Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UPDATED: Clemson's NCAA Tourney Tracker: GT Edition

**The RPI and Strength of Schedule numbers have been updated per ESPN's Daily RPI**

A night like tonight could have been disastrous for Clemson. Terrible attendance, no atmosphere, down double digits early, and playing their 4th game in nine nights. But credit to Clemson and their young legs for gutting out a 63-60 win over GT. And in hanging on for the win, Clemson evens it conference record at 4-4, putting them in a tie for 5th in the ACC (currently, though they could drop some depending on the outcomes of the remaining mid-week games).

After letting a crucial game against FSU slip away last week, Clemson has clawed their way to two straight home wins, which keeps them on pace for eventually becoming a bubble team. So, after tonight's win, here's where Clemson stands - and what they need to do to become a team with hope on Selection Sunday:

Goal: 11 Conference wins and RPI around 50
Current: 4-4, with 4 home games and 6 road games remaining
RPI: 110 (11 point jump for defeating a 121 ranked team)
Strength of Schedule: 124 (little movement considering GT was ranked 121 and now 130)

Home Games:
Based upon our last projections, Clemson needed to go 4-1 in their remaining home games, with GT being one of the ones they had to win. They've accomplished that feat and their record over their final four home games needs to be 3-1. Assuming they can take care of business against BC, they'll need to take two out of three against NCSU, UNC, & Miami. The good news for Clemson fans is that NC State plays at Duke just prior to playing in Littlejohn. Hopefully the streak of NC State following up big games with dud performances can continue, and there's no guarantee what Miami or UNC will look like when they stroll into Clemson.

Road Games:
No change here, but Clemson plays the first of two straight road games Saturday when they play at BC, followed by a trip to UVA. The UVA game suddenly looms large as Clemson will be going for a sweep of White Meat, which could be huge on Selection Sunday. As previously established, Clemson needs to go 4-2 over their six remaining road games - and the next two are huge, and would go a long way to putting Clemson in a better position to become a bubble team.

Random Fact of the Day:
Clemson will play no Wednesday ACC games this season. Means little, but we thought it interesting...

As Clemson continues to win, other factors besides conference wins may require analyzing, including Strength of Schedule and RPI.  Currently, Clemson is ranked in the 120's for both, which won't be good enough.  However, the thought is that if Clemson is able to get to 11 ACC wins, other measurables like SOS and RPI will be where they need to be. 

Please continue to check back as we monitor Clemson's chances of making the NCAA Tournament. We know it won't be an easy climb, but this Tiger team is ready for the challenge.

Go Tigers!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clemson’s NCAA Tournament Tracker

Clemson began the week at 10-7, 2-3, and in need of a number of ACC wins to inch their way toward the NCAA Tournament. After outplaying both FSU & Virginia Tech this week, Clemson only walked away with one win as FSU, and to a lesser extent, Karl Hess, stole a win in Tallahassee. Had Clemson been able to hold onto a double digit, second half lead over FSU, they would be in much better shape. However, because of Clemson’s early season struggles, there is little room for error, and every game will either positively, or negatively, impact their postseason fortunes. As such, the loss to FSU leaves Clemson even further on the outside looking in, and for the first time this season, needing some help from others.

So, after the week, here’s where Clemson stands, and what they need to do, to give themselves a chance on Selection Sunday:

Goal: Get to 11 ACC wins
Current: 3-4, with five home games and six road games remaining

Home Games:
We previously established that Clemson needed to go no worse than 5-1, with a sweep of VT, GT, & BC, and taking 2-3 from Miami, UNC, & NC State. After today’s win over VT, they’ve snagged one of the three needed for the sweep. Overall, they now need to go no worse than 4-1.

Road Games:
We previously established that Clemson needed to go no worse than 4-3. After letting the game against FSU get away from them, Clemson needs to go 4-2, which means they need find a way to defeat Maryland or Miami, and then go no worse than 3-1 against BC, VT, GT, & UVA.

The plan above will be tough, but is still achievable for Clemson, though the win against FSU would have made things much easier, or at least given them a small cushion for a later mistake. Unfortunately, the loss to FSU also leaves Clemson needing some help as Clemson does not want to be in a selection battle against a team they were swept by. Hopefully for Clemson, they go to the top, making the losses appear better.

We’ll continue to monitor Clemson’s chances of making the Tournament. Check back Tuesday night as Clemson tries to even their ACC record against GT in Littlejohn. This is a must-win for Clemson to have any shot at making the field.

Go Tigers!

