I had the chance to speak with ESPN's Rece Davis about a variety of topics Wednesday morning. Here's the Louisville-relevant chunk of our discussion.
CC: Were you surprised to see Louisville pop up as a four seed?
I was surprised. From a purely basketball standpoint, I think they are much better, and I think you've heard everybody say that over the last couple of days. If you look just at ability, Louisville is a one or a two seed, but they got hammered on their strength of schedule and the strength, or lack thereof, of the American conference. When it comes to strength of schedule, there hasn't been a lot consistency from the committee over the years. Now that's not a criticism of the committee, because there are different people on it every year so it's impossible to keep consistency with subjective items like that, but it's something they need to examine going forward. But clearly that's where Louisville got hammered.
Now people like to say, 'what about Wichita State and its schedule?' Well, Wichita State has that big zero next to their name. Look, it's a confluence of unique circumstances that led Louisville to get a four seed, but ultimately I don't think it really matters. This is something to talk about and debate in the immediate aftermath of Selection Sunday, but I can guarantee the team's not doing that, because if you're the team and you're thinking about it too much, you get distracted and it's counter-productive. By the time any of the things we're talking about matter, Louisville is going to have already played someone of substance. This is all great fodder for Sunday, but once play starts, what's the difference?
CC: People talk about Louisville's RPI and strength of schedule numbers, but the Cards are still a top five team in almost all of these advanced statistics rankings, like ESPN's BPI. Is this something the committee needs to start taking into account going forward?
Well, they do. The BPI--and look, I hear a lot of--I get a lot of people on Twitter saying things like, 'oh this is this thing you guys just made up and you act like it matters.' It's not 'made up.' The people who come up with the formula for the BPI, they do things with those metrics you wouldn't believe to measure the way people play. It's incredible.
Now, the reason Louisville's BPI went up is because they killed people, they beat people by 40, and margin of victory counts with the BPI, to a point. You don't get more credit for beating someone by 40 than you do beating them by 30, but the BPI does recognize and appreciate the fact that beating someone by 30 is better than beating them by a basket, and that's as it should be. In terms of BPI measure -- and I hope I'm getting these statistics right because I'm pulling them off the top of my head -- there have been 14 teams that the BPI has said have been overseeded since we started utilizing it. Half of those 14 teams lost the first game they played in the tournament, and only one ended up making it to the Sweet 16. That's a pretty good run.
I think the BPI is an excellent tool, and I know that the committee has it at it's disposal, which is a good thing. Now I have no idea how much the committee utilizes it or anything like that, but they have it.
CC: If Louisville doesn't make it to Dallas, what's their undoing?
Maybe they have a cold shooting game, you know they don't have a lot of knockdown outside shooters. I don't know, it would still take a really good team.
Trez is playing incredibly right now and is looking like a first round pick or maybe even a lottery pick. I mean that guy is playing like an absolute beast. And then you have Russ Smith who's so good and who is one of my favorite players in the country. Obviously anybody can lose on any given night, but I think it's going to take a great team and a great effort to knock off Louisville. It's going to take tremendous execution, not turning the ball over and great shooting...and you're going to have to be really tough. And I think a team like Wichita State has all of that. If Louisville does meet Wichita State in the Sweet 16 -- and obviously that's an assumption that their arch-rivals aren't going to like too much -- but if they do play in the Sweet 16, I think the Shockers have a very good chance. People can talk about their schedule or the strength of the Missouri Valley as much as they want, but Wichita State is really good.
CC: You seem to rush the kids shooting the halfcourt shot on College GameDay. Do you think you're too hard on them?
I want them to win money, man. Once that shot clock starts going, I'm trying to get them to get as many shots up as they can. The first guy I rushed because he was out there dribbling while the clock was rolling. There's a finite period of time at play here, and no one wants to see this people dribbling, we want to see them taking that shot. We want to give these kids money--State Farm wants to give them money. Actually, no one wants to see these guys make the shot more than State Farm does, because they get a lot more play on television and social media when someone makes the shot than they do when someone doesn't. Or when someone is dribbling the clock out.
CC: I know this probably isn't something you have any control over, but why hasn't GameDay been to the Yum Center yet?
Well, I do have input, but I definitely wouldn't say I have control. I will say that all of us, including the hosts and the programming people, have all wanted to come to the Yum Center. I don't know the particulars about why it hasn't happened yet, but I would assume it's because of scheduling and contracts. Now I can't promise anything, but I would assume that with Louisville's move to the ACC, they would be very high on the list for next season. I think everybody wants to come there. It's always a great time, the fans are great, the program is great--I think the world of Rick Pitino both professionally and personally. I can promise you that it's no great conspiracy against Louisville or the Yum Center or Yum Brands or anything like that, and I promise that we'll get there at some point. And I'll go ahead and say this: I would be very surprised if it's not next season.
One more thing on that: Louisville fans should also take it as a compliment that they've been on the show so many times as the visiting team, because even though we haven't been to the Yum Center, Louisville has been on GameDay a bunch the last few years.
A big thanks to Rece, who is once again serving on the Capital One Cup advisory board, for taking the time out.