Blog Entry

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:41 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:52 pm

By Matt Norlander

This is the final edition of the 2011-12 Non-BCS Power Pyramid. That sentence will come with not one reaction of anguish or woe on your end, I know, but in the interest of our Monday routine at the blog, I figured I'd bring it up. Instead of giving the usual rankings from my subjective viewpoint, I’ve decided to slot the teams today in order of how I think they’ll ultimately be seeded. Every team in the Pyramid I do believe will play its way into the field, so that means two CAA teams should expect bids. (Don’t you go dying on my, VCU and Drexel.)

It's been a fun and time-consuming process to put together this rankings system every Sunday night for the past 16 weeks, but the responses back and email have made it worth it. It will most definitely be returning next season, only you can expect vast improvements. At least in my own mind they will be.

So here's the final tally, the 15 best teams from outside the Big Six -- and how I expect them to get slotted into the greatest sporting event in the world.

Geographically protected

1. Wichita State, 26-4, four seed. A Sentence: I’m curious to see how the public reaction will be to this team once it gets a good seed, because so often when non-Big Six teams get high billing a backlash effect follows. A Statistic: The Shockers went undefeated in February, only lost once in January and once in December. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley tournament! Runs from March 1 to 4.

Wichita won its first MVC regular-season title since '06. The league has had a different champ six straight seasons. (AP)

2. Murray State, 28-1, five seed. A Sentence: The Racers’ seed has become a big curiosity of mine. A Statistic: The impressive afterthought of this team’s accomplishments this season: it was undefeated on the road and in neutral-court play. No other team can say the same. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the Ohio Valley tournament! Runs from Feb. 29 to March 3.

3. Gonzaga, 23-5, five seed. A Sentence: No one’s truly bought into this team, so can this be a second-weekend year for Gonzaga, being that there’s a lack of pressure? A Statistic: Every Gonzaga starter is scoring more than 1.1 points per possession. It’s a very good sign for things to come. The Schedule: vs. Longwood, Monday; No. 2 seed in WCC tournament! Runs from Feb. 29 to March 5.

The rest of the single-digit seeds

4. UNLV, 24-6, six seed. A Sentence: UNLV hasn’t won on the road in a month, and though that will hurt its seeding I don’ think that’s a factor at all in how this team will play in March. A Statistic: An efficient 65.7 percent of UNLV’s baskets come via an assist. That’s the second-highest in the nation. The Schedule: at Colorado State, Wednesday; vs. Wyoming, Saturday.

5. Temple, 22-6, six seed. A Sentence: I’ve got Temple this high because I think it’s going to with the A10 tournament (it already nearly has the A10 regular-season title). A Statistic: Saturday’s loss to St. Joseph’s marked the first time since 2008 Temple didn’t sweep the Hawks. The Schedule: vs. UMass, Wednesday; at Fordham, Saturday.

Matthew Dellavedova and the Gaels could leapfrog Gonzaga in seeding, but they'll have to win the WCC tourney in order to do so. (US PRESSWIRE)

6. Saint Mary’s, 25-5, six seed. A Sentence: . A Statistic: The Gaels shoot 54.6 percent from the field from 2-point range. It’s eight-best in the country, but it’s also as good as SMC’s ever been under Randy Bennett in the tempo-free era. They are big and can score — and can also grab the O boards 36 percent of the time. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the WCC tournament! Runs from Feb. 29 to March 5.

7. San Diego State, 22-6, eight seed. A Sentence: SDSU closes up its season with a TCU road game, which New Mexico and UNLV already fell prey to, so beware. A Statistic: The Aztecs have never cracked the 30s of this year, and only been in the 40s twice. That indicates this team isn’t likely to win when it gets to The Tournament. The Schedule: at Boise State, Wednesday; at TCU, Saturday.

8. Creighton, 25-5, nine seed. A Sentence: I only hope Creighton doesn’t have a similar ending to Drake in 2008. A Statistic: You want to know why Creighton’s fallen off the radar? Yeah, it had that three-game losing streak, but forget that. The past three Bluejays wins have come by a total of four points, one of them needing overtime. The Schedule: No. 2 seed in the Missouri Valley tournament! Runs from March 1 to 4.

9. Virginia Commonwealth, 25-6, nine seed. A Sentence: I feel real good about writing this on the Rams last week. A Statistic: What I’d love for the committee to pay attention to: details beyond the schedule and teams. VCU finishes the season with a 16.1 percent steal rate, the highest in the nation. A team that good indicates it plays very well defensively and certainly is one of the 37 best at-larges. The Schedule: No. 2 seed in the CAA tournament! Runs from March 2 to 5.

Double-digit territory

10. New Mexico, 22-6, 10 seed. A Sentence: The great dichotomy with New Mexico is that it’s a really talented team with an overall underwhelming resume, considering that talent. A Statistic: Lobos allow .87 points per possession, far and away the best of any Pyramid team, and it’s been that way most of the season. The Schedule: vs. Air Force, Wednesday; vs. Boise State, Saturday.

