the soccer and volleyball hopes for making their respective NCAA tourneys looked based on standings, rankings, RPI and other ratings, etc.. Starting a little later this year, but thought I’d write something for this year starting now. I’ll be breaking this 1st week into two posts- The 1st post will be a more general (but still LONG) one, while the 2nd will provide more details for each specific sport. Note- I have no idea how selection committees actually weigh various factors in making selections, so every opinion below should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, and I’d appreciate any input from those with greater knowledge. My eyes also glaze over at just hearing the word “statistics”, so any future guesses at RPI are TOTAL guesses, especially for soccer where I couldn’t find anyone/ anything that gives futures gueestimates like I COULD find for volleyball in the Volleytalk forum. __________________________________________________________________________________ Right now, I’d say in general: · It looks like both soccer and volleyball have a lot of work to do, with the many great teams in the Pac meaning both teams will have to pull multiple upsets to even have a chance to get selected to participate in their respective NCAA tournaments. If the season was (as it’s sometimes proverbially said) “end today”, both teams would not be getting selected to their respective NCAA tournaments. · Both teams are quite a bit behind, especially in RPI, from where they were last year. (Soccer was around #55 in RPI this time last year vs. #110 this year. Volleyball was at #32 around this time last year, and is only at #63 right now.) · I’d guesstimate soccer is going to have to come close to winning most if not all of its 5 remaining matches to have even a chance to earn a selection bid, while · Volleyball has a few more chances to get big wins, and isn’t in a near win every match mode like soccer. However, I’m guessing (especially given their current RPI) they may have to go at least 7-5, and maybe as good as 9-3, in their remaining 12 matches to experience a totally stress-free tournament selection night. · As noted in more detail in the next post below, Pac 12 RPI is down relative to other conferences in both sports this year, so there will probably be a few less Pac 12 teams selected this year compared to last year, when 9 soccer and 10 volleyball teams made it to the tournament. (As mentioned in more detail in the 2nd post, an analysis in the Volleytalk forum estimates if favorites win out in the remaining Pac 12 volleyball matches, only 6 Pac 12 teams would make it into the tournament this year.) · For what it’s worth, I couldn’t find any article of what the worst RPI’s are that soccer or volleyball teams have historically had and still made the tournament. Looks like making it into the low-Mid 40’s is usually “safe”. I did find something that said the worst RPI team that made it in the last 5 years in men’s basketball was UCSB at #56 back in 2013. (That article also said however that, in basketball anyway, Power 5 (P5) conference teams generally have to have a better RPI than non-P5 conference teams like UCSB to be selected for an at-large berth in that sport.) I did read that Purdue volleyball, from another tough (Big 10) conference, didn’t make the tournament last year even with a 12-8 conference and 22-10 overall record, a #24 national ranking and #56 RPI at the time of tournament selection. One plus the Buffs may have over last year’s Boilermaker team already, however, is that Purdue didn’t have ANY “very good” wins over RPI Top 25 teams, while the Buffs might already have 2 in FSU and Stanford (depending how the rest of their year’s go), and have opportunities for more.) _____________________________________________________________________________ Resources used for selecting NCAA At-Large tournament teams For volleyball, anyways, the NCAA manual (http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/2015DIWVB_Prechamps_Manual_20150929.pdf ) says the following “evaluative tools” are available to the selection committee to use in selecting at-large teams to the tournament- Regional advisory committee rankings, Division I record, Overall RPI, Non-conference record, Non-conference RPI, Conference record, Conference RPI, Road record, Record in last 10 games, Record against teams ranked 1-50 by RPI, Record against teams ranked 51-100 by RPI, Record against teams ranked 101-200 by RPI, Record against teams ranked below 200 by RPI, Record against other teams under consideration, Head-to-head, Significant wins and losses, Results against common opponents, Results against teams already receiving at-large bids, Site of match, Other circumstances that could affect results (e.g. injuries) (I have NO idea the weight given to these elements.) _______________________________________________________________________________ RPI rant, and its Formula I also wanted to say I looked at RPI a little closer this year than I ever have, and definitely see how worthless the RPI number can be in truly evaluating a team’s season/ performance. I read some things on the web that say committee members sometimes use the numbers contained in RPI reports (on teams’ records against Top 25, 50, 100 RPI teams, bad losses etc.) more than just the RPI # itself, and hope that’s the case. That could definitely help both CU teams some, as they both already have at least one Top 25 RPI win, and have opportunities to pick up some more. Especially looking at volleyball, it amazes me how, even though qualitatively I’d say they had their best non-conference this year in MANY YEARS, they’ve been way behind last year’s RPI from the beginning. In the 1st RPI release this year (in early October), they were only rated at #72, as opposed to #34 in the 1st release last year. I assume the Buffs just didn’t play the “RPI Game” as well this year in non-conference, guessing the “easy” lower conference teams they played and beat this year have worst records than the easy teams they played and beat last year. For those who don’t know, RPI is calculated using following formula (from Wikipedia)- “RPI = (WP * 0.25) + (OWP * 0.50) + (OOWP * 0.25) where WP is Winning Percentage, OWP is Opponents' Winning Percentage and OOWP is Opponents' Opponents' Winning Percentage.” Note- At least for volleyball, there are also some adjustments to the unmodified number arrived at from the above RPI formula for things such as “good” wins against high RPI teams, “bad” losses against low RPI teams, bonus for scheduling at least 50% of your non-conference matches against RPI Top 75 teams, etc..