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Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Talkin' Terps: What should matter most to the Selection Committee?

By Washington Post editors

In Sunday's dead-tree editions, Liz Clarke quoted Gary Williams extensively on what the Maryland coach viewed as the ACC's public relations problem this season. Williams suggested that much of the national discussion around the strengths and weaknesses of various conferences are influenced by claims, often empty, made by coaches and league officials to the media.

"Some leagues do a better job of accentuating the positives and aren't afraid to throw stuff out there," Williams said Saturday. "The ACC has won five of the last 10 national championships, so don't tell me that we're a weak league. I believe [ACC teams won the NCAA championship] the last two years, the last time I checked. I believe [Maryland] beat the [last two] national champions, the last time I checked. But everybody's afraid to say that around here, for some reason."

Williams' case took a little bit of a hit Sunday, when the ACC's top team, Duke, went on the road and got hammered by St. John's, the 11th-place team in the Big East.

What it all boils down to, of course, is the selection of the 68-team NCAA tournament field. Everyone has a different standard, and everyone has a different opinion of what meets that standard.

Over at the 68, Eric Prisbell gives significant weight to wins against teams ranked among the top 50 in the RPI, for which there are limited opportunities in the ACC. Williams suggests that playing in a rugged league, which he asserts the ACC is, should carry influence with the selection committee.

Everyone agrees that a win over Duke at Comcast Center on Wednesday night would be a huge lift to the Terrapins' hopes. But let's say Maryland loses to Duke, North Carolina and Boston College (the other top-50 teams on the schedule), but beats everyone else.
That would leave the Terps at 21-10 and 10-6 in the ACC, one of the top conferences in the country (at least traditionally). Should that be enough to get them in? More importantly, would it be enough?

By Washington Post editors  | January 31, 2011; 12:12 PM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  
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Comments

Funny, an hour ago I posted the comment below on Prisbell's blog criticizing him for focusing too much on record against rpi's top 50...seems that the WaPo editors also noticed him over-emphasizing that one piece of criteria.
-----------

Prisbell, why are you so focused on record vs the top 50 in the rpi? I realize it is one factor the committee looks at, but who ever said that was the most important criteria? Traditionally, the committee looks at how you do on the road/neutral sites, strength of schedule, and how you did in your final 10 games every bit as much as they look at record vs the top 50.

Another factor is the "eye test." I haven't watched all these teams closely, but I do know that as of right now... Vtech and MD both pass the eye test.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 31, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think it comes down to wins and losses. In the end, you can only play the teams that are on your schedule, and trying to schedule a perfect non-conference schedule (teams that have high RPIs and you can beat) is a crap shoot these days. Coaches now have to put together half of their non-conference schedule together 2-3 years in advance, and don't have a lot flexibility to get games against smaller conference teams.

Ultimately, wins against top 50 RPI teams should be weighted more heavily than wins against bottom 150 RPI teams, but the inverse needs to occur when looking at losses (losses to bottom RPI teams weigh more heavily than losses to top 50 RPI teams).

Also, games in conference should carry more weight, regardless of conference, aside from the Big East and any other superconference that is formed. Conference opponents have familiarity with each other, and even with coaching changes, the players remember their tendancies, especially if they've played each other 2-3 times every year. The Big East is an exception, because it is so big that when TCU enters, teams won't even play every team in the conference once. Even with unbalanced conference scheduling, it's pretty easy to see as the cream rises to the top of the conference. If a team can finish in the top 1/3 or 1/2 of ther conference (depending on size and profile of the conference), they should be under consideration for an at large birth.

I also feel that the committee lets conference tournament results skew their judgement. In 2004, the Terps went from a bubble team (probably would have gotten a 10 or 11 seed with a loss or one victory in the ACC Tourney) to a #4 seed after they won the ACC Tournament. Winning 3 games in 3 days does not a season make, and the committee tends to let that last impression (win or lose) count too much towards their selection criteria.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 31, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Meh, I don't care how 'great' your conference is. If you aren't in the top 5 of your conf I think you should sit at home.

Then you know the stakes. Get into the top 5 at least of your conf or make other plans for march.

Posted by: gconrads | January 31, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Eric,
How about Alphabetically?...starting with Alabama and ending with Xavier...then to be fair they could start at the other end of the alphabet next year

Posted by: TerpfanMA | January 31, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm rating Prisbell's sports knowledge with those of the other writers across the country with a WPI (Writer's Pct Index) of 1-50. It looks like he's ranked 394th this season with an 0-50 record vs. the top writers. probably 0-50 if he played them in a game of horse too...

