Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

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Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by PilotNut on Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:48 pm

This is a lot to digest... and I assume it means that GU and BYU are staying (which is a good thing in my book):

ESPN Link

West Coast Conference alters schedule, eyes more NCAA bids

SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- The West Coast Conference is altering its scheduling with the hope of getting better treatment in terms of seeding and at-large bids for the NCAA Tournament.

The WCC Presidents' Council announced Monday that the 10-team league will go to a 16-game schedule next season instead of an 18-game double round-robin.

Also starting in 2019-20, all WCC schools will be required to play a multi-team event each season, play more home games than road games, and play no more than two non-Division I opponents. The league also must approve all "guarantee" games when a WCC school is paid to play on the road by an opponent.

The changes come just weeks after Gonzaga only got a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament despite finishing the season ranked eighth in the nation and No. 25 Saint Mary's was denied an at-large bid for the fourth time in 10 years despite winning 25 games.

The league also is changing the format of the men's and women's tournaments. The seventh through 10th seeds will play in the opening round with the two winners meeting the fifth and sixth in the second round. The winners of those games will play the third and fourth seeds in the third round. The top two seeds will get byes straight to the semifinals.

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by PilotNut on Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:55 pm

This returns the tournament format to what it was a few years back... I don't like it, but I understand why it is being done in this context. When the bottom half of the conference improves (this certainly includes us), maybe the most recent bracket can be re-considered.

It will be interesting to see how the 16-game schedule is handled... who decides which teams GU, BYU and/or SMC will only play once or not at all?

The multi-team event and non-Division I requirements are both good, IMO.

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by DoubleDipper on Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:02 pm

Good!

Looks to me GU was able to use its discussion with the MWC to good advantage....maybe even for all the WCC schools.

But tough on the GU fans who will have to "put up" with all the other games until their Zags play on Monday.

Might make it tougher for a lower seed to go through due to fatigue, but the reverse could also be true if the top seeds come into the semi-finals rested, but "cold."
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by blacksheep on Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:05 pm

I hate the change to the tournament format. It adds another day to the tournament. Trying to get to Vegas for a Thursday game it tough. I'm all for rewarding the top teams with a bye, but three byes is a bit excessive.

It's a great idea to limit the number of non-division 1 games, but as we've seen in the past, getting games scheduled can be a challenge. I'd rather play on non D-1 team than play one fewer game.

I feel like the WCC caved in too much to Gonzaga in order to keep them. Certainly the conference is better with them, but it's now going to be even more impossible to have 7-10 team with the tournament. 5 games in 6 days is pretty much impossible. Hell, the 3rd place team (who ordinarily should have some shot to win the tournament) will now have to win 3 games in 4 days.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by DoubleDipper on Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:34 pm

Preseason scheduling, already described a "nightmare" by some, will become even more difficult with the added restrictions.

With regard to the WCC schedule, it's hard to say if the 9th and 10th place team from the previous season will play the 1st and 2nd place finishers just once,  but that seems the most reasonable alternative when making a 16 game schedule, as it gives the top teams more opportunity to possibly gain, or at least not lose, RPI standings.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by up7587 on Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:40 pm

Per a thread I read on the BYU board, it seems they were never looking at the MWC, even if GU did leave.

play more home games than road games, and play no more than two non-Division I opponents
Does this mean UP may have to pay teams more to come to Chiles?
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:55 pm

Interesting. Will have to digest it a bit, but overall I am glad that the conference is taking proactive steps to try to ensure that a team like 2017-18 Saint Mary's doesn't get passed over.

I *really* wish they would not allow the non-D1 games though. I understand why schools do it, but I think they are a huge disservice to the fans and they really don't offer much for the host teams either.

I agree that the tournament change is annoying though - especially since RPI is less of a factor now in determining NCAA bids with the advent of the quadrant system.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by up7587 on Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:25 pm

Dave Rose wrote:“Although it is unique for us to be playing fewer Conference games while other conferences are adding games to their schedule, the disparity in RPI from the top of our league to the bottom is larger than any other conference’s. We believe this approach will allow all 10 of our teams to schedule based on the current state of their program, and all 10 of us can go win more games – which will help everyone.”
https://www.midmajormadness.com/2018/3/26/17165066/west-coast-conference-basketball-schedule-change-announcement-gonzaga-ncaa-tournament
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by PilotNut on Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:29 pm

I assumed the non D-I games would include exhibition games... maybe not? I agree in that I would prefer that we did not play any either (other than maybe 1 exhibition?).

up7587 wrote:Does this mean UP may have to pay teams more to come to Chiles?
This would force teams to spend more on MBX... as in utilizing NCAA tourney money for scheduling, among other things... which I think was one of GU's concerns.

