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View Full Version : Ray Ratto: "WCC has tilted tourney toward its favored teams"



ZagNative
03-05-2010, 11:04 AM
No surprise, but as usual a good read by the San Francisco Chronicle's Ray Ratto (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/04/SPB91CB2U1.DTL&feed=rss.sports).
The West Coast Conference Tournament begins tonight in that bastion of all things WCC, Las Vegas. And with it begins the only thing that rivals keno for games that benefit the house - the double-bye.

There are 30 conferences that use the end-of-season tournament to (a) squeeze more money out of the product, (b) settle the NCAA Tournament invitation, and (c) squeeze more money out of the product. The Ivy League is the one that doesn't.

But of the 30, only the WCC so backloads its tournament by giving its first and second-place teams two byes.
Zaninovich allows that the format has been designed to protect the high seeds, but he disputes the commonly held and erroneous notion that it was designed to protect Gonzaga, the conference's elite team. In fact, what it actually does is punish the third team, which brings us back to Portland.

"That is the problem with the format, that if we had three or four teams everyone would agree this format doesn't work," he said. "But we're not there yet. We've had a few third-place teams who have been in the discussion for one or two years, but nobody's really sustained it yet. And the fact that we finally have the tournament in a neutral site has probably kept some people from complaining. But believe me, everyone knew that the Portland-St. Mary's game three weeks ago had huge implications.
"There really hasn't been much dissonance on the format issue so far," Zaninovich said, "but maybe this is the year that someone gives the coaches some food for thought."

Somehow, we suspect Few and Bennett aren't in the mood for that kind of meal.

primal23
03-05-2010, 11:10 AM
So they should not reward the teams that perform best in the conference regular season? What an idiot.

lothar98zag
03-05-2010, 11:25 AM
Ratto has definitely written better pieces.

GonzagaSwagga
03-05-2010, 11:52 AM
I fail to see a legitimate argument made in that article...

#1 and #2 seeds get two byes. #3 and #4 seeds get one bye. #5-8 play an opening round. In what universe does this not make sense? Poor Portland? Is that what he's trying to say? It's just a bunch of words.

WMS2GUBULLDOG
03-05-2010, 12:04 PM
The tournament is way more favored than any other conference tournament for the top two seeds. They get a double bye into the semis. I agree with it since our league sucks and we can't have Pepperdine getting into the tournament this year, but it does make the 3-4 seeds severely disadvantaged. Does our league have the talent yet for a good three or four? Not at this point, but you have to agree that our tourney is way in our favor.

lothar98zag
03-05-2010, 12:06 PM
The WCC isn't the only conference that gives teams byes into the semis.

TexasZagFan
03-05-2010, 12:13 PM
What Ratto really wants is to expand the WCC tournament to 16 teams. How? Invite the Big Sky?

GonzagaSwagga
03-05-2010, 12:14 PM
Maybe they should win more games in league play and then they can get a bye too? It's not like this is a pre-season tournament. It's based on a two full rounds of conference games. He makes it seem like the WCC invented tournament byes.

MickMick
03-05-2010, 12:17 PM
In summary:

He wants to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.


Every team starts 0-0. It is up to the rest of the league to get a 1 or 2 seed. Don't put the burden on Gonzaga to pave an easy route to the tournament. If they don't have the goods to get it done through conference play, then they don't have much of an argument. A good start would be by getting the league RPI up there with CUSA, MWC, and A10. Then the gripe becomes legitimate. The last thing college basketball (and the WCC) needs is for the conference to start sending 150 RPI teams to the tournament.

The league is profiting well from Gonzaga as things stand.
Fortunately, the people that reap those profits understand it better than the sports writers and internet gurus.

WMS2GUBULLDOG
03-05-2010, 12:31 PM
I think the layout of the tournament is great because Gonzaga should get the automatic bid every year, and the tournament favors that. I'm just saying he has a point. With how terrible our league is, it would be better if the conference champion just got the automatic bid.

webspinnre
03-05-2010, 12:46 PM
The key point here as others have mentioned is that this is a common approach. Many leagues do this. The reasons for doing it are good. Which team earned the right to have an easier road to the automatic bid? If teams all start off even again in the tourney, why bother playing the regular season?

bballbeachbum
03-05-2010, 01:00 PM
Ratto has definitely written better pieces.

and he's writing to the Bay Area crowd, rather anti-GU at present for three reasons, even if St. Mary's has benefited recently from the seeding

NotoriousZ
03-05-2010, 01:08 PM
Disclaimer: this post is not worth reading.

The fact that we do have byes for the top seeds says to me that the WCC wants to protect the top seeds, not just Gonzaga. We could have no byes and have an opening rounds of 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, ect. which would give us more tourney games and more money for the WCC, but that would make the regular season less relevant and make our best teams play 3 games in a row.

Obviously I like the system we have now, where we just have to play two games in the WCC tourny (having earned that right in the regular season). But if we do switch to a no byes format, I would hope they would spread the tournament out to four days (like it is now anyway) so you wouldn't have to play three days in a row. My two cents.

Edit: Disregard my entire post. I just did the math and both tourney formats have seven total games. Sorry for wasting you time with this.

FieldHouseFishHouse
03-05-2010, 01:23 PM
Disclaimer: this post is not worth reading.

Edit: Disregard my entire post. I just did the math and both tourney formats have seven total games. Sorry for wasting you time with this.

Ha! I guess you are right. 8 teams, 1 champion, 7 elimination games=7 total games. I was totally with you until your addendum. Happens to the best of us I guess.

marczagfan
03-05-2010, 01:27 PM
This article is somewhat of a joke...would this have been written if gonzaga finished 3rd this year...probably not. The writer fails to acknowledge that before Vegas, the zags had to play in another WCC gym during the conference tourney, and only once was it in Spokane, tell me how that is fair when the zags were winning the conference every year, but having to play in Santa Clara or San Diego? Probably the reason we lost in 2008. We won the conference but played the tourney in San Diego's gym?

