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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 03/ 8/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: Why Lunardi is wrong about Colorado and Georgia

By Eric Prisbell

Let me first say that ESPN's Joe Lunardi does a great job with his brackets each year. I'm on a plane right now headed out to Las Vegas, so maybe Lunardi has tweaked his bracket. But as of Tuesday morning he had Colorado as one of the final at-large teams in and Georgia as one of the first four out. I found that choice completely puzzling. I had Georgia in and Colorado out. I think that was the only difference in our brackets in terms of teams. Let's compare the two resumes. You be the judge.

Colorado
Record: 18-12
RPI: 76
SOS: 73 (321 in nonconference)
Vs. top 50: 5-6
Vs. top 100: 7-9
Best wins: Texas (14), Kansas State (19), at Kansas State (19)
Worst losses: at San Francisco (122), at Iowa State (127), at Oklahoma (133)
True road record: 3-9

Georgia
Record: 20-10
RPI: 39
SOS: 36 (97 in nonconference play)
Vs. top 50: 3-9
Vs. top 100: 5-10
Best wins: Kentucky (12), UAB (28), at Tennessee (36)
Worst losses: at Alabama (79), Tennessee (36), vs. Temple (29)
True road record: 7-4

The number that should jump out to everyone is 321. That's Colorado's nonconference strength of schedule. The committee tends to frown upon teams that play what is essentially an exhibition schedule (see Virginia Tech last season). Colorado's best nonconference victory is at home against less-than-mighty Oregon State (RPI: 232). Colorado's best non-league road win was Cal State-Bakersfield (311). The Buffaloes played six teams with an RPI of 300 or worse. How many did Georgia play? Zero.

Yes, the Buffaloes are 5-6 against top 50 teams (and 3-2 against top 25 teams), but that nonleague schedule is a serious black mark. Georgia, meantime, has three top 50 wins, including a non-league win against UAB. It has seven true road wins. Colorado has three. Colorado has four losses to teams with sub-80 RPIs. How many does Georgia have? Zero.

If you still think Colorado belongs in over Georgia, remember Nov. 16. That's when Georgia beat Colorado, 83-74.

By Eric Prisbell  | March 8, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
 
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