I think these are good steps... and I will say, if you don't finish in 7th-10th place, you don't have to worry about the tourney format. Come to think of it, seeding could be interesting without a balanced schedule.

At the end of the day: How does this effect the Pilots? Are we in a relatively good or disadvantaged position in relation to other WCC schools?

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:36 pm

PilotNut wrote:I assumed the non D-I games would include exhibition games...  maybe not?  I agree in that I would prefer that we did not play any either (other than maybe 1 exhibition?).  

I very much doubt it. I don't think anyone cares about who teams play in exhibitions.

I'd need to do my research, but I would guess that starting about 7-8 years ago we began regularly scheduling one non-D1 game (usually it was Lewis & Clark over Thanksgiving or Christmas/New Years), and last year (and maybe the year before?) that morphed into scheduling two of them.

I would infinitely prefer a home-and-home with a Big West/Big Sky/WAC team.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by Geezaldinho on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:52 pm

Stoney wrote:I would infinitely prefer a home-and-home with a Big West/Big Sky/WAC team.

I’m puzzled as to how this contributes to scheduling more home dates than away. The only teams that will be willing to play an unbalanced contract are those we will pay to do so.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by up7587 on Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:21 pm

Geezaldinho wrote:. . . The only teams that will be willing to play an unbalanced contract are those we will pay to do so.

I guess this is how Gonzaga forces the rest of us to quit wasting the money they "give" us from their tournament appearances. At least it is better than the "we keep more money and demand you get better" approach many Zags favor.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by up7587 on Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:28 pm

Saw this on the GU board. Amazing.

I'm tired of matching the ambition and success of Gonzaga with the victim-complex schools in the WCC and MWC. Aim for the stars. Our goal should be to become the first non-football member of the PAC-12. We are that special.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:31 pm

Geezaldinho wrote:
Stoney wrote:I would infinitely prefer a home-and-home with a Big West/Big Sky/WAC team.

I’m puzzled as to how this contributes to scheduling more home dates than away. The only teams that will be willing to play an unbalanced contract are those we will pay to do so.

Oh I understand that the new rules will put even more pressure on UP to host two non-D1 games. I am just stating what my preference would be, all things being equal. And it is possible to pay a D1 team to come play us in Portland... just more expensive.

I'm assuming that neutral-site games wouldn't count as road games in this new formula, so that puts a bit less pressure on us.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:13 pm

Saw this posted on the SMC board... it's from last year, but it's a super interesting look into what it takes for a mid-major conference to get multiple bids to the tournament (sorry for the FB link - that's where it was originally posted): https://www.facebook.com/enthusiadams/posts/1918768828398001:0

Choice snippet:

SCHEDULING REQUIREMENTS FOR AN AT-LARGE BID:
• Minimum of 6 homes games
• This requires about a $500,000 investment in guarantee money if all are guaranteed games
• Minimum of a $3M investment in men’s basketball program (for consistent at-large bid consideration a $5M investment is more reasonable)
• Avoid being bought for a P5/BE home game. If you must, schedule them very late in the process to get the best deal. (I know of one program that recently held out and got a H/H series with a P5 team because they waited until late May)

ALLIANCE STRATEGY:
• Investigate strategically aligning with conferences that invest on average a minimum of $2.5M/team and “typically” rank in the top 16 of the RPI:
o 1st Tier: American, A-10, MWC, WCC
o 2nd Tier: MVC, CAA, MAC, C-USA
Note- C-USA I believe will improve their collective conference RPI based on $2.8M average/team
• Play each conference multiple games either as challenge games or H/H series games
• Cherry pick best team/teams from all alliance partner conferences for exempt tournaments and/or one guaranteed game versus mid/low level power teams
• Multi-classics against each other that rotate sites creates an environment to protect everyone’s RPI in OOC games
• The goal is to knock out the last bids given to the P5/BE by creating a scheduling consortium. If alliance partners follow this type of strategy the bottom 6 bids currently going to the P5/BE will be available to the alliance partners.

The Alliance Strategy is designed to create a second scheduling group that can earn bids for lesser funded conferences by simply playing each other and strategically attacking historically weaker and lesser invested P5/BE opponents. If coordinated properly, the last bids going to the P5/BE can be wrestled away with this Alliance Strategy.

