So, yesterday Keith Dambrot made the case for why he thinks his team deserved an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. His main reason was that his team had an RPI of 28 and that the NCAA had now changed the rules to care more about BPI and Kenpom...
I thought I'd take a little time here before selection show to look at all that.
First, this post is not about whether Akron is going to get an at-large bid or not, because they are not.
Rather, it is just designed to be a surface review of their case. Before that, though it is important to correct the Coach. The NCAA has always said that the RPI is just one tool. And they might just be saying that to keep their options open for picking who they really want, which is P6 schools. Anyway, it is more than just RPI.
So here is a comparison of Akron with the last four in as of this morning by Lunardi. Note that I am not comparing Akron to the 10 teams listed as the teams closest to being in, just to the teams that are supposedly in.
Note also that of the four teams, 2 are mid-majors and 1 (Temple) is a tweener.
Finally, YES, I think that the MAC is the #10 conference in D1 according to the rankings and you'd think your #10 conference would get their regular season champion in OR AT LEAST THEY WOULD BE IN THE CONVERSATION, and they are not.
OK. So, as you can see, Akron does have the best RPI of all 5 teams. However, the BPI (developed by Dean Oliver, who is the creator of the measures you see on this site, which measures margin of victory, home/road, two-level strength of schedule, if key players were missing etc) has Akron only ahead of Temple. Finally, in the kenpom.com ranking, Akron only beats Temple.
Even the rankings only go so far. Here's the thing. Akron has no wins over teams with a Top 50 RPI. As you can see, Temple has 5, Michigan has 4, St. Mary's 2 and San Diego State 1. That's basically strike one.
Now, Akron does have 6 wins against 51-100 teams. More than anyone else. If you want to add 1-100 wins together, they have more than Michigan and San Diego State.
Looking at best wins, Akron is really hurt. Their best win is over #80, Ohio U. Michigan's best win is #14, Sand Diego State is #16, Temple is #13 and St. Mary's is #46.
Finally, when you look at bad losses, which is teams over a 150 RPI, you also find a bad result for Akron. The Zips have 3 losses in this category...they lost @UT, @CMU and @Miami...and the teams they are chasing have either one or zero losses over 150.
The one where I call bullshit is San Diego State. I think Akron is better qualified than they are to make it into the tourney.
I don't know what a team would have to do. Based on this chart, Akron would have needed a dominating MAC season, like going 16-2 or something, and they would need to beat 4 top 50 teams, which is going to mean all road or neutral floor games and basically running the table in those games even if you can schedule that many. (Michigan had 3 of its 4 top 50 wins in the Big 10 and all 5 of Temple's were in the American. Both of St. Mary's were, too. )
I'm not saying this is fair. In fact, it isn't. Just an examination of it, based on the results.