Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Calvin's Tournament Chances

It's quite a bit silly to try to project the likely hood of the Knights appearing in the NCAA Tournament when they've only played 2 of 17 (or 18 or 19) regional games, but I think it's fun to do.

Here's a few different scenarios that, I think, will get Calvin into The Big Dance (assuming that MIAA games go more or less according to form).

  • Win the MIAA tournament. (duh!)

  • Go 12-2 in conference play.

  • Go 11-3 in the conference and lose in the MIAA Tournament championship game.

  • Go 10-4 in conference and lose to Hope in the MIAA Tournament championship game.

  • That last one will put Calvin solidly on the bubble, but I think they'd have a good shot. Their resume here would stack up well against the types of teams that found themselves on the bubble a year ago (Calvin included). I think they'd still be a "last four in" type of team, but that's much better than "last four out."

    A few similar scenarios that may land Calvin on the wrong side of the bubble:

  • Go 11-3 in conference play and lose in the MIAA Tournament second round.

  • Go 10-4 in conference and lose to non-Hope in the MIAA championship game.

  • Go 9-5 in conference play and lose to Hope in the MIAA Tournament championship

  • These three situations would give Calvin some consideration, but I think we'd be relying on false hope here. I think if you want to err, you'd want to err with the higher winning percentage. Maybe the 11-3 scenario with the loss in the second round would be enough to get Calvin in.

    I think 10-4 is realistic, so I'll say that Calvin making the tournament via an at-large bid is a very real possibility. Whatever the regular season record ends up, it appears that at least making the conference championship game is a must if they want a Pool C spot, unless they go something like 12-2, but I don't see that happening.

    Again, we're making two big assumptions here. One, that the MIAA portion of the schedule doesn't give us any big surprises (and DePauw and OWU win a reasonable number of games), and two, that the collective resumes of potential Pool C teams is similar to last season's group. Gross assumptions aside, I think this gives us a nice benchmark.

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