Jim Larranaga brings his Miami Hurricanes into College Park Tuesday night to face Maryland. It's Larranaga's first trip to the D.C. area since he became the toast of the NCAA by taking George Mason to the Final Four back in 2006.
Miami is currently 16-9 overall and 7-5 in ACC play. That puts them on the very cusp of the NCAA field of 68. (ESPN's Joe Lunardi has them as one of his last four in.). Larranaga's old team, George Mason, is 23-6 ahead of their game at Northeastern Wednesday and tied with Drexel for first-place in the CAA, which is likely to be a one-bid league this year after getting three teams in the dance in 2011.
We don't talk about it at all. I would say this -- having been at the mid-major level for 25 years, and I still follow that closely -- this has been a year where the non-conference performance of the high-majors far exceeds what the mid-majors were able to do. There have been years, and last year was one of them, where the mid-majors performance was outstanding, and with the expansion of the field from 65 to 68, a couple more mid-majors were able to get in. This year, looking at their non-conference performance, it would appear to me that those spots should be reserved for the high-majors, who played a much more difficult non-conference schedule and have been far more successful than many of the teams in the mid-majors.
Teel followed up by asking if Larranaga would have given that response of he were still at George Mason. Answer:
If you look at [George Mason's] non-conference strength of schedule, it's in the 300s. That's not the resume that the committee has looked for over the years. You look for people that have really challenged themselves in the non-conference, and not just in the non-conference, but done pretty well. If your strength of schedule is 200 or below, in the non-conference, as a committee you look at that and say, 'Well, what have they proven?'"
Before people get all up in arms about Larranaga big-timing his former team, let's look at some numbers from RealTimeRPI.
Miami (FL)--RPI: 46. Strength of Schedule (SOS): 34
George Mason--RPI: 83. SOS: 222
Drexel--RPI: 86. SOS: 278
Virginia Commonwealth--RPI: 80. SOS: 207
Old Domion--RPI: 119. SOS: 134.
Sorry CAA fans, Coach L has a point.