P.S. - Check out KJ McDaniel's going SuperMan on VT:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How Clemson Makes the NCAA Tournament

Right now, Clemson is not just on the outside of the NCAA Tournament looking in, but way outside. In fact, they're barely be on the bubble for the NIT, nevertheless the NCAA Tourney.

But it doesn't have to stay this way - and I don't think it will. Clemson has continued to improve, and outside of a dismal offensive performance in Durham, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. And if Clemson can continue to improve, win the games they're supposed to win, and steal a few they aren't, then Clemson could find themselves on the NCAA bubble.

Most people will probably say this isn't even worth pursuing, as it's too far-fetched. And maybe it is, but until Clemson formally plays their way out of the NCAA Tournament, we'll try to determine what they need to do to get in. As such, let's take a look at what Clemson needs to do find themselves on the NCAA Bubble, where anything can happen.

Clemson needs to scratch out at least 11 ACC wins, though 12 would make them feel more comfortable while waiting out Selection Sunday. As we've seen over the last few years, even a 9-7 record in ACC play no longer guarantees you a berth into the Tournament. If 2 games over 0.500 won't cut it during a normal year, with a normal 16 game schedule, then it certainly won't cut it in this year's ACC with an 18 game slate. Add in Clemson's inability to snag a key out of conference win, and it will take at least 11, if not 12 wins to land on the bubble.

Using 11 wins as the barometer, Clemson must improve their 2-3 record by going 9-4 over their final 13 conference games. The good news for Clemson is the unbalanced ACC schedule actually works in their favor as they only play Duke, UNC, & Maryland once, with the game against UNC at home. Of the teams they play twice, Miami is looking more legit by the game, but there is no guarantee how they'll be by mid February when Clemson sees them for the first time. Meanwhile NC State struggles on the road and FSU is streaky.

The easiest way to break down Clemson's chances is to split the remaining games into home and road. At home, Clemson needs to go no worse than 5-1. Assuming they are able to take care of GT, VT, & BC, that leaves games against UNC, NC State, & Miami, which Clemson needs to win two out of three.

Assuming Clemson doesn't slip up against the first trio, and can win two out of three against the second trio, then Clemson would need to go no worse than 4-3 on the road (where they've yet to win an ACC game). If you split the road contests in two groups, Clemson needs to steal one win against the tougher trio of FSU, Maryland, & Miami while losing no more than one game against the easier grouping of BC, VT, GT, & UVA.
(One thing that shouldn't be lost is if Clemson manages to get to 11-7, then they will be 7-3, or better, in their last 10 games, which is a small metric used in the selection process. They will arguably be playing some of the better basketball in the ACC as the season ends.)
In addition to their ACC record, one thing Clemson needs to be wary of is the teams to which they win & lose, especially other bubble teams. One such team is FSU, which already has one win against Clemson. If Clemson is unable to pull out a road win tomorrow night in Tallahassee, FSU will own two wins over Clemson, which will make it hard for Clemson to surpass FSU on Selection Sunday. And while Miami looks solid after routing Duke, they could easily fall back to the pack and Clemson could find themselves in a bubble battle with them. Earning at least a split with every team on the schedule will prevent Clemson from being relegated to the bottom of the pecking order.

Again, we realize Clemson making the NCAA Tournament is a long shot. There is work to be done to garner an NIT invite; however, as we said earlier, until Clemson formally plays their way out of the Tournament, we will hold out hope and see what must be done to get them back to the Promise Land.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Final Conference Rankings

As a follow-up to our Final Top 25, here are the Final Conference Rankings. There's not much surprise at the top as all 14 schools are preparing their trophy cases for their 7th straight MNC. And not only did the SEC win, but they also won by a wide margin. As mentioned, the Big XII comes in second followed by the Pac 12, ACC, Big Ten, and Big East.

One thing that was surprising was how close the race for #3 was. The Pac 12 won their BCS Bowls, but struggled elsewhere while the Big East once again performed well during the bowls.

So, here are the rankings. To see a week by week breakdown for the Top 25, click here.

To see a breakdown of the math that went into the rankings, check out this earlier set of rankings where it is explained in full.

Thanks for paying attention - and Go Tigers!


