Posted: 10:11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013
By Matt Minnick
FSU took care of business, winning 67-59, and moved to 9-3 on the season...and more importantly finished the OOC slate with zero bad losses.
The game against the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern went about as expected. They took--and made--a lot of threes, we used our size to dominate the glass and points in the paint (44-10 in FSU's favor), Aaron Thomas got to the rim at will and led FSU in scoring with 19, and the Noles got the W over a better than their record suggests team from the Big South. So I'm not going to waste everyone's time with a fluff article. Instead, I'm going to use this space to share some great quotes from the press conference and reflect on the OOC performance by FSU.
Let's start with Charleston Southern head man Barclay Radebaugh, who seems like as cool a guy as his name. And keep in mind that Charleston Southern has already played Baylor, New Mexico, and Alabama, and last year played Arizona.
"They are a very difficult team to guard; their size is astounding. I’ve never seen size like that on a college team."
Reflecting on the OOC:
As Michael mentioned after the game, FSU has put itself in very solid position for a bid to the NCAA Tournament as they head into ACC play. Not only did the Seminoles avoid a head-scratching loss, but they also notched multiple wins against teams who will likely finish in the top 50 of the RPI.
We've discussed the RPI on here before, but just as a reminder, I'm not in favor of using it as a barometer for how good a team is. While it is true that the top teams in the RPI are generally among the best teams in the country, it's just too simplistic of a formula to really be an accurate predictor of future performance, or reflection of past performance. That said, it is still quite reliable at determining who will get the coveted at-large bids to the Dance.
In terms of better computer ratings for determining actual performance, I go to Kenpom.com. The BPI that ESPN has started is also pretty worthy, but since it's only a couple years old there is much less historical data to compare against.
So where does FSU stand after completing the OOC? As of December 31st, FSU is 27th in KenPom's rankings and 32nd in the RPI (courtesy of ESPN.com). For a team predicted to finish 9th in the ACC, that is a very good spot to be in.
Since the 2009-10 season, only 6 teams have finished in the top 40 of KenPom's rankings and still MISSED the Dance. Iowa (25), Baylor (29), and Virginia (40) last season, Stanford (36) in 2012, Wichita State (25) in 2011, and Dayton (18) in 2010. So what do all of those team have in common? All six of those teams had an RPI below 50 on Selection Sunday. In fact, the average RPI of those 6 teams was 67.8, which is definitely at-large danger zone. The main cause of those poor RPI rankings was bad strength of schedules, and for teams from a power conference that usually means a bad OOC strength of schedule.
As it stands now, FSU's OOC SOS (which takes the entire year to fully calculate due to continued wins and losses) will likely end up somewhere between 35 and 60. Basically, if FSU can just finish above .500 in the ACC, they won't have to worry about a sub-50 RPI. According to RPIforecast.com, if FSU goes 10-8 in the ACC it's RPI would be 42. That isn't great, but when you have a neutral site victory over a top 5 RPI team (UMass is currently number 1) it will get you a bid. Go 11-7 and FSU's RPI is predicted to be 33. Finish 12-6 in the ACC and it jumps to 26, which would likely mean a top 7 seed depending on how the ACCT went.
The most important thing now is to take care of business at home in conference play, starting with a talented UVA team on Saturday, and steal a few road wins when the opportunity presents itself. The Wahoos were just railroaded by Tennessee and if they don't spend too much time feeling sorry for themselves, should roll into Tallahassee knowing that if they want to make the NCAA Tournament they will need to do some work in conference play. And road victories look mighty nice on the ol' resume. So fans, do your part and make sure FSU has a packed house behind them for the start of ACC play. The team has done the winning, now the fans need to show up.