Also interesting... not sure how accurate these numbers are, but honestly I'm surprise UP is ranked so high in overall budget. I wonder if this includes the "one-time" additional costs from the coaching change?


9. WEST COAST CONFERENCE
2016-17 RPI- #9
Average Budget: $3,858,831
NCAA Bids Last Season: (2)

1. Gonzaga $7,261,657
2. BYU $6,081,807
3. San Francisco $4,205,606
4. Portland $3,570,559
5. LMU $3,533,468
6. Santa Clara $3,345,588
7. Saint Mary's $2,956,340
8. Pepperdine $2,561,072
9. Pacific $2,558,711
10. San Diego $2,513,504
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by PilotNut on Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:50 pm

A couple additional points from the WCC release: http://www.wccsports.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/032618aaa.html

--This process started in 2017, and was passed by the Presidents Council last fall. The scheduling components were passed by the Council this month... so this was not purely a knee-jerk reaction to the Mountain West knocking on GU's doors.

--"The Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan also includes changes to NCAA academic-based revenue distribution, men’s basketball unit revenue distribution, as well as an adjustment to the licensing of future Conference broadcast rights." I assume this will be where GU will make some more cash.

I hope this will lead to some sort of WCC vs. other conference challenge annually... that is a good way to get home games against similar schools.

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by DoubleDipper on Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:58 pm

PilotNut wrote:--"The Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan also includes changes to NCAA academic-based revenue distribution, .
"The NCAA academic-based revenue distribution" is new, and begins in academic year 2019-2020.

www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/di-distribute-revenue-based-academics
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by NoPoNeighbor on Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:49 am

Are these changes even smart? Why these changes and not others? We know that, on the whole, the changes are intended to help Gonzaga get a higher seed in the tournament, and help SMC and BYU be more competitive for at-large berths. But once we dig in to the changes themselves, I'd like to see if we can even identify the specific problem that each one is trying to solve:

The WCC Presidents' Council announced Monday that the 10-team league will go to a 16-game schedule next season instead of an 18-game double round-robin.
What is this even trying to solve? I think this is trying to do two things: eliminate a couple of high-RPI conference games from the schedules of the top teams, and give room for the top teams to schedule a couple more high-profile non-conference games.
Is this an actual solution to the supposed problem?
I'll concede that this could achieve the former -- assuming that the games each team misses each year are based on previous year's RPI, rather than a fair rotation. But with respect to the latter, I cannot take this seriously when Gonzaga's non-conference schedule this year included Texas Southern, Howard, IUPUI and North Dakota. If GU is so concerned about lower-level teams dragging down their RPI, why are the voluntarily scheduling games against teams that are worse than almost all of their WCC opponents? GU's other big gripe is that SMC doesn't schedule good non-conference opponents. How will giving them two additional non-con games solve that problem? It will only produce two more bad non-con games on SMC's schedule, instead of two bad WCC games.
Unintended consequences? Removing a couple of games against the conference's best teams hurts the RPIs of the lower teams, and therefore of the conference as a whole. In a year when the Pilots only play GU once, the game we schedule instead is going to be against a non-conference team worse than GU. That drags down the conference RPI and hurts the at-large chances of GU, BYU, SMC.

Also starting in 2019-20, all WCC schools will be required to play a multi-team event each season...
What is this even trying to solve? I have no idea. MTE doesn't = better opponents, does it? And practically, is this even possible? What if a team simply cannot get invited to one of these events? This doesn't seem to be entirely within a team's control.
Is this an actual solution to the supposed problem? I can't tell what problem this is trying to solve, so I don't know if this is a real solution or not.
Unintended consequences? One possibility: The worst WCC teams (e.g. Portland this year) cannot get invited to a multi-team event, so instead they create their own. The only teams available to play in it are other bad teams. This does not help the team's RPI, nor the conference RPI. Or, if the bad teams can get an invite to an MTE, it is still against bad competition.

...play more home games than road games...
What is this even trying to solve? Again, I have no idea. Why is it bad for the conference if LMU plays more road games than home games?
Is this an actual solution to the supposed problem? Who knows! I'd love to see an example of a WCC team that played more away games than home games, and an argument as to how that team and the conference as a whole would have benefited had their schedule been the other way around.
Unintended consequences? The only way for lower-level WCC teams to get non-conference home games is to play terrible teams -- either the worst DI competition or non-DI. Why would we want to force more such games, instead of incentivizing teams to go out and challenge themselves in the non-conference? (I'm sure our friend AdoptedZag must hate this proposal, seeing as s/he says the thing holding the lower-level WCC teams back from sustained success is that they don't play good competition in the non-conference.)

