Quad Rant


Robert
Jan 19, 2022
[]
[]
17 Comments

You have currently viewed 1 story this month.

IlliniBoard now offers two free stories per month, for more please subscribe.

It's still probably a little too early to look at this stuff. We have 13 more Big Ten games plus the BTT still to come. But since we dominated the entire world in Quad 1 wins last year, I wanted to take a look a the games we've played and the games yet to come.

First, a quick refresher. The NCAA uses the NET rankings now. They replaced the RPI with NET in 2018. And when the committee looks at your resume, they basically look at who you beat (and who you lost to). Every win and loss is split into four quads:

Quad 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75.
Quad 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135.
Quad 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240.
Quad 4: Home 161-358, Neutral 201-358, Away 241-358.

The main things the Committee looks at: did you lose any Q3 or Q4 games (you better not have), and did you win a lot of Q1 + Q2 games? The reason we got a 1-seed last year: our incredible resume in those categories. I don't have the pre-NCAAT team sheet saved, but here's our entire schedule (including Drexel + Loyola) in terms of the four quads:

I can't remember if our final team sheet (after the Ohio State win in the BTT) had 12 or 13 Quad 1 wins. I know that we had 12 going into that game (it says so in the game notes from the title game), but I think Minnesota fell from 75 to 81, meaning our win in Minneapolis fell from Q1 to Q2. As I recall, the Committee's team sheets had us with 12 (and then they saw us get 13 against Ohio State). Doesn't really matter I guess (they had us in ink as a 1-seed regardless of what happened against Ohio State).

The reason the Committee already had us in ink: the strongest Q1 + Q2 wins list in the country. Making it somehow even stronger was the fact that many of those Quad 1 wins were in the upper half of the quadrant. It was really difficult for any team to come up with six better wins than:

  • Beat #3 at their place
  • Beat #7 both at home and on a neutral court
  • Beat #13 both at their place and on a neutral court
  • Beat #23 at their place

Just for a quick comparison here, Villanova was #11 on the final NET rankings. But their Q1 + Q2 was 5-4 + 6-3 for a total of 11-7. So they fell to a 5-seed. Illinois, #4 in NET, 18 Q1 + Q2 wins, lock-of-all-locks for a 1-seed. Villanova, seven spots lower in the NET (would suggest a 3-seed), only had five Quad 1 wins, drops to a 5-seed.

So now let's get to my concern right now. We're in first place in the Big Ten with a 6-1 conference record. But our current team sheet (shown at the very top) is a lot weaker than this time last year. As of today, we have only one Quad 1 win (at Iowa).

Yes, it's early. But let's just toss some numbers together here.

Quad 1 record on January 19th, 2021: 3-4
Quad 1 record on January 19th, 2022: 1-3

Again, it's early. I'm just pointing out that last year I spent a lot of time saying "our tournament resume is shockingly strong." And this year I might have to spend some time saying "our tournament resume is shockingly weak". Not just because we only have one Quad 1 win at this moment, but also because it's January 19th and we've only played four Quad 1 games. And last year was the one with the limited non-conference schedule.

Maybe this is the best way to say that:

January 19, 2021: 15 games played, 7 of them Quad 1
January 19, 2022: 17 games played, 4 of them Quad 1

That just means we'll have a ton of opportunities for Quad 1 wins in the next six weeks, right? Well, let's look at it.

First thing to note: what qualifies as a Quad 1 win now might not be a Quad 1 win once the Committee sits down with their team sheets in March. Minnesota was a Quad 1 win when we won up there two weeks ago because they were 60-something in the NET rankings and any road win over a top-75 team is Quad 1. But Minnesota is now 82 in the NET rankings, so that's now a Quad 2 win.

It can also go the other way. K-State is a Quad 2 win (they're currently #65 and we beat them on a neutral court). If they can climb up to 49th by the end of the year, that becomes a Quad 1 win. So all of this will be shifting.

