How exactly does one go about judging a team's NCAA Tournament resume? Most established bracketologists (especially Bracketology 101) are extremely accurate. Jay Coleman's DanceCard algorithm does a very good job also. But these only tell you who will get in, not who should.
Computer rankings are OK, but all they really give you is a very macroscopic snapshot of a team's body of work. They don't comb through the fine details, and it's those fine details that are necessary to separate the >9 seeds from the NIT teams. Also, most of the major ones (Colley, Sagarin) give a team more credit for beating #300 than a narrow loss to #3. RPI does the opposite. Both have their merits and demerits. I'm not trying to debate them.
Something I've done for a few years now is a method that I call "real record." I've found it useful for three things: determining what teams / leagues the committee was overly kind / mean to and picking "upsets" in the NCAA tournament. Real Record is over .700 when it picks an upset in the last two years. Just sayin'. It's good.
Here's how real record is calculated:
1. Start with a team's overall record.
2. Take away all wins against teams ranked #230 in RPI or worse and any lower division opponents. Nobody should care.
3. Take away all losses against teams ranked #50 in RPI or better. These are easy to forgive.
4. Give a team two bonus wins for all top 50 wins.
5. Give a team one bonus win for all wins over teams ranked 51-100.
7. Give a team two bonus losses for all losses to teams ranked #230 or worse.
8. Give a team one bonus loss for all teams ranked #101-229.
Here's the real record of some teams, all of whom, according to Bracketology 101 (as of Thursday), are more likely to make the tournament than PSU. The current Bracketology 101 (as of Thursday) seed is in parenthesis.
UCLA (7) 27-6
Marquette (9) 26-2
Alabama (12) 19-10
Colorado (12) 26-9
USC (First Four Out): 29-16
Michigan State (12): 26-5
Michigan (11): 25-5
Virginia Tech (First Four Out): 19-7
Penn State (Next Four Out): 28-8
--I really didn't think Marquette deserved as much love as they were getting from Bracketologists. I was wrong. Impressive resume.
--In contrast, why isn't UCLA much more on the bubble than they currently are? And a 7 seed? Seriously? Their real win% isn't anywhere close to Marquette's, and isn't as good as Michigan State or Michigan's, two teams who are allegedly on the bubble.
--I didn't understand why Michigan State was getting more love than PSU. Now I do. PSU may have 2 more real wins, but PSU also has 3 more real losses.
--Anyone who thinks USC, Alabama, Colorado, or Virginia Tech is more deserving of a bid than PSU is flat out wrong. Yes, Va Tech beat PSU head to head. So did Ole Miss. Virginia beat Va Tech head to head (twice!). Is anyone going to try and argue that Ole Miss has a better resume than PSU or that Virginia has a better resume than Va Tech? I'd welcome the hilarity of such an argument.