Final week analysis

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by gauchodan, Nov 7, 2023.

  1. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    As we tiptoe into the final week of the season it seems like a good time to look at the bubble teams and their chances for making the NCAA Tournament. They are scoreboard watching, especially those conferences in which "bid stealers" are still alive. Bid stealers are teams that would not earn an at-large bid to the Tournament but get hot at the right time and win the conference's auto bid. This has a domino effect in that the sure-fire pick in that conference is thrown into the at-large pool, pushing a team off the bubble. Cue sad trombone.

    I have a Tournament Projection on my website. The way it works is that the highest-ranked eligible team in each conference is shown as an automatic bid. The remaining eligible teams are shown in ranking RPI order. When a team can no longer win its auto bid, it is slid over to the at-large side of the page. Eligibility is not just about teams in transition; one must maintain at least a .500 record vs. Division I to be eligible as well.

    Know that the Selection Committee uses more than just RPI for determining who is going and who is not. From the NCAA Pre-Championship Manual:

    The following criteria shall be employed by a governing sports committee in selecting participants for NCAA championships competition:
    ● Won-lost record;
    ● Strength of schedule; and
    ● Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championships.

    In addition to Bylaw 31.3.3, the Men’s Soccer Committee shall consider the following criteria in the selection of at-large teams for the men’s soccer championship (not necessarily in priority order):
    ● Adjusted Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which includes:
    - Division I winning percentage with ties calculated as 1/3 of a win (25%).
    - Opponents’ strength of schedule (50%). - Opponents’ opponents’ strength of schedule (25%).
    - Bonus/penalty system (see Appendix D).
    ● Head-to-head competition.
    ● Results versus common opponents.
    ● Strength and results against nonconference opponents.
    ● Results against teams already selected (including automatic qualifiers with an RPI of 1-75).
    ● Late-season performance in last eight games (strength and results).
    ● Strength and results against conference opponents (regular-season and postseason)
    Use the Tournament Projection as a starting point, and with a grain of salt. That being said, on Tuesday morning California is showing as the last team in at 38 and Penn State as the first team out at 39.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  2. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Let's start with eliminating some conferences as having any bid stealers. Looking at the Projection, the bottom 8 conferences have no teams in the RPI Top 50. I think it's safe to say that these will be one-bid conferences and no at-larges will be taken from here:
    • Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Iona, Siena, Rider or Manhattan
    • ASUN Conference (Lipscomb has earned the auto bid)
    • Patriot League: Boston U., Loyola Maryland, Lafayette or Colgate
    • Big West Conference: UC Davis or UC Irvine
    • Horizon League: Oakland, Green Bay, IUPUI or Purdue Fort Wayne
    • Southern Conference: Furman or Mercer
    • Big South Conference: High Point or UNC Asheville
    • Northeast Conference: Saint Francis, LIU, Fairleigh Dickinson or Sacred Heart
    TimB4Last repped this.
  3. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    I'll continue working my way up the left side of the Projection page.

    Ohio Valley Conference

    (6, rpi 197) Eastern Illinois vs (2, rpi 168) UIW
    (4, rpi 184) Lindenwood at (1, rpi 46) SIUE

    SIUE presents an interesting case. They are the only remaining undefeated team in Division I at 13-0-3. And yet, a loss here looks like it would knock them out of contention. Just playing the matches is possibly going to hurt their RPI. Consider that SIUE could remain undefeated and still not win the auto bid if they were to draw and not advance via penalty kicks. In this scenario, would the NCAA leave an undefeated team out of the Tournament?

    In their favor: they play on their home pitch and their semifinal opponent is transitioning to D1. If Lindenwood were to advance I believe SIUE would still make the NCAA Tournament if Lindenwood goes on to win the OVC Tournament title.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  4. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Ivy League
    (3, rpi 47) Yale vs (2, rpi 80) Harvard
    (4, rpi 105) Brown (1, rpi 41) Penn

    Penn has that early season win at Penn State, but that's about it. I'm kinda thinking this will be a one-bid conference no matter what happens.

