Vulnerability in the time of Bill and Roy

UT is a good team, but as Mark pointed out, they are a vulnerable team. This strikes me as an important point and one that I should have considered more. Last year, we were a good team, but we were an extremely vulnerable team, particularly once JR started going cold. Indeed, a lot of Roy's teams were vulnerable - to athleticism, to cold shooting, to slobberknocking fisticuffs. I hadn't considered it before, but Self seems to want to build teams that don't have these vulnerabilities.

Using one primary ballhandler leaves you up a creek if he gets injured or foul prone. Self's solution: have two to three guys who can handle and dish the rock. Not only does this work as a sort of insurance policy, but it also makes it harder for opposing coaches to prepare for you.

Having guards that can penetrate and create offense leaves you much less reliant on warm shooting. Heck, on Monday we shot 1/7 from behind the arc and still won by 15 on the road in Stillwater to a team that owned UT (and by the way, OSU may have played better on offense against UT, but I think you have to give credit to KU's defense for that).

And in slobberknocking fisticuffs we've shown ourselves more than capable of knocking more slobber and cuffing more fists. Want to slow up the game and keep it ugly? Fine. You'll be tired at about the 8 minute mark and we'll run you silly from then on out.

I've been a big Self supporter, but I think that was more a result of my dovish personality towards KU hoops than any keen understanding of exactly what he was doing. But now his vision for the program is coming into focus for me, and I really like what I'm seeing. This Self team is tough, athletic and enthusiastic, and I love it.

And this team is not very vulnerable, at least not in the Williamsian sense. Our key vulnerabilities are probabably intense ball pressure at the guard spots and really hot three point shooting (but for whom is this not true?). I would add cold free throw shooting as well, but we've really excelled at that over the last 8 weeks, so I don't think I can.

I just love where this team is going. I got to watch a lot of college basketball this weekend and I must echo the comments from Jayhawk fans everywhere - when national media folks ignore or denigrate Kansas, they shine a harsh light on their overpaid ignorance. The Seth Davis OU thing was perfect. We'll probably beat OU in the league by 2-3 games and a tiebreaker, and they're the threat?

That's rich. This is the same guy who ELEVEN DAYS AGO called KSU - with UT, CU, OU, TT and KU still left on their schedule - a possible NCAA tournament team.

Seth, bubby! Tell me you don't believe the things you say on TV!

KU is up to 18 in the ESPN/USA Today poll as well.

I'd take Sportsline's bracket right now...

They have us as a 7 seed, with a first round game against Syracuse. Here's a picture of a bracket that I would eat on a sandwich. I do not know what that statement means.

Sportsline's Minneapolis Bracket
Click the image to see the full meal...err...bracket.


They've now updated their bracket, and now we're a 5 seed, playing against San Diego State in the first round.

By the way, the procedures for determining seeding for the NCAA tournament are after the jump, if you're into that sort of esoterica:

Principles and Procedures for Establishing the Men's Bracket

Jan. 23, 2006


There are three phases in the process:

I. Select the at-large teams (a minimum of 34 teams); II. Seed the teams; and III. Place the teams into the championship bracket.

General Principles for Selection, Seeding and Bracketing

The basketball committee will abide by the following principles: 1. A member shall not be present in the meeting room during committee discussion regarding the se¬lection or seeding of a team the individual represents as an athletics director or commissioner.

2. An athletics director shall not an¬swer questions about the team the individual represents, except for factual questions (e.g., dates of injuries, status of injured players.) An athletics director is permitted to discuss other teams in the individual's conference only when asked.

3. A commissioner is permitted to answer general questions about teams in the conference the individ¬ual represents.

4. At no point in the process shall a member vote for a team the individual represents as an athletics director or com¬missioner.

5. When 24 or fewer teams remain in the pool of teams, a member may not partici¬pate in "list X teams" votes if a team he or she represents as a commissioner or athletics director is included. An athletics di¬rector or commissioner may not participate in cross-country votes (i.e., ballots where the members rank a selected number of teams) that involve a team the individ¬ual represents.

When 20 or more teams are under consideration in "list X teams" ballots, each member shall list eight.

When 14 to 19 teams are under consideration, each member shall list six.

When 13 or fewer teams are under consideration, each member shall list four.

