Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guru's NCAA Tourney Look: Part 1-Finding At-Large Invites


By Mel Greenberg

   With a quiet night for the most part across America the Guru decided it’s time to start looking at the charts to make projections for the NCAA tournament.

   But, yes, he went to Villanova for the game against No. 15 Georgetown and the visiting Hoyas prevailed 60-54 Tuesday night as Sugar Rodgers scored 19 points and Rubylee Wright had 12.

   Laura Sweeney had 16 points and Devon Kane scored 10 for the Wildcats (15-11, 5-8), who stayed in 10th but needed a win to enhance its NCAA bid despite a lofty RPI ranking.

  Another chance comes Saturday when No. 21 Rutgers visits after Wednesday’s trip to West Virginia.

   The Hoyas are fifth but have played two more games than the Mountaineers and own a win over them if tie-breakers come into play in two weeks.

   “You play Villanova and you throw out the rules how you normally play people, especially with the way they can shoot the three,” Hoyas coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said.

  “A one-point win here is as good as a 10 point win.”

     Perretta said it was a challenge being forced into 19 turnovers, way above the low total his team leads the nation.

    “I thought it might be more than that, but it’s on to the next one,” he said.

    Georgetown outscored Villanova 20-4 in points off transition. They next host Providence Saturday in the nation’s capital.

    Providence fell at No. 4 Notre Dame, which was coming off Sunday’s home shocker at the hands of West Virginia.

    Pittsburgh remained winless in the Big East but forced No. No. 19 Louisville into overtime before losing at home 71-66, as the visiting Cardinals advanced into sixth place a half-game ahead of idle DePaul while South Florida won at Marquette.

  Elsewhere defending NCAA champion Texas A&M escaped host Missouri in a Big 12 game.

Delaware Top Mid-Major

Next order of business Delaware, 10th in the AP poll, moved to No. 1 in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major poll, ahead of Wisconsin-Green Bay, which is followed by Florida Gulf Coast and two-time defending Ivy champion Princeton.

 Looking at RPI numbers for the next segment, one wonders what the mid-major voters are chomping down on before casting ballots because while it’s a tough call measuring Princeton against Wis.-Green Bay, in terms of competition it is not even close in terms of whom the Tigers played compared to the Florida group.

NCAA Outlook – Part 1

Basically, here’s what the Guru did in terms of simulating what was learned at several mock bracket sessions at NCAA headquarters in the past.
He voted for 33 teams – the number of at-large selections once automatic qualifiers are determined.

Those he was sure of, he put into the field – those unsure but thought worth keeping in the mix he put into the bubble column.

Monday’s NCAA RPI report and Tuesday’s Realtimerpi.com simulation was used as reference point.

So follow along step by step – though there is a stopping point in part one, especially with nitty gritty court action still to come to affect the nitty gritty numbers on the RPI sheets.

Conferences perceived as one-bid were omitted. But just as a note, Princeton will not appear below because the Guru believes the Tigers are a prohibitive favorite to win the Ivies, though he believes they are one of the best 33 teams in America if automatic qualifiers didn’t exist.

They will be back on the table here in a future post when the Guru gets into seeding. When he gets to that point, he will only discuss seed-worthy numbers and not get entangled with the whole home-court thing the women’s committee must deal with.

And so it begins.

In the Atlantic Coast Conference (4) – Duke, Miami, Maryland and Georgia Tech are in, while North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida State are placed on the bubble (ACC-3), though looking at UNC’s RPI work – just dreadful, but because of standings, they need to be kept alive. Florida State, not as bad, but not great.

In the Atlantic Ten (2) – St. Bonaventure definitely in and Temple gets a nod here for right now while Dayton and Richmond go to the bubble (ATen-2).

In the Big Ten (4) – Penn State, Ohio State, Purdue and Nebraska are in – put Iowa, Michigan State and Michigan (BTen-4) on the bubble until things get sorted out in the next week.

In the Big Twelve (4) – Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Kansas State are in while Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas (BTwelve-5) are on the bubble in a very fluid situation until things here also sort themselves out.

In the Big East (8) – Notre Dame, Connecticut, West Virginia, St. John’s, Georgetown, Louisville, DePaul and Rutgers are in with (BEC-2) Villanova and South Florida on the bubble for comparative purposes.

In the Colonial Athletic Association (1) Delaware is in and (CAA-2) Hofstra and James Madison go to the holding table.

In the Pac-12 (2) --  Stanford and California are in and there is no other consideration. This is also a fluid deal involving Cal.

In the Southeastern Conference (5), Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are in with Florida, Arkansas and LSU (SEC-3) on the bubble.

In the West Coast (1) put BYU in and Gonzaga (WCC-1) on the bubble, but this is interchangeable.

OK, so hitting the calculator – the first numbers in parentheses, the Guru gets a total of 31 with two needed off the bubble – but not just yet.

In every conference listed, unless a dark horse prevails at least one team mentioned in each group will win the automatic bid. So that being the case, they would no longer be considered as at-large candidates.

So that means nine conferences were mentioned, subtract one-team each that would become AQs and now the total is 22 locks and 11 needed off the bubble.

     So, let’s count – the second number in parentheses – how many were put into the bubble for comparison.

 The bubble total is 22, which means 11 teams get cut – that’s why it’s a bubble.

The Guru right now, subject to outcomes between now and the next time and looking at the intricacies of the RPI, would yank Villanova and South Florida from the Big East mix.

So now nine must get cut.

In the ACC, the Guru would cut UNC and Florida State and keep Virginia, but the reality could definitely change.

By the way, remember the guru missed just one at-large pick between his choices and the committee because the committee surprised him on one team.

That means seven of the remaining on the bubble list need to get cut.

Right now, Richmond gets axed from the Atlantic 10 pile, which reduces the ousters needed to six.

Right now, the Guru would cut one from the Big 12 – probably Texas  -- and one from the Big Ten – hadn’t decided which – and that cuts it to four.

In the ACC, as many as all three could get the axe, but knowing the committee, two get cut in projecting what its members might do. That leaves two. Now, one CAA could fall in comparisons at this point – right now JMU has a slight survival edge.

That leaves one so its probably back to the Big Twelve or Big Ten to find the victim.

Furthermore, potentially, upset losses in perceived one-bid leagues could result or not – the RPIs aren’t knockouts – in Gonzaga or BYU taken at-large from the West Coast, Middle Tennessee taken from the Sun Belt, Wisconsin-Green Bay taken from the Horizon League and/or Texas-El Paso saved out of an unforeseen ouster in Conference-USA.

But that’s the early focus for now. The Guru will return to refine this in a few days – maybe after the weekend games – and then discusses who he would seed though right now – no secret – Notre Dame, Baylor, Connecticut and Stanford, in no particular order by the Guru, get the No. 1s.

Duke and Miami, if we were doing this for real today, would get No. 2s, possibly Maryland, possibly Tennessee, with Delaware a three, and Kentucky possibly a two or three, while Ohio State, possibly a three or four. Texas A&M would be a three or a four.

That’s enough mentioned teams for 1-3 seeds but let’s see what happens on the weekend.

And since Temple hosts Georgetown at noon and then Wednesday night it’s either Dayton at La Salle or Rhode Island at St. Joseph’s, time to get a quick few hours sleep.

Tweeting will occur, per the usual. So until several hours from now: That’s it.

-- Mel



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