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Two weeks ago, I would have said the Big East’s most likely expansion candidates were:

1. Gonzaga (extremely far-fetched but on their dream list if they could logistically make it happen
2. Saint Louis, 3. Dayton, 4. Duquesne, 5. St. Bonaventure, 6. Richmond, 7. Belmont

And the Big East’s best choices for expansion would be:
1. St. Bonaventure, 2. Saint Louis, 3. Richmond, 4. Duquesne, 5. Belmont, 6. Dayton (Gonzaga, UConn, VCU, Wichita State = Not at all).


However, by adding UConn, that changes the list DRASTICALLY. Most likely now would be:

1. Wichita State, 2. VCU, 3. Saint Louis

Of course, their best possible additions remain "not schools that successful in basketball"
I am assuming that you didn’t like UD’s chances of an invite because of market / proximity to Xavier. Why would you consider St. Bonaventure as the best choice for BE expansion? I never believed that UD would be invited so I’m just curious about your thought process

If the A10 loses members and needs to expand I hope that 1) the league makes a decision based on who is leaving, and 2) maybe throw a bone to some of the western members. For example, if UMASS, LaSalle and say VCU leave, this league needs to keep SLU and Dayton happy, so look to add Loyola, Northern Kentucky or a Belmont. Don’t scoff at Northern Kentucky. They are winning the Horizon, have better facilities than most of the A10, hire good coaches and sit in a huge market just south of Cincinnati. Nashville is a great city, and together with Chicago make great destination games for UD and SLU fans.

Northeastern, Stony Brook, Iona, Siena, Wofford and to a lesser extent CoC don’t move the needle and I suspect would cause a shit hemorrhage with the Faithful.
 

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I am assuming that you didn’t like UD’s chances of an invite because of market / proximity to Xavier. Why would you consider St. Bonaventure as the best choice for BE expansion? I never believed that UD would be invited so I’m just curious about your thought process

If the A10 loses members and needs to expand I hope that 1) the league makes a decision based on who is leaving, and 2) maybe throw a bone to some of the western members. For example, if UMASS, LaSalle and say VCU leave, this league needs to keep SLU and Dayton happy, so look to add Loyola, Northern Kentucky or a Belmont. Don’t scoff at Northern Kentucky. They are winning the Horizon, have better facilities than most of the A10, hire good coaches and sit in a huge market just south of Cincinnati. Nashville is a great city, and together with Chicago make great destination games for UD and SLU fans.

Northeastern, Stony Brook, Iona, Siena, Wofford and to a lesser extent CoC don’t move the needle and I suspect would cause a shit hemorrhage with the Faithful.

Northern Kentucky is very under the radar but they just lost their head coach (former Bona assistant John Brannen) to Cincinnati so we'll see how they recover. You are right though, they have very nice facilities.


In a nutshell, JP thinks Bona is a fit because the BE needs someone to absorb losses (not just DePaul). I'll let him go into further details but that is what I remember from his previous thoughts.
 

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I am assuming that you didn’t like UD’s chances of an invite because of market / proximity to Xavier. Why would you consider St. Bonaventure as the best choice for BE expansion? I never believed that UD would be invited so I’m just curious about your thought process
Dayton checks every single box for being a Big East school. The fact that they haven't been invited makes me think they only way they ever as if Xavier adds football and joins the Big XII (which is crazy).


Bona is the best choice, along with probably Duquesne and Saint Louis because the Big East is built on a false premise.

All the other conference expansions were like "We just lost someone, so we need to add the next best football program: Cincinnati, Louisville, TCU, West Virginia, Houston, SMU..." But all those other conferences weren't brand new, they had someone who was great in basketball but sucked at football (Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia) or vice versa (Penn State, Nebraska, USC, Clemson).

The Big East was built with the assumption that having 10 of the top basketball only programs of all time who are all ridiculously similar makes them the best conference possible.

That's simply not true if you measure success by "getting the highest percentage of NCAA programs possible."

