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March 1, 2014

Men's Basketball post season chances

Georgia is likely to play in a post season tournament, absent a four game losing streak now (last three regular season games and the SEC tourney). The question now is NIT or CBI?

Currently, Georgia is 2+ games up on all other comers for 3rd place in the SEC. We are 10-5 in the conference. Let that sink in. We have won 10 conference games for the first time in ten+ years. At 16-11, we stand a very good chance of being at least an 18 win team, with an outside shot of being a 20+ win team, come time to select post season team.

Let me get this out of the way, Georgia will not play in the NCAA tournament absent winning the SEC tourney. I can see scenarios we do if we win out and lose in the SEC tourney championship game, but our SOS is still really dicey, even if we get to the upper 40s RPI. Our regular season finish will have no bearing on the NCAA selection committee's decision. At that point, the SEC will just be a two bid conference.

So, the NIT or the CBI?

For my money, I think we have work to do to get into the NIT. Check out our possible ranges of RPIs from RPI Wizzard:
Final RecordW-L pctg.Expected RPIProbability

Looking at our remaining games, our most likely finishing record is 18-14, which accounts for one more regular season win and a win in the SEC tourney. In that scenario, we are projected at a mid-80s RPI. 
Even at 19-14, which means playing until the SEC championship game, but with two losses to end the regular season. At that we are in the upper 60s.

Now, we pull off a win on the road against Arkansas or LSU, things start looking up. In fact, the NIT bracketologists have us seeded at 8th in the NIT. Not sure what they are looking at, but I have to think they are assuming at least one of those road wins. Looking at last year's NIT selections, there were a number of teams in that RPI range that made the NCAA tourney. However, all of those teams were from conferences that were in the top three in conference RPI (A-10, Pac 12, ACC) and/or had SOS lower than 50. 

At best our SOS will be in the mid-70s, absent those road wins. For a good example of what UGA's profile looks like, look at LSU from last year. The Tigers finished 19-12, with an RPI of 85 and an SOS of 110. They actually had three wins over top 50 RPI teams. We have two. They only had one loss to a 150+RPI team. We have three, with another to 146th Davidson.

All that is to say we have work to do to get into the NIT. Now, we are likely a shoo in for the CBI (should we wish to accept that bid and I think we will), which some people will laud. I am not those people. While I'll root for Georgia and be proud of them, I see nothing productive coming from us touting a CBI berth. In fact, even if we get into the NIT, I'll feel the same way.

I've been saying for sometime that our ceiling is at our peer institutions' floors. If we see the NIT as something to laud, we are merely saying that it still the case.


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