The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 19, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 19, 2018

An interesting weekend of basketball following an interesting mid-week schedule only could move the needle a little bit in our Gurus’ minds.  Only a couple teams moved into the field replacing a couple of others, while the seed lines saw minimal movement.

Some conferences will wrap up regular season play by the end of the week, and the first conference tournaments will commence next week.  Once the first conference tournaments conclude, we will begin to update our bracketology daily, as long as our 14 gurus continue to supply their picks to us daily.

Our gurus were the best in the nation last year, as they correctly picked the entire 68-team field on the morning of Selection Sunday.

Our Gurus are using the same data and statistics available to the Selection Committee.  Each of the 14 independently sends us his/her (12 his’s and 2 her’s) 68 teams with seeds.

We then calculate the average in a multiple step manner.

  1. For every at-large team that is not on one of the gurus’ rosters, we give them a seed of 20, as a punishment for not being included.  So, if 10 gurus list State U as the 12 seed, while four gurus do not include State U, then State U receives a score of 200 (12 x 10) + (4 x 20).
  2. Each team is given a score, and the lowest X number of scores get in the field.
  3. Many automatic qualifiers from one bid leagues have higher scores than some of the at-large teams.  Since one team must go from each league, we eliminate the highest qualifying scores to accommodate these automatic qualifiers.
  4. The gurus do not always agree on which automatic qualifier to put for the one-bid leagues.  We go with the majority.  For instance, this week 9 gurus listed Murray State to represent the Ohio Valley Conference, while 5 gurus listed Belmont.  We chose Murray St.  In the rare instance of a tie, like we had this week with Savannah State and North Carolina A&T in the MEAC, we went with Savannah State, because they have the higher PiRate Rating this week.
  5. The four at-large qualifiers with the highest scores (lower scores are better) become the First Four teams that are seeded to play in Dayton.  The four automatic qualifiers with the highest scores are the four #16-seed teams that get seeded to play in Dayton.
  6. In the event that we do not receive a report from one or two gurus, we will go with what we have.  If the number ever drops under 10, then the members of the PiRate Ratings substitute with our own picks.  Otherwise, the PiRates do not have a vote in this report.

Here are this week’s Bracketology Gurus’ Picks

Seed Team Conference
1 Villanova B-East
1 Virginia ACC
1 Xavier B-East
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Auburn SEC
2 Purdue BTen
2 North Carolina ACC
3 Michigan St. BTen
3 Texas Tech B12
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Clemson ACC
4 Arizona Pac12
4 Tennessee SEC
4 West Virginia B12
4 Wichita St. AAC
5 Ohio St. BTen
5 Gonzaga WCC
5 Rhode Island A-10
5 Texas A&M SEC
6 Kentucky SEC
6 Oklahoma B12
6 Arizona St. Pac12
6 Missouri SEC
7 Alabama SEC
7 Michigan BTen
7 Houston AAC
7 Creighton B-East
8 Arkansas SEC
8 Nevada MWC
8 Florida St. ACC
8 Seton Hall B-East
9 Florida SEC
9 TCU B12
9 Butler B-East
9 Miami (Fla.) ACC
10 Providence B-East
10 Saint Mary’s WCC
10 Texas B12
10 North Carolina St. ACC
11 Virginia Tech ACC
11 Baylor B12
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 UCLA Pac12
12 St. Bonaventure A-10
12 Syracuse ACC
13 South Dakota St. Summ
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 Vermont A-East
13 East Tennessee St. Socon
14 Murray St. OVC
14 Northeastern CAA
14 Rider MAAC
14 UCSB B-West
15 Bucknell Pat
15 Montana B-Sky
15 Northern Kentucky Horiz
15 Penn Ivy
16 Wagner NEC
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 Florida Gulf Coast A-Sun
16 Winthrop B-Sth
16 Savannah St. MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC

The Bubble

The Last 10 In with Byes–in order of better to worse.

Florida

TCU

Butler

Miami (Fla.)

Providence

Saint Mary’s

Texas

North Carolina St.

Virginia Tech

Baylor

The Last 4 In & Headed to Dayton

Kansas St.