If you have 8 NCAA calibre programs and 2 programs in rebuilding mode, the 7th place team is going to be 5-13.

(Remember when I said that losing Butler, Xavier, Temple and Charlotte wouldn't as big of a deal as people thought because our third place team was still going to be 13-3 in conference, and 24-7 overall? Same principle).


How would Bona, Duquense and Saint Louis do in the Big East? Saint Louis would adapt the fastest because they have facilities in place. Bona would be not embarrassing, but struggling to keep up (like they did in the A-10 during the Temple/UMass heyday). And Duquesne would be winning 10 OOC games against cupcakes and hope to get to 15-15 overall.

So instead of the current Top 8 Big East teams going 86-58 in conference play and 8th place being 5-13, you'd have 11th, 12th, 13th place absorbing conference losses.

Now your bottom five are 24-66, and the top 8 are 93-51 overall, and 8th place is like 8-10 instead of 5-13 and they can send 7 or 8 to the dance every year.


The ideal conference would be (I’ll use 2018 order of performance as examples)

16-2 (1 Seed Xavier) - actual
14-4 (1 Seed Nova)
14-4 (6 Seed Seton Hall)
13-5 (8 Seed Creighton)
11-7 (8 Seed Butler
10-8 (10 Seed Providence)
9-9 (10 Seed Marquette)
9-9 (11 Seed St. Bona)
---
7-11 (NIT Saint Louis)
---
5-13 Georgetown
4-14 St. John’s
3-15 DePaul
2-16 Duquesne

That's the bottom four going 14-58, and the top nine going 103-59.

You don't want a last place team being 7-11 in conference. There aren't enough wins to go around.
 

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I am assuming that you didn’t like UD’s chances of an invite because of market / proximity to Xavier. Why would you consider St. Bonaventure as the best choice for BE expansion? I never believed that UD would be invited so I’m just curious about your thought process

If the A10 loses members and needs to expand I hope that 1) the league makes a decision based on who is leaving, and 2) maybe throw a bone to some of the western members. For example, if UMASS, LaSalle and say VCU leave, this league needs to keep SLU and Dayton happy, so look to add Loyola, Northern Kentucky or a Belmont. Don’t scoff at Northern Kentucky. They are winning the Horizon, have better facilities than most of the A10, hire good coaches and sit in a huge market just south of Cincinnati. Nashville is a great city, and together with Chicago make great destination games for UD and SLU fans.

Northeastern, Stony Brook, Iona, Siena, Wofford and to a lesser extent CoC don’t move the needle and I suspect would cause a shit hemorrhage with the Faithful.
Just curious why you included La Salle in your list of 3 leaving. UMass and VCU I can see why (football and AAC invite respectively), but La Salle seems like an odd choice for suddenly leaving. It wouldn't have anything to do with your hard-on for dumping La Salle, would it?
 

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The thing is JP, it doesn't always work. The B12 (and often the BE) get a good percentage of teams in.
The A-10 is a larger conference, but last year Davidson at 14-4 and Dayton at 13-5 were left out; both 20 game winners.
So you got to be smart OOC or the number game you subscribe to doesn't get you the bids. Maybe it's easier to manage a smaller conference?
 

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The thing is JP, it doesn't always work. The B12 (and often the BE) get a good percentage of teams in.
The A-10 is a larger conference, but last year Davidson at 14-4 and Dayton at 13-5 were left out; both 20 game winners.
So you got to be smart OOC or the number game you subscribe to doesn't get you the bids. Maybe it's easier to manage a smaller conference?
That... and the committee just moves the target each year to cram in as many P5s as possible.
 

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The thing is JP, it doesn't always work. The B12 (and often the BE) get a good percentage of teams in.
The A-10 is a larger conference, but last year Davidson at 14-4 and Dayton at 13-5 were left out; both 20 game winners.
So you got to be smart OOC or the number game you subscribe to doesn't get you the bids. Maybe it's easier to manage a smaller conference?
Right, but the difference between the Big XII and Big East is two-fold...