BUT, if we just go by the current NET rankings and the remaining schedule, here's our Quad 1/Quad 2 breakdown. Quad 1 games are in bold. Quad 3 games are in italics.

at #114 Maryland
home vs. #25 Michigan State
at #80 Northwestern
home vs. #17 Wisconsin
at #33 Indiana
at #7 Purdue
vs. #80 Northwestern (Quad 3)
at #113 Rutgers
at #25 Michigan State
vs. #22 Ohio State
at #54 Michigan

vs. #85 Penn State (Quad 3)
vs. #21 Iowa

Again, those will be moving around. The Wisconsin (17), Iowa (21), Ohio State (22), and Michigan State (25) home games are all Quad 1 games for now, but if any of them fall to 30 or below, they move to Quad 2. The road games all seem safe to stay in Quad 1 (unless Michigan drops 20 spots), but I'm assuming at least one of the home games drops out. Happens every year when Big Ten teams start beating up on Big Ten teams.

But let's be optimistic and assume we have eight more chances for Quad 1 wins before the BTT. Win them all and we go into the BTT 9-3 in Quad 1 games. Last year we got three Quad 1 wins in Indy (Rutgers, Iowa, and Ohio State on neutral courts) to get to 13. So maybe this year we could go from 9 to 12 in Indy? I'm describing a scenario where we go 19-1 in the Big Ten, though. Highly, highly doubtful that happens.

Let's split it down the middle and say we go 4-4 in the eight Quad 1 games. Well, then we would enter the BTT at 5-6 in Quad 1 games. Could get a few more in Indy, but... let's just drop a pin here and say that we won't be matching those 13 Quad 1 wins this season. And I haven't even mentioned the scary scenarios yet. Hold onto your butts.

Say we struggle with the tougher schedule coming up and only go 6-6 to close out the Big Ten schedule. That means we finish 13-7 in the Big Ten just like we did in 2020. And say those wins are the five Quad 2 and Quad 3 games listed above (at Maryland, at Northwestern, home for Northwestern, at Rutgers, home for Penn State) plus two of the Quad 1 games (let's say home wins over Michigan State and Iowa just because I do not want to lose to Izzo and Fran at home). That's 20-10 (13-7) going into the BTT. Our quads at that point?

Quad 1: 3-9
Quad 2: 6-1

Do you see where I'm going with all of this? This is a scenario that exists. We could go 13-7 in the Big Ten and only have three Quad 1 wins heading to Indy.

Last year (depending on where we put Minnesota because their NET ranking fell that weekend) we went into the Big Ten Tournament 10-5 in Quad 1 and 5-1 in Quad 2 (15 Q1 + Q2 wins regardless of which column Minnesota was in). This year, in the scenario I just laid out where we go 13-7 in the conference, we would enter the BTT with nine Q1 + Q2 wins, only three of them Q1. Meaning if we lost in the first round of the BTT, even though we just went 13-7 in a tough Big Ten, we'd have nine total Q1 + Q2 wins one year after finishing with 18.

I don't think that's what will happen. I do think we can get to 15-5 in the Big Ten. After starting 6-0, we only need a 9-5 finish to finish 15-5 in the conference. That's where KenPom has us finishing as of today (15-5).

I just wanted to note that this 15-5 might only include six Quad 1 wins. And with only 7 Big Ten teams currently in the top-50 of the NET, there's a decent chance that the BTT winner would only pick up two more Q1 wins in Indy because it might be a Quad 2 game on Friday. If the Big Ten season ended today and Illinois was the one seed in the Tournament, the opponent in the Friday night game would be either #80 or #82 in the NET. They'd need to be #50 for that to be a Quad 1 game.

This is why I'm in the mood I'm in this week. Monday was a chance for a flag-planting win, and we lost in double-OT. I know that the national writers were all "wow, Illinois-Purdue was high quality basketball between two teams who might go deep into March", and yes, we could go deep in March as a 6-seed. But all I can think right now is "we could go 14-6 in the Big Ten and only get a 7-seed because we'd only have four or five Quad 1 wins".

Maybe I should just look up the seven seeds last year and list their Q1 + Q2 records. Here we go:

Oregon - 3-4 + 7-1 = 10-5
Florida - 6-5 + 3-3 = 9-8
UConn - 4-5 + 3-3 = 7-8
Clemson - 3-7 + 7-0 = 10-7

For this year, the totals will be a bit higher (most teams played 25-26 regular season games last season and will play 30-31 this season). And an Illinois team that goes 14-6 in the B1G winning all of the Q2 and Q3 games would be 4-8 + 6-1 = 10-9 (before the Big Ten Tournament). So yes, I think I have that right. We could go 14-6 in the B1G, lose in the first round of the BTT, and get a 7-seed.

