Been reading on here for a long time. Work finally allows me to post (long story). Love the interaction on here and the great info led by BillC. I'm more apt to only chime in with off-the-wall or more obscure musings.
As has been mentioned in today's thread, we are the only team in both the RivalsRPI & SagarinRatings to have 9 wins against the top 50 in those rankings. That fact is surely helping us in our long climb up in these types of rankings. Our SOS is starting to come in line with some of the other "traditionally dominant" programs. But before we start to complain about being slighted in favor of those "dominant" names, let's make sure we appreciate just how far we've come in terms of numbers and rankings.
The flip side of being the only team in the RivalsRPI with 9 wins, is the fact that we have 7 of our wins coming from the +200 crowd. For perspective, The 'Cuse only has 4 wins from that group, Duke only 2. Unfortunately we fit more into the mid-major category for +200 games, with this year's top mid-majors having the following records vs top 50; vs +200:
UNLV (6-3;7-0) Gonzaga (3-4;8-0) St. Mary's (3-2,12-0)
Southern Miss is actually getting some love from these rankings as they are 23-4 overall, 2-1 vs top50, and 4-0 vs +200.
As impressive as our run has been recently against the top 10, we were buried so far down with our earlier schedule that we are only starting to catch up with the perceived "big boys". Remember, though the selection committee gives some emphasis on the final 10 games heading into the big dance, the majority of their evaluation is based on the ENTIRETY of your schedule.
If we widen the scope out to games vs the top 100, our RivalsRPI record is 10-1...Syracuse is 13-1, Kentucky is 10-1. Those two teams are probably the consensus #1 & #2 overall seeds at this moment. I don't care how the coaches and AP vote us...#3 would be nice come Monday for brand recognition purposes...but my focus right now is how do we get to a #3 seed overall for the tournament (to ensure a #1 seed in the St. Louis regional). I'm afraid that a #4 overall seed would land us in the West regional as a No.1 seed. I'd rather be a No. 2 seed in the St. Louis regional.
How do the other teams around us stack up? Who do we really need to root against the most before selection Sunday?
Duke is my main concern because they have the 2nd best rated SOS (ours is currently 66th via RivalsRPI). They are 12-4 vs top 100, with only 2 wins in the +200 crowd. Ohio St. dropped quite a bit after their home loss and have a tough schedule remaining. N.C. & Mich St. have 4 & 5 losses respectively against the Top 100, with both having 5 wins vs. +200 teams. Baylor is still ranked high (because only 4 losses are vs top 10 teams) but I don't see any way that the committee puts them above MU or kU at this point.
Which brings us to kU. Though their SOS is 3rd, they seem to be behind Duke because of a 9-5 record vs top 100, with 5 wins vs +200 teams. Obviously, the upcoming head-to-head means that either MU or kU will have another loss. But so could all the other teams around them. I'm just kind of weird in analyzing who we need to lose the most. It makes the other college games more interesting (I couldn't stop watching the Ohio St./Mich St. game).
And finally, if you really like to look at numbers and rankings and ratings, oh my!...then take a look at a couple of these links.
http://lrmc.isye.gatech.edu/~jsokol/lrmc/ This Georgia Tech algorithm claims to have been the best at predicting the highest percentage of NCAA tournament games vs all the other ranking systems.
http://masseyratings.com/cb/compare.htm Massey does a pretty cool thing here by compiling all the major ranking services, listing them out in a tidy format complete with links, and then averages all of them into a compilation ranking of their own. This is updated every Monday.