NCAA Tourney Talk: AWP & the Minnesota Gophers

NCAA Tourney Talk: AWP & the Minnesota Gophers
February 24, 2014

The Minnesota Gophers welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to the Barn on Tuesday night. A win would help their cause greatly, but there would still be work to do for the Gophers.

The RPI’s Strength of Schedule (“SOS”) is a misnomer. When fans, media, coaches, etc. use the RPI’s SOS as a synonym for “challenging”, “difficult”, “hard” or “tough”, they are being silly at best. Do the NCAA tournament committee members understand this? Perhaps not.

Either way, Minnesota’s RPI – particularly due to the SOS factors – is keeping their name in the NCAA tournament bubble conversation. Today we look at their adjusted winning percentage (“AWP”) and how it may look at season’s end. In addition, we’ll look at teams who have received at large bids despite weak AWP’s in the past couple of years.

As a reminder, we think a wild card in Minnesota’s tourney hopes is Dre Hollins’ ankle. Many things are possible so the team must continue fighting for wins with everything they’ve got.

We quickly looked at the at-large teams who were seeded #9 or worse in the last two NCAA tournaments and calculated their AWP’s as of Selection Sunday. The columns below are self-explanatory and are ordered by the AWP column, from lowest (worst) to highest among this group of teams.

Year Seed Team AWP Top 100 W Top 100 L RPI
2012 #10 West Virginia 0.5625 9 11 57
2012 #9 Connecticut 0.57554 9 11 32
2012 #11 Texas 0.577778 4 11 50
2013 #9 Villanova 0.590278 8 11 52
2012 #11 North Carolina State 0.594937 6 10 49
2012 #12 South Florida 0.598485 4 10 52
2012 #10 Purdue 0.605442 9 10 47
2013 #11 Minnesota 0.612903 11 9 34
2013 #12 California 0.62069 7 10 53
2013 #10 Cincinnati 0.62585 9 11 50
2012 #10 Xavier 0.631206 8 11 41
2012 #9 Alabama 0.649254 7 10 36
2013 #10 Oklahoma 0.656489 8 9 39
2012 #11 Colorado State 0.657895 7 9 29
2013 #10 Colorado 0.65942 9 9 38
2013 #10 Iowa State 0.677165 8 9 45
2013 #13 Boise State 0.692308 8 8 44
2012 #10 Virginia 0.695035 7 6 53
2013 #9 Temple 0.705479 10 6 41
2013 #9 Missouri 0.714286 9 9 36
2013 #13 La Salle 0.719697 6 8 46
2012 #14 Brigham Young 0.731544 5 6 45
2012 #12 California 0.732824 8 7 37
2013 #9 Wichita State 0.77027 8 5 37
2012 #9 Southern Mississippi 0.78626 9 5 21
2012 #9 Saint Louis 0.793893 8 5 31
2013 #11 Saint Mary’s (CA) 0.808219 7 5 29
2012 #14 Iona 0.814103 5 3 40
2013 #11 Middle Tennessee 0.872483 1 3 28

Minnesota currently has an AWP of .5505. Looking at the table above, that’s lower than any at-large team listed. We should also note that the 2012 West Virginia team (worst AWP above at .5625) was a solid 8-8 against teams in the top 60 of the RPI. The third team listed above, 2012 Texas at .5778, went 4-11 against the RPI top 100. However, all 15 of those games were against the RPI top 50.

The Gophers are 5-9 vs. the RPI top 100 as things currently sit, but Indiana projects to fall out and bring the current record against the top 100 to 4-9.

Other notes:

  • Away from home Minnesota is only 2-7 against the RPI top 100
  • The Gophers have played 7 games against teams in the RPI top 20 (2-5, with home wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State)
  • Richmond, Minnesota’s third victory against an RPI top 50 team, projects to fall just outside of the top 50 by season’s end. Still, that win on the road helps their case.

Early in the 2012-13 season, Minnesota picked up 2 wins and only 1 loss in the Bahamas. This year in Maui, they went 0-2 against D-I competition. Minnesota now sits with a 16-11 record (vs. D-I) which calculates to a winning percentage of .5926.

The impact of Minnesota’s relatively strong SOS will be lessened due to the mathematics of conference games and especially conference tournaments.  But for today, our focus is on AWP.

Because of where they’ve won and lost games, their AWP is brought down to .5505. How could things look under different scenarios? See below.

Minnesota beats Iowa, loses at Michigan, and beats Penn State…
…and then goes 0-1 in the BTT: .5366
…and then goes 1-1 in the BTT: .5547
…and then goes 2-1 in the BTT: .5714
…and then goes 3-1 in the BTT: .5870

Minnesota loses the next two and beats Penn State…
…and then goes 0-1 in the BTT: .4961
…and then goes 1-1 in the BTT: .5152
…and then goes 2-1 in the BTT: .5328
…and then goes 3-1 in the BTT: .5493

As you can see from the above scenarios, things look pretty ugly if Minnesota only beats Penn State to finish out the regular season.  Let’s throw one more scenario out there.

Minnesota loses to Iowa then beats Michigan and Penn State…
…and then goes 0-1 in the BTT: .5344
…and then goes 1-1 in the BTT: .5515
…and then goes 2-1 in the BTT: .5674
…and then goes 3-1 in the BTT: .5822

The scenario in which Minnesota wins at Michigan and at home against Penn State is slightly worse on AWP than just taking care of business at Williams Arena, although outside of the world of RPI, the selection committee would surely be impressed by a late season win at Crisler.

There are many ways to look at a team’s chances. Some involve numbers, some don’t. Could Minnesota get into the tournament with the worst adjusted winning percentage an at-large has produced in the past few years? Yes, and unless they go on a magnificent run they will be one of the lowest the tourney has seen in recent years. (A 3-0 finish and… a first round loss in the BTT = .5748; 1-1 in BTT = .5909; 2-1 in BTT: .6058.)

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail