Commentary

Remember, head-to-head record is one of many factors

Updated: February 14, 2008, 11:16 AM ET
By Charlie Creme | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: Charlie Creme will project the 2008 NCAA Tournament bracket right up to Selection Monday in March. Click here for his most recent Women's Bracketology and Charlie's team-by-team analysis. The following questions were submitted after he unveiled a new projection on Monday.

How is Wyoming a 9-seed? The other 9-seeds have lost six, six and eight games, while Wyoming has three losses!!! Two of them were to teams that have been ranked (Utah and Colorado). And Wyoming's RPI, according to the official NCAA site, is 25!! Show some respect. Wyoming (19-3) beat Big Ten-leading Iowa (17-7) on the road (you have Iowa seeded eighth). Wyoming beat Kansas State (16-6), which only has one loss in the Big 12 ( KSU is seeded fourth). Wyoming is 1-0 vs. RPI Top 25 and 2-1 vs. Top 50.

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It seems as if the MWC is not getting respect again this year. Last year, I believe you included Utah and TCU over Wyoming in your final NCAA bracket, even though UW beat them both twice! If you would like a MWC consultant, I would be happy to do so. I have watched all the MWC teams play and feel I could contribute. Thank you. (I know I am biased, but a 9-seed is ridiculous.)

Randy Luck
Laramie, Wyo.

This was actually the combination of two e-mails sent in by Randy. Love the passion in Wyoming, but unfortunately the budget for consultants is all used up.

If win totals and head-to-head were the only criteria used, this entire process might be easier. Marist would be a No. 2 seed and West Virginia would be seeded ahead of Rutgers.

Keep this part in mind, Randy. Iowa has won eight in a row. Kansas State has won 11 of 12.Wyoming has lost two of three. It hardly matters that Colorado was ranked at one point. As the season has progressed, we've seen that ranking the Buffaloes was a mistake. This is exactly one of the reasons why the polls are not involved in this process. They are as flawed as anything in the game. Be careful about bragging about a 2-1 record against the top-50. Yes, that's a winning record, but it is also just three games against truly good competition.

The Iowa comparison is a fair one on your part, but the difference between a No. 8 seed and a No. 9 seed can merely be one spot on the S-curve. The 32nd team is a No. 8. The 33rd team is a No. 9. That's it. Under the umbrella of competition, the 8's and 9's are essentially the same, unless you are really concerned about the color of uniform the Cowgirls will wear.

And, yes, I did have Utah and TCU in my final NCAA bracket a year ago, even though Wyoming beat them both twice. But when the NCAA selection committee's bracket came out, this bracketologist had got that part right.

Do you think the selection committee will opt for the drama of pitting Duke/Texas in the same bracket or Duke/Michigan State?

Derrick
Raleigh

Fans love to look at these things. Many people think certain conspiracies exist. And why not? It's fun. It makes for interesting conversation. Likewise, most people will refuse to believe this, but no, the committee isn't looking for drama. So many aspects are incorporated into getting a tournament field as balanced, fair and geographically sound as possible. Story lines are not one of them. This process is too hard and time is too short for committee members to have conversations about ironic matchups.

But sometimes it works out that way. Who knows -- Duke and Texas could wind up in the same regional. But it will be because that's how the seeding worked out, not because someone in the room thought it would make good drama.

Charlie, oh Charlie. You're going to be fielding e-mails about this one for weeks, I would imagine. But what happens to the good old bracket after seeing Rutgers take Tennessee to the brink in Knoxville and win, er, lose??? Certainly that loss has to be looked upon by the selection committee, and yourself as well, as maybe not such a bad thing for the Scarlet Knights as far as seeds go, doesn't it?

Matt
Hillsborough, N.J.

You can rest assured that no one within women's basketball is going to forget this game now, tomorrow or at the end of the season. There isn't a way to know exactly how the committee will look at this game, but I doubt it will be seen in the usual ways of a winner and loser.

My take is that the result should be counted as a Tennessee win, but not necessarily as a Rutgers loss. It would be akin to the game not even being played from a Scarlet Knights perspective. In other words, Rutgers' overall résumé should not be penalized by the end result, but the Scarlet Knights can't be credited for a win that the records books show they didn't officially earn, either.

Although I am a die-hard Syracuse fan, I also follow Liberty because I had two good friends attend there (and almost did myself). I checked the women's RPI today and Liberty was 30. How are the Lady Flames still a 12-seed? I would think they would at least be a 9, if not an 8.

Doug
Allentown

That's a reasonable question, Doug. I hope this is a reasonable answer.

This isn't a literal numbers process. Yes, the data drives it plenty, but the RPI is just one piece of data, not the absolute. If a team's RPI ranking dictated the seeding, the process would be easy and probably far less true to life. Under that scenario, yes, an RPI of 30 would give Liberty a No. 8 seed, but answer this question and see if that logic absolutely stands up: Is Liberty better than Louisville, Iowa, DePaul, Xavier, Wyoming, Texas, Western Kentucky, Auburn, USC, Iowa State, Temple, Florida State and Indiana?

The answer might be "yes" against some of these teams, but unless you can answer "yes" on each and every one, the Lady Flames' place at 30 doesn't hold up. Then much of that logic begins to break down. Those were all the teams that placed 31-44 on the S-curve this week. That is how teams are seeded, not strictly by the RPI.

I was just wondering why you have OU the 3-seed in the Oklahoma City Regional instead of OSU? OSU has a pretty convincing win over OU.

Brian
Oklahoma City

Oklahoma State did beat Oklahoma, but head-to-head is not the end-all-be-all. The Sooners rated ahead of the Cowgirls on this week's S-curve, giving them the priority for regional placement.

Oklahoma has played a much more difficult schedule and has far more substantial wins (Arizona State, at Michigan State, Georgia). Oklahoma State has had a fantastic season, but when seeding decisions are made, the Cowgirls are going to be hurt by the fact that they didn't beat a single top-100 opponent outside the Big 12. In fact, the nonconference schedule only included one top-100 foe (loss to TCU). It's not a truly impressive overall résumé. Oklahoma State was barely even challenged before 2008 began. That doesn't go unnoticed. The committee has made that clear in recent years and has spoken up about teams playing decent opposition outside of their leagues. That is why the Cowgirls were slightly lower on the S-curve this week.

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Women's College Basketball
Charlie Creme projects the women's NCAA Tournament bracket for ESPN.com.