...and play no more than two non-Division I opponents.
What is this even trying to solve? I assume this is an attempt to improve the conference's reputation by forcing teams to play better non-conference competition.
Is this an actual solution to the supposed problem? As far as I know, playing a non-DI team does not affect RPI. So replacing a game against a non-DI team with a game against a DI team is just like adding an additional game the schedule. If you can get a good opponent to play you, and you can beat them, it is a net positive. If you can only schedule a game against a bad team, and if you lose, it is a net negative for you, and for the whole conference. I don't see how this really helps from an RPI standpoint. In fact, it will probably result in more games against bad DI competition, which will hurt the conference's RPI. That being said, I don't think there is any excuse for a WCC team to play any non-DI games, and I'd like to see the practice outlawed entirely. I also think UP season ticket holders should receive a discount for every non-DI game on the schedule.
Unintended consequences? Requiring more home games than away games makes it more likely, not less likely, that the bad WCC teams will all end up with 2 non-DI home games.

he league also must approve all "guarantee" games when a WCC school is paid to play on the road by an opponent
What is this even trying to solve? No clue. Isn't Gonzaga's gripe that the lower-level teams don't play good competition in the non-conference?
Is this an actual solution to the supposed problem? I'd love to see an example of a guarantee game that the conference would disapprove of, and see the rationale. What is this trying to achieve? Everyone complains about SMC refusing to play good competition on the road. Won't this make it even less likely?
Unintended consequences? This hampers the lower-level teams' ability to generate revenue, thus making it even more difficult for them to improve.

The league also is changing the format of the men's and women's tournaments.
What is this even trying to solve? I assume this is trying to shield the top teams from upset losses in the early rounds of the conference tournament. And, ipso facto, prevent lower-seeded teams from winning the tournament.
Is this an actual solution to the supposed problem? Yes!
Unintended consequences? I don't see any unintended consequences. This will make it even more difficult for a lower-level team to reach the NCAA tournament, but that seems like an intended consequence. But if you're going this far, why not just do what the Ivy League does: invite only the top four teams to the conference tournament? After all, the first three days of the tournament are going to feature hopeless teams with zero fans traveling to Vegas.

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by SouthCarolinaPilot on Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:54 am

I really enjoyed your perspective on this NoPo. As I have been reading about these changes, I just have to ask myself two things: does this fix any of our problems and is this enough to keep Gonzaga happy? I am currently leaning towards actually wishing Gonzaga would leave right now.

Frankly, I see very little in this plan that excites me and makes me think it would benefit us all. But, I think it is overall a step in the right direction. I will just want to see the execution of this plan.

Re: 16-team Conference Schedule:
I get the strategy of trying to open up the non-conference schedule and prevent GU, SMC, and BYU from playing too many Portland's, Pepperdine's, and LMU's. But, this also potentially means that one or even two teams a season might not get to play Gonzaga at home. Good luck selling that. More on those non-conference games below.

Re: Scheduling More/Better Non-conference Opponents/Multiple Team Events
I agree that I don't know that this helps anyone in the way that we think it will. Many of the WCC coaches and ADs (including our own) have been making Twitter pleas for games in the past. It's easy to say "schedule better," but this isn't the East Coast where there are like 50 little Division I schools in each state. We already play a non-conference schedule that is almost exclusively Pac-12, MWC, Big West, Big Sky, and WAC. I am really appreciative of the fact that Washington, Washington State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon and Oregon State have all played games in Chiles in the last decade. But, Oregon has refused to schedule us since we beat them in Chiles in 2008-09. That hurts. I don't see us with the budget to travel to Big 12, OVC, MVC, Horizon, or Summit territory. On this topic overall, I do think that the notion of scheduling more Division I games against mid majors will help the conference prestige and ranking metrics, but I am waiting to see how this scheduling works out in practice.

Re: Non-D1 Teams
I want these games off the schedule too. I don't think it really benefits either party involved in the way everyone thinks it does. It's true that they do not hurt our RPI, but the committee has been moving towards the quadrant system so it doesn't really matter anyway.

Overall, I need to think about this one some more before I pass final judgement. I am also waiting to see what Gonzaga's plan will actually be: leverage the WCC or move to MWC?
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by up7587 on Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:39 am

DoubleDipper wrote:
PilotNut wrote:--"The Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan also includes changes to NCAA academic-based revenue distribution, .
"The NCAA academic-based revenue distribution" is new, and begins in academic year 2019-2020.

www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/di-distribute-revenue-based-academics

Well, this should help schools like North Carolina. Suspect
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by NoPoNeighbor on Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:49 am

If GU leaves despite this, does this entire convoluted plan go in the garbage? Bring in SU, Denver or GCU and go back to a normal, balanced schedule with travel partners? Or add all three to get to 12 but use a 16 or 18 game unbalanced schedule?

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by Dean Murdoch on Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:58 am

NoPoNeighbor wrote:I cannot take this seriously when Gonzaga's non-conference schedule this year included Texas Southern, Howard, IUPUI and North Dakota. If GU is so concerned about lower-level teams dragging down their RPI, why are the voluntarily scheduling games against teams that are worse than almost all of their WCC opponents?

This is a fantastic point. And you didn't even mention the crappiest of Gonzaga's non-conference opponents - they scheduled Incarnate Word, which finished 347th out of 351 teams in terms of RPI.

Also starting in 2019-20, all WCC schools will be required to play a multi-team event each season...
...play more home games than road games...
The league also must approve all "guarantee" games when a WCC school is paid to play on the road by an opponent

I read your take on these last night and I realized this morning that I'm pretty sure you've given the answer in two of your responses. "The only way for lower-level WCC teams to get non-conference games is to play terrible teams" and "the worst WCC teams cannot get invited to a multi-team event, so instead they create their own...the only teams available to play in it are other bad teams."

Perhaps this is exactly the goal?

This may be all about attempting to game the RPI. While people are saying its importance has been diminished, it is still the basis for the new quadrant system they're using.

Allow me to introduce a fictional universe where the WCC replaced Loyola Marymount (RPI 258) with Bethune Cookman (RPI 288). Given that Bethune Cookman is a full 30 spots lower in the RPI than LMU that would be a negative for the conference, correct?

Wrong.

Because the RPI is heavily slanted towards the opposition's record, it would actually have been a benefit for the WCC to have 16-14 Bethune Cookman in there instead of 10-20 LMU. If I use rpiwizard.com simply to replace the top four teams' results against LMU with Bethune Cookman, we get the following: Gonzaga improves RPI from 21 to 20, SMC improves from 40 to 35, BYU improves from 67 to 59, and USF improves from 139 to 133.

The most important one there is likely the last one. Moving San Francisco from 139 to 133 now makes a road win over the Dons a Quadrant 2 win instead of a largely irrelevant Quadrant 3 victory.

The point of all of this is to try to explain the rationale behind the WCC's scheduling changes, and I think this is it. I think we've demonstrated with the Bethune Cookman example that it's beneficial for the conference for teams to rack up as many non-conference wins as possible, and two of those three rules above (playing more home than away, and monitoring guarantee games to prevent Pepperdine from getting paid to go get lit up by Arizona) would absolutely cause that. I'm still puzzled by the MTE rule, unless the intent is - as NoPo suggested - to play bad teams in these events and get more wins.

If this is the intent, this would sure be against what AdoptedZag was proposing in terms of scheduling.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by blacksheep on Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:32 am

NoPoNeighbor wrote:If GU leaves despite this, does this entire convoluted plan go in the garbage? Bring in SU, Denver or GCU and go back to a normal, balanced schedule with travel partners? Or add all three to get to 12 but use a 16 or 18 game unbalanced schedule?

This whole thing is garbage even if they stay. This whole plan is to make sure the teams at the top stay at the top. That's not what a conference should be all about. It should be all about creating a framework of equal opportunity. Sure, under Mark Few, Gonzaga is going to be hard to beat no matter what the other teams do, but the conference shouldn't be making even easier for them. I get why the other teams in the conference agreed to this structure, but I think it's short sighted.

Gonzaga has hit the jackpot with Mark Few. Not only is he a once in a generation hall of fame coach, but he loves Spokane (only God knows why). Any other coach at Gonzaga would have left years ago with Few's resume. When Mark Few retires, Gonzaga is going to go back to having all the same problems the rest of us have. Even if the next coach is decent, he's not going to be Mark Few. If he does has success, he's likely going to leave for more pay at a better program. I know Gonzaga fans think it will last forever, but it won't. Just ask Oregon Duck football fans what happens when your once in a generation coach leaves.
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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by NoPoNeighbor on Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:43 pm

Dean Murdoch wrote:I read your take on these last night and I realized this morning that I'm pretty sure you've given the answer in two of your responses. "The only way for lower-level WCC teams to get non-conference games is to play terrible teams" and "the worst WCC teams cannot get invited to a multi-team event, so instead they create their own...the only teams available to play in it are other bad teams."

Perhaps this is exactly the goal?
This is really good analysis, Dean. I didn't know how the RPI actually worked -- namely that it is weighted toward opponents' RECORDS, with less emphasis on who they played to get those records, or where the games are played.

With Dean's great breakdown, I think we're getting closer to understanding the true motivation for the these changes. Here's what I think the interests of the league's different teams are:

Gonzaga:

  • Wants the rest of the league to have better non-conference records. Gonzaga has basically given up hope that the bottom 7 will actually improve, and now wants them to simply help GU game the RPI by playing worse non-conference schedules and winning more non-conference games, regardless of the opponent. Forcing the bottom 7 to play more games at home, and fewer guarantee games against superior opponents, is the means to that end.
  • Because BYU and SMC are already at a level where simply winning more non-conference games will not improve their RPIs, GU wants these two to play a few non-con games against better ranked teams so that they have better RPIs and tournament resumes, which will boost GU's RPI when they beat them. However, it isn't obvious to me that these changes will actually result in SMC playing a better non-league slate. In fact, I think it further incentivizes them to keep playing bad competition, and only at home.
  • GU also wants SMC and BYU's RPIs to benefit from wins over the bottom 7 teams (and suffer less from losses), which feeds back into the first bullet point. Basically, GU expects to beat SMC and BYU most of the time. It also expects SMC and BYU to beat the bottom 7 most of the time, but knows that there will be a handful of slip-ups each year (especially by BYU). These slip-ups cost GU, because now their wins over BYU and SMC are less valuable. But if the BYU's slip-ups come against a team with an overall winning record, rather than a 10-20 LMU, the ding on BYU's RPI is less dramatic, and therefore GU benefits.

SMC & BYU:

  • Wants the rest of the league to improve their non-conference records so that they can have a few more tier-2 wins in-conference, and fewer bad losses. This might help them get an at-large berth in good years.

Everyone else:

  • Just wants to keep GU and BYU in the conference, perhaps out of some misguided desire for prestige, and perhaps as a hedge against the complete implosion of the WCC. So, they are willing to go along with this scheme, which actually only benefits the top three teams.

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Re: Massive Changes to WCC Men's Basketball!

Post by NoPoNeighbor on Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:16 pm

SouthCarolinaPilot wrote:As I have been reading about these changes, I just have to ask myself two things: does this fix any of our problems and is this enough to keep Gonzaga happy? I am currently leaning towards actually wishing Gonzaga would leave right now.
These are interesting questions, SCP. I'd add a third: Are these two goals -- fixing UP's problems and keeping Gonzaga happy -- contradictory? I think it is now clear that GU's overarching interest is NOT in having the WCC actually improve objectively, but in creating the illusion of improvement via better non-conference records. In other words, what keeps Gonzaga happy is maintaining the current three-tiered power structure, but gaming the RPI so that the top 3's wins against the bottom 7 are slightly more valuable, and losses (by the second tier: BYU and SMC) are slightly less damaging.

Does this fix UP's problems? First we'd need to define what our problems are. I'd say that the #1 problem facing UP and the rest of the bottom 7 is that we will never make it to the NCAA tournament under the WCC's current power structure. This is evident to any observer, including recruits and their AAU coaches. Why is this the case? Coach Rose at BYU explains it all with his quote in the WCC press release announcing the schedule changes: "the disparity in RPI from the top of our league to the bottom is larger than any other conference’s." Not only is this disparity large, but it is calcified. There is zero class mobility within the WCC. These schedule changes are intended to further entrench the existing caste system, while slightly raising the floor under the worst teams (so that they appear to be better without actually being better) so that GU, BYU and SMC benefit more from their expected wins over the rest.

The only way for a DI team with a 75+ RPI to ever make the NCAA tournament is through the auto-bid.  These schedule changes will likely hurt the RPIs of the bottom 7, even as they may improve our non-conference records (as Dean Murdoch explained so well above). If it seems impossible that we would ever be a contender for an at-large bid now, these changes will make it even less possible. (Remember: SMC wasn't good enough for an at-large bid this year). So no, this will not solve our problems, even if it slightly improves our record. The only thing that actually solves our problem is to be in a conference with equally-matched opponents, so that a recruit can credibly believe that there is a realistic chance during his four-year stay on the Bluff of reaching the NCAA tournament by winning the conference's auto-bid. If that remains patently impossible, we will remain mired where we are.

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