1. The Big XII has four times the TV revenue. They're richer teams to buy more OOC home games and because they're "P5" they don't have to go out and get marquee OOC wins for people to assume they're good; if the BE had a lack of marquee OOC wins, people would disrespect the league pretty quick.

2. The other difference is that the Big XII basically has 9 teams who are peers in basketball, battling for "who's really good this year" (TCU and Texas Tech down, WVU and Oklahoma State up, two years later it's the opposite), with KANSAS being rock steady Kansas at the top, always.

The Big East really doesn't have that (although Villanova has come close during the time of the NBE's existentence).


And the most important comment to both is the thing I’ve said a billion times regarding the Big East over the last five years:

“Ten teams getting 6 or 7 bids most years isn’t ‘broken,’ but if configuring with 13 teams means 6 MINIMUM and 8 or 9 bids in good years, why wouldn’t you do it?”




Now, comparing that to the A-10 isn’t really fair. It’s the not the NUMBERS of members that make the Conference Weak vs Strong. For example, the 15-team ACC and 14-team Big Ten are sending 7-8-9 bids most years.


The A-10’s problem isn’t too many teams. It isn’t even that Fordham, Duquesne and La Salle have one NCAA bid since 1993.

The A-10’s problem is a lack of consistency. The programs we have who’ve turned in 25-win seasons have also turned in 20+ loss seasons.

If you made a chart of everyone’s 20 wins, .500 or worse and “in between” seasons, you see that we have seven members who are either “really good 30% of the time, really bad 40-60% of the time, and in the middle like 20-30% of the time, and then we have four members who are just simply bad most the time.

That breaks down to is 5 good, 3 mediocre and 6 bad teams every year. That’s not the ratio you want.

The ratio you want is like 50% - 25% - 25% (7 - 4 - 3 would be ideal for us)
 

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The A-10’s problem is a lack of consistency. The programs we have who’ve turned in 25-win seasons have also turned in 20+ loss seasons.
That doesn't explain last year when Davidson and Dayton performed according to your road map and didn't get an invite. If the league performs according to your map, with the bottom dwellers sucking up the loses, why didn't they get in?
 

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One of these columns is the A-10, one is the ACC minus one team to make them even.
Their conference records.
Can you tell which conference is which.
I would contend that we have the same ratio of teams, good and bad.
Yes they can buy games we can't, so that inflates their OOC W/L, but they (the ACC) plays a fairly strong OOC slate (#5 by SOS)

16-2 16-2
14-4 14-4
13-5 13-5
12-6 12-6
11-7 10-8
10-8 10-8
10-8 9-9
9-9 9-9
8-10 6-12
6-12 5-13
6-12 5-13
4-14 4-14
4-14 3-15
3-15 3-15
 

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That doesn't explain last year when Davidson and Dayton performed according to your road map and didn't get an invite. If the league performs according to your map, with the bottom dwellers sucking up the loses, why didn't they get in?
The A-10 has performed according to my road map zero times. It’s not the number of bottom dwellers, it’s the RATIO of bottom dwellers, to NCAA caliber programs to legit NCAA Top 30 teams.


This kind of thing is SO DIFFICULT to articulate because people tend to look at an overall schedule as if it doesn't have 18 interrelated conference games; and/or people think that "what your record is, is who you are."

Let's use Saint Mary's as an example. They’re pretty consistent. Almost always around the 28th to 68th best team in college basketball.

Teams 5-10 of the WCC suck, SMC goes 12-0.
Team 4 of the WCC is a "postseason, but not NCAA bubble" team, SMC goes 2-0
Team 3 of the WCC (BYU) is a quality, NCAA capable program, SMC goes 1-1
Team 1 of the WCC is a legit monster, SMC goes 0-2

They usually go like 7-0 vs bad teams OOC, 2-0 vs postseason teams, 1-1 vs NCAA capable, and 0-1 vs a legit NCAA teams, and they are 26-6 on Selection Sunday and could be playing in the First Four.


