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Talking Hoops: Interview w/ Ken Pomeroy



February 25th

Talking Hoops: Interview w/ Ken Pomeroy


Ken Pomeroy, the national power rankings guru from joined our friends at for a live chat on Thursday.  Ken discussed how things will shake out in the Big Dance, who is on the Bubble, how many teams will make it from each conference and a lot more.  CHN has a transcript of the chat, edited for your reading pleasure:




WeAreDePaul: Thanks for taking the time to join us tonight, KenWhat, in your opinion, does DePaul need to do from here on out to make the NCAA’s?


Ken Pomeroy: I'd say two more wins will be enough, three makes them a lock - this includes CUSA tourney play.


WeAreDePaul: What about Joe Lunardi's RPI?  Do you have any insight into his rankings, Ken?


Ken Pomeroy: No, I don't really know what exactly Joe does. From what I see on ESPN, his numbers are close to mine.


WeAreDePaul: How many teams do you see coming from CUS A and the Pac10?


Ken Pomeroy: Well, Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte, DePaul. Those four are comfortable. Marquette, UAB, and Memphis aren't going to make it in. So it looks like four.


WeAreDePaul: How much of a factor is the RPI?  For instance Memphis beat DePaul heads up but Memphis’ RPI is over one hundred and De{aul is at 34.  Both are on the bubble, but who is the selection committee more likely to select even though Memphis is the hotter team going in?


Ken Pomeroy: RPI is a factor. That difference is so huge that it is very meaningful. Head-to-head is really not a big deal unless all other factors are equal.


WeAreDePaul: Is there really a ceiling as to how many teams per conference can get in or is conference affiliation meaningless to the selection committee?


Ken Pomeroy: Conference Affiliation is meaningless for the most part. But at the same time if you have a bunch of bubble teams in the same conference, they tend to beat each other up so that all of them don't get in.


WeAreDePaul: How are neutral court games like in the upcoming conference tournaments treated in respect to the RPI?


Ken Pomeroy: They are treated just like neutral games during the regular season. Home court still applies when a team is playing on its home court of course.


WeAreDePaul: So would a neutral court game count for as much as a road win?


Ken Pomeroy: A road win counts for 1.4 wins, while a neutral game counts for a 1.0 win, and the dreaded home win is only .6.


WeAreDePaul: How do you feel about DePaul's pre-conference scheduling?  Was it the right approach (playing a bunch of mid-majors), or would it be better to schedule like Marquette does - one or two powerful teams and a bunch of patsies?


Ken Pomeroy: To me, if you're serious about a tournament bid, it pays to challenge yourself early. Pitt, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M are really kicking themselves for a weak non-conf schedule right now.


WeAreDePaul: Vermont’s RPI is 15?  What the heck?


Ken Pomeroy: The Catamounts are a power! Obviously that is exhibit A as to why this year's revamping of the RPI was a little misguided.  Trust me, Vermont won't get a 4 seed.


WeAreDePaul: What about the SEC?  How many teams do you see getting in, and whom?


Ken Pomeroy: Kentucky, Bama, Florida, LSU, and most likely Mississippi State. I think that's it for them.


WeAreDePaul:  What about the ACC, specifically Georgia Tech and Miami?


Ken Pomeroy: Georgia Tech is a real puzzler. I'm starting to think they're just not that good. They really need three more wins. Great bubble game between GT and Miami on Saturday.


WeAreDePaul: What about Kansas?  What sort of seed do you see for them right now?


Ken Pomeroy: At this moment they are a two. They need to play well and hope that UNC, Wake, or BC stumbles. Then the Jayhawks could be a #1.


WeAreDePaul: Given the road weighting to the RPI, is a win at UAB comparable to a win at home against Louisville for DePaul?  Or is the UL game bigger?


Ken Pomeroy:  As far as the impact to the RPI, they're probably about equal. That's a weakness in the formula. A road win outside the top 100 can be better RPI-wise than a home win in the top 50.


WeAreDePaul: Ken, what's your feeling on St. Mary's right now?  How much more do they need to do for an at-large berth?


Ken Pomeroy:  St. Mary's is totally relying on the Gonzaga win.  Yeah, they have road wins at Cal and UNLV, but those teams are near the bottom of their conferences.


WeAreDePaul: What about Wichita State?


Ken Pomeroy:  A four-loss MVC team is deserving of a bid, but they have to get by Southern Illinois to accomplish that. They'll probably get in with a couple MVC tourney wins.


WeAreDePaul: Was a study performed before the RPI change to assess the situation we brought up before (i.e., UAB on the road vs. Louisville at home)?


Ken Pomeroy:  You know, the NCAA kind of implied that one was done.  Bob Bowlsby said this was "the best


 tool possible." That's a quote.  But it will be interesting to see if the new RPI is used as much as the old.


WeAreDePaul: Ken, are there any teams who might be seeded between 6 and 11 who could do some serious damage in the NCAA’s past the first weekend?


Ken Pomeroy:  If Villanova is seeded in there, they are a team to watch for sure.  So many guys who can create their own shot. They will be a tough team to eliminate.


WeAreDePaul: Is Vermont a lock for an at-large if they don't win the conference tournament?


Ken Pomeroy:  Yeah, they probably are. Their RPI will be at least 25, and I don't see the committee ignoring that after they hyped up the new system so much.


WeAreDePaul:  What about West Virginia?  How real are their at-large chances right now?


Ken Pomeroy:  Their chances are very real. But they have to win their last two regular season games. Sitting 8th in conference is not helping them at the moment, but you can't ignore wins at LSU, Pitt, and NC State.  The committee LOVES road wins.


WeAreDePaul:  Given the revamped RPI, do you think the Selection Committee will use other rankings even more this year, most notably Sagarin's and yours?


Ken Pomeroy:  I don't think they'll use them more, but there will be some common sense in the process - as there usually is. Teams like Vermont and Miami Ohio will not get seeds commensurate with their RPI.


WeAreDePaul: Is anyone still calculating the RPI under the "old" method?  If so, where does that "old" RPI show DePaul to be?


Ken Pomeroy:  The old formula has them at 39 (new RPI is 33). It will be interesting to see how selections compare to the old formula. It will give us an indication as to which formula the committee truly trusts.


WeAreDePaul: Where do you see Charlotte being seeded in the NCAA’s?


Ken Pomeroy:  What's the deal with them? It seems like they are under appreciated nationally. They have to be a 4 or 5 at this point, with a legitimate shot at a 2 or 3 if they win out.


WeAreDePaul: Do you see a team this year that looks like last year's Washington, who streaked down the stretch and basically made their RPI irrelevant?


Ken Pomeroy:  Memphis was trying to be that team. Virginia Tech could do it as well, they could finish 4th in the ACC with an RPI in the 80-100 range, and would be hard to keep out.


WeAreDePaul:  The MVC as a whole?  Two bids?  Three bids?


Ken Pomeroy:  SIU is a lock, Wichita is close. So it could be a three bid conference if someone like Northern Iowa wins Arch madness.


WeAreDePaul:  What about the MAC?


Ken Pomeroy:  Miami is probably the only at-large. Kent State and Buffalo are close, but there's not enough there to pick either of them.


WeAreDePaul:  Thanks for your time Ken.  Don’t forget to visit

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