When the NCAA selection committee convenes this weekend to review the resumes of teams jockeying for one of the 16 spots in the NCAA tournament, the members will have at their disposal an assortment of numbers to gauge a school’s bid strength – including RPI, strength of schedule and quality wins.
Loyola coach Charley Toomey thinks the committee should also consider another factor: losses.
Only one team among the top 10 in RPI has fewer than three losses (No. 4 Cornell is 12-2), and three (No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 8 Bucknell and the No. 9 Greyhounds) each have four setbacks. Toomey said the spate of losses make this season different from others for the selection committee.
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“I really believe that when you look at the top five, everybody’s got losses,” he said Friday. “It’s going to be a challenge in that room, but I’m just hopeful that they look at the types of losses and the types of teams those losses are coming to. Are they top 20 losses or are they [RPI] 40-and-out losses? Everybody’s got losses. So I think this is a year when you have to look at those losses. But I’m on the outside just like everybody else and the committee, I’ve been there and I respect their work, and I know they’ve got a tough job to do over the weekend.”
The Fighting Irish (10-4) have lost twice to No. 6 Syracuse, but have also dropped contests to No. 19 St. John’s and No. 24 Hofstra. The Bison (12-4) have sustained losses by No. 14 Lehigh twice, No. 5 Penn State and No. 47 Mount St. Mary’s.
Loyola (11-4) has fallen to No. 2 Denver, No. 7 Maryland, No. 10 Ohio State and No. 11 Duke. Toomey is experienced enough to know that might not matter in the big picture though.
“They’ll value obviously RPI and strength of schedule and they’ll look at wins against the top five and the top 10 and top 20,” he said of the selection committee. “Every year might be a little different. Certainly, this year is a wacky year. You could look at Notre Dame, for instance, and they’ve got some great wins, but they also have four losses against two teams maybe outside of the top 20. So it’s a challenge. Do they deserve to be a 1 or a 2 seed? But I don’t know because like I said, every year is different and you get in there and just start throwing a lot of numbers up on the board and see what sticks.”
If the Greyhounds get one of the eight at-large berths in the NCAA tournament, they will most likely have to travel and open the first round away from Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore. Toomey said he has no problem with that scenario.
“We’re fine with that,” he said. “We’re ready. Anywhere the committee wants to send us, we’ll head out and be excited to play.”