Posted by: terptek | January 31, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Meh, I don't care how 'great' your conference is. If you aren't in the top 5 of your conf I think you should sit at home.

Then you know the stakes. Get into the top 5 at least of your conf or make other plans for march.

Posted by: gconrads | January 31, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

This is a very silly argument. The NCAA tourney is about putting the best teams in the country in the tournament to play each other. If more than 5 of the best teams are all from the same conference, they shouldn't be penalized simply because their conference is so strong.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 31, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I think my team is in, although we can't afford many more losses if we want to get yet another number one seed in the tournament.

I think my second team (MD) gets in even without a win. 10-6, 11-5, 21 wins total gets you in easily.

Posted by: Duke-Rulz-1995 | January 31, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"I believe [Maryland] beat the [last two] national champions, the last time I checked."

Ugh, I hate these bullshti statements. I mean, really, c'mon?

The Redskins beat both of the teams that played in this years NFC Championship, and you know what, it means jack squat because the Redskins were watching that game on tv like the rest of us.

Just like Gary and the Terps were watching the NCAA Championship on tv with the rest of us.

Well whoop-de-do everyone, we beat the teams that won it all. Parade down on Frat Row!!!!

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 31, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Gary does this all the time. It's his way of trying to get the conference, and Maryland, some respect. I actually think he relishes the lack of respect his teams receive, because that seems to be when he does his best work (2008-09 comes to mind). Unfortunately, this statement slammed Gary's foot in his mounth after Duke played like crap yesterday at MSG.

You can spin the stats anyway you want, and Gary's just trying to get some respect from people who constantly overlook teams in the ACC not named Duke or UNC. The conference is definitely down, and some of the things Gary has said really don't mean a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things, but what Gary does is by far classier and more effective than the annual whining from Seth Greenberg that we've been subjected to the past 3 years.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 31, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to Prisbell, I can't ever remember a 20-win team in the ACC missing the Tournament......not since the 16 team field days, anyway.

Posted by: steven09 | January 31, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@steven09...Virginia Tech missed the tourney last year. They were 23-8 overall and 10-6 in the ACC

Posted by: crsiggy | January 31, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Until Terps make some lay ups, foul shots and 3's, forgetaboutit!

Posted by: tomglo325aolcom | January 31, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Every time I read the insider comments it goes like If MD is number 52 should they get in. What if they upset Duke and go 18 and 12 shouldn't they get in even if they lose to BC, FL State, and NC. Why doesn't MD get in if they are 6th, The ACC is tough.

Folks the Men's team needs to be like the women. Just tonight listening to ESPN at half time. It goes like this. MD at no 12 with four top freshmen, a couple of soph. and a JR. is going to be tough in the tourn. They are going to be tough to get out. They might make the final 4. No debate about the bubble, no what if, just how far can they go, can they match up with Conn.

It is this simple Gary needs to recruit like Debbie, win like the women, have freshmen that can score 18 and have half a dozen assists.

In summary quit crying, go get some top talent and win. Debbie has no trouble with the press or ranking. No trouble recruiting at MD. Gary quit living in the past, go recruit and win like a MAN (oh I mean WOMEN)

Posted by: geoski | January 31, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

There is NO WAY Maryland could rank greater than 68.

Ridiculous!

Posted by: primegrop | January 31, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"Everyone agrees that a win over Duke at Comcast Center on Wednesday night would be a huge lift to the Terrapins' hopes. But let's say Maryland loses to Duke, North Carolina and Boston College (the other top-50 teams on the schedule), but beats everyone else.
That would leave the Terps at 21-10 and 10-6 in the ACC, one of the top conferences in the country (at least traditionally). Should that be enough to get them in? More importantly, would it be enough?"
-->That be very dicey. I'm inclined to say "no" unless somehow PSU makes it in the top 20. We would be lacking a much needed signature win. That being said they beat and lose some games to "bad" teams, it will hurt us as well.

So we lose to those three and win out, I think we would need to make a bit of a run in the ACC tourney, probably to the 3rd round atleast.

Posted by: break20 | January 31, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

'It is this simple Gary needs to recruit like Debbie, win like the women.'

I believe the name you are looking for is Brenda, as in Brenda Frese. Debbie Yow was Md's former AD, who was replaced by Kevin Anderson last summer. Way to keep up with the Terps.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 31, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

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