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   Welcome to TSLMail #117 - Friday, February 20, 2004    
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RPI Ratings: ACC vs. the Big East
by Will Stewart,

Here I go again, poking around through RPI ratings. I really didn't mean to do that this week, but I noticed something while looking at, and thought I would do a little comparison exercise between the Big East and the ACC on RPI ratings.

First of all, note that for the data I'm about to give, the RPI ratings are current through 2/19/04.

Having said that, says that the ACC is the top conference -- no argument here -- and the Big East is #3 (with the SEC in between). Just for fun, I thought, what if you throw the two conferences together and list their teams in RPI order? What happens then?

Take a look.

Big East and ACC RPI Ratings Through 2/19/04
(ratings from
RPI Rating ACC School BE School
2 Duke  
8   UConn
9   Providence
10   Pittsburgh
11 Wake Forest  
12 NC State  
14 UNC  
16 GT  
21   Seton Hall
23   Boston College
32   Syracuse
35 Maryland  
37   Rutgers
41 FSU  
50   Villanova
51   Notre Dame
56 Clemson  
58 Virginia  
67   WVU
126   Georgetown
136   Virginia Tech
139   St. John's
160   Miami-FL

To me, that's interesting stuff. If you go by RPI ratings, then at the top, the two leagues are essentially equal. If you scrape off the five BE bottom-feeders and treat the two leagues as nine-team conferences, holy smokes, the Big East's average RPI is 26.8, just a shade better than the ACC's 27.2. And as you can see, the BE's top 9 teams are all in the top 51 of the RPI, while the ACC's top 9 extends down to #58.

But once you get beyond the Big East's tenth team  --  WVU at #67 -- things get really, really ugly. Georgetown, VT, St. John's, and Miami are, uh, in a class by themselves, so to speak, and their performances reflect it. Georgetown has lost 6 of their last 8, VT has lost 7 of their last 9, St. John's 10 of their last 12, and Miami 8 in a row. All told, those four teams have lost 31 of their last 37 collective games.

If you take the complete Big East, all 14 teams, then its average RPI is 62.1, compared to 27.2 for the 9-team ACC.

Now -- and you knew I was going to do this -- what if you take BC, VT, and Miami, and move them over to the ACC? Then, for the 12-team ACC, the average RPI rating plummets to 47, thanks to VT and Miami. The 11 teams remaining in the Big East improve to an average RPI rating of 50, right behind the ACC.

One thing is clear: if you're looking at RPI ratings, VT and Miami are going to stick out like sore thumbs in the new ACC, if they don't start improving. BC nestles in nicely at #23, a commendable sixth place in the new ACC, but VT (#136) and Miami (#160) are so far below Virginia -- who at #58 is last in the current ACC -- that it's embarrassing.

Bluntly put, VT and Miami are to the new ACC what Virginia Tech has been to the Big East the last four years: the bottom of the pile.

The great thing about VT basketball, and I mean this in all seriousness, is that there's nowhere to go but up. When you've been down for as long as the Hokies have, every little -- or not so little -- success gets greeted with great enthusiasm.

Just imagine the first time the Hokies win an ACC conference game, beat a perennial ACC power like Duke, UNC, or Maryland, win an ACC Tournament game, or -- gasp! -- win the ACC Tournament! The celebration is going to be crazy. (Surely you remember what it was like when Tech won the Independence Bowl back in 1993 -- bedlam.)

And don't laugh about thoughts of VT winning the ACC tourney, or beating Duke, or things of that nature. In 1979, Georgia Tech started play in the ACC, and in their first four seasons, went 8-48 in the league, including 1-13 and 0-14 their first two seasons.

In just their sixth season, they went 9-5 in the league, tied for first, and won the ACC Tournament.

So maybe a few years from now, having an RPI rating of 136 will be a distant memory. One can only hope. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

A Red Storm -- And Opportunity -- Blows Into Blacksburg
by Jim Alderson, 2/20/04, 11:30 am
The Virginia Tech menís basketball team continues its youth-inspired habit of matching every forward step with at least as many backwards. The progress shown in the home victories over Georgetown and Providence were matched with the regression of the road losses at Rutgers and Villanova. Such is the nature of things around Cassell these days. Now, however, things are about to get very interesting.
in TSL Pass

Rookie Diary: Adibi Preps for NFL Combine
by, 2/19/04, 2:35 pm
In this first installment of a year-long series that will follow Nathaniel Adibi through his preparations for the NFL draft, draft day, training camp, and his rookie season in the NFL, Adibi tells us what he has been up to since the close of the 2003 Hokie football season, and he shares his thoughts on what went wrong with Tech's football season.
in TSL Pass

Villanova Tops Hokies, 80-68
by Chris Coleman, 2/18/04, 11:45 pm
Philadelphia, PA -- The Villanova Wildcats took advantage of a very impressive night of shooting to knock off Virginia Tech by the score of 80-68. Allan Ray crushed the Hokies from 3 point range, hitting 6 of 9 from downtown en route to a game high 29 points. Ray was 9 of 15 from the field overall. Virginia Tech was once again led in scoring by Bryant Matthews, who finished with 16 points and 7 boards.
in Men's Hoops

Hokie Women Get Key Road Win Over Seton Hall, 48-42
by Will Stewart,, 2/18/04, 11:20 pm
South Orange, NJ -- Virginia Tech outscored Seton Hall 12-2 over the last 11:37 of the game, erasing a 40-36 deficit and grabbing a big road win over a Pirate team that had been stout at home and was ahead of the Hokies in the Big East standings going in.
in Women's Hoops

A Gym Rat's Notebook #6: Trolling for Additions
by Elijah Kyle, 2/18/04, 10:50 am
With this season approaching the most critical stage, all thoughts arenít consumed with the present, but rather on the future, as the basketball staff looks far and wide for additional reinforcements to add to the fall harvested class. Recently the staff has started pursuing some other prospects, both high school and in junior college.
in TSL Pass

Hokie Hotline Notes for February 16, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger, 2/17/04, 1:10 am
Roth began the show asking Greenberg about St. Johnís, who the Hokies will face this coming weekend, but Greenberg said that the focus right now is getting his team mentally ready to compete on Wednesday at Villanova.
in Hokie Hotline Notes

Knights Crush Hokies, 85-52
by Will Stewart,, 2/16/04, 12:25 am
Piscataway, NJ -- The Rutgers Scarlet Knights put an unheard-of 30-0 run on Virginia Tech in the early stages of the first half and simply buried the Hokies on their way to an 85-52 victory. Rutgers led 32-3 with less than 8 minutes to go in the first half, and Tech never had a chance. Bryant Matthews kept his hold on the Big East scoring lead, though, pouring in 29 points on a day when no other VT player scored more than six.
in Men's Hoops

Hokies Misfire Badly in Key Loss to Miami, 65-56
by Will Stewart,, 2/14/04, 11:15 pm
Blacksburg, VA -- Coming on the heels of a bad road loss at West Virginia, the Virginia Tech women's basketball team laid an egg, turning in their second-worst shooting performance of the season and dropping a key home game, 65-56. For the second game in a row, the Hokies wilted down the stretch, as Miami scored the last eight points of the game to break open a close one.
in Women's Hoops

Wide Right: An Issue of Class
by Jeff Cockey, 2/13/04, 10:25 pm
Letís talk a little bit about class. Not the kind that I made a habit of sleeping through on chilly Blacksburg mornings, when the drill field was more like a wind tunnel than a place to congregate. Or the kind I made a habit of sleeping through on sunny summer mornings when the previous eveningís activities on the deck of the Balcony were so thoroughly enjoyed.
in Voice of the Fan

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