UCLA

St. Bonaventure

Syracuse

The Next 6 in Contention (or the only other teams that received votes)

Washington

Louisville

USC

LSU

Marquette

Utah

9 Teams That Could Still Play Themselves Into An At-Large Spot

*** Alphabetically ***

Boise St.

Georgia

Maryland

Mississippi St.

Nebraska

Old Dominion

Penn St.

Temple

Western Kentucky

 

An Update on PiRate Ratings Criteria in the Big Dance

If you have followed us this year, you might have read where we have done a remodel on our PiRate Rating Criteria in grading teams for their Big Dance talents.  We have simplified a great deal of the data to where a few things make up a majority of our criteria.

A. Our own Pirate Ratings R+T Rating, which is a measure of a teams ability to obtain extra scoring opportunities and prevent the opponent from getting extra scoring opportunities.  The higher the R+T rating, the more likely a team will get crucial points when the game is on the line or to put a game out of reach.  The formula for R+T Rating is:

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T, where

R = Rebounding Margin

S = Average Steals per Game

T  = Turnover Margin

Steals are worth more than other turnovers, so they get extra weight in this formula, basically being counted twice since every time a defense steals the ball, it creates a turnover for the other team.

B. Strength of Schedule, as it is obvious that a team playing a schedule of Quadrant 4 games will easily put up incredible numbers versus a team playing a schedule of Quadrant 1 and 2 games.

C. Field Goal Percentage Margin, as the goal of the game is to put the ball in the basket and prevent the other team from doing the same.

Any game can basically be broken down into shooting percentages and scoring opportunities.  The strength of schedule comes in handy when trying to handicap the stats between two teams.  If Team A has a FG% margin of 7.2%, an R+T Rating of 15.4, and has a strength of schedule of 59.3 (50 is average, 60 is tough), and Team B has a FG% margin of 9.8%, an R+T Rating of 16.8, and a strength of schedule of 48.3, then Team A would be expected to win by a decent amount, even though Team B’s stats are a little better.

Aside from the actual numbers in the Data for FG% Margin and the components of the R+T, we also look for consistency.

Let’s look at two teams: Michigan State and Cincinnati

Michigan State has a FG% margin of 15.3%, which ranks as the best in the nation.  Cincinnati’s FG% margin is in the top 10% in the NCAA at  8.3%.

Michigan State has a rebound margin of 10.8, which is in the top 10 nationally, while Cincinnati’s rebound margin is in the top 20 nationally at 8.2%.

Michigan State averages just 4.2 steals per game versus 6.2 for their opponents, while Cincinnati averages 7.7 steals per game versus 5.1 for their opponents.

Michigan State’s turnover margin is -3.1, which is the Spartans’ weakness.  Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s turnover margin is 3.5, which is in the top 50 nationally.

Michigan State’s R+T Rating is 20.3, and their strength of schedule is 57.7, a tough one.  Cincinnati’s R+T Rating is 24.7, and their strength of schedule is 54.9, 2.8 points per game weaker than the Spartans.

The stats are indicative of a toss-up game in the NCAA Tournament.  This would most likely be a Regional Final Game for a trip to the Final Four.  This is how we’d look at this game.

Michigan State would win the battle on the boards, but nothing like how they normally do.  The advantage would minimal.

Cincinnati would force some turnovers on MSU and convert these into points, but Michigan State would have the better half-court offense against Cincinnati’s half-court defense as opposed to Cinti’s offense vs. Sparty’s defense.

The game would probably come down to the last two minutes, where the team with the better clutch players would be expected to win.

It is better to have consistency in all numbers than to be extremely high in most but with one glaring weakness, so for now Michigan State would not be expected to get to the Final Four (that could change based on their bracket).  We look for what we call “Complete Teams.”  A complete team may not be the top in any category, but they are among the top 15% in every category.  We are looking for Willie Mays and not Mark McGwire.

