With 2 weeks and some change until Selection Sunday, Providence has built an excellent resume. Projected as a 4-seed in the Bracket Matrix, Providence is:
- 22-3 overall
- 8-2 road/neutral record
- First place in a strong (potentially 7 tournament bids) Big East
- 5-2 Q1 record
- 12-3 Q1/Q2 record
…and yet, receive little-to-no love from the computers. Providence is ranked 28, 31, 41, and 46 in the NET, Sagarin, BPI (ESPN), and KenPom rankings – not even close to what we’d expect from a 4-seed.
Tournament Performance of Similarly Computer-dissed Teams
Why Providence is not ranked higher by the computers is a math-heavy discussion for some other time. More interesting for those of us who will be filling out brackets in three weeks: how have other teams with top seeds and bad computer rankings performed in past tournaments? I only have KenPom rankings going back to 2003, so here’s what I found. Remember, Providence’s current rank is 46.
There have only been 10 teams since 2003 that were a 3 or 4-seed and ranked lower than 30. Three lost in the First Round and only one made it to the Sweet 16.
In the same time period, 83% of all 3 and 4 seeds advanced to the Second Round, 53% reached the Sweet 16, and 22% reached the Elite 8. So yeah, these 10 teams were underachievers.
The Good News
So that’s the bad news for Providence fans, but there’s good news and still reason for hope.
- That’s only 10 data points – not nearly enough to draw any statistically significant conclusions, especially when there are so many other factors at play in the tournament
- Only one of those 10 teams had a winning percentage as good as Providence’s, and that’s the team that reached the Sweet 16
- Providence could get favorable matchups in the first two rounds, setting them up for a long run
- Providence has had an amazing regular season. They’ve had and won a lot of close games, so watching them has been exciting.
- Providence could theoretically improve their KenPom rank by dominating their final three regular season opponents and steamrolling through the conference tournament