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MVC: Wichita State and the “What if” game with RPI rankings

Wichita State senior Fred VanVleet missed three games in Florida, all Shockers losses. His absence has become a major piece of the case for or against WSU’s NCAA Tournament inclusion.
Wichita State senior Fred VanVleet missed three games in Florida, all Shockers losses. His absence has become a major piece of the case for or against WSU’s NCAA Tournament inclusion. The Wichita Eagle

While the 10 NCAA selection committee members have access to every piece of video, statistics and anything else they want, the Missouri Valley Conference is forwarding supporting materials for consideration when Wichita State is on the table.

An example is Jim Sukup’s RPI “What if” calculation. WSU is No. 47 in the current RPI rank.

▪  Had the Shockers defeated Southern Cal (a 72-69 loss in November in Florida), its RPI would rank No. 34.

▪  Had the Shockers then defeated Alabama (a 64-60 loss), its RPI would rank No. 27.

Those two scenarios make sense in this theoretical world. WSU with Fred VanVleet is a good bet to win both those games (although it wouldn’t have played Alabama with a pretend win over Southern Cal).

▪  Had WSU defeated Iowa (an 84-61 loss), its RPI would rank No 24.

I’m not picking the Shockers to defeat Iowa with VanVleet, so that piece of information does less for me. It’s certainly possible, however, in a theoretical sense.

Does any of this help? It can’t hurt. Remember, the committee won’t ignore losses and won’t invent victories.

It does put a number on how much VanVleet’s absence may have altered WSU’s profile. Had WSU won those games, it would be an easy at-large choices because of the addition of wins of good quality.

▪  Former Wichita State athletic director Jim Schaus, who hired coach Gregg Marshall, is on the selection committee. He is not required to leave the room when the Shockers are discussed. He could. In an e-mail, he said he will participate fully when the Shockers are the topic this weekend.

Schaus, who left WSU in 2008, is athletic director at Ohio.

▪  Greg Shaheen, former NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances, is an enlightening Twitter follow in March. He explains how the committee works and what those people will consider. Some recent Tweets:

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

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