11. Harvard, 24-4, 12 seed. A Sentence: Another Ivy playoff is now a possibility, but I still think the Crimson will make the field and avoid a repeat of 2011’s heartbreak. A Statistic: With 61.4 possessions per game, Harvard is the slowest Pyramid team and one of the slowest in the nation, ranking 328 out of 345. The Schedule: at Columbia, Friday; at Cornell, Saturday.

12. Oral Roberts, 26-5, 12 seed. A Sentence: It’s going to take a heck of a five seed for me not to pick Oral Bobs to win its first game (the same goes for if ORU is sent to the First Four). A Statistic: How many teams have only lost once since Dec. 15? You’ve got Syracuse, ORU and the team listed directly below. The Schedule: No. 1 in the Summit League tournament! Runs from March 3 to 6.

13. Drexel, 25-5, 13 seed. A Sentence:  I only have ’em as a 13 because I think the Dragons get in as an at-large after losing the CAA title game. A Statistic: No Pyramid team has less of a bench than the Dragons, who only get their pine guys into the game 24.4 percent of the time. With mid-majors I often don’t think this is a problem, though. The best guys get adrenaline rushes and need to play as much as possible, and at their best, to stand a chance at winning. The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the CAA tournament! Runs from March 2 to 5.

14. Southern Miss, 22-5, 13 seed. A Sentence: While I’ve always appreciated the Southern Miss story, this is a team I don’t have much belief in. A Statistic: How can you turn your head from the awful 2-point shooting stat? At 43 percent, the Golden Eagles are pulling off one of the greatest capers ever by fighting for bubble position while being one of the worst teams from inside the 3 I can remember. The Schedule: vs. SMU, Wednesday; at Marshall, Saturday.

15. Iona, 24-6, 13 seed. A Sentence: I'll be furious with the Gaels if they squander this talent and miss the NCAA for the second straight year after winning the league. A Statistic: Cannot get over the fact this team went on a 31-0 run against St. Peter's Sunday. The Peacocks are a bad team this year but they're still stubborn defensively. A 31-0 run? How many times has that ever happened in college basketball? The Schedule: No. 1 seed in the MAAC tournament! Runs from March 2 to 5.


Since: Dec 19, 2008
Posted on: February 28, 2012 1:00 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

If UNLV wins their remaining games at Colorado State and home against Wyomng they will rise to a 5 seed. If UNLV wins their conference tourney and wins their remaining two games a 4 seed is still possible. Personally I think a 6 Is slightly low for UNLV. But come march the middle seeds don't matter much. What matters come march is matchups. If UNLV gets a better matchup first round at a 6 seed then I will take that over that trickey 12-5 matchup that at least one 5 seed loses every season

Since: Feb 26, 2010
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:34 am

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

I hate to tell you "davjam1" but there's no way Murray St. makes it to the final 4 this year. They've got a good, competetive team, but I'm sure you know that they seem to play a lot of close games gainst pretty mediocre teams in their league. I don't think this team has what it takes to hang with a Big 10, Big 12, Big East, or ACC team let alone having to possibly play all of them in order to get to the final 4. I'm not going to pretend that I've seen much of the racers this year, but I have noticed they seem to get behind quite a bit recently only to charge back and get a late victory. I give them credit for being resilient, but that's not going to fly against the big boys come tournament time. I guess you never know (VCU and Butler last lear), but I don't see it, that's all.     

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:46 am

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Totally agree, where in the world is Long Beach?  If that team I saw in Omaha against Creighton isn't a tournament team capable of inflicting SERIOUS damage in the tournament, I don't know who is.  They are better than St. Mary's, Harvard, ORU, Iona, Drexel, VCU or USM.

Since: Feb 28, 2012
Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:19 am

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Southern Miss needs to define itself...they have had seven different leading scorers throughtout the season, but they just don't appear to have a definition of why they are.  I don't understand why Dodson (a transfer from Kentucky) has never started a game for this team.  He was, at one point in the season, their leading scorer, yet he has never started a game...I just don't get why you wouldn't start one of your best players.  Their coach needs to redefine this team before it is to late to redefine it. 

Since: Jan 25, 2009
Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:56 am

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Awesome job this year with the Power Pyramid. No doubt other sites will rip off your idea and figure some way to say they came up with it. Will be definitely looking forward to it next season.

And I'm fine with using BCS. The PAC-12 wasn't anywhere near Big 6.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:25 am

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

It is really suprising that we have not seen a team from the PAC12 make its way into the "Power Pyramid" this year! With so few games left, we just need to keep the faith in the BCS system and hope the creame will adventually rise to the top!

Since: Feb 27, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 4:45 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

Thanks for your effort! I have enjoyed watching the non-Big Six (get rid of the BCS term) team rankings evolve over the year. Good analysis and no significant disagreements along the way. Looking forward to next year!

Since: Feb 27, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 4:06 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

That is .87 meaning they allow less than a point per possesion!

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: February 27, 2012 4:01 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

any teams that overlook the senior laden Shockers will be going home early!!!!

Since: Feb 6, 2010
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:41 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Final Edition

My heart says Murray State should be on top but SOS for the shockers was higer. I hope we meet in the final four.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or