten Network, for those of you who have it.

4. Saint Joseph's, 54 points (97)
- "The surest thing on the Hawks schedule every year is a road loss at Dayton with a noon tip, although that's a fair trade for beating Xavier." (Dave C.)
- "Phil, I wasn't at the game on Saturday, so I didn't get the chance to tell you something: You're bald." (Zach Klitzman)

He was asking for it, wasn't he?

5. La Salle, 68 points (116)

6. Drexel, 72 points (137)
- "The Dragons, far from the CAA basement at 6-3, have proved that pre-season polls are useless." (Josh Wheeling)
- "The team has developed an inside presence and still plays tough D." (Rob Falcone)

7. Rutgers, 96 points (153)
- "Huge week for Rutgers. Two of its most winnable games are this week, including the matchup against DePaul, which is the only one Ken Pomeroy predicts they'll win." (Zach Klitzman)
- "Over/under on winnable games left for Rutgers: 2. Who would have thought the Big East's worst non-conference schedule wouldn't have the team ready for the Big East?" (Jeff Shafer)
- "Rutgers has dropped eight-in-a-row, but none were bad losses. Okay, losing to Louisville at home by 29 is pretty bad." (Josh Wheeling)

8. Rider, 106 points (161)

9. Lehigh, 119 points (212)
- "I'm beginning to reconsider my view from the first two months of the season that Lehigh had the second best chance to make the Big Dance from this field." (Zachary Levine)

10. Delaware, 128 points (213)
- "The transfers aren't gelling." (Rob Falcone)

11. Penn, 140 points (233)
- In theory, Penn could go 10-4 in conference play and, assuming two of those wins are against Cornell, win the league at 14-14." (Fred D.)

12. Bucknell, 161 points (290)
- "Bucknell wins the battle of the mediocre Patriot League teams fighting to not be third-to-last in the S-16." (Zach Klitzman)

Nothing like a 71-61 home win over Lafayette to get the juices flowing.

13. Princeton, 167 points (268)
- "Princeton snaps its two-game skid against non-Division-I opponents. Next step: stop the two-game losing streak at Dartmouth." (Jeff Shafer)

14. Lafayette, 172 points (293)

15. Monmouth, 195 points (303)

16. Delaware State, 205 points (308)
- "Whenever you lose to Bethune-Cookman, you go straight to the bottom of the list."

Be careful who you insult: Bethune-Cookman is 25 spots higher in Pomeroy than the Hornets, and is in second place in the MEAC.

Okay, that's enough for tonight.

Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
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.

Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
Andrew Albert Sports Producer
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