Doug Gottlieb is entertaining, and I tend to enjoy his analysis, if only because he's not very biased and he's different. But I've never really looked at him for his "rightness." Need evidence of why?
But if we are really looking for the 34 best at-large teams, why are we not looking for the best teams? For instance, Maryland is in? Does a great team get beaten by 41 by their archrival? Does a great team lose to Georgetown by 27? Clemson by 29? Yes, the Terps beat UNC after trailing by 16 in the second half, but they turned around and lost again at home to Duke. Does a great or even really good team have that kind of inconsistent play? Or does a great team give everyone a great game, like Rhode Island? Seven of the Rams' eight losses this season have been by a total of 24 points. And they have won nine of 10. Rhode Island lost by three at Cameron early in the season and is playing its best basketball right now. Do I know that they are better than Maryland? No. I am confident, but far from arrogant enough to say I know. But the Rams have never lost to Morgan State and have never been "hosed" this year. Why not reward such a solid team?
Really, Gottlieb? Rhode Island? Let's compare the resumes a little bit more, shall we?
- Wins over North Carolina and Michigan St.
- RPI of 58
- Strength of Schedule: 26
- 6-7 record in the ACC, basketball's best conference in terms of RPI
- Best win: Dayton
- RPI of 57
- Strength of Schedule: 126
- 10-4 in A10, basketball's 8th best conference in terms of RPI
I'll give you that RPI is similar. Right there, the comparison ends. North Carolina alone would beat Dayton as best win. When combined with another top 10 team? Not even in the same building. Strength of schedule is the biggie. Maryland's SoS is 100 spots ahead of Rhode Island. Of course Rhode Island hasn't been blown out: they haven't played anyone capable of blowing out New Jersey Technical Institute, let alone Rhode Island or Maryland. Let's see if they can beat UNC. I'll give them 15 tries to do it. The only thing in RI's favor is the fluke loss to Morgan State, but that doesn't make a team "better" by itself. True, they were closer to beating Duke than Maryland was, but it's a shame close doesn't count. If it did, Maryland would have 4 more wins than they do now.
I know I shouldn't care, but I hate it when analysts are ignorant, especially influential ones. If a committee member has this opinion, Maryland will be cheated out of a spot in the 65. There are millions of teams better than Maryland (okay, closer to a dozen) that are on the bubble, but Rhode Island ain't one of them.