Q&A: Women's bracketologist Charlie Creme
On Thursday, veteran ESPN women's bracketologist Charlie Creme spoke with us about USF, which he currently projects as a No. 8 seed in the Sioux Falls, S.D., region.
What's your reasoning for currently having USF as that No. 8 seed?
"They have a decent resume in terms of strength of schedule and the RPI. It's as simple as that. I do think, though, that they sort of lack 'quality wins' if you want to call it, to be higher. Obviously they've had numerous injury problems and that contributed maybe to not quite having the season that Coach Fernandez would've liked. ... It's tougher to see teams when the injury factor is taken into account. It's easy if a player goes out in November or December or misses the beginning of the season, but then comes back and their team plays really well after that. That's usually easy to evaluate. What's more difficult to evaluate is these later-season injuries where wear-and-tear on everybody has already taken its toll, and you don't know if some of these players are coming back. Or if they do come back, if they're really playing at their highest capability. ... None of that's tangible, and in some cases it's guesswork. In terms of being in the tournament, not an issue. They played a decent enough schedule, they've won their fair share of games; 21 wins is certainly solid. But in order to kind of elevate beyond that, I'd like to know if (Kitija) Laksa's gonna play going forward."
If they face UConn again Monday night (in the conference tournament final) and have another good showing, could that conceivably improve their seeding?
"Oh absolutely. No question about it. That sort of seven-, eight-, nine-type of seed grouping, that's what this really is. The committee groups teams together. I get a lot of questions about, 'So-and-so team does this better than this team,' but it's almost never a one-on-one comparison. So this is a group of teams, and you're talking about...all of them have a chance to elevate themselves, but some of them have a better chance to elevate themselves than others. And others are maybe in a little bit tougher predicament. South Florida's probably not gonna win their conference tournament, but...if they get to the final and they play well, yeah, I think they would
elevate their seed. But again, it would hinge on...What's Miami gonna do in the ACC? What's Duke gonna do? What about (George Washington) in the A-10 tournament? What if Tennessee makes a run in the SEC? ... If all of these teams were to play really well, then even South Florida playing well, they might not elevate as much as if some of these other teams take a huge step backward."
At this point, what would you say are the Bulls' chances of hosting for the opening two rounds?
"Almost nothing. The way I see it anyway, they'd have to leap over far too many teams...We're talking about teams with four, five and six -- or beyond -- top-50 (RPI) wins, and South Florida has two. And there's not a large-scale opportunity to get more in the American tournament. So that right there sort of ends the conversation about them getting that close to a hosting situation."