6. At any time during the process of selecting the at-large teams, the committee may elect to begin seeding the teams. This will permit the committee to move ahead and still consider the results of games played during selection weekend.

7. At any time during the process, the chair may designate a "quiet period", generally 15 minutes in length, to permit members to individually reflect on the way they will vote.

8. All votes will be by secret ballot.

9. At any time during the process, the chair may request a "nitty-gritty" report, which compares teams that are under consideration.

10. Among the resources available to the committee are computer rankings, head-to-head results, chronological results, Division I results, non-conference results, home and away results, results in the last 10 games, polls and the coaches' regional advisory committees' rankings.

I. Principles for Selecting At-Large Teams

1. The committee shall select the best 34 available teams to fill the at-large berths, regardless of confer¬ence affiliation.

2. There is no limit on the number of teams the committee may select from one confer¬ence.

Procedures for Selecting At-Large Teams

First and Second Ballots

1. Before selection weekend, each committee member will receive two ballots listing all eligible Division I teams in alphabetical order. Each committee member will submit the two ballots by 8 p.m. Thursday evening of selection weekend.

a. On Ballot No. 1, each committee member shall identify not more than 34 teams that should be at-large selections into the tournament based upon their successful play to date, even if they could eventually rep¬resent conferences as automatic qualifiers.

b. On Ballot No. 2, each committee member shall identify all other teams that should receive consideration for at-large berths.

2. A member need not vote for a team that has earned automatic qualification at the time the ballots are completed.

3. Any team receiving all but two of the eligible votes on Ballot No. 1 shall be moved into the tournament as an at-large selection.

4. The committee will form an "at-large nomination board" consisting of an alphabetical listing of all teams that:

a. Received more than one vote in either of the initial ballots but did not receive enough votes on Ballot No. 1 to move into the tournament as at at-large team;

b. Did not receive more than one vote in the initial balloting, but subsequently was recommended by more than one member prior to closing initial nominations, or

c. Won or shared the regular-season conference championship or conference divisional championship.

5.After Step No. 4, the process for creating the initial "at-large nomination board" will be closed.

6.Once the "at-large nomination board" is closed, a team may be added to the nomination board at any time providing it re¬ceives more than two votes. A team may be removed from the nomination board if it receives all but two of the eligible votes. Oral nominations are permitted.

Remaining Ballots

1.The committee will begin evaluating those teams on the at-large nomination board.

2.Each committee member will submit a listing of eight teams to be added to the at-large field.

3.Those teams receiving all but two of the eligible votes shall be added to the at-large field.

4.From those teams not moving to the at-large field in Step No. 2, the top four vote-getters will be held for the next ballot.

5.Each committee member will submit a listing of eight teams (see "General Procedures" No. 5) to be considered in the next at-large ballot. Those teams receiving the most votes will be included with the remaining teams from Step No. 4 to provide a pool of eight teams for the next at-large ballot.

6.Committee members rank the eight teams from Steps No. 4 and 5, using a cross-country scoring system (i.e., the best team is valued at one point.)

7.The four teams receiving the fewest points shall be added to the at-large field. The other four teams will be held for the next ballot.

8. Steps No. 5, 6 and 7 will be repeated until all at-large berths are filled.

9.If a team fails to be included among the four teams receiving the fewest points (Step No. 7) for two consecutive ballots, it shall be returned to the nomination board.

10. A team may be removed from the at-large field by a vote of all but two of the eligible voters. Such a team would be returned to the nomination board.

11. At any time during the process, the chair may suggest that the committee begin considering teams that should be eliminated from consideration. The same voting procedures will be used.

12. At any time during the process, the chair may call for a cross-country vote of the teams remaining.

13. The number of teams eligible to receive votes may be increased or decreased by the chair if circumstances war¬rant. Further, the chair has the option to revise from four to two the number of teams to be moved into at-large berths per Procedure No. 7.

II. Principles for Seeding of Teams

1. The committee will create a "seed list" (i.e. rank of the teams 1 through 65.)

2. The "seed list" is used as a reference to ensure balance.

3. Once the "seed list" is established, it remains unchanged throughout the committee's deliberations in placing the teams into the championship bracket.

4. The bracket-placement principles adopted by the committee may preclude a team from being placed in its "true" seed (in accordance with the "seed list").