    Atlantic 10 Conference

    (6, rpi 85) Dayton at (4, rpi 44) Davidson
    (7, rpi 91) UMass at (1, rpi 33) VCU

    Davidson's best win is at VCU, while the Rams played the #2 schedule in the country. Despite that, VCU was 0-4-1 vs. Quad 1 teams so they might not get credit for that schedule. You've got to win some of those. I think VCU needs to at least reach the championship to be safe.
    Fitballer and TimB4Last repped this.
  5. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Big Ten Conference
    (6, rpi 57) Ohio State at (2, rpi 39) Penn State
    (5, rpi 61) Michigan at (1, rpi 32) Indiana

    Indiana won at Penn State and drew at both Notre Dame and Kentucky. The Hoosiers are also 7-1 in their last 8, so I think they are safe. Penn State's a little more dicey...SOS is 122 and their 2 best results are draws with Pitt and Syracuse. Michigan has won 3 in a row but before that was rolled by Penn State 4-0. Ohio State has an early-season win over Kentucky.

    Also, are Northwestern (rpi 48) and/or Michigan State (rpi 59) going to miss? NW lost 4 of its last 5 but the one win was vs. Indiana. Michigan State was undefeated until late October and does have a 1-0 win at Notre Dame on its resume.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  6. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Summit League
    (4, rpi 134) Kansas City vs (1, rpi 20) Denver
    (3, rpi 158) Omaha at (2, rpi 60) Oral Roberts

    This is a classic bid-stealer scenario. Denver is a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but dangerous ORU is hosting.

    Missouri Valley Conference

    (6, rpi 34) Belmont vs (2, rpi 22) Missouri State
    (5, rpi 98) Northern Illinois at (1, rpi 19) Western Michigan

    Will the MVC get 2 bids or 3 bids? If NIU wins out, do all 4 teams advance? Probably not. In fact, I think Belmont's internals are very poor for earning an at-large bid. Their best win is vs. #72 Georgia State and they are 0-3-1 in their last 4. Not that this is a criteria, but they have a break-even goal differential vs. an SOS of 90. Both Mo State and WMU look like locks.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  7. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Western Athletic Conference
    (1, rpi 17) Seattle at (4, rpi 138) UNLV
    (3, rpi 114) Utah Tech vs (2, rpi 73) California Baptist

    Seattle has to face UNLV on its home pitch in the WAC semis. Seattle will be making the NCAA Tournament one way or another. Utah Tech is ineligible for the auto bid, so they are a bubble team favorite.

    Pac-12 Conference

    Washington (rpi 40) at Oregon State (rpi 25)
    UCLA (rpi 14) at San Diego State (rpi 69)
    California (rpi 38) at Stanford (rpi 18)

    No conference tournament...UCLA or Oregon State will earn the auto bid. Washington and Cal are bubbly: Washington must win its season finale to be reach .500 and even be eligible for the Tournament. If they did, I think they'll get selected with an SOS of 6 and wins at Indiana, Cal and vs. Portland (and OSU, I suppose!). U-Dub played just 4 matches this season that were not Quad 1/Quad 2. Cal's SOS is 27 with a 1-3-4 record vs. Quad 1 (a win at Washington and draws at Wake Forest and vs. OSU, Stanford and UCLA).
    fanatica and TimB4Last repped this.
  8. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    West Coast Conference
    Gonzaga (rpi 153) at San Diego (rpi 31)
    Saint Mary's (rpi 75) at Loyola Marymount (rpi 15)
    San Francisco (rpi 68) at Portland (rpi 11)
    Pacific (rpi 126) at Santa Clara (rpi 82)

