Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bubble Watch

It's that time again already. Fortunately, it looks like both teams are in good shape right now.

For those of you unfamiliar with my Bubble Watch formula, here's a synopsis. There are so many at large teams taken for each tournament - 34 in the men's tourney, and 33 in the women's. In theory, the selection committee will take the teams with the 34 or 33 highest RPI rankings that aren't also conference champions (and therefore automatic bids). So, a team should be in if
(Team's RPI) - (Number of automatic bids with higher RPI) > (Number of at large bids).

ND Men's Basketball: As mentioned above, the "magic number" for the men is 34. Notre Dame currently has an RPI of 32 (despite a Strength of Schedule of 106), and there are no doubt several conference leaders/champions ahead of them, so they're safe this week. If needed in the next few weeks, I'll break down the exact number of conference leaders ahead of them to get a better estimate.

ND Women's Basketball: The Notre Dame women are in even better shape, sitting at 28 in the RPI with a SOS of 23. Not bad for a rebuilding year.

Dave's Flight Watch

As a special added feature to Bubble Watch this year, I'm introducting "Dave's Flight Watch." Dave is planning to fly into Cleveland on the night of March 16. His flight takes off at approximately 7 PM and lands at approximately 9 PM. Dave asked me to calculate the odds of being midair while the Irish play, since he always seems to have terrible luck like that.

First, the odds that he'll be midair when the women's team is playing: 0%. The women's tournament doesn't start until March 17.

Now, the odds that the men will play their first round game while Dave is sans-TV. I had a terrible time finding tipoff times for this year's tournament - or last year's tournament for that matter. So, for the sake of argument this week, I'm going to say that all sites have 1, 3, 7, and 9 PM Eastern tipoff times, and that there's no rhyme or reason for scheduling the times. (That is, the times and the seeds don't correspond.) As I gather more information, I'll refine things.

Sixteen of the 32 first round games will be played on March 16. Of those games, a fourth will be played at 7 PM. So, there's a 16/32 * 1/4 = 1/8 chance that Dave will miss the ND game in its entirety. In addition, Dave lands shortly after 9, and there's taxiing, baggage, and driving, meaning he would part of a 9 PM game. One out of 8 games will be played at 9 PM on March 16, so overall there's a 1/4 chance that Dave will miss at least some of the ND game. (Unless F-Bomb graciously DVR's it.)

Now, let's take a look at where some of the experts say that Notre Dame will play:

Columbus is in the Eastern time zone, so they will have a 7 PM and 9 PM game.

Over the next few weeks, I will (or I may) refine my formula, and work out the odds that Dave will also be in the air back to New York during second round action on Sunday.