Procedures for Seeding the Teams

1. Each committee member lists the best eight teams, not ranked in order, from teams that are in the tournament as automatic quali¬fiers and at-large selections.

2. Committee members rank the top eight vote-getters from Step No. 1, using a cross-country scoring system.

3. The four institutions receiving the fewest points from the cross-country scoring are moved into the seed list in order.

4. The remaining four teams are held for the next cross-country ballot.

5. Each committee member lists four additional teams from the automatic qualification and/or at-large group. The top four vote-getters will join the four remaining teams on the next cross-country ballot.

6. Committee members rank the eight teams from Steps No. 4 and No. 5, using a cross-country scoring system.

7. The four teams receiving the fewest points are moved into the seed list in order.

8. Steps No. 4, 5, 6 and 7 are repeated until all the teams are seeded, 1 through 65, for the seed list.

9. After a team has been voted into the seed list, it may be moved to a different position by a vote of all but two of the eligible voters.

10. The committee is not obligated to seed the lines in chronological order. For example, any time during this process, the committee may use the procedures to determine the fourth quadrant of teams in the seed list.

III. Principles for Placing Teams into Championship Bracket

1. The top priority for the committee is to balance the bracket in each region across the country.

2. The teams seeded 64 and 65 will compete in an opening-round game the week of the first round. The winner of the opening-round game will play as a No. 16 seed in the first round at a Friday-Sunday first-round site to be determined by the committee during selection weekend.

3. The committee will assign all four teams in each ‘pod' (seeds 1, 16, 8, 9), (4, 13, 5, 12), (2, 15, 7, 10), (3, 14, 6, 11) to the same first-/second-round site. There will be two ‘pods' at each first-/second-round site. The first-/second-round sites that feed into a regional site may be in different geographic areas from the regional. Also, the two ‘pods' at a first-/second-round site may feed into different regional sites.

4. Sixteen levels are established (i.e., the seeds, 1 through 16) in the bracket that transcend each of the four regions, permitting evaluation of four teams simultaneously on the same level.

5. Each region is divided into four sections with four levels in each, permitting the evaluation of four different sections within each region against the complementing sections in every other region.

6. All seeds on each line (No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, etc.) should be as equal as possible.

7. If two teams from the same natural region are in contention for the same bracket position, the team ranked higher in the seed list shall remain in its natural region.

8. A team will not be permitted to play in any arena in which it has played more than three regular-season games, not including conference post-season tournaments.

9. A host institution's team shall not be permitted to play at the site where the institution is hosting. However, the team may play on the same days when the institution is hosting.

10. Each of the first three teams selected from a conference shall be placed in different regions.

11. No more than one team from a conference may be seeded in the same grouping of four (in line Nos. 1-4 and 13-16) in a region. (Note: The only possible exception would occur if a conference has five or more teams seeded in line Nos. 1-4. The other principles herein would apply in the exception case.)

12. In lines No. 5-12, two teams from the same conference may be placed in the same group of four.

13. Conference teams shall not meet each other prior to the regional final unless a ninth team is se¬lected from a conference. Two teams from the same conference within the same region, therefore, shall not be seeded together in either of the following groups: Nos. 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 16; or Nos. 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14 and 15.

14. There shall not be more than two teams from a conference in one region unless a ninth team is se¬lected from a conference.

15. Teams will remain in or as close to their areas of natural interest as possible.

16. To ensure equitable competitive opportunities, the committee shall not place teams seeded on the first five lines at a potential "home-crowd disadvantage" in the first round.

17. An institution may be moved one bracket line from its true seed line (e.g., from a No. 13 seed to a No. 12 seed) when it is placed in the bracket if necessary to meet the principles.

18. If the committee is unable to reconcile the bracket after exhausting all possible options, it has the flexibility to waive principle No. 13 to permit two teams from the same conference to meet each other after the first round, if the conference has more than five participants.

Additional Considerations

1. A team moved out of its natural area will be placed in the next closest region when possible.

2. If possible, rematches of regular-season games should be avoided in the first and second rounds.

3. If possible, rematches of previous years' tournament games should be avoided in the first and second rounds.

4. The committee will examine the previous five tournament brackets to determine the number of times a par¬ticular team or conference has been moved out of its natural region. The committee shall at¬tempt to avoid moving a team or conference out of its natural region or geographic area an inordi¬nate number of times.

Procedures for Placing the Teams into the Championship Bracket.