    No conference tournament for the WCC either. Portland and LMU are locks for the NCAA Tournament. San Diego is bubbly, but it has wins at Seattle and Washington. Complicating matters is that both Portland and LMU are NOT in the WCC lead with one match to fact, LMU is already eliminated. USD is tied for the lead with potential bid-stealer Santa Clara. USD controls its destiny: win and they are the WCC auto bid. Portland, one point behind, can leapfrog both teams with a win plus draw/losses by the other two...and they can force a 3-way tie with a draw plus losses by the other two. I don't know the tiebreaking scenario there. Bottom line: Santa Clara has potential to grab a bid in a conference with 2 locks and a probable 3rd at-large team.
    fanatica and TimB4Last repped this.
  9. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Atlantic Coast Conference
    (9, rpi 13) Louisville at (4, rpi 26) Clemson
    (7, rpi 9) North Carolina at (6, rpi 23) Syracuse

    This tournament certainly didn't go to form. The four eliminated in the semifinals (Notre Dame, Duke, Virginia and Wake Forest) are all going to the NCAA Tournament along with these four. I guess the biggest question remaining is Pittsburgh. The Panthers played the toughest schedule in the nation, have an RPI of 29 and they have a non-conference victory over Denver. They were 2-6-2 vs. Quad 1 and they have no bad losses. They are just 6-6-4 overall, but that's enough to be eligible. I think they'll be the 9th ACC team in.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  10. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Coastal Athletic Association
    (6, rpi 77) Elon at (2, rpi 65) Monmouth
    (4, rpi 66) Delaware at (1, rpi 8) Hofstra

    Hofstra is a lock and looking to secure a top 8 national seed.

    America East Conference

    (5, rpi 42) NJIT at (1, rpi 5) New Hampshire
    (6, rpi 123) Binghamton at (2, rpi 21) Bryant

    Vermont (rpi 24) is already on the sideline but is likely in with wins over Western Michigan, at Bryant and at UConn and an SOS of 37. Bryant's resume isn't as strong as you'd think: their best win is vs. NJIT and their SOS is 166. They might need to get some results here just to ensure a home game in the 1st round. New Hampshire is looking like a top 8 national seed. NJIT had an unremarkable non-conference season but has 2 wins over Vermont and an SOS of 5. A loss knocks them below .500. What if they beat New Hampshire? Would they be considered for an at-large? I'm leaning no but they are in play.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  11. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    American Athletic Conference
    (6, rpi 113) Florida Atlantic vs. (2, rpi 30) Charlotte
    (4, rpi 28) Memphis at (1, rpi 4) SMU

    One lock, 2 probables and a bid stealer for the AAC final four. Charlotte has a solid 10-3-1 record but its SOS is 80 and its lone Quad 1 win was at Davidson. Charlotte has a bad home loss to UNCG, which won just one other match this season. Memphis looks a little better: 10-4-2 with a win at Missouri State. Neither really wow me...I could see one of these two getting snubbed on Selection day.
    TimB4Last repped this.
  12. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Big East Conference
    (3, rpi 53) Providence vs. (2, rpi 49) Xavier
    (5, rpi 56) Connecticut vs. (1, rpi 3) Georgetown

    Oh, this is a mess. Only Georgetown is safely in. Xavier hasn't lost since Sept. 23 (and that was vs. Georgetown). Their SOS is just 85, but their last two wins were their best of the season (at UConn and vs. Akron). They have a horrible loss at UTRGV. Providence can claim a win over Georgetown and a draw at Akron, but they also lost at home to Villanova and UMass. UConn's best win is at #64 St. John's. UConn is 1-6 vs. Quads 1/2 and has a bad home loss vs. LIU.

    That leaves us with Akron (rpi 43), eliminated by Xavier in the BEC quarters. Akron was undefeated until a loss at Creighton on 10/18, but the Zips ended the season on a 0-2-3 skid. Akron's SOS is uncharacteristically low at 89. Perhaps they figured they could dial it down going to the Big East, but this conference wasn't very strong beyond Georgetown. Akron can point to wins vs. Vermont and FIU and a draw with Notre Dame.
    fknbuflobo, TimB4Last and Fitballer repped this.
  13. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Sun Belt Conference
    (5, rpi 37) Kentucky at (1, rpi 1) Marshall
    (7, rpi 101) South Carolina vs (3, rpi 6) West Virginia

    Two of the big three made the conference semis, with UCF (rpi 10) likely losing a top 8 seed by losing to upstart South Carolina. Marshall will be a top national seed, maybe even the #1 overall seed. West Virginia is also looking good for a top 8 seed.

