Updated NCAA Analysis, Pre-Staples

I took a look two-plus weeks ago at the conference's NCAA teams, but there was so much history remaining to be written. Now, with just three days in El Lay left on these six resumes, we have a much clearer view of their positions. Here are some updated numbers and projections, complete with commentary.

I thought it would be instructive again to look at the resumes that each of the Pac-10 NCAA-bound teams presents. Not only is the data closer to complete and now gives us a pretty good look at what seed should be forthcoming, but this also helps to reveal the road-worthy character of the teams as they will all meet together on the road at Staples.

  RPI SOS Sagarin Total W/L Road W/L Last 10 W/L range Top 50 Ws Top 25 Ws Sub-100 Ls Sub-50 Ls
Arizona 7 1 13 19-9 10-5 7-3 to 6-4 9 5 0 1
UCLA 23 11 33 19-10 8-6 6-4 to 5-5 6 3 0 3
kal 28 64 25 21-7 4-6 8-2 to 7-3 5 1 1 2
Oregon 29 65 7 21-7 6-7 8-2 to 7-3 8 4 3 5
Stanford 30 45 14 19-8 9-5 8-2 to 6-4 6 2 0 0
U$C 32 57 15 20-8 9-5 7-3 to 5-5 4 2 0 2

I include not only the RPI, which is used a little too Biblically these days, but also Jeff Sagarin's ratings. Sagarin takes into account performances at home and on the road, as well as emphasizing play of late over early-season success. He also takes into account margin of victory, which is not used by the NCAA selection committee, by all counts.

Still, I look at Sagarin's ratings and very often have found myself nodding in agreement this season. I do so again today, capturing the excellence that Oregon has undeniably displayed, while also reflecting the gap between the top four teams and kal... then down to UCLA.

Very noteworthy that kal still delivers an absolutely pathetic road record. Not only do they have far and away the fewest games away from their home court in the conference, but they also possess the lowest winning percentage away. Brutal stuff that is gonna kill their seeding, unless they can make an eleventh hour impression on the committee by winning a couple in LA.

Oregon has also faired weakly away from home, which accentuates just how dominant a home-court advantage they had at Mac Court this year. But they helped themselves immensely in their seeding by taking two in El Lay this past weekend. That, coupled with two razor-thin OT losses in the Bay Area, says a lot about what they can do away from Eugene. I think the committee will also give them a lot more slack than kal because they had some bad away losses way, way back in the beginning of the year. They've been superb for the past two-plus months, losing just four games in the toughest Pac-10 league in memory.

Arizona and Oregon both have the most "good wins," as defined either by top-25 or top-50 RPI teams. Oregon really takes your breath away with their number of bad losses, though. I again think they'll survive this once a temporal component is added to this stat. All but one of their bad losses came in the first two months of the season, and that other bad L in Seattle still came back in January.

Stanford is noteworthy for having the "best" losses around, with all stumbles coming against top 50 teams. They are a demonstrated team, by this measuring stick, who doesn't underachieve badly. That, coupled with a solid road record and a handful of quality wins makes Stanford a safe seed without too much downside. Still, any win this weekend in El Lay will add more road wins and more quality wins, which can do Stanford some real good. The thing that bodes well for Stanford, as painfully as it might sit for Booties, is that they performed better on the road in the Pac-10 than anyone else did. 6-3 on the road, and 6-3 at Maples. It's stung so badly to take home losses, which feel like games you should win. But they've been better on the road, which is a better predictor of NCAA success. An interesting turn-around from the years when Maples was unstoppable, but road wins were tooth-and-nail. Also might send a message to the lax lackeys of today's Sixth Man...

UCLA is the only team to have their RPI actually overstate their Sagarin rating. That spells a paper giant to me, who is playing poorly down the stretch. That Kansas win doesn't show up in a chart like this, but the committee has to weigh that against their inconsistency and stand-out losses. Tough call, but they could get a HUGE boost if they went on a tear this weekend. The Kansas win would probably get more weight, and the shortcomings would be more easily overlooked, if they gave the committee something to believe in. Problem is: I just don't think they match up well with kal.

I actually think $C is in a slightly weaker postition than Stanford, which doesn't quite sit right when you consider the two head-to-head meetings. But the Trojenz had a weaker schedule, fewer good wins and more bad losses. In fact, for all that $C has done well this year, half of their "good" wins are against Stanford. A third win against the Card Thursday could be a big statement, still, and would at least put them on even seeding. A loss to Stanford would hurt more than that win would help.

In total, I'd offer these seeds today to these six teams, with their top seed in parentheses should they win the Pac-10 tournament:

Oregon -- 3 (2)
Arizona -- 4 (3)
Stanford -- 5 (4)
U$C -- 6 (4)
kal -- 7 (5)
UCLA -- 7 (4)

A few more randoms:

Major conference I most want to see Stanford play in the first round<


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