Wilner Hotline – Pac-12 Hoops Early View of Selection Sunday

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Story by Jon Wilner(Wilner Hotline) 

Welcome to a new feature on the Hotline, where we attempt to forecast Selection Sunday outcomes with a format comparable to our weekly bowl projections.

Only the basketball process is a tad more complicated: NCAA Tournament bids and seeds are based on far more than wins and losses.

The process leans heavily on analytics — specifically, the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings.

Every team in Division I has a NET ranking. The result of each game played falls within one of four quadrants, based on the NET ranking of the opponent and location of the game.

(The categorization changes over time as teams move up and down the NET.)

Quadrant 1: Home vs. Nos. 1-30, Neutral vs. Nos. 1-50, Away vs. Nos. 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353

For example: UCLA’s victory at home over No. 9 Villanova counts as a Quadrant I win for the Bruins.

Essentially, teams want to load up on Quad I wins and avoid Quad III and IV losses.

The NCAA Tournament selection committee takes other factors into account when picking the at-large teams and seeding the field. But the NET rankings are integral to the process.

Teams listed in order of current NET rankings.

NET ranking: 1
Record vs Quad I: 3-0
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 6-0
NCAA projection: No. 3 seed
Comment: If the Wildcats beat No. 6 Tennessee on the road next week, it’s probably time to include them in the (early) discussion for a No. 1 seed.

NET ranking: 15
Record vs Quad I: 1-0
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 7-0
NCAA projection: No. 5 seed
Comment: Considering the soft schedule to date, USC’s push for a quality seed could benefit from victories over Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech in the next week.

NET ranking: 22
Record vs Quad I: 2-1
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 6-0
NCAA projection: No. 2 seed
Comment: The Bruins were unable to play Alabama State on Wednesday because of COVID, and their availability for the showdown against North Carolina this weekend in Las Vegas is uncertain.

Washington State
NET ranking: 59
Record vs Quad I: 0-1
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 7-2
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: The suboptimal home loss to New Mexico State resulted in a drop of 16 spots in the Cougars’ NET ranking. They are quickly slipping to the outskirts of the NCAA bubble.

NET ranking: 67
Record vs Quad I: 0-2
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 7-0
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: We suspect the Utes will hover in the 60s and 70s of the NET rankings for the duration of the season, with limited opportunities to climb but plenty of potholes to avoid.

NET ranking: 103
Record vs Quad I: 0-3
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 5-2
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: One metric that’s keeping the Ducks afloat: Their non-conference strength of schedule, which is No. 82 (top quartile) nationally in the Pomeroy efficiency ratings.

NET ranking: 115
Record vs Quad I: 0-2
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 7-1
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: The resume would look much stronger — and potentially bubble-worthy — if not for that loss to Southern Illinois.

NET ranking: 137
Record vs Quad I: 0-2
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 5-2
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: The better the bottom of the conference fares in the NET, the better for the top of the conference — and that goes double for the middle, where the greatest fragility lies.

NET ranking: 141
Record vs Quad I: 0-1
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 5-0
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: Who figured a buzzer-beating home win over Oregon would only qualify as a Quad III victory for the Cardinal.

Arizona Sports News onlineArizona State   
NET ranking: 151
Record vs Quad I: 0-2
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 3-2
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: The Sun Devils collected their first Quad I victory of the season on Tuesday at Creighton. Not to be overlooked: Their non-conference schedule is No. 32 nationally in the Pomeroy ratings.

NET ranking: 229
Record vs Quad I: 0-1
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 4-3
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: Key question: How far behind the competition is UW after missing three weeks of practice and games due to a COVID outbreak (within a fully vaccinated team)?

Oregon State
NET ranking: 277
Record vs Quad I: 0-3
Record vs. Quad III and IV: 1-6
NCAA projection: no bid
Comment: An awful start to the season got worse on Tuesday when the Beavers lost at home to UC Davis, which recently lost to Academy of Art, a Division II school. There isn’t a quadrant low enough to house that result from Corvallis.

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