Yes, it's January 19th. So much will change. Perhaps all of the teams in bold above hold onto their Q1 status, we win six of those eight, hang a Big Ten banner, and head into the BTT win seven Q1 wins (before picking up two more in Indy). With Curbelo back, this is one of the ten best lineups in college basketball. If we play like it, we have absolutely nothing to worry about.

I'm simply saying that if we run the table from here through the BTT - 19-1 in the Big Ten and then 3-0 in Indy - we still can't match last year's 13 Quad 1 wins. At the most, we can get to 11 (one now, eight on the schedule, two in Indy since the 8/9 game would be two Quad 2 teams). If we match last year's 16-4, get the one-seed for the BTT, and then win it, that's still only eight Quad 1 wins. That's a resume comparable to last year's three-seeds like Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas.

I just wanted to put this out there. There are fewer Q1 opportunities this year, and with the missed opportunities against Marquette, Arizona, and Purdue, a similar run to last year (16-4 in the Big Ten and then a BTT title in Indy) is probably capped at a 3-seed. That's totally fine - I'd love a 3-seed because we never get to play on that side of the bracket - but I just wanted to point it out. As of this very moment, here's the top half of the Big Ten in Quad 1 + Quad 2:

Wisconsin - 5-1 + 5-1 = 10-2
Purdue - 4-1 + 2-1 = 6-2
Michigan St. - 2-2 + 3-0 = 5-4
Ohio St. - 3-4 + 1-0 = 4-4
Illinois - 1-3 + 3-1 = 4-4
Iowa - 0-4 + 4-0 = 4-4
Indiana - 1-2 + 1-2 = 2-4

Work to do.

Comments

Giovantischixstripz on January 19, 2022 @ 05:37 PM

Each year is different. Bracket matrix (which puts together all the major bracket outlets into one number) still has us as the 2nd 4 seed right now despite the loss to Purdue (some may not have updated since Monday, so maybe we fall to the last 4 or first 5). Check the resumes of some of the teams in that range and you will see why. Their resumes are just as holey as ours. If we go 14-6 and lose in the first round to a mediocre team, we might be as low as a 6-7, but that is a pretty poor finish (it would involve either losing another home game or losing on the road to a non tourney team, AND losing to a lower seed in the BT at a neutral court, without any nice road wins to counteract those poor results). 15-5 and don't lose to anyone until it is a Q1 loss in the tourney and we are likely a 4 seed. And regardless, it doesn't matter all that much, its all about getting a draw that avoids playing teams that can exploit our weaknesses.

Giovantischixstripz on January 19, 2022 @ 05:37 PM

Each year is different. Bracket matrix (which puts together all the major bracket outlets into one number) still has us as the 2nd 4 seed right now despite the loss to Purdue (some may not have updated since Monday, so maybe we fall to the last 4 or first 5). Check the resumes of some of the teams in that range and you will see why. Their resumes are just as holey as ours. If we go 14-6 and lose in the first round to a mediocre team, we might be as low as a 6-7, but that is a pretty poor finish (it would involve either losing another home game or losing on the road to a non tourney team, AND losing to a lower seed in the BT at a neutral court, without any nice road wins to counteract those poor results). 15-5 and don't lose to anyone until it is a Q1 loss in the tourney and we are likely a 4 seed. And regardless, it doesn't matter all that much, its all about getting a draw that avoids playing teams that can exploit our weaknesses.

IlliniJoe81 on January 19, 2022 @ 07:47 PM

This feels like a year where we get a worse seed and pull an upset. This explains how we can do that and still have a good regular season.

danny on January 19, 2022 @ 07:51 PM

It’s early. Interesting to talk about Quad 1 wins and seeding in January, but it’s how you are playing in Match that matters. A #12 seed made it to the Final Four last year. This team w Curbelo back and the freshmen getting more confidence should be peaking in March.

gordyhulten on January 19, 2022 @ 07:57 PM

Bart Torvik has a section on his site called "teamcast" in his "funalytics" section that lets you play with different scenarios for each team. Here's Illinois': https://barttorvik.com/teamcast.php?team=Illinois&year=2022

First, make sure you check the box for "DynamaRank" before you start playing around, as that dynamically adjusts every team's ratings based on simulated results for the scenarios you want to test.

