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Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 01/17/2011

NCAA tournament resume comparison

By Eric Prisbell

These two resumes are similar, and no one would have guessed that before the season (only games against division I opponents are included):

Team A
Record: 11-5
RPI: 18
SOS: 7
Vs. top 50: 3-4
Road/neutral court record: 3-4
Best win: Washington (21)
Worst loss: Penn State (57)

Team B
Record: 11-5
RPI: 13
SOS: 3
Vs. top 50: 3-4
Road/neutral court record: 5-3
Best win: Georgetown (8)
Worst loss: St. Bonaventure (95)

So, the records are the same. The RPIs and SOSs are virtually identical. Both teams have the same number of top 50 wins. Team B's best win is slightly more impressive. But Team B's worst loss is slightly more damaging. You may give the edge to Team B by a hair. Or maybe you give these teams roughly the same seed in the NCAA tournament. In any event, Team A is by no means clearly the better team on paper, and that is the surprising part.

Who are the teams? Team A is Michigan State, which was expected to be among the strongest national title contenders. Team B is St. John's, which was expected to be, at best, in the middle of the pack in the Big East. After a four-game stretch against Notre Dame (twice), Syracuse and Georgetown, Steve Lavin's team emerged with a 2-2 record. The schedule remains tough with Louisville, Cincinnati, Georgetown and Duke on deck. But, to date, St. John's has done everything it has needed to do. And its resume looks a lot like that of Michigan State's, which says a lot about how both team's seasons have been going.

By Eric Prisbell  | January 17, 2011; 11:51 AM ET
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