CONFERENCE RANK TEAM TEAM
AVERAGE
CONFERENCE
AVERAGE
SEC 1 Alabama 19.30 6.84
4 Texas A&M 15.12
6 Georgia 14.65
9 Florida 13.92
12 So. Carolina 12.74
14 LSU 10.59
16 Vanderbilt 9.52
39 Miss St 5.26
47 Ole Miss 3.67
62 Missouri 1.06
70 Tennessee 0.03
81 Arkansas -2.26
88 Auburn -4.95
100 Kentucky -8.14
BIG XII 10 Kansas St 13.71 4.89
13 Oklahoma 11.47
19 Texas 8.32
22 Oklahoma St 7.72
36 Baylor 5.35
40 Texas Tech 4.90
49 TCU 3.55
61 West Virginia 1.12
65 Iowa St 0.44
109 Kansas -10.30
PAC 12 2 Oregon 17.21 3.33
11 Stanford 12.92
20 Oregon St 8.27
26 UCLA 7.26
35 Arizona St 5.65
43 USC 4.81
44 Arizona 4.46
56 Washington 1.99
72 Utah -0.68
87 California -4.67
99 Wash St -7.57
117 Colorado -13.86
ACC 5 Florida St 14.83 3.08
7 Clemson 14.31
32 No Carolina 6.07
37 Miami, FL 5.33
51 NC State 3.01
53 Georgia Tech 2.57
54 Virginia Tech 2.50
68 Duke 0.23
77 Wake Forest -1.71
80 Maryland -1.96
86 Virginia -3.78
95 Boston College -6.92
B1G 8 Ohio St 14.18 2.89
17 Northwestern 9.45
21 Penn St 8.12
25 Michigan 7.44
27 Nebraska 6.83
34 Wisconsin 5.68
46 Michigan St 3.82
75 Purdue -1.25
79 Minnesota -1.85
84 Iowa -3.53
90 Indiana -5.01
110 Illinois -10.58
BE 15 Louisville 9.53 2.86
18 Cincinnati 9.42
31 Syracuse 6.16
41 Rutgers 4.88
59 Pittsburgh 1.15
74 Connecticut -0.98
83 Temple -3.32
92 So Florida -5.87
IND 3 Notre Dame 15.51 2.12
50 BYU 3.08
60 Navy 1.13
113 Army -12.34
SUN BELT 38 Arkansas St 5.26 -3.47
55 La Lafayette 2.06
64 Mid Tenn St 0.48
66 We Kentucky 0.42
67 La Monroe 0.35
89 Troy -5.00
96 No Texas -7.46
106 Florida Atl -9.68
108 Florida Int -10.01
115 So Alabama -13.33
MAC 23 No. Illinois 7.68 -3.87
30 Kent St 6.20
52 Ball St 2.82
57 Toledo 1.95
63 Ohio 0.98
69 Bowling Green 0.07
85 Central Mich -3.63
97 Buffalo -7.52
98 Western Mich -7.52
101 Miami, OH -8.60
118 Eastern Mich -15.05
119 UMass -16.40
121 Akron -16.63
WAC 24 Utah St 7.51 -3.88
29 San Jose St 6.23
42 La Tech 4.83
82 Texas-SA -2.60
103 Texas St -9.32
120 Idaho -16.53
124 New Mexico St -19.05
MWC 28 Boise St 6.81 -5.12
48 Fresno St 3.59
58 San Diego St 1.44
76 Nevada -1.56
91 Air Force -5.52
102 New Mexico -8.82
107 Wyoming -9.87
112 Colorado St -10.78
114 UNLV -12.94
122 Hawai'i -16.73
C-USA 33 Tulsa 6.01 -5.25
45 Central Fla 4.39
71 Ea Carolina -0.60
73 So Methodist -0.75
78 Rice -1.81
93 Marshall -5.95
94 Houston -6.56
104 UTEP -9.40
105 Memphis -9.67
111 UAB -10.64
116 Tulane -13.80
123 So Miss -18.71

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Final Rankings

Here's our final rankings for 2012-2013.  As the season progressed, the rankings really seemed to become more viable.  A few notes I find interesting:
  • Ohio State ends up 8th, yet never lost a game and never had negative points
  • Florida, the #1 team for multiple weeks ends up 9th, fractions ahead of Kansas St
  • Penn State picked up two spots by not even playing
  • Clemson ends the season 7th, picking up three spots
  • LSU is unchanged at 14.  There was a large gap between them and Oregon St, the 15th place team
  • South Carolina finishes 12th, 5 spots behind their finish in the polls  



