Much has been made over the NCAA’s NET ranking system, and the divisions of wins into quadrants. Because it’s the NCAA, they had to make it as convoluted as possible. This will be the fourth time around with this system, and it is still unclear how much value the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee puts into the NET. However, it seems increasingly clear that the quality of wins is weighted heavily on a team’s resume. Let’s break down where NC State stands after that loss to the official, I mean heels, in Chapel Hill.
We’ll try to make this a (hopefully) weekly segment. The NET rankings are sliding on a daily basis, so some quad matchups can slide around well after the games have been played.
First, let’s go over the definitions, in case anyone needs a refresher but was too embarrassed to ask, for how one goes about earning these various quad wins:
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
That’s ugly, let’s put that in a handy table format:
Beating the #1 team at home is the same as beating the #75 team on the road? Technically, yes, but you’d like to think the committee would give you credit for those quality wins. The key thing is showing the weight of road victories. Those are gold, Jerry, gold, in this format.
NC State Quad Breakdown
Here’s a summary of NC State’s schedule to date, with updated NET rankings through 1/21/2023 (after the unc game). I made an overly complicated spreadsheet to create the summarized information in this post, and no I will not be sharing it at this time as I’m a bit embarrassed by it. I was trying to do some more advanced things than what the NCAA site was offering but was only partially successful. Anyway, here:
Good things to point out here:
- NC State has not had consecutive losses all year. It’s good not to get the skids.
- The Battle 4 Atlantis slate has held up as a group of solid non-conference opponents. As long as Dayton and Butler stay in the top 100, those wins will hold as Q2.
- It’s interesting seeing teams like Duke, Miami, unc, and others hover in the 30(ish)-50(ish) range. Those matchups provide Q1 opportunities on the road, but only Q2 chances at home. More on that below.
Quad games to date:
Home and Away breakdown:
Summary of the above tables:
- NC State has followed up each of their Q1 and Q2 wins with another win, showing no hangover from quality wins.
- Going just above .500 against this group puts NC State in the top 4-5 in the ACC.
- Conversely, the Pack has stayed undefeated against Q3 and Q4 competition. Avoiding bad losses is a key indicator of a strong team. They might yet slip up down the stretch, but they’ve done well so far. Good teams take care of business against lower competition. NC State is a good team, with the chance to be very good, perhaps even quite good.
- If the majority of your losses are in the Q1 category, that’s totes fine.
- The Pack need Virginia Tech to stay in the top 75. That road win against the Hokies is a great Q1 badge for the ol’ resume.
- Similarly, Duke staying in the top 30 is good for the Wolfpack. We don’t want to see that win slide down to a Q2 if they stumble.
- Since NC State has now slid out of the top 30 in the NET, Saturday’s game counts as “just” a Q2 win for unc. Too bad, so sad.
How does NC State stack up against the rest of the ACC?
ACC NET standings:
- We might have been feeling ourselves for notching two Q1 wins, but as of now that won’t stand you apart from the conference crowd.
- It would be really nice to get the Pitt game back. That eight point loss is the lone home, and Q2, loss for NC State. Even still, the Pack has been stellar at home, putting it near the top of the league.
- Good gosh, Louisville, what happened? Ranked 334/363, seriously?? You have two shots at GT to help keep you from putting up a goose egg in conference play, unless you can catch someone else sleeping on a given night.
- Clemson is 7th(!) in the NET in the ACC at 59th, yet first place in the conference and 19th in the AP Poll. This shows that either the metric is flawed, or it predicts a fall for the Tigers. Both could also be true. Their schedule has been VERY fortuitous. Of the top teams in the leauge, Clemson plays Virginia, Duke, unc, Pitt, and Miami only once.
- Virginia continues to be Virginia, just quietly great, yet so hard to watch. Yes, they’re one game back from first, but they’re the odds on favorite to finish first in the regular season, and the conference’s lone chance of a top NCAA seed.
- For further breakdowns of the conference, make sure not to miss no23sports’ summary.
What’s left on the schedule?
Quad games remaining:
Here are specifically the Q1 and Q2 games remaining:
Points on these:
- Going back to the point about some teams being both Q1 and Q2. Duke is 29th right now, which would make that game Q1 when the Blue Devils come to Raleigh, but a lot can happen between now and then. Duke just beat Miami, so either they’re turning the corner or Miami is falling apart. Both can also be true.
- One could say the schedule is back-heavy, but the glass half-full view would be more resume building opportunities await an NC State team that has several players expected back from injury. If Jack Clark and Dusan Mahorsic can return, and Terquavion Smith has no lingering effects from the clearly not a flagrant foul (according to some fans), then NC State has the chance to hit another gear just in time for the heart of the schedule. And hell, Isaiah Miranda has to appear eventually, right? Not that I’d expect much from him this late in the year.
- The three game home stand of unc, Wake, and Clemson will be perfect chances to short up the tournament resume late. Wake specifically offers just the type of lower hanging fruit Q1 opportunity the Wolfpack could use.
- The last four games will be against teams the Wolfpack will have already faced, so one would hope this give them better odds of knowing what to do to pull off the win.
Kevin Keatts has put together potentially his best team at NC State. There is a lot of basketball left to be played, but they have put themselves in position for a top. If the Pack had managed to beat unc, they’d be in the logjam of teams tied for third and only two games off first place. As it stands, if NC State has any designs on making a run at the ACC title this year, finishing top four is a must, as winning the conference tournament without the double by is exceedingly tough.
That being said, it’s all out there in front of them. The laughably unreliable ESPN Bracketology had NC State at a 5-seed going into the game in Chapel Hill, but that just means they have put themselves solidly in position to put themselves in position for solidly being in the tournament. And at this point in Keatts’ tenure, that is a must.
I’ll be back next week with another update on all this NET madness. If there’s a particular look you want from the NET stats, let me know in the comments!