A Simple Plan, Part Two

So the yelling for years is that the playoffs system in South Carolina
is flawed. We tolerated the Division of the largest classification for
years with the largest 16 schools automatically making the playoffs for
their division. That was ridiculous when we had many of those 16 teams
barely winning any games making the playoffs every year. We pushed for
years to get a 5 Class system with one champion per class so that we
wouldn’t produce 7 state champions in four classifications. We finally
got the 5 class split but we are still allowing 32 teams per class,
except in 1A, to make the playoffs. This year in the Class 5A, we have
12 teams in the playoffs without a winning record. Six of those twelve
teams have losing records. We have a 2-8 Stratford team going to play
Dutch Fork in the first round. We have a 2-8 Woodmont team facing off
against Dorman.

Guys, the fact is the current system calls for 32 teams but we don’t
have 32 teams worthy of playoffs. So after talking this thing over with
my friend, Coach Brian Hucks of Lexington (baseball and assistant AD),
we came to an idea that we could both agree on. Brian is one of the
most respected baseball coaches in the state and has a good head on him
in terms of thinking about tournament seeding, etc. Once I drafted this
I bounced it off of a few of the 5A Coaches around the state and they
all like it. The one thing we all agree on is that the at-large bids
(will be 8 of them in a 8 region system) must be selected with a
formula based on strength of schedule…an RPI type of formula. It
cannot be 8 guys sitting in a room selecting them subjectively or we
will have the same politics we have with the all-star games.

2. Region winners and Runner Up get automatic bids (thats 14 teams in
our current 7 region system in 5A) Next season there will be 8 regions.
3. The Region winners +1 runner up will get byes in the first round.
That +1 would be selected by committee/RPI.
4. Those 14 teams will be seeded 1-14 because they are the automatics.
Next year it will be 16 teams seeded 1-16. Those seedings wold be based on the RPI of each of those 16 teams

5. The remaining 10 teams would be selected and seeded 15-24 by
committee and RPI strength of schedule formula. Next season it will
only be 8 teams making at large bids so it would be 17 through 24 being seeded at that point.
6. Home games go to the higher seeds, which is based on RPI
RPI = (0.375 × WP) + (0.375 × OWP) + (0.25 × OOWP)

How are the components of the formula specifically calculated?

  • Winning
    percentage (WP): Divide the number of wins by the number of total games
    played. A tie is worth half a win. If a win in an individual contest
    gives that contest a winning percentage of 1.00, a tie would give that
    individual contest a winning percentage of .500 for both teams.
  • Opponents’
    winning percentage (OWP): Average the winning percentages of a team’s
    opponents. (Note: This is not calculated via the combined record of the
    opponents, instead by averaging each winning percentage of the
    opponents.) All games involving the team whose RPI is being calculated
    are ignored in this process.
  • Opponents’ opponents winning
    percentage (OOWP): The same process as described above, except
    calculated for the opponents of a team’s opponents. Note that there is
    an exception for out-of-state teams, which is addressed below.

How would out-of-state opponents be handled?
calculating out-of-state opponents, their direct winning percentage
(for example, .750) will count toward the formula, but each of their
opponents will have a .500 winning percentage assigned. Were this not
the case, schools would be chasing tens of thousands of opponents of
out-of-state opponents over the course of a season, and there is no way
to ensure the accuracy of that data.

The .500 figure was
selected because it is the average value of opponents’ opponents
winning percentages across all sports in the data we’ve run.

Granted, there are still going to be a couple of teams who are
questionable with .500 records just to round out 24 but this is better
than what we have now. Below is a sample of what this year’s bracket
would look like if we had a system like this in place.

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