WEEK

RANK PRV Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 BOWL AVG
1 1 Alabama 21.0 14.4 33.0 14.4 16.2 -- 26.4 26.4 21.6 22.0 -5.6 8.1 24.3 20.0 28.0 19.30
2 3 Oregon 12.6 10.8 8.1 24.3 -- 23.1 21.6 23.1 9.0 19.8 29.7 -5.5 23.1 -- 24.0 17.21
3 2 Notre Dame 16.0 16.5 16.2 13.5 -- 21.6 18.0 9.0 26.4 13.5 19.8 21.6 16.5 -- -7.0 15.51
4 9 Texas A&M -- -5.6 19.8 9.0 24.3 16.5 11.0 -5.6 29.7 23.1 22.0 5.4 18.9 -- 28.0 15.12
5 6 Florida St 9.0 9.0 27.0 21.6 19.8 -9.1 24.3 19.8 24.3 -- 16.5 23.1 -6.7 15.0 14.0 14.83
6 7 Georgia 12.6 23.1 14.4 24.3 13.5 -6.4 -- 16.5 20.0 18.9 26.4 7.2 21.6 -5.0 18.0 14.65
7 10 Clemson 15.0 12.6 7.2 -5.5 19.8 16.2 -- 18.9 23.1 26.4 21.6 16.2 -5.6 -- 20.0 14.31
8 8 Ohio St 12.6 10.8 13.5 5.4 16.5 18.9 16.5 13.5 19.8 12.6 -- 16.5 13.5 -- -- 14.18
9 4 Florida 10.8 22.0 19.8 21.6 -- 18.0 19.8 28.8 -5.0 13.5 9.0 6.3 26.4 -- -10.0 13.92
10 5 Kansas St 8.1 21.6 10.8 22.0 -- 14.4 16.5 29.7 21.6 16.2 19.8 -12.7 -- 16.2 -6.0 13.71
11 12 Stanford 9.0 21.6 13.5 -- -9.1 13.5 -4.5 19.8 13.5 19.8 13.5 22.0 19.8 13.5 15.0 12.92
12 13 So. Carolina 16.5 14.4 7.2 18.9 23.1 25.2 -4.5 -7.3 13.5 -- 16.2 5.4 22.0 -- 15.0 12.74
13 11 Oklahoma 13.2 9.0 -- -5.6 -- 23.1 27.0 16.2 -6.7 19.8 13.5 16.5 13.5 16.5 -7.0 11.47
14 14 LSU 12.6 21.6 8.1 16.5 5.4 -4.5 18.0 22.0 -- -5.6 21.6 13.5 13.5 -- -5.0 10.59
15 21 Louisville 16.2 6.3 13.5 5.5 5.5 -- 16.5 13.5 13.5 18.9 -10.9 -- -11.1 16.5 20.0 9.53
16 17 Vanderbilt -5.6 -9.1 9.0 -8.2 -- 16.5 -6.7 13.5 8.1 26.4 16.5 18.9 26.4 -- 18.0 9.52
17 19 Northwestern 16.5 13.5 13.5 7.2 16.2 -5.5 16.5 -11.1 16.2 -- -9.1 16.5 14.4 -- 18.0 9.45
18 20 Cincinnati -- 18.9 -- 5.4 15.0 14.4 7.2 -13.6 -9.1 16.2 23.1 -9.0 16.2 19.8 18.0 9.42
19 25 Texas 10.8 16.2 26.4 -- 16.5 -11.1 -9.0 13.5 11.0 16.5 18.9 -- -11.1 -5.5 15.0 8.32
20 15 Oregon St -- 13.5 -- 16.5 16.5 16.2 13.2 16.2 -9.1 13.5 -4.5 24.3 -7.8 9.0 -10.0 8.27
21 23 Penn St -16.7 -9.1 12.6 16.2 15.4 16.2 -- 23.1 -6.7 23.1 -9.1 18.9 13.5 -- -- 8.12
22 33 Okie St 9.0 -10.9 16.2 -- -11.1 -- 11.0 18.9 18.9 -5.5 18.9 21.6 -4.5 -9.1 27.0 7.72
23 18 No. Illinois -10.0 6.3 5.5 9.0 14.4 13.2 16.2 7.7 13.2 9.0 -- 9.0 11.0 10.0 -7.0 7.68
24 27 Utah St 7.2 13.5 -9.1 6.6 6.3 -13.6 15.4 7.2 17.6 14.4 -- 11.0 7.2 -- 14.0 7.51
25 22 Michigan -7.0 9.0 8.1 -4.5 -- 26.4 16.2 13.5 -10.9 23.1 13.5 18.9 -4.5 -- -5.0 7.44

Check back later this week as we put summarize the conferences. The SEC looks to have a large gap, but who will be 2nd? The Big 12 held that spot for most of the year, but a late run by the Pac 12, including two BCS wins, may close that gap.