Resume Analysis Selection (early) Morning

Hoosiers on the “bubble” for a bid the to the NCAA Tournament – three sites have Indiana among the very last “IN”

By Carl James @jovian34 May 27th, 2024

The Indiana Hoosiers improved 4 spots in the RPI by getting to the Big Ten (B1G) Tournament semi-final this past week. Indiana is 55th. Baseball America, College Baseball Central, and are now projecting that the Hoosiers will be in the field.

This is all a little sudden as a few things came into focus. First, Indiana came into the NCAA discussion on Friday after starting 2-0 in the B1G Tournament, but most sites had Indiana in as the automatic qualifier. When Nebraska went on a 5-game tear, beating Indiana twice in Omaha, this required Indiana’s at-large resume to get dug up again. Nebraska winning this morning means that the B1G, now the 4th ranked RPI league (most years usually around 6th-7th) would only have two teams. Indiana is the only team with a case since Maryland did not qualify for even the conference tournament.

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A real surprise was that there were only two stolen bids: Evansville winning the Missouri Valley and Tulane winning the American Athletic. I was predicting between 3 and 4 which means there is a bit more room on the bubble than most anticipated.

Then there was the announcement of the host sites Sunday evening which had a few major surprises. East Carolina gets a host site (top-16) as the number 22 RPI team, without a comparable precedent for a southern mid-major program with a 20+ RPI. One with a precedent, but still a huge deviation from RPI, is no 31 Arizona. Their precedent is winning a Power-5 conference (Pac-12 in its last breath), both regular season and tournament. The NCAA is allowing the committee to consider another ranking metric, the KPI. At first I assumed these might be KPI driven changes, but it turns out four of the hosts are well outside the top-16 in KPI.

Those of you that have followed me have heard me skepticism on an Indiana at-large bid. That has been very much based on how (over) reliant the committee has been in past years on the RPI metric. And in no part has that been so dominant, than in the host announcements. The fact that there were 3 massive deviations from RPI in the hosting conversation, without any KPI correlation tells me this committee is diving deeper. Indiana is looked at as a very talented team with a strong resume.

I struggled in finding a clear pattern as to what the committee may mean by these specif teams both in and out. The national guys all jumped on the fact that ECU’s athletic director is on the committee and despite saying it doesn’t matter, there is a long history of the committee membership mattering in these close calls. Guess who else is on the committee?

Most interesting for IU is the two of the three teams with top-16 RPIs who were left out of the hosting group. Number 9 Wake Forest and number 16 Duke. Duke just won the ACC Tournament, but had only a 16-14 record in the league. Wake was even worse with a 15-15 record in the league. Indiana was in 3rd place at 15-9 in the no 4 RPI league and also finished effectively third place in the B1G Tournament. Plus it means that several teams that are at or under .500 in their leagues (even some Power leagues) may be able to be bumped, like UCF, TCU, Kansas State, and Georgia Tech. It’s even possible that Florida could miss at an aggregate 13-18 in the SEC, but they have representation on the committee and a Golden Spikes Finalist.

The Selection is 12 noon ET Monday on ESPN2/ESPNU.