How does spring scheduling affect the success of Sunday selection

Early season duels fall into place.

There is USC, agreeing to host Auburn in December.

Here’s Arizona, line up a date with Indiana in Las Vegas.

There the University of California, Los Angeles, finishes off a trip to Maryland.

Here’s Arizona, competing with SMU in Dallas.

In college basketball, the Offseason is all about NBA decisions, transfer gate moves and out-of-conference scheduling—three interconnected elements that test the wits of head coaches and set the stage for the upcoming season.

Poor scheduling decisions in the spring can affect performance in the fall which in turn affects expectations for Selection Sunday.

The Pac-12 only put three teams into the 2022 NCAA Tournament—a slim bid that became record fare: The conference sent only three teams to the ’18 and ’19 tournaments, too.

“I’ve seen a statistic regarding the percentage of teams that have advanced in each Power Five conference to the Sweet 16 in relation to the number of berths per conference,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle told Hotline.

“It has been very positive for the Pac-12. As a conference, we are showing well. The challenge is how we can consistently get more teams involved.”

The tournament selection committee meets in Indianapolis the second weekend of March to extend bids and create a 68-team field. Decisions are guided by advanced metrics (eg, .NET Rankings) that weigh the outcomes of non-conference games.

Success creates a ripple effect that raises the bar for mid-level teams through the nature of team play.

At the same time, failure early in the season results in a perpetual pit that swallows teams and leaves only the best in the NCAA bidding site.

Want proof?

– Four times in the past 10 years, the Pac-12 has won at least 70 percent of non-conference games; Each time, she received four or more NCAA Championship bids.

Six times in the past 10 years, the Pac-12 has won less than 70 percent of non-conference games; Each time, she was receiving two or three NCAA bids.

“The key to the Pac-12 is that we should do well in November and December,” Boyle said.

“It’s all about being realistic about what your team is going to look like. It’s getting more and more difficult.”

For decades, coaches have had one consideration when displaying roster strength: NBA draft resolutions. It affected a few players – and on some teams, it affected no one at all.

But the transfer portal has created an extended free agency period that can affect half of the roster and unfold in conjunction with scheduling decisions.

The coaches don’t know who will stay, who will leave, and who will arrive.

Wait too long to line up with good opponents and the options may be limited.

Stick to the perfect matches too soon and understating can cause exaggeration.

said Martin Garmond, UCLA athletic director and a member of the NCAA selection committee.

“But if your goal is the NCAA Championship, that’s a different situation.

“I told my coach (Pac-12) it’s about who you play, where you play, how you play. From what I learned in the (committee) room, scheduling harder increases your chances. You don’t get penalized for playing.”

But “playing” requires a financial and emotional investment.

Boyle said coaches “can’t underestimate the schedule” to save their jobs.

To avoid cupcake-filled non-conference schedules, in 2019 Pac-12 implemented scheduling standards built on four pillars:

“(1) The average net rank of the five-year out-of-conference opponent must be 175 or less,

“(2) Not to participate in road buying games,

(3) There are no regular season matches against opponents outside the First Division and,

(4) No road games versus a non-conference opponent with a five-year average delay of 200 net.

But the schedule light on the cake doesn’t necessarily increase the chances of success.

Frequently, Pac-12 teams agree on a home and home series with schools from major middleweight conferences or single-tender leagues. A collegiate team is of no use when members play road matches against Big Sky, Big West, or West Coast Conference teams (unless you’re Gonzaga).

These are losing endorsements within the NET algorithm: a victory does not give any upside, but a loss can lower your ranking and possibly drag the other teams into the conference.

“If we want to maximize the NCAA’s offering, we have to stay away from putting ourselves at risk. But that costs money,” Garmond said.

The mainstream price for home games is around $75,000. The expense was voided by the Home and Home series, due to the payment received for the remote portion.

Ideally, the Pac-12 will only play road games against other strength conferences or championship-caliber opponents from the major middle leagues.

In order to collectively eliminate risky road games against Big West or WCC teams, Pac-12 schools must be willing to purchase two or three additional balls (at $75,000 each).

“It takes commitment,” Garmond said.

But even for schools willing to spend money to reduce risk, scheduling outside of conferences is complicated.

Coaches don’t know their own rolls and often can’t be sure of who their opponents are, which is why aiming high makes sense.

The top half of the Power Six and the best mid-level companies will provide high-quality competition even if they are drained.

“It’s definitely a work of balancing how great you are and coming up with a schedule that works for your team,” Boyle said.

“For me, the league is measured by how the middle tier performs, and more importantly how the lower tier operates in November and December.”

Last season, the lower tier of the Pac-12 lost a bunch of high-risk, low-reward games in the early weeks. By the time the convention play escalated in January, NET’s multiplier effect was set to work against the convention.

“As much as you can, you have to play with strong opponents on the road,” said Garmond. “It doesn’t hurt you, but it can help you.”


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