I definitely agree with this opinion... the Missouri Valley is over-rated! Count me as one who will be majorly pissed off (pun intended) if the Mo-Valley gets 5 bids.
Selective MVC Analysis
Published by Jason Kent March 11th, 2006
I’m not going to write off the College Basketball Ratings Percentage Index, but it needs to be deemphasized as an evaluating tool for NCAA Tournament berths. Qualitative analysis over quantitive. From my view point, this conference is overrated.
The objective for the selection committee is to select the best 34 remaining teams after automatic bids have been handed out. Right now as many as 6 Missouri Valley Conference teams are being discussed due to their inclusion in the RPI top 40 as of today. That’s more teams than the ACC, Big 12, SEC, Pac 10 and as many teams as the Big Ten. Only the Big East with 7 in the top 40 have more. Credit the MVC athletic directors for figuring out the finer details of the formula and taking advantage of it. I’m not trying to bash the conference, it’s the best of the mid-majors, but the possibility of the MVC drawing more teams than the ACC is a joke. The best 34 teams is what we are taking about here, and the RPI should only be a small part of the formula. Qualitative takes precedence.
Current RPI rankings of MVC and notable teams close by:
Missouri State - 19
Wisconsin - 20
Northern Iowa - 23
Wichita State - 24
Southern Illinois - 27
Boston College - 30
West Virginia - 34
Bradley - 35
Creighton - 40
Cincinnati - 41
Michigan - 46
Southern Illinois doesn’t need to be discussed as they secured a berth with a conference tournament victory against Bradley, in what was one of the ugliest games I’ve watched all season. The Salukis have a proven track record in the tournament so I’ll leave them alone. Tough team that could hang with the middle of the Big 10 pack.
Another worthy team is regular season champion, Wichita State. The Shockers actually went out and played some top teams in the non-conference schedule. Michigan State and Illinois can attest they’re a very solid ball club. Quantitative numbers are in their favor as well, but it’s the qualitative analysis of how they’ve performaned that makes them a tournament team.
Now to bubbleville, with Northern Iowa. Bracket Expert Joe Lunardi says they’re easily in as a 10 seed. Credit UNI for having the most quality wins of any of their peers. Victories over Iowa at home and LSU should be rewarded, and for that I wouldn’t be too upset with the Panthers getting a dance ticket. However, on the other end they finished 5th in conference play, and lost 5 of their last 7. Stack them up against other bubble teams and I’d struggle to place them above Michigan, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, and Florida State. Put the Panthers in the ACC and tell me how they’d finish? I’d have them amongst Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
Missouri State, considered the very best according to the RPI has already received more air time than they deserve. The Bears most impressive non-conference win comes against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Midly impressive. Only one major conference opponent graced their schedule, and they fell to an average Arkansas team. MVC apologists don’t give me the “you’ve never seen them play”. The beauty of DirectTV have provided more MVC telecasts than I could handle. Are the Bears a good team, sure, but are they more deserving than Michigan, Seton Hall, and Florida Sate? Quality wins from those three include: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, NC State, West Virginia, and Duke. Anyone one of those is more impressive than the entire Missouri State resume in my opinion. Convince me they would have ever even made it to Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament?
On to two teams who don’t even deserve mention, Bradley and Creighton. For starters they finished 6th and 4th respectively during the MVC regular season. The Braves don’t have a notable non-conference win and didn’t play ANYBODY. It’s a lot easier to get to 20 wins that way. The Bluejays have a slightly more polished resume with victories over George Mason and Nebraska, however they struggled down the stretch (injuries didn’t help) and the overall product just doesn’t compare to other bubble hopefuls.
The RPI has created the illusion these teams are just as good as the tournament teams in the ACC, Big Ten and Big East. I don’t think I need to elaborate any further where each of these would finish in the aforementioned conference. As I said before, credit the AD’s for understanding the system and working it to their favor … but qualitative analyis proves overwhelmingly the Missouri Valley is vastly overrated.