    Kentucky is red hot, having won 4 straight matches including at Marshall, vs. West Virginia and vs. James Madison (rpi 36). The Wildcats, with an SOS of 11 and no losses since Sept. 29, are going to make the Tournament. JMU, with a better RPI than UK, has some good internals as well. They have a win over UCLA and at UCF along with draws vs. Virginia, at West Virginia and at Kentucky. James Madison's SOS is 51 and their record vs. Quad 1/2 was 3-2-4. But they have a bad loss at Coastal Carolina and a bad draw at Gardner-Webb.
    Maclid, TimB4Last and Fitballer repped this.
  14. JoeSoccerFan

    JoeSoccerFan Member+

    Aug 11, 2000
    Weird things in the conference tournaments.

    In the Sun Belt, the odd teams advanced (1, 3, 5, 7).
    In the BE tournament which is being held at the Maryland Soccer Plex in Boyd's MD for both the Women and Men (a week apart). The same match-ups in the SF for both the women and the men. Xavier v Providence and Gtown v Uconn. Weird, huh!
    TimB4Last and Fitballer repped this.
  15. Fitballer

    Fitballer Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    @gauchodan This is an amazing analysis. I really appreciate the time, thought and effort that went into this.
    Chesco United, MCU9509, Maclid and 5 others repped this.
  16. BigGreenTruck

    BigGreenTruck Member

    College: The Thundering Herd of Marshall
    Aug 29, 2023
    South Charleston WV
    If Marshall beats Kentucky then Notre Dame can not catch them in the RPI, even if they were to lose in the Sun Belt Championship Game. If Marshall loses to Kentucky a second time its possible for Notre Dame and only Notre Dame to catch The Herd by the slimmest of margins to get the #1 overall seed. No matter what happens Marshall can not fall below the #2 seed. Its to big of a task for even #3 RPI Georgetown to catch Marshall.
    Fitballer repped this.
  17. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    My MVC analysis was a little off because I had Belmont sitting in UIC's position. Here's my revised take.

    Missouri Valley Conference
    (3, rpi 34) UIC vs (2, rpi 22) Missouri State (Missouri State wins 1-0)
    (5, rpi 98) Northern Illinois at (1, rpi 19) Western Michigan

    Will the MVC get 2 bids or 3 bids? If NIU wins out, do all 4 teams advance? Probably not. Both Mo State and WMU look like locks. UIC is on the bubble following a 1-0 loss to Missouri State. UIC has no Quad 1 wins but Quad 2 wins vs. NJIT, at Loyola Chicago and at Belmont. UIC's SOS is 70, and its RPI remained at 34 following the loss...on the right side of the cut line.
    Chesco United, Fitballer and TimB4Last repped this.
  18. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Western Michigan gets the equalizer in the 81st minute to tie it up with potential bid stealer Northern Illinois.
  19. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    NIU 1, WMU 1 -- end of regulation. WMU has dominated the run of play, earning 18 corners to NIU's one.
  20. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    WMU 2, NIU 1 -- end of 1st OT
  21. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    WMU 3, NIU 1 -- Final (2OT)

    We can take the MVC off the bid steal board, as championship finalists Missouri State and Western Michigan are both safely into the NCAA Tournament.

    UIC will be sweating it out.
    Fitballer and TimB4Last repped this.
  22. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    We have a stolen bid! Seattle loses on a penalty kick goal in the 110th minute.
  23. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Sun Belt is off the board with a West Virginia-Marshall final.
    TimB4Last and Fitballer repped this.
  24. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    AEC is also off the board with a Bryant-New Hampshire matchup.
    TimB4Last and Fitballer repped this.
  25. gauchodan

    gauchodan Member+

    Oct 18, 2016
    Both Big Ten semis went down to the wire. Penn State escaped on penalties, while Indiana needed an 87th-minute goal to make the final.
    BigRedFootie, TimB4Last and Fitballer repped this.

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