FSU Basketball: Is Scheduling Hurting Us?

Annually I raise the alarm about our how poorly planned our basketball schedule is. My primary complaint is this: the Selection Committee relies heavily on the RPI, yet our schedule isn’t designed to take advantage of this easily manipulated metric. It doesn’t matter that the RPI is a ridiculous model that has about as much predictive power as a coin flip, what matters is that it dominates the data the committee uses to select the best at-large teams for the Tourney. Smart scheduling can easily make 2 seeds worth of difference come March, and obviously be the difference between the NCAA’s and going to the NIT. So was I barking up the wrong tree this year, or is our schedule really going to cost us come Selection Sunday?

Using a replica of the NCAA Selection Sheet, which is the primary source of information the committee members use, I looked at our schedule utilizing the RPI and then compared that to the premier statistical model developed by Ken Pomeroy. No stats based model is going to perfectly predict how strong a team is, but Pomeroy’s is the best. If you want to see the value of the RPI then start betting the money line in Vegas based on RPI’s and then give me a call when you’re pawning your valuables to pay the bill.

This table gives the key indicators based on RPI and KenPom:

**edit - I'm checking with the site to see how non-conference SOS was calculated, as that's the highest I've seen**

 
  RPI Pomeroy
Strength of Schedule 82 54
Non-Conference SOS 318 190
Average Win 171 161
Average Loss 59 46
vs 1-50 2-5 2-7
vs 51-100 4-3 8-1
     
 
 
So our schedule based on a robust statistical model is much harder than the RPI version. We still have a soft out-of-conference schedule, but no where near the 318 number we're currently stuck with. Also, the ACC performed better in reality than in the RPI. Our average win was against a slightly better team, our average loss was to better teams, and 7 of our 9 losses were against top 50 teams.

What would this mean for our seeding? Tough to say without looking at every other team, but our resume would certainly be more impressive than the one the committee will be examining next Sunday.

 

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