ESPN Bracketology vs Forgotten Forensics, Round 8

Usually, I devote the top third of this valuable space to my bromance with Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s legendary Bracketologist and Friend to Mankind. But this relationship is going nowhere, you guys.  I’m doing all the grunt work! Bromance is a two-man relationship, Joe: one guy lifts and the other spots. There will always be a protein shake waiting for you in the fridge, but right now, I’m declaring my bropendence.

(Ten minutes of staring blankly into space)

FORGOTTEN FORENSICS IS NOTHING WITHOUT YOU, JOE LUNARDI, PLEASE FORGIVE ME YOU’RE THE SMARTEST! TELL ME NEW MEXICO STATE IS GONNA GET IN SOMEHOW! EXPLAIN TO ME THIS FASCINATION WITH CLEMSON! AND WHY IS ARKANSAS SEEDED HIGHER THAN MIDDLE TENNESSEE? TEACH ME, JOE!

What is ESPN Bracketology?

The Readers Digest Version: ESPN Bracketology is spearheaded by ESPN “Bracketologist” Joe Lunardi, who attempts to predict the March Madness Field of 64 based off  (we assume) 1) ESPN RPI, 2) ESPN BPI (which is some kind of mysterious power index) and 3) Lunardi’s gut.

For the sake of the Group of Five (or in our parlance, “TheForgotten”), we’ll half-ass analyze Bracketology each week with Forgotten Forensics to hold Lunardi’s gut to the fire.

What is Forgotten5 Forgotten Forensics?

Basically a rip off of the more well-funded Bracketology, but using less ESPN-y metrics, like Warren Nolan Live RPI,  Sagarin and Kenpom to makes us look smart. Slightly dumbing down the formula: my gut.

Forgotten Forensics, February 24th Edition

NIT Bracketology is where it’s at, yo!

Sometimes I make penetrating observations. Like last week, I said that even if Houston falls to SMU, it still has a chance to be the American’s #3 selection. (More on that later.) And I also said THIS:

The MW has four programs boasting sub-100 Kenpom scores – Nevada, San Diego State, Boise State and New Mexico. By comparison, two-bid Atlantic 10 has five. The Missouri Valley has two. The WCC has three. True, the Mountain West doesn’t have a Gonzaga or a Wichita State or a Dayton to peddle, but look for the Mountain West to have solid representation in the NIT this year.

In the latest NIT Bracketlogy from NY Buckets, four teams from the Mountain West are indeed projected to see NIT action –  Colorado State, San Diego State, Boise State and New Mexico. Colorado State (89 Kenpom, 86 RPI) takes the place of Nevada, who is projected to be the MW’s lone NCAA representative.

But apart from the Mountain West, prospects for the Group of Five look just as dim for the NIT as it does for the NCAA Tournament. Joining the Mountain West from the G5 on NY Buckets’ projections are Memphis, Arkansas State … and that’s it! The MAC and CUSA are shutout, at least according to this one projection. Still, it’s a reflection of just how much work G5 basketball has on its plate.

Why isn’t CUSA and MAC getting more NIT love?

Conference USA and the Mid American aren’t having banner years, sure, but Louisiana Tech is still second in their conference with a not horrible 88 Kenpom. The RPI is the stickler for the Bulldogs. The NIT rarely accepts teams with an RPI over 90, and LaTech is currently sporting 120. Meanwhile, the MAC is just The Zips and zippo. At least Ohio has a slightly better RPI than LaTech at 105 but its 99 Kenpom is even worse.

I’m telling you, it’s not too late for Houston

Yes, the Cougars allowed Semi Ojeleye to explode in the second half to lead #19 SMU to a 79-66 victory on Saturday night. A win over the Mustangs would have cemented Houston’s dance card (40 Kenpom, 59 RPI) as a legit third at-large for the AAC.

As soon as Houston lost, the bubble burst on the Cougars, and the talk seemed to shift to UConn (85 Kenpom, 109 RPI), who had won four straight including road wins at Temple and UCF. (Let’s face it: ESPN really wants UConn to be good.) But Houston (19-8, 10-5) rebounded behind 25 points from Damyean Dotson to punch out the Huskies 75-70 on Wednesday night, remaining in 3rd place in the conference. With games remaining against Memphis and Cincinnati, the Cougars still have a shot at impressing the Committee.

 

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