I guess we could go to a 3 day tourney and have 1 play 8, but I don't see that being much of a change...the 1 seed has to play 1 extra game but it's against the worst team in the conference. If the 7 and 8 seeds are so unhappy about the format...just get better.

I guess thats just my 2 cents...no reason to really get upset on friday which Vegas on the way.

Do you think a team like Butler is hated as much in their conference as the zags are in the WCC?

ZagHouse
03-05-2010, 01:32 PM
I forget--was San Diego the 1 or 2 seed when they won the tournament 2 years ago? If my memory serves me right, they were the 3 or 4.

lothar98zag
03-05-2010, 01:38 PM
I forget--was San Diego the 1 or 2 seed when they won the tournament 2 years ago? If my memory serves me right, they were the 3 or 4.
USD was #3 when they won @ home.

ZagSlug
03-05-2010, 02:00 PM
Wasn't this format designed to avoid drops in RPI when #1 plays #8 and #2 plays #7?

Even a 30 point win would ding your RPI and some of the #8 seeds have had RPIs over 200.

a13coach
03-05-2010, 02:28 PM
Wasn't this format designed to avoid drops in RPI when #1 plays #8 and #2 plays #7?

Even a 30 point win would ding your RPI and some of the #8 seeds have had RPIs over 200.

That was one of the biggest drivers for the change.

007Zag
03-05-2010, 02:43 PM
Ha! I guess you are right. 8 teams, 1 champion, 7 elimination games=7 total games. I was totally with you until your addendum. Happens to the best of us I guess.

Yeah, the only difference is that the current system makes for four rounds. A straight playoff would only have three rounds...

MickMick
03-05-2010, 03:28 PM
Katz takes an alternate view (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=katz_andy&id=4958699)


I have advocated for years that conferences that don't make money in their league tournaments or, at the very least, stare at a double-digit seed on a regular basis should seriously consider taking the Ivy League approach and ensure that the conference champ is the representative in the NCAA tournament. It doesn't help the league if a team had a real shot at being a 14-seed or even a 15-seed but ends up in the opening-round game because a three-win squad got hot for three days. The regular season should mean something.



And his preview from the link:


WCC
Top seed: Gonzaga (24-5, 12-2)
Storyline: Gonzaga got clipped twice this season, once at San Francisco and once at Loyola Marymount. But the Zags are in the field no matter what happens at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The numbers (45 RPI, a 24-win season) and wins at Utah State and over San Diego State should push Saint Mary's into the field as well. But the Gaels lack a quality win after New Year's and probably can't afford to get upset in the semifinals by Portland, assuming the Pilots get past Santa Clara or San Diego.

The most interesting game could come in the conference quarterfinals between Loyola Marymount and San Francisco. The winner of that game is likely to give the Zags fits and possibly cause some angst among other bubble teams. The WCC isn't pushing for a Gonzaga loss, but the league office would like nothing better than to see Saint Mary's win the title to ensure two WCC bids in the NCAA tournament. A Portland-Gonzaga final would mean the Gaels lost in the semis and put their bid in peril.

Jedster
03-05-2010, 03:33 PM
What a dumb article. From a pure basketball standpoint, the tournament is there to decide who gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. Countering what Ratto writes, why should we make it even easier for a 7 or 8 seed team to get the "golden egg" entrance into the NCAA's? They're the 7 or 8 team because there are 6 other teams that are better than them.

The regular season was set up with a completely level schedule for all teams, with the prize being to earn a preferred slot in the WCC tournament. I don't understand why there should be an even playing field for the tournament as it should be set up to favor the teams that have proven themselves to be better throughout the year already. All playoff formats are set up to favor the higher rated/better team.

d2zag
03-05-2010, 03:54 PM
It is favored for us. Get over it. We deserve it.

kitzbuel
03-05-2010, 05:39 PM
Wasn't this format designed to avoid drops in RPI when #1 plays #8 and #2 plays #7?

Even a 30 point win would ding your RPI and some of the #8 seeds have had RPIs over 200.
I think it was also designed to give the conference the best chance at getting two teams in the dance. If #1 loses to #2 in the championship game, it is almost guaranteed that both 1 and 2 get in.

If those teams get knocked out early, it will definitely decrease those chances.

FuManShoes
03-05-2010, 06:52 PM
The league's small enough one round of byes is enough. The other teams can be seeded by record. Seems fair to me, leaves the door open for a shocker in the final that could put a third team in the tourney provided the bubble team is legit. But St Mary's isn't strong enough and probably isn't in the Dance even if they make the final and lose a close one.

cjm720
03-05-2010, 07:28 PM
2 rounds of byes do seem ridiculous.

NorthoftheBorder
03-05-2010, 08:46 PM
With an 8 team playoff I'm pretty sure there's no way of giving any teams just a single bye.



Either you have to give the top 2 teams double byes like the WCC has done or there are no byes and all teams would have to win 3 games to win the tournament ............. but if all teams are given an equal chance of winning the tournament then what's the point of all of the conference games?

MickMick
03-05-2010, 08:59 PM
2 rounds of byes do seem ridiculous.

You are right. The bottom two should probably be cut from the field to create a single bye. I believe there are other conferences that do this.

Really......I would prefer to keep things just the way they are.

gonwick
03-05-2010, 10:24 PM
RPI poison. As mentioned above. This was cited as the main reason for the format. It is not fair to penalize good teams by driving their RPI down in tourney. Bad for the league and bad for teams that have a chance to play past this weekend.