College Basketball: Unbalanced Scheduling Leads to Unfair Respect
The reality is that the top teams play mostly meaningless games. The real action (in fact, the only action) happens on the road. The Top 40 teams listed below have only won 36% of their road/neutral games against Top 50 teams, a 58-103 record. In fact, over half of all the losses accumulated by Top 40 team came in these few games. They went 674-93 in other games.
Syracuse & Kentucky, the top 2 teams in the AP Poll, haven't won a single game against a Top 50 team away from home. Perhaps what makes those 2 schools seem so dominant, is not that they are better, but because they are simply untested. Most schools fatten up on wins against teams ranked below 50th in the RPI and against away teams below 100th in the RPI. The Top 40 schools are a whopping 534-40 in these games, winning at a 93% clip.
It is easier to beat a Top 50 team at home as it is to beat a team ranked 51st-100th on the road. The Top 40 teams win 75% of their games against Top 50 teams, and 69% against 51-100 away from home.
Come NCAA Tournament time though, teams don't have the chance to feast on home wins. Only in the 1vs16 or 2vs15 games, can teams play against teams outside the Top 100. The Selection Committee probably does not focus enough on road vs home success in their bracketology decisions, which could lead to some teams being overseeded or underseeded. But you shouldn't fall into that trap. When the Tournament comes around, be sure to check out how teams have fared against quality teams on road or neutral courts. Ohio St & Florida have a whopping 2 combined wins against Top 100 teams away from home in 8 tries. Come tournament time, these numbers will certainly come into play. Perhaps we've found two teams primed for early round upsets?
|RPI||Team||Overall||Top 50||51-100||Top 50||Others|
|20||San Diego St||18-3||1-2||2-0||3-1||12-0|
|35||Long Beach St||15-6||0-5||2-0||0-0||13-1|
|Winning % =||0.36||0.69||0.75||0.93|
I'll update these numbers occasionally as Selection Sunday rolls around. Post comments below or send a note to @collegehoopsnet on twitter.