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Top of the Arc - January 6, 2009

Jan. 6, 8:45 a.m.: Let’s get back to one of my favorite hobbies: ripping the polls. When I took part of the NCAA’s mock selection committee in Indianapolis last year, one of the things we often did when comparing two teams was to cover the names of the schools with a piece of paper. It just helps committee members avoid being swayed by preconceived notions and it boils the evaluation down to pure numbers. Who’d you play? Who’d you beat? So let’s compare the mid-season profiles of two schools without showing their names right now. Tell me which team is deserving of a better NCAA tournament seed. The result may surprise you.

Team A
Record: 11-1
RPI: 2
Strength of schedule: 16
Road/Neutral court record: 6-1
Vs. top 50 teams: 4-1
Vs. teams ranked 200 or worse: 3-0

Team B
Record: 12-2
RPI: 50
SOS: 164
Road/Neutral court record: 4-2
Vs. top 50 teams: 1-2
Vs. teams ranked 200 or worse: 6-0

So which team has accomplished more? Team A clearly has beaten better teams and has played a tougher schedule. Half of Team B’s victories have come against lightweights.

Team A is Butler
Team B is UCLA

Yet in the Associated Press Top 25, UCLA is 10th and Butler is 21st. Why? How much does the name on the front of the jersey play a role in the voting?

By Eric Prisbell  |  January 6, 2009; 8:45 AM ET
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