If you change the ratios of those teams in the WCC: 2 Gonzagas, 2 SMCs, 2 BYUs, 4 Suck

SMC & SMC2 go 8-0 vs suck, 4-2 vs SMC2 and BYUs, 0-4 vs two Gonzagas. Same OOC = 24-9.
BYU & BYU2 go 8-0 vs suck, 2-4 vs SMCs/BYU2, 0-4 vs two Gonzagas. Same OOC = 20-11.

Now you have Gonzaga and Gonzaga2 as 1 seeds, Both SMCs are safely in as 7/8 seeds, and BYU/BYU2 are the NCAA bubble teams and it’s a five or six bid league.



The Big East’s “problem” is that they have 8 teams who fall into the Gonzaga/SMC/BYU class in a given year, and their bottom two teams are that “postseason, but not NCAA bubble” teams. They THINK it’s a great thing that they’re “so deep,” but the fact is, their ratios are not optimal, so the 8th best team in a class of NCAA capable programs finishes with an 8th place conference record and looks like a “postseason, but not NCAA team” team when they’re really just as good as BYU.

If you traded the 8th Big East Team for the 5th WCC team….

The 5th place WCC team went maybe 1-7 at best vs Top 4 teams, and 9-1 vs the bottom 5 teams of the WCC. No one in the Big East is as bad as the bottom 5, so they’re 3-15 at best in the Big East. Of course, that means the 6th and 7th place Big East teams, who dropped road games at BE 8th are now a game better each, maybe that pushes them over the top and they both get NCAA bids, moving the league from 6 to 7.

8th Big East: 10-0 vs bottom five WCC, 0-2 vs Gonzaga, 0-2 vs SMC, 1-1 vs BYU = 11-7 WCC instead of 6-12 Big East. A usual OOC schedule would make them an NCAA bubble team; SMC, BYU would get 6 games vs NCAA bubble or better teams instead of 4, and they could be a 3/4 bid league instead of a 1/2 bid league. Because their ratios are better.





Does that make sense?
 

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To a degree, yes. But look at the "ratios" of the ACC/A10 I noted.
They are damn near equal.
And when you look at SMC playing NCAA caliber teams for comparison, isn't that caught up in SOS to some extent?
SMC did have a better OOC SOS, so should we risk that vs. buy games we can win? They were 5-10 in quadrant 1 and 2 and it didn't hurt them.
 

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Just curious why you included La Salle in your list of 3 leaving. UMass and VCU I can see why (football and AAC invite respectively), but La Salle seems like an odd choice for suddenly leaving. It wouldn't have anything to do with your hard-on for dumping La Salle, would it?
LaSalle was mentioned earlier in this thread in a what-if scenario because of the rumored study to explore the MAAC.

You’ll not find a comment from me about kicking out any member. I don’t see it happening, however, I believe that schools should do a self assessment and make a determination regarding their commitment to operating basketball programs at a “P6” level. You will find that I have these comments many times. I believe that it’s unfair that there is a huge disparity in commitment between programs. If a school can’t commit the resources to be at that level they should align themselves with like minded programs, and let the conference find other programs that will commit to a higher level.

I realize that many schools arent going to build 10,000 seat arenas, but look at what Duquesne has done and is doing. Many on this board don’t care for Dambrot but they went out and got the coach that they wanted. I believe that they have increased their budgets as well (DUQ fans can weigh in here). Now they are seriously upgrading facilities- not necessarily adding seats. It’s a commitment to turn things around.
 

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LaSalle was mentioned earlier in this thread in a what-if scenario because of the rumored study to explore the MAAC.

You’ll not find a comment from me about kicking out any member. I don’t see it happening, however, I believe that schools should do a self assessment and make a determination regarding their commitment to operating basketball programs at a “P6” level. You will find that I have these comments many times. I believe that it’s unfair that there is a huge disparity in commitment between programs. If a school can’t commit the resources to be at that level they should align themselves with like minded programs, and let the conference find other programs that will commit to a higher level.

