LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – It’s a first for college sports and if it’s successful, it could change how conference standings and tournament seedings are decided.
In 2022-23 for men’s and women’s basketball only, the WAC will use advanced analytics to help determine its conference tournament seeding. First reported by CBS Sports, the system is the first of its kind in college athletics.
Dubbed the WAC Resume Seeding System and developed by college basketball analytics guru Ken Pomeroy, the system will use an algorithm that can both reward and punish its teams based on their performances vs. every team on the schedule, not just WAC opponents. It will take into account the NCAA’s NET Rankings, which are also used to help determine NCAA Tournament seeding.
Wins and losses will still matter towards standings and seeding, but using the algorithm, the league will weight every win and every loss including nonconference games. Therefore, a big win like the NMSU men beating Washington State on the road last year will count for more than a win over Tarleton State.
Along those same lines, a really bad loss – like the one the Aggies suffered at Chicago State last season – will affect their place in the standings more than a defeat at the hands of a school like New Mexico or UTEP.
The idea behind the new system is to bring more competitive balance and meritocratic representation – beyond just wins and losses – to the standings and WAC Tournament seeding.
In 2022-23, the top 12 teams in the WAC will make the conference tournament in both men’s and women’s basketball. The top four teams in the league standings will get a bye to the quarterfinals. In 2021-22, the top two teams were given byes to the semifinals.
Elsewhere in the WAC on Monday, Lamar announced that it was returning to the Southland Conference, just one year after coming to the WAC from the Southland.
Lamar had already planned on returning to the SLC after the 2022-23 season; however, the school elected to move up its return date by one year.
They are the second school to back out of the WAC in the last month; Incarnate Word was supposed to join the league on July 1, 2022, alongside Southern Utah and UT-Arlington. However, Incarnate Word decided in late June to instead remain in the Southland Conference.
Losing both schools hurts the WAC for scheduling, particularly for fall sports which lost two teams they expected to be in the league for 2022-23. The WAC will readjust the schedule and have 13 teams in the fold for the upcoming season, New Mexico State’s last in the WAC before it moves over to Conference USA.