Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Doug Gotlieb, RPI/SOS, and the Eastern Bias

Oh Doug Gotlieb, you make me chuckle. This was taped on the morning of Monday, February 28th. If you haven't watched it yet, you should... Don't continue reading until you've finished watching it. I'm serious. Done watching? I'll keep waiting. Ok, good. I don't really need to explain how bad he looks, but he looks awful. Joe Lunardi on the other hand is a stat master and got 64 of the 65 teams right last year. I think I could maybe get 40. All the conference winners, plus anyone else in the top 25, and probably any teams that get votes to be in the top 25 but didn't make it. That might make 40 if I'm lucky. So Doug puts his faith in Texas, a team that plays in the Big 12. Any idea what conference Gotlieb played in? Hint, it's Big and once had 12 members in it. So anyways, he decides to ignore the numbers and go with his gut. I respect your decision, but only Stephen Colbert is allowed to do that. And this was all before Texas' home loss tonight at the hands of K-State. That only furthered the cause that I think Gotlieb is biased

Speaking of these numbers, why do they exist? I really don't know, but I can give you my best guess. The RPI takes your strength of schedule into account, as well as how well you play at home, away, and on a neutral court. I personally believe this systems and numbers were implemented for one thing: destruction of the little man. For years, smaller teams have done well, wanted to be rewarded, and complained about not getting respect. I believe that the NCAA made up this RPI/SOS systems to "justify" putting the big national teams in the right places. Granted, Duke is always good, Grambling St, GMU and even lowlier teams to make the Big Dance (SUU and Weber St. included) are always worse and a system helps; however, now that the smaller schools and conferences are starting to use it to their advantage, the numbers and systems that have been used for about 3 decades suddenly don't mean anything. Texas is "better" than BYU simply because Gotlieb says so. I realize this is how sports work: bigger teams doing better = more money. Just ask David Stern the year he hoped that the Lakers and Celtics would meet in the finals...the NBA conspiracy will have to wait for another day...back to college. I will say that the Big 12, Big 10 and Big East are all better than the MWC, but after that, it's bad.

The ACC, who is always irrelevant in football is almost just as bad in basketball this year after the flagship programs of Duke and NC. No disrespect to either, especially Duke, but the ACC is just as bad if not worse than the MWC this year. The ACC's RPI/SOS is worse than the MWC this year. Obviously it's not by much, but it's enough. Despite all of this, BYU, SDSU and even USU (even though they aren't in the MWC) are still being considered lesser, because they play in a conference that isn't as good. The Big East is good, don't get me wrong, but they've had success and then flopped during the tournament. Last year they put 8 teams in the tournament, and they had a combined record of 8 and 8, which would be an average of 1 win and 1 loss per team. However, if you take out the success of West Virginia (4-1) and Syracuse (2-1), you get a combined conference record of 2-6. 25% of their teams got them 75% of their success. I would call that a major flop. I don't know if it will happen again this year, but it could. They don't play so well on the road. Part of it is because they are all good, but I still think part is because the Big East gets a lot of love from voters. (the link I previously used for my information on the Big East last year wont load for me, but I'll put it on here anyways in case you are luckier than I am.)

I'm hoping that someday BYU and smaller schools will get the love necessary and that the East will get less love. But until then, I'm glad Gotlieb is out there to make me laugh.

*Note: I have nothing personal against Doug Gotlieb. I think he is qualified given his college career and I generally like what he says. Also, I don't want to be a typical BYU complainer. I am stoked out of my mind we are ranked #3 right now. I was thinking for sure #5, maybe a #4, and a #3 in my wildest dreams. I have definitely enjoyed today, but I just wish we got more love. I know Jimmer is getting it, I just want this team to. But then again, what would sports fans have to talk about if there wasn't any controversy?