Tim in black; John in red.
As we approach Selection Sunday, we’re inundated with various criteria to whittle down to the most deserving 65 teams.* There’s the record, RPI, records against the RPI top 50, strength of schedule, and of course, the “Eye Test.”
*It is NOT the best 65; it is the most deserving 65.
I hate the Eye Test.
The Eye Test works neither theoretically nor practically. In what other aspects of life is the Eye Test appropriate?
You may not have made the right diagnosis, but you looked like you knew what you were doing. Congratulations, Doc, you’ve passed my Eye Test.
The Eye Test is college basketball’s equivalent of Josh’s beloved Handwriting Effect. It’s a way to impose overly subjective measures into a process that should limit subjectivity as much as possible. And while the Selection Committee is subjective, it’s subjective within objective boundaries. By this I mean the Committee applies a subjective weight to objective measures. They may prioritize overall and conference records differently, but those records are set. It’s not like someone’s saying, “Well, Seton Hall looks more like a 22-9 team instead of 19-12 in my book.” Continue reading
You didn’t honestly expect us to do a weekly column on college basketball and not include bracket predictions (or a bracketology, as ESPN has conditioned us to call it), did you? My qualifications are as follows: This is, unbelievably to me, the eighth year I’ve tried to predict the field. I started before I knew who Joe Lunardi was and largely because I was sick of losing NCAA Tournament pools to people who didn’t know anything about college basketball. I decided to try to predict the field, which requires a much higher level of NCAA knowledge and is a lot more impressive than it sounds (it comes down to two or three teams a year).
In my seven previous tries, I’ve gotten 64, 64, 63, 62, 63, 64, and 64–which is nice and palindromic and leads me to believe this is the year I break the cycle and nail 65. Add it up and I’m 444/455, or 97.58% accurate. (For the record, yes, I did leave George Mason out in 2006 and I stand by it. Last year it was Arizona.)
Now, the key difference between my bracket and those offered by Lunardi and most everyone else on the Internet right now is that mine is predictive; it is NOT a reflection of what the Tournament would look like if it started today. That’s why my bracket includes teams like Louisville and Marquette–who I expect to get important wins down the stretch–and not someone like Oklahoma State–who I expect to slip in the Big 12. I admit that my knowledge of the lower conferences is sketchy at best; I haven’t seen those teams to play and err on the side of conservatism in choosing who to take from the SWAC and its ilk. Most of those selections are the team that’s currently leading the conference. Continue reading