Just a year ago, there was a heated debate about whether the VCU Rams belonged in the NCAA tournament. When the brackets were released, and the Rams were in, ESPN experts, bracketologists, and the wife of Dick Vitale, who didn’t know DIDDILY about basketball, all felt that VCU should not have made the field. When they defeated Kansas to head to Houston for the Final Four, you didn’t hear much in return. They belonged, they knew they belonged, and so did the committee making the selections.
This blog is now featured in the Bracket Matrix, which lists brackets from across the web and who they feel should be in. Only 14 of the other 81 brackets agreed with my inclusion of VCU in the field (less than 20%). They can only play who is on their schedule, and to date they are 3-4 against the top 100 of the RPI. Fellow competitor Miami, meanwhile is 3-10. Now, I understand VCU also lost to Georgia St. and Georgia Tech, but are these two losses really worse than the extra 7 Miami has? Is that Duke win really going to boost Miami? I’m sorry, but I’m of the belief that if you get 8 shots against top 50 opponents and win exactly 1, that doesn’t mean you’re a good team. If we extend the cutoff (which I realize is a little misleading), VCU is 3-2 against the RPI top 70, while Miami is 1-9 against those 70… 1-9!!!!
Let’s look at another team that many of those in the matrix like, Northwestern. I was on the campus of Northwestern this fall, and I know they have hope for a first ever NCAA tournament bid, but likewise against the RPI top 70, Northwestern is 3-9. I have to believe that if VCU got 7 more games against top 70 teams, they’d win at least a couple. Another big stat I look at, which I know the committee also does, is wins on an opponent’s home floor. Here’s a count of some bubble teams road wins:
This is completely ridiculous. VCU has a better record than all of these teams against RPI top 70 opponents (Minnesota 3-8 by the way). They have a significant amount of more road wins, and Crotistics has VCU ranked significantly higher than any of those teams. I hope the committee makes a similar decision to last year and includes VCU in the tournament. Despite being from a smaller conference, they deserve it.