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Tournament Randomness

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-So Monmouth blew out Hampton 71-49 in the play in game tonight. Hampton had the worst RPI of any team with a winning record in the entire country and you can thank those conference tournaments for that. Now every year after this game ends the ESPN analyst has to talk about the school getting it's first ever NCAA tournament win, which always annoys me, and tonight was no different. Did Monmouth really win a tournamnet game? After all it is the "play in" game which by the wording of it seems to indicate that the winner of the game gets into the tournament. In my view Monmouth has now qualified for the tournament while Hampton has failed to do so. Monmouth will win its first real tournament game if it were to beat Villanova, which we know won't happen.


-The other postseason tournament started tonight, the NIT. I normally never pay attention to it but after a lackluster year Stanford finds themself in it, snapping their 11 year NCAA tournament streak. They beat Virginia 65-49 in their Opening Round game as UVA looked like a team that traveled 3000 miles for a game they didn't want to play which tends to happen in the NIT as motivation plays a big factor in how long a team lasts in it. Cardinal travel to play the biggest snub of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State for their next game where they'll probably get slaughtered but hey for one night at least Stanford didn't look like mediocre team they are.


-Due to Stanford's lack of success they didn't have as many t.v. games as past years when they were a Top 10 team thus I paid a lot less attention to college basketball this year. This of course creates a problem filling out a bracket but sometimes less knowledge is a good thing. My typical formula is to look a trends for past tournaments. Things such as usually one 13, one 12, and one 11 seed will pull off a 1st round upset and at least one double digit seed will get into the Sweet 16. Of course this strategy is very hit and miss as it can really be a guessing game when it comes to picking true upset (#9 over #8, #10 over #7 aren't upsets). But I prefer doing this as I rarely play for money, including this year, so it makes it more interesting to try to have some low seed teams picked out that I can root for on the first couple of days. So here's my true upsets for the first round with very little actual research going into it:


Southern Illinois over West Virginia

Bradley over Kansas

Utah State over Washington


I then have Bradley beating Pittsburgh to become the 3rd #13 seed ever to get to the Sweet 16. Ya I've really lost it on that one. Northern Iowa is my #10 seed getting to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Ohio State. Other things of note is I having Syracuse beating Duke in the Sweet 16 which may just be my disgust for Duke but a #1 seed getting bumped for the Elite Eight is usually a strong bet. Everyone seems to be picking Tennessee to be an early exit so I put them into the Elite Eight before losing to UConn. I have Oklahoma reaching the Elite Eight which again I've probably lost it on that one. Then to finish it off I have Iowa getting all the way to the national championship game before losing to UConn.


-Annnnnnnnnnnd time to finish this off with some useless facts. Here's the biggest first round upset of every tournament since they expanded to 64 teams in 1985.


1985: #13 Navy 78, #4 LSU 55

1986: #14 Cleveland State 83, #3 Indiana 79

1987: #14 Austin Peay 68, #3 Illinois 67

1988: #14 Murray State 78, #3 N.C. State 75

1989: #14 Siena 80, #3 Stanford 78

1990: #14 Northern Iowa 74, #3 Missouri 71

1991: #15 Richmond 73, #2 Syracuse 69

1992: #14 East Tennessee State 87, #3 Arizona 80

1993: #15 Santa Clara 64, #2 Arizona 61

1994: #12 Wisconsin-Green Bay 61, #5 California 57

1995: #14 Weber State 79, #3 Michigan State 72

1996: #13 Princeton 43, #4 UCLA 41

1997: #15 Coppin State 78, #2 South Carolina 65

1998: #14 Richmond 62, #3 South Carolina 61

1999: #14 Weber State 76, #3 North Carolina 74

2000: #11 Pepperdine 77, #6 Indiana 57

2001: #15 Hampton 58, #2 Iowa State 57

2002: #13 UNC-Wilmington 93, #4 USC 89 OT

2003: #13 Tulsa 84, #4 Dayton 71

2004: #12 Manhattan 75, #5 Florida 60

2005: #14 Bucknell 64, # Kansas 63

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Hampton had the worst RPI of any team with a winning record in the entire country and you can thank those conference tournaments for that.


Indeed. But, even if the MEAC's best team, Delaware St. won the conference tournament, they would have got whooped by Monmouth also, tonight.


Did Monmouth really win a tournamnet game?


I also hate this...


But, remember back in the day, they're used to be a handful of play-in games for the lowest conference tourney teams. And those didn't count as tourney wins. These wins shouldn't count. I don't know if they officially do, but whatever. Common sense takes over in this situation.





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When did they start doing this hippie "play in" game?


And I totally forgot about Stanford not being in -- they had some good teams not-too-long ago.


Also, do they make brackets for the NIT? I never see them around.

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I remember that Hampton/ISU game. That was crazy.


I think this is the first year they actually have seedings and a "bracket" for the NIT but I haven't found one. In the past, I think they always based the matchups on travel and which teams would draw the biggest crowds.


As far as finding the bracket, your best bet is probably a college basketball page that has a listing of all the NIT first round games--they might note


The NCAA play-in game would be better if it was between the last two "at large" teams. That will never happen though since the power conferences would almost always be the ones losing a team because of it.

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Don't they call it the opening round game?


Yes, they do.


And the NIT has had a bracket every year.

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As far as finding the bracket, your best bet is probably a college basketball page that has a listing of all the NIT first round games--they might note


I'll be damn. First time I've seen one. Of course, this is the first time I've looked.

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I thought about running an NIT pool on the board as kind of a joke but the turn around from when the bracket comes out and two when the tournament starts was just too quick for me set it up. The seeding thing is a pretty good idea as at least now you know how the tournament is set up as in the past it always seemed so random how the match-ups were set up.

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The former NIT system was a joke. Every major school would avoid the bye, and the best mid-majors, even if they were bubble teams for the NCAA would face hopeless road situations in the opening round. The major schools still getting 95% of the home games still makes this tournament meaningless, though.

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