I realize that many schools arent going to build 10,000 seat arenas, but look at what Duquesne has done and is doing. Many on this board don’t care for Dambrot but they went out and got the coach that they wanted. I believe that they have increased their budgets as well (DUQ fans can weigh in here). Now they are seriously upgrading facilities- not necessarily adding seats. It’s a commitment to turn things around.
From a Duquesne fan's perspective, so far the commitment is there. I don't know enough about the dollar commitment but facility wise we will certainly have a major improvement in everything except perhaps in the seating capacity of the basketball arena portion.

As to Coach Dambrot, I like him and am not sure why others don't or find the need to insult him based on his stature or other characteristics. Duquesne is finally doing what people here have long complained about - showed a commitment that is similarly found in other A10 and better schools. Yet now we see criticism that almost is saying, "we want you to change but now it's too much."

Hiring Dambrot is certainly an excellent start because he is intense, competitive and dedicated.

I also agree with your other comments JAF.
 

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From a Duquesne fan's perspective, so far the commitment is there. I don't know enough about the dollar commitment but facility wise we will certainly have a major improvement in everything except perhaps in the seating capacity of the basketball arena portion.



As to Coach Dambrot, I like him and am not sure why others don't or find the need to insult him based on his stature or other characteristics. Duquesne is finally doing what people here have long complained about - showed a commitment that is similarly found in other A10 and better schools. Yet now we see criticism that almost is saying, "we want you to change but now it's too much."



Hiring Dambrot is certainly an excellent start because he is intense, competitive and dedicated.



I also agree with your other comments JAF.
He hasn't been criticized because he's short and looks like a hobbit. It's because he recruits over players--guys that he himself recruited--to a degree that is egregious at any level of college basketball.
 

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To a degree, yes. But look at the "ratios" of the ACC/A10 I noted.
They are damn near equal.
Those ratios are "damned near equal" if you're looking at what each team did within its conference by conference standings.

I used the WCC as an example, because I didn't want to get into arguments about A-10 schools and shit on my brothers' programs; while I had no problem saying that the bottom five of the WCC "suck." But here's comparing the ACC and A10 in those WCC team categories:

"Gonzaga"
ACC: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida State
A10: None

"SMC"
ACC: Louisville, NC State, Clemson, Syracuse
A10: VCU

"BYU"
ACC: Miami, Notre Dame, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Pitt
A10: Dayton, Davidson

"5th WCC"
ACC: Wake Forest
A10: Saint Louis, Bonaventure, URI, Mason

"Bottom"
ACC: None
A10: Duquesne, LaSalle, Saint Joseph’s, Richmond, UMass, GW, Fordham


Now, when you look at the numbers, you might say "Dude, Notre Dame, BC, GT, and Pitt are no where near BYU/Dayton/Davidson." But you have to remember the Conference Effect. Davidson is better than Miami, but it's close:
- Miami was 14-18 overall because they went 0-11 vs Q1, 12-3 vs Q3/Q4;
- Davidson is 23-10 because they went 0-2 vs Q1 and 18-5 vs Q3/Q4.

Give DC nine more Q1 losses and they're 14-19, Give Miami 9 less Q1 losses and they're 22-13.


The data you see in tables of NET and Conference Standings are the results of the conference effect and schedule. Don't consider teams as "their record" or "their net" but a "byproduct of schedule" instead.

Just look at basketball back in like, 1988. The "powerful programs" of college hoops were spread out of 22 different conferences. If we returned to that conference alignment and schedule, the BCS teams that everyone says are just "better" than non-BCS teams.... a lot of them would be proven to actually be better. However, at the same time, there'd be a large amount of non-BCS teams that could finally prove they are JUST AS GOOD because the access to the Top 50 of RPI/NET would a lot more fair.


(This is so much easier to explain if I could spend like a month making visual aides).
 
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