Now, if you plug us in to finish 19-1 in the B1G and winning the BTT, this tool is forecasting us as the third #1 seed (behind Gonzaga and Baylor) with 19 total Q1 and Q2 wins. (If you plug in the same rough criteria your exact results would vary slightly I think.)

At a more realistic 15-5 (additional losses coming at Indiana, Purdue, and MSU, and home against OSU, and also BTT champions over say Iowa, OSU, and MSU), then we have 14 total Q1 and Q2 wins, but project as the third #3 seed (behind Gonzaga, BU, Purdue, Auburn - barf -, Nova, Kansas, Arizona, LSU, Kentucky, and Texas Tech.

Anyway, I think team rankings in the B1G will steadily rise during conference play on average because they're playing better teams on average, and if we go 15-5 (winning B1G outright) and make the BTT final, we'll be a very strong seed, though maybe not a #1.

Play around with the BartTorvik.com tool. If nothing else, it's fun.

wesd2005 on January 19, 2022 @ 09:08 PM

I'm not concerned about the seed, I want to win the Big Ten. I expect us to be a seed line or 2 lower anyway since the conference is down a bit from the last 2 years. Being underseeded is not the worst thing as long as we get a good draw.

HNLINI on January 19, 2022 @ 09:54 PM

After last year, I'm not sure that seeding plays as large a role in any individual teams tournament performance as experience and draw. We were a #1 seed that was fairly dominant in the regular season and completely laid an egg in the tourney. Hopefully, with a returning cast that has a few games of tourney experience under its belt, whether we are a #1 seed or a #6 seed won't be as crucial. You still have to beat 5 (if you are a #1 or #2 seed) or 6 very good to great teams consecutively to win the NCAA tourney. I'm not sure we are a very good or great team at this point. While I take encouragement in the fact that (a) we have already won 5 and 6 games in a row at points in this season (though admittedly not against good teams) and (b) we normally beat the teams we should beat, I'm leery of the facts that (c) we have lost a number of close games, which I define as games decided by 4 points or less or overtime games (good teams should have a winning record in close games) and (d) we got blown out by Cincinnati (good teams don't lose games by 20+ points).

LosAngellini on January 20, 2022 @ 12:08 AM

Remember 34 month ago when we missed the tournament for the millionth year in a row. Now we’re hand wringing over the great calamity that would occur if we’re a 5 or 7 seed? Robert, it’s time to Mahler and chill. Enjoy the Trent and Kofi show.

HailToTheOrange on January 20, 2022 @ 04:50 PM

The first thing that came to me after reading this was hand wringing. I love analytical Robert 96.78% of the time, but sometimes the deep dives into data (and PTSD Illini fandom) can lead down one of those dark rabbit holes unnecessarily.

Efrem on January 20, 2022 @ 08:16 AM

Yeah - I really hope the team isn't thinking about this stuff. Just beat Maryland on Friday. Then beat the next team. Take care of business one day at a time and the seeding will be what it will be

pwillits on January 20, 2022 @ 08:26 AM

Haha.... Quad Rant. Took me a minute...

Robert on January 20, 2022 @ 04:13 PM

So glad someone acknowledged it.

IBFan on January 20, 2022 @ 09:02 AM

Let’s worry about winning the conference. The NCAA tourney is an over hyped one and done tournament that should be regulated to third place in importance behind the season, the Big conference race, and just ahead of the Big tourney.

jdl on January 20, 2022 @ 12:49 PM

Not sure using last season as a benchmark is a good idea. The non-con schedule was really weird for many teams due to covid - Colgate #9 in NET! And the B1G was viewed as really, really strong - remember Pomeroy declaring it might be the best conference ever? Obviously the post season cast a lot of doubt on that.

We do need to pick up some more good wins and IMO we'll get that done.

Douglascountyillinifan on January 20, 2022 @ 01:27 PM

Maybe we'll be that incredibly underseeded team that no one wants in their bracket this year. Just make the tourney and see what happens. We can play and beat any team in the country if shots are falling. LOL at Mahler and chill. :-)

IlliniAl on January 20, 2022 @ 04:02 PM

Ranting Robert - R E L A X We'll be just fine.

Lou-a-villini on January 21, 2022 @ 07:51 AM

Win the B1G!

Speak Your Mind

Please login or register to post comments on the IlliniBoard.

Post Preview