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.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Guru's Odds and Ends: Looking At Locks And Bubbles

(Guru’s note: The A-10 title game story is above this post.)

By Mel Greenberg

It is early in the week and some key conferences still have to play through but here is a rough and the emphasis is rough look at the hunt for 33 at-large teams.

If a team has won its automatic or for the moment the Guru thinks a team like Baylor will be the automatic out of the Big 12, or leagues left are one-bid leagues, those schools will not appear below.

The first group are all those teams the Guru considers locks either by his look at the data or the belief the committee will be choosing the team.

The Guru believes Temple should be in the field but will hold the Owls back for comparative purposes since the lock list does not reach 33, hence the others are the bubbles.

Likewise, if Delaware does not win the CAA this weekend, the Blue Hens become a lock for an at-large and someone gets bumped. But that is for a future go-round between now and Selection Monday.

The Big 12 is very fluid so some names will go to this group and some to the bubble group until reality occurs when the conference tournament gets under way.

The SEC is hard to figure whether it’s an overload but it’s trending that way for the moment.

So here goes.

ACC (3) – Duke, Miami, Georgia Tech

A10 (1) – St. Bonaventure

Big 10 (3) Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska

Big 12 (3) Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Kansas State

Big East (7) Connecticut, St. John’s, West Virginia, Georgetown, Rutgers, Louisville, DePaul.

Pac-12 (1) California

SEC (7) Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida, LSU, Arkansas

Total 25 which means eight openings from the bubble

Next is just the list without saying who at this point moves in.

Need eight for the field.

ACC (2) Virginia, North Carolina

A10 (1) Temple

Big 10 (3) Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State

Big 12 (3) Iowa State, Texas, Kansas

West Coast (1) Gonzaga

Pac-12 (1) Southern Cal

Total is 12 and four of the above must be cut.

AP Poll Trivia

Next week is the final poll of the season when extra trivia will be offered because it is the final poll.

But for now here are some small samplings off this week’s database update.

West Virginia, which will probably be short-lived, gives the Big East 7 teams this week followed by Big 10 4, Big 12 2, ACC 4, SEC 3, PAC-12 1, CAA 1, A-10 1, Horizon 1, WCC 1 Total: 25.

Jim Foster, the Ohio State coach, has tied himself, the former Vanderbilt coach, with 164 rankings at one school, which is 24th on the all-time list.

Gary Blair at Texas A&M has tied former Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp at 17th with 264 AP rankings, each.

Princeton Goes For Ivy Perfection

Repeating numbers from a recent blog, here is how the Tigers will compare to the Harvard trifecta of 1996-98 that had Allison Feaster.

That three-year run gave Harvard an overall record of 63-19 including one unbeaten season and an Ivy mark of 39-3 in the same time span besides gaining national notoriety in 1998 with not only the sole NCAA Division I tournament win by the Ivy women but the one in which the Crimson became the only men’s or women’s 16th seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the opening round when they took down Stanford on the Cardinals’ court.

Close followers of the women’s game, however, note that by the time Stanford took the floor to start the tournament the Cardinal were not really a true No. 1 seed after suffering major injuries by two significant stars.

And, for that matter, if Harvard had not been dragged down in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) caused by playing perceived weak Ivy rivals, Feaster’s talent made the Crimson a group that should have been seeded higher than a 16 by the NCAA tournament committee.

“Actually I may have had a hand in that,” said Banghart, who starred at Dartmouth at the same time. “I was a junior and we beat them that final weekend, so maybe the loss knocked them back a bit.”

In recent seasons, Banghart, whose Tigers won their 16th straight, has beefed up the nonconference slate to earn the highest seeds ever by an Ivy participant at No. 11 and this year three of the losses were to opponents nationally-ranked in the Associated Press women’s poll -- two at home to DePaul and Delaware and one on the road at Stanford, besides suffering a sole upset at defending Patriot League champion Navy in Annapolis, Md.

Harvard on the road a year ago at the moment is the only Ivy stumble the Tigers have taken on a current run of 40-1 including an unbeaten season two years ago when all-American candidate Niveen Rasheed was the top Ivy freshman.

She missed most of her sophomore season with a knee injury but now Rasheed and her junior classmates, as well as the seniors, can become the first sub-group in Ivy history to win two unbeaten titles.

Furthermore Princeton can shatter the Harvard 63-19 three-year mark, including three NCAA tournament games at 1-2, with a 74-12 record before the Big Dance. The Tigers currently are 73-12.

A perfect finish after the Penn visit would give the Tigers 24 wins, matching their last season’s second-best ever mark by an Ivy school and topped by the current group in 2010 with 26 wins.

That’s it for now.

-- Mel

7 Comments:

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I believe there are only 11 teams among your bubbles.

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