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Colorado State and the NCAA Tournament

January 30, 2012

Lots of discussion about the Rams’ chances for an at-large NCAA berth after the big win over San Diego State. let’s take a look at the Rams’ resume and compare it to the criteria the NCAA Selection Committee uses when making their selections.

1. Bad Losses – Bad losses are typically defined as losses against teams with RPI’s lower than 150. CSU’s current record against teams >150 is 7-0 with two of the wins coming on the road (UTEP and Northern Colorado) and one on a neutral floor (Jacksonville St.). CSU has two remaining games against lower rpi teams – @TCU and @Boise. Both games are must win games.

2. Non-Conference Strength of Schedule – Colorado State compiled an 11-4 record against a non-conference schedule rated 23. The committee will look upon CSU highly, especially with the mix of 8 home, 5 away, and 1 neutral.

3. Road Record – The Rams currently stand at 2-5 on the road (2-3 OOC, 0-2 MWC). They must do better on the road as the conference schedule plays out. Wins over TCU and Boise State are absolute musts and a win at Air Force would be big. A win at either UNLV or SDSU would be huge!

4. RPI – Colorado State’s RPI on the official NCAA site was 21 last week. There are only a couple of instances where teams in the 20’s did not get an at-large bid. And it is usually because the team played a weak out of conference schedule. RPI is a big plus right now for CSU. In fact, it is the one single reason combined with the OOC strength of schedule that CSU is even in the conversation for an at-large bid. Because of the MWC’s overall strength, RPI will only become an issue if the Rams completely fall off the map.

5. Wins over Top 50 and Top 100 – CSU’s current record is 1-3 against Top 50 teams(win over SDSU, losses to Duke, Southern Miss, UNM) and 2-3 against teams ranked 51-100 (wins over DU and CU, losses to Stanford, Northern Iowa, and Wyoming). CSU has 4 games left with Top 50 teams (UNLV twice, UNM, and @SDSU) and 1 left with a Top 100 team (Wyoming). Getting 2 out of the four remaining Top 50 games is paramount. Beating Wyoming is an absolute necessity. As pointed out earlier, beating either UNLV or SDSU on the road would be huge. Beating them at home would be enough.

So there you have it.

CSU’s current resume is solid when it comes to Bad Losses (none), OOC Strength of Schedule (23), and RPI (21). But they have a ton of work to do on the road and against Top 50 and Top 100 teams. They cannot afford to slip up against Boise State or TCU. They need to beat AFA at home at a minimum. And they need to get 3 out of 5 against UNLV, SDSU, UNM, and WYO.

That means 9-5 in the MWC. 8-6 and they are rolling the dice on Selection Sunday looking at a last 4 in, last 4 out scenario. Anything less than that and they’ll probably need to win the MWC Tournament.

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