We need a #6 seed

Right now we are pegged as #7 in Charlotte, with the potential of playing DUKE in second round. Make some noise in SEC and move to a #6 and we are either in Dallas, Wichita or Nashville. All way better choices.

Back a few months ago the hogs were projected to be a 5-6 seed. Poor results on the court caused the drop! Failing to play defense with effort and rebound with intensity. They got use to simply outscoring teams. The hogs have earned the seed lines their projected to receive.
The term whole body of work can’t be fixed or overcome in the next few days.
As long as they stay off the 8-9 seed line they have a fighting chance to make it to the second weekend. But they better show up playing sound defense and rebound with a purpose on both ends of the floor.

Three areas of improvement for the Hawg, defend with less fouling, Rebound at both offensive and defensive board, making better free throws. Nothing new that hasn’t been said before.

It’s a crapshoot. I wouldn’t put much stock in projections for actual matchups. Nobody does that very accurately. Plus, you never know how the draw works out. In 2015 we were the #5-seed and got stuck in a loaded region. In order to get to the FF we were going to have to go through UNC (same roster went to the NC game the next season), 36-win Wisconsin (NC Runnerup by giving UK their only loss), and 34-win Arizona. 38-win UK would have been waiting for us in the semifinal. That draw meant that we had no shot to make a run. LSU was relegated to a 9th seed but in a region in which the #7-seed MSU advanced to the FF in a #4-#7 matchup with Louisville. I would gladly have trade places with LSU.


The most important thing is playing well going into the tournament.

If you look at our win-loss differentials against only power conference teams, offensive rebounding and how often we foul are almost identical in wins and losses. We do defensive rebound better in wins but not by a huge margin - 75% to 70%. The big swings are in treys at both ends (O - 45%/9 makes to 33%/6 makes), D - 31% to 41%), forcing TOs, and our FTs. We make more FTs in wins mainly because we shoot a lot more in wins. The percentage is a little higher (67% to 63%) probably because getting to the line a lot means that the guards are drawing fouls.

When we win, we usually dominate the areas that we try to dominate, namely get good looks and knock them down, force misses, and force TOs. Then don’t be god awful on the boards or lose the line big. Defensive rebounding was a major factor in only three losses - @MSU, @A&M, and UK. Surrendering FTs were among the deciding factors in only the MSU and Mizzou losses, and both were more about the refs than anything we did differently. Really, I think forcing misses usually solves most of our problems. We can get in transition and get good looks against a defense that is not set and force tempo. On the other hand, if we surrender high FG percentages, all those domino effects go in reverse. We were 12-1 in games in which the opponent EFG% was less than 50%. The one loss was at MSU, and we know what happened there.

Even if we know our seed, I agree it’s a crapshoot where they send us or who we’re matched against. However, what isn’t a crapshoot is that Duke & NC are almost certainly going to be in a Charlotte regional. I don’t think they’ve ever had to go out of state for the regionals. Okay. I’m exaggerating some, but not by much. I don’t want to be put into a regional that’s played in North Carolina. You can bet we’d face a team from there in the 2nd round.

Of course, there other reasons I’d like a 6 seed over a 7 seed, but at least a 7 seed beats the 8-9 draw. If we do manage to get a 6 seed, I like our chances of pulling the upset against the 3 seed we’d likely face, especially if we’re on a court where we’d have a lot of fans. However, I’m afraid we’ll need at least 2, maybe 3 SECT wins to move to a 6 spot. I suppose some upsets in other leagues could move us into a better seed, but I doubt enough could happen elsewhere to change things much for us. If we were projected in as a 10 seed or something like that, I’d be worried that upsets around the country might cost us a spot in the tourney, but I can’t imagine anything keeping us out now.

Remember last year the subregional we were put in (against UNC, and with Duke at the same site) was moved out of North Carolina because of their “bathroom bill” and across the line into South Carolina. Before that, it had been a long time since there wasn’t an NCAA site in North Carolina.

My guess is that winning two games with one vs Florida and getting to the finals of the tournament probably puts us on the 6 line, no worse than 7.

Lose tomorrow and I’ll almost guarantee you that we are in the 8/9 game.

RPI Wizard is a poor substitute for what the tournament committee might go by, but it’s quick and easy. We’re 30 RPI now, which corresponds to a 8 seed. Beat the Chickens tomorrow (assuming they beat the Flaming Dumpsters tonight) and we stay at 30. Lose to the Poultry, it’s 32, still an 8. Beat SC and Florida, we go all the way up to 28, which is low 7. Lose to Florida, we’re back to 32. Beat Florida and then Tennessee, we jump to 21, which would correlate with a 6 seed. Our Dance card would probably be filled out before the SEC title game, but beating Auburn in the final would jump us to 17, a 5 seed which could become a 4 without too much problem.

So I think we’d need to make the final to be a 6. Lose any time before the final, 7 at best, probably 8. All of this is with the caveat that the committee doesn’t necessarily follow RPI or any other metric down to the letter; the eyeball test fits in here. If the committee were particularly impressed by beating Tennessee, or OU when they were still good, or Auburn, that could bump us up. Similarly, getting hammered by UK and LSU at home could shove us in the opposite direction.

Looking at RPI Quadrant games, the Chickens on a neutral floor are Q2. Florida, UK, Tennessee, Auburn will all be Q1. Ole Miss would be Q3 if they beat SoCar. Bama would be Q2 now but would be Q1 if they reach the final. Misery and aTm would both be Q1. On our side of the bracket, MooU and LSU would be Q2 if we got them in the semis.

I’d like to win on Thursday and Friday. Getting a win over UF would be cathartic. Should that happen, I will, of course, be rooting for us to win on Saturday, but I’m not sure that this team doesn’t need the extra day of rest more than a couple of more SEC wins. If we end up playing on Thursday and Saturday in the NCAAT, an emotional game on Sunday could be a drain. I’d take a SS and first-round loss in the SECT over an SECT Championship and a Round of 32.

Yes, I remember that. I also incorrectly called it a regional rather than a subregional. I’m afraid I’m already thinking of baseball where the nomenclature starts with “regional” & then becomes a “super regional.” Either way, Duke & UNC always get to play in North Carolina. I think it must be in the Constitution somewhere.