Friday, February 06, 2009

Up yours, Charlie Creme

The new face of ignorance in America ... or possibly just at the JCCW.

So for the last month I've been checking out ESPN's women's hoops page occasionally, seeing if Mr. Creme here had updated his women's bracketology and wondering if Auburn's perch at the top of the SEC would be enough to lift the Tigers to the top line of the bracket. I checked again last night after Auburn had sleepwalked past a blah Ole Miss team 72-65 (Andy Bitter's got your write-up, not much to say about it) and hey, whaddya know, Charlie had some new brackets up. And Auburn was ... a 2-seed. Across from UConn.

It's the latter part, frankly, that prompted the subject line now gracing this post. I don't follow the women's game quite closely enough to have said right off the top of my head that Auburn deserved one of the two top seeds behind UConn and Oklahoma; maybe Duke's schedule was that good, or Louisville's, or somebody's. But anyone who's tried their hand at bracketology knows what the No. 2 seed across from the No. 1 overall seed in the bracket means: that Creme was ranking Auburn the eighth overall seed in the bracket, not only not a No. 1 but the worst of the four No. 2's. And I do follow the women's game well enough to have known, immediately, that that is a load of horse excrement. A 21-1 clearcut best team in the SEC with wins over Tennessee, Florida, and Ohio not No. 8 in the country. Nope.

Charlie did at least have something to say for himself:
Right now, the battle between six teams for the final pair of No. 1 seeds is packed so tightly a piece of paper wouldn't fit between any two of them. Cal, Duke, Louisville, Texas A&M, Baylor and Auburn come in at three through eight on this week's S-curve. Determining those teams wasn't difficult (although Maryland, North Carolina and Stanford might have something to say on that subject before season's end). What's hard is figuring out the order in which they should be placed ... Each coach of the aforementioned teams vying for a No. 1 seed will be hoping to avoid being placed at the eighth spot on the S-curve, which translates into being placed in the same regional as UConn and, for all intents and purposes, basically eliminates a realistic shot at the Final Four ... This week, that dreaded eighth position goes to Auburn. The Tigers would have been a No. 1 seed had they not lost to Georgia. Instead, Auburn falls to No. 8 in the pecking order, merely a whisker behind Baylor. That the Tigers should be ahead of the Lady Bears, or even Texas A&M or Louisville, will be a popular argument. But for now, the résumé points to the No. 8 spot.
Does it, Charlie? Really? You were aware that even before you'd written this, Baylor had lost two straight, the second of them at home to Texas, right? That both the Bears and Texas A&M were in a four-way tie for second in the Big 12, as opposed to leading their conference? That's enough for you to rank them both ahead of Auburn? Is it?

Initially, that was my only real outrage--Duke and Louisville are having tremendous seasons (even if I think Duke's home loss to Hartford counts against them), so if Creme wants to keep them out in front, fine. But then I decided to also take a look at Cal, Creme's choice for the final No. 1 seed. Here, take a look at these two blind resumes and tell me which one is the top seed:

TEAM A: record 21-1 (6-1), RPI 8, SOS 38, 3-0 vs. RPI top 25, 4-1 vs. top 50, 7-1 vs. top 100, loss at RPI No. 40. Tied for lead in RPI No. 4 conference.

TEAM B: record 18-2 (9-0) RPI 23, SOS 65, 2-1 vs. RPI top 25, 5-2 vs. top 50, 10-2 vs. top 100, losses vs. RPI No. 2, No. 44. Leads RPI No. 6 conference.

According to Charlie Creme, the top seed is Team B, even though they have fewer top 25 wins, fewer wins overall, a worse strength-of-schedule, one more loss, a worse loss than Team A (since it's at home), and a dramatically worse RPI. Everything except the toss-up in conference standing and more total top-100 wins favors Team A, which is--surprise! Auburn--but Charlie likes Team B, Cal, better anyway.

Which makes me wonder if women's bracketology is different somehow from men's, because Charlie's wrong when he says there's a paper-thin divide between these teams: the divide isn't big, but it's definitely there, and it says that Auburn's got the better resume. I'll be watching, Creme ...

No comments: