Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, March 17, 2003

Lots of people are upset that the Big East got 7 teams. To be more specific, many think it's unfair that Miami got in from the BE while teams like Auburn (SEC) and Baylor (Big 12) were left out. Much of the objection is based on the RPI rankings. Auburn is ranked 42 and Baylor is 61, while Miami is 67. Auburn's strength of schedule ranking is 36, while Miami's is 79.

When asked about this Cheryl Marra says: "Auburn was one of those schools we considered but they had a 5-9 regular season conf. record and their non-conf. schedule was not enough to overcome having a below .500 record in their conference." About Miami, she says: "Miami got in by virtue of their strong conf. and having significant wins over schools that were significantly ranked high in RPI. They played extremely well down the stretch and in their conference tourney." About Baylor, she says "the lack of strength in their non-conf. schedule became a factor. They were 8-8 but the lack of strength with the non-conf. schedule hurt."

Yes, the Big East is tough. But it's not as tough as the SEC (Marra admits this -- says BE is the #3 RPI conference), and some in the Big 12 would argue that it is tougher too, though the Big 12 ended #5 in the RPI conference rankings. Auburn had a bad conference record, but most of those losses were to top-25 teams. They've lost three times to Tennessee, but they played well in those games, and almost beat the Vols in February. They lost by one point to Vandy. They lost twice to Mississippi State, and once each to Georgia and LSU.

Who has Miami beaten? Well, they beat Rutgers in the tournament on that controversial time-out call (they lost to Rutgers earlier). They've beaten Georgetown (RPI #83), Syracuse (119), and Pittsburgh (129). They did have a big win at Notre Dame (RPI #28), but that was earlier in the year when Notre Dame was really struggling. They've also lost to Syracuse, West Virginia (122), and Seton Hall (100). They lost twice each to BC and 'Nova, and they got crushed by UConn.

So.... I don't know. I think between Miami and Auburn, I would have gone with Auburn. My two cents...