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Why Not Get It Right? Part II

Publication Date: July 17, 2001

Travel Costs and Program-Building

This week I want to finish up a look at Yet Another Different Tournament Proposal (sorry, Perl programmer reflex kicked in for a second there) that I started on last week. You can look back at last week's column for the details, but it involves eight-team regionals playing round-robin pools.

The second big potential objection to this plan, after the tiebreaker problem I discussed last week, is the additional travel costs over the current plan. The schedule as I have it written requires all eight teams in a regional to travel for two consecutive weekends (or to stay for a week and a half, I suppose). I don't deny that this will require more money for travel.

On the other hand, if the NCAA really wants to build programs in the Northeast and in mid-major conferences, I can't imagine anything it could do that would be better than to subsidize travel costs so that some of the perpetual #4 seeds (or #7 and #8 seeds in this plan) get to play seven games against good competition rather than two. If you want to see an actual good program built at Delaware or Seton Hall, giving them the chance to play in a tournament where they can actually spend a couple of weeks learning will even the playing field more rapidly than anything else I can think of. Given the nature of baseball, those teams will even tend to win a game or two on a fairly regular basis, which can't hurt the confidence level any.

I think there's probably an analogy to be drawn to Olympic basketball, where the chance to play repeatedly against top-flight competition, with pool play in both the Olympics and other venues like the Pan Am Games, the World Basketball Championships, and the University Games has been one of the factors that has brought the rest of the world up to be much more competitive (and also gave us the image of Charles Barkley stepping on that guy from Angola's chest, but I digress).

An Example

Since simulators aren't that hard to write, I figured I'd show you an example of how this year's tournament might have looked. This simulator was written in the same manner as the ones I've done before -- each game probability is determined by the ISR's, and I just let the random number generator run through the schedule. I just took the actual tournament field from this year, combining the paired regionals, and used that as my simulation field, since fixing the selection process is a separate problem.

First, the regional standings. To make sure we don't repeat a common misunderstanding from past examples, these aren't predictions, they're just one possible roll of the dice.

6 1  Texas Tech                         6 1  Rice
5 2  Cal State Fullerton                6 1  Nebraska
5 2  Arizona State                      6 1  Baylor
4 3  Ohio State                         3 4  Texas-Arlington
4 3  Delaware                           3 4  Brigham Young
2 5  Temple                             2 5  Rutgers
2 5  Mississippi State                  1 6  Northern Iowa
0 7  Kent                               1 6  Houston

                                        Baylor wins playoff.

7 0  Stanford                           6 1  California
5 2  South Carolina                     5 2  Tulane
4 3  Texas                              5 2  Mississippi
4 3  Long Beach State                   4 3  Virginia Commonwealth
4 3  Central Florida                    4 3  Louisiana State
2 5  The Citadel                        2 5  Minnesota
2 5  Princeton                          1 6  Southern
0 7  Marist                             1 6  Oklahoma State

7 0  South Alabama                      6 1  East Carolina
5 2  Stetson                            5 2  Winthrop
4 3  Miami, Florida                     4 3  Wake Forest
4 3  Florida                            4 3  Tennessee
3 4  William and Mary                   4 3  South Florida
3 4  Clemson                            3 4  Tennessee Tech
1 6  Seton Hall                         2 5  Middle Tennessee State
1 6  Bucknell                           0 7  Maryland-Baltimore County

7 0  Southern California                6 1  Georgia Tech
5 2  Pepperdine                         5 2  Georgia
5 2  Cal-Santa Barbara                  5 2  Florida State
3 4  Notre Dame                         4 3  Auburn
3 4  Fresno State                       3 4  Georgia Southern
2 5  Oral Roberts                       2 5  Jacksonville
2 5  Florida International              2 5  Coastal Carolina
1 6  Wisconsin-Milwaukee                1 6  Bethune-Cookman

As you can tell, some teams hit surprising "hot" streaks, while other "underperformed". There were actually more upsets in this particular run than in most of the ones I was looking at; that's just a coincidence. It's also a bit unusual that there was only one tiebreaker needed (albeit a three-team one); usually there were two or three in any given season.

Next, the CWS:

3 0  Stanford                           2 1  Southern California
2 1  California                         2 1  East Carolina
1 2  Texas Tech                         1 2  South Alabama
0 3  Baylor                             1 2  Georgia Tech

                                        Southern California wins playoff.

Southern California beat Stanford in three in the championship round.

I seem to be settling into a small but regular readership for the offseason, and I appreciate that. Those of you who are still here are obviously big fans of the game, and I'd love to hear your opinions -- good, bad, and huh? -- about this scheme, along with any suggestions for improvement.

Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Why Not Get It Right? Part II About the author, Boyd Nation