Tate | Toss out the gobbledygook selection system in college basketball

Tate | Toss out the gobbledygook selection system in college basketball

Garbage in, garbage out!

That's what we have in the new computerized quadrants that help the committee select 36 at-large members to next Sunday's 68-team NCAA basketball field.

Nebraska, which drew the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten with a 13-5 finish, lost to Michigan on Friday and appears out of luck with no wins in Quadrant 1, which is basically the top 50 RPI schools. To further confuse the public, Quadrant 1 includes only the top 30 if the win is at home, and expands to the top 75 if the win is on the road. The other quadrants have similar adjustments.

But who decides which teams belong in Quadrant 1? Surely not the RPI, which is computerized garbage.

Saturday's RPI lists North Carolina at No. 8 with eight losses (prior to last night's game with Duke). At No. 16 is Rhode Island, having lost to Nevada, Alabama, St. Bonaventure and Virginia before the last two failures vs. St. Joe's (by 78-48 Tuesday) and Davidson. Rhode Island's best win was over 19-12 Providence at RPI No. 42 (at home, thus not a Quadrant 1 win).

So Rhode Island, with two more losses than Michigan State, is lodged right behind RPI No. 14 MSU and No. 15 Kentucky, the latter presumed more dangerous than its 10 losses would indicate.

True, Big Ten regular- season champion MSU has had some trying moments, is weighted down by a severe internal embarrassment and lost to Michigan on Saturday. But the Spartans are 29-4 and still in consideration for a No. 1 NCAA seed.

Way down at No. 30 is 27-4 Gonzaga, which obliged the selectors by scheduling Ohio State, Texas, Creighton, Washington, Florida, Villanova and San Diego State, losing to the last three before going 17-1 in the West Coast Conference.

Gobbledygook was formed as a word to explain this. It is nonsense for any rating system to place MSU at No. 14 when the Spartans are clearly one of the nation's top-five teams.

For some of us, the RPI mistake is exacerbated by the fact that the quadrant formula is based on season-long results, even though Minnesota was emasculated without Reggie Lynch and Amir Coffey, Notre Dame seriously missed newly-returned Bonzie Colson and Maryland fell apart after Justin Jackson was injured.

The teams in December aren't the same teams in February. And yet RPI — and the committee — consider all games the same. Didn't it make more sense to put greater weight on the last 10 games, a selection policy that has since been tossed out?

Departures coming?

The Real Jeff Johnson: "Now begins what Illini Nation really cares the most about these days, transfer talks/ hoops crootin' season."

Well, not all of us. Some UI devotees consider it sacred ground to speculate who might be leaving to make room for newcomers. Face it, folks, not all current UI squadmen will be here in 2018-19. This is a safe assumption based on a past decade that finds 21 Illini scholarship players departing with eligibility remaining.

This dates back to the 2007 auto incident involving Jamar Smith and Brian Carlwell, involves touted transfers Alex Legion and Aaron Cosby, and includes the disappointing outcome with 2011 standout Jereme Richmond. Some names are almost forgotten: Jeff Jordan, Devin Langford, Stan Simpson, C.J. Jackson and Austin Colbert. The annual migration carries up through Crandall Head's transfer to SMU, Meyers Leonard's departure for the NBA (Portland) just as John Groce become head coach in 2012 and Myke Henry's move to DePaul.

Now we see Kendrick Nunn entering the weekend as the No. 2 scorer in the nation (26.4 ppg at Oakland), while Jalen Coleman-Lands awaits eligibility at DePaul, and D.J. Williams looks forward to his next opportunity at George Washington.

So when you ask how many scholarships Brad Underwood has, it depends on how many members of the current squad stick around. The average number of departures is roughly two per year for the not only Illinois, but the 349 Division I teams.

Foolish loophole

Yeah, sure, the NCAA justified its lily-livered non-ruling on North Carolina's outrageous academic fraud by explaining — yep, the lawyers found a loophole — that each school's handling of its academic affairs is its own business. It was, they pronounced, a "certification matter."

Except that, wait a minute ... the NCAA (1) sets a college entrance requirement of high school grades and a test score, (2) requires an ongoing GPA minimum for eligibility, (3) demands that each year the student-athlete meets a progress toward graduation standard and (4) hands down penalties when a Notre Dame undergrad student (and assistant trainer) helped two student-athletes with school work.

Sure, ND's female trainer was a "representative of the institution," but so were those instructors who passed out fraudulent grades to athletes at Carolina. Maybe if the ND trainer had also provided similar services for a few non-athletes, it would have been OK.

He's got that one right

Former News-Gazette basketball scribe Paul Klee deserves credit for repeatedly hitting grand slams with his points.

Referring to Louisville's latest sanctions, the Denver columnist asks: "How many college fans would trade the vacated Ws/Shame/$$$ for an NCAA title? Bet it's a bunch."

Right on, brother. The NCAA can "erase" championship records, but can't erase the feelings of pride and enjoyment that accompanied the ride.

Klee also notes in the 10 years since the Eric Gordon debacle (switched late from Illinois to Indiana), the Illini and Hoosiers hold one Big Ten finish above fifth, while Purdue has six such finishes.

Loren Tate writes for The News-Gazette. He can be reached at ltate@news-gazette.com

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Moonpie wrote on March 04, 2018 at 8:03 am

What a steaming pile of -- gobbledygook

A half-baked lede and then the usual meanderings, drifting, pointless comments.

If only the last 10 games matter, then Illinois is sunk because Illini wins come early against the cupcakes.

We. Will. Win.

Bwp 5P wrote on March 04, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Uh..Moonie...........not at all. He Touched on several matters that don't make sense to Real Fans, which obviously you are NOT! All you are is a bitter, hateful individual that apparently has NO Life!

The Cheaters from UNC still burn real Illini Fans Hearts and Minds!

The Bias to the "Big Name Programs" by the selection committee for the Tourny is blatently obvious. Right now, apparently the ACC is expected to get 9 teams in the Tourney! NINE. And there's no room for Nebraska or Penn State? And Kansas as a #1 seed! &%*(&(%(@........they've lost 8 games.

Typical bias Against the B1G.

 

Back to your safe haven Moonie