1. Place the teams seeded 1 through 4 in each of the four regions, then determine the Final Four semifinals pairings, making best effort to pair the top No. 1 seed's region against the fourth No. 1 seed's region and the second No. 1 seed's region against the third No. 1 seed's region.

2. Place the No. 2 seeds in each region.

3. Place the No. 3 seeds in each region.

4. Place the No. 4 seeds in each region.

5. After each group of four teams is determined, check for conflicts with the principles for placing the teams into the bracket.

6. After the top four lines have been assigned, determine the relative strengths of the regions by adding the "true" seed numbers in each region to determine if any severe numerical imbalance has been created.

7. After the committee has placed the top four teams in each region, the committee will assign those teams (and, therefore, all teams in their bracketing sequence-e.g., seeds 1, 8, 9, 16) to first-/second-round sites. The committee will attempt to assign each to the most geographically compatible first-/second-round site, proceeding in order of the seed list. When multiple teams are a similar distance from a site, generally the team with the higher seed-list ranking will be assigned to the site.

8. Place seeds No. 13, 14, 15 and 16 in the bracket per the principles.

9. Repeat steps No. 5, 6 and 7.

10. In each bracket line Nos. 5 through 12, the committee will assign all four teams a bracket line number (i.e., five through twelve) rather than using the seed-list number. All teams on a given line, therefore, will have the same numerical value. The committee will evaluate each region to ensure that no region in¬cludes all of the highest or lowest seeds from the seed list on each line within a region's group of four. Gen¬erally, no more than five points should separate the lowest and highest total.

11. Place seeds No. 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the bracket per the principles.

12. Repeat Steps No. 5, 7 and 10.

13. Place seeds No. 9, 10, 11 and 12 in the bracket per the principles.

14. Repeat Steps No. 5, 7 and 10.

15. Review the groups of fours to ensure adherence to the principles for seeding.

16. Review the principles (Section III) for placing teams in the championship bracket.

Rating Percentage Index (RPI)

The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) was created in 1981 to provide supplemental data for the Division I Men's Basketball Committee in its evaluation of teams for at-large selection and seeding of the championship bracket.

The RPI is intended to be used as one of many resources used by the committee in the selection, seeding and bracketing process. It never should be considered anything but an additional evaluation tool. Computer models cannot accurately evaluate qualitative factors such as games missed by key players or coaches, travel difficulties, a team's performance in the last ten games, the emotional effects of specific games, etc..

Several independent elements are combined to produce the RPI. These elements are a part of the statistical information that can be utilized by each member in an objective manner.

Each committee member independently evaluates a vast pool of information available during the process to develop individual preferences. It is these qualitative, quantitative and subjective opinions--developed after many hours of personal observations, discussion with coaches, directors of athletics and commissioners, and review and comparison of objective data--that dictate how each individual ultimately will vote on all issues related to the selection, seeding and bracketing process.

While the various elements of the RPI are important in the evaluation process, the tournament bracket each year is based on the subjectivity of each individual committee member to select the best at-large teams available and to create a nationally balanced championship.

Revised and approved by the Division I Men's Basketball Committee, Summer 2005.

-- Courtesy NCAA

RPI Watch

Ken Pomeroy's latest RPI projection has KU at 38th, which is important since we've now passed that mythical 40th parallel. We're up to 9th overall in his season-long ratings and nestled comfortably at 5th in his last 5 games rating (oddly enough, UNC is number 1 in that rating - good job Roy). By the way, KP's now predicting 13-3 in conference, with a lone loss at UT.

Dunkel has us at 4th in the country in his latest index, behind Duke, UT and UConn (before last night's game).

We're up to 19th overall and 6th in the pure points rating over at Jeff Sagarin's place (the pure points is more important to Vegas).

Dolphin hasn't updated yet, but I'll try to remember to update that later.

You might be interested to know that the composite of bracket projections has us at a #6 seed. Most of the latter day brackets have us as a #5, but some of the less frequently updated brackets have us as an #8 or #9, so we're averaged up a little. I think if we win out while losing impressively at UT, we have a very good shot at a #4. If we beat UT, I think a #2 is still *possible, but very very unlikely. A 4-6 is most likely at this point. I would almost prefer a #6 at this point to avoid a possible run-in with UConn, Duke or Villanova.