To be a complete team, a team needs to meet this criteria:

  1. A FG% margin of 7.5%  or better
  2. A Rebounding margin of 3.5 or better
  3. Better than 7.5 steals per game
  4. Less than 6.0 opponent steals per game
  5. A positive turnover margin
  6. An R+T Rating over 15.0
  7. A strength of schedule better than 55.5 (almost always a power conference)

When you spot a team with all six characteristics, this team is going to be tough in the NCAA Tournament.

Let’s look at the leading power conference teams as well as some of the top mid-majors.

Team Reb. Stl. Opp Stl. TO R+T FG% DIff SOS
Alabama 0.4 6.7 6.4 -0.3 3.5 6.3 59.0
Arizona 6.9 5.0 6.0 0.3 16.6 7.5 56.5
Arizona St. 0.1 6.8 5.2 4.1 8.5 3.3 56.0
Arkansas -0.6 6.6 4.8 3.2 6.5 5.7 58.4
Auburn 2.2 4.0 7.4 6.4 11.4 3.0 57.0
Cincinnati 8.2 7.7 5.1 3.5 24.7 8.3 54.9
Clemson 2.4 6.1 5.9 0.2 8.2 4.6 58.6
Creighton 3.7 5.4 6.1 0.5 10.5 7.0 58.4
Duke 9.5 7.2 5.4 -0.4 22.8 9.7 60.1
Florida -1.1 6.9 4.7 4.0 6.6 0.2 59.4
Florida St. 4.1 6.8 6.0 1.6 13.2 5.9 57.2
Gonzaga 9.2 6.8 5.1 1.2 23.9 9.2 52.7
Houston 7.4 6.5 5.3 0.9 19.7 7.2 54.2
Kansas -0.5 6.7 5.5 2.0 4.9 7.1 60.5
Kentucky 5.2 5.6 6.0 -1.5 11.7 5.4 60.0
Miami (Fla.) 1.5 6.7 5.7 1.8 8.5 4.5 56.5
Michigan 1.1 6.3 4.2 4.1 11.3 3.4 57.2
Michigan St. 10.8 4.2 6.3 -3.1 20.3 15.3 57.7
Missouri 4.8 5.3 6.5 -3.0 8.8 5.9 58.8
Nevada 1.0 6.3 4.5 2.6 9.3 4.6 54.5
North Carolina 11.7 5.3 6.1 -0.6 25.4 4.5 61.5
Ohio St. 5.6 6.1 5.0 0.6 15.9 6.9 58.1
Oklahoma 1.3 6.7 6.8 -0.4 4.8 2.9 61.2
Purdue 2.4 6.1 5.2 1.9 10.6 8.9 59.1
Rhode Island 1.3 7.6 5.6 5.2 12.0 1.8 53.6
Saint Mary’s 5.4 4.6 5.4 0.2 13.9 7.5 50.8
Seton Hall 4.3 6.6 6.0 0.2 12.1 3.0 58.6
TCU 6.4 6.8 6.0 0.3 16.5 4.2 59.3
Tennessee 1.7 6.7 5.7 2.0 9.1 2.7 60.7
Texas A&M 6.9 5.9 6.5 -2.7 13.6 5.8 60.7
Texas Tech 4.4 8.1 5.9 3.4 16.4 7.6 58.2
Villanova 2.4 6.6 4.6 3.0 12.5 7.4 59.9
Virginia 2.7 7.2 4.0 4.8 15.8 8.3 59.8
West Virginia 3.9 8.4 5.6 5.7 18.1 1.7 59.4
Wichita St. 10.3 4.7 6.0 0.3 23.3 7.0 55.8
Xavier 6.6 5.7 6.7 -1.2 14.2 6.8 59.8
Buffalo 1.6 6.4 5.7 1.3 8.0 3.8 50.4
East Tennessee St. 5.2 7.7 6.2 1.3 15.4 7.4 48.1
Louisiana-Lafayette 7.2 7.7 6.0 1.4 19.7 4.5 49.2
Loyola (Chi.) 1.9 6.4 6.5 0.4 6.9 10.0 50.2
Middle Tennessee 6.3 6.3 5.5 1.0 17.3 3.6 53.4
Nevada 1.0 6.3 4.5 2.6 9.3 4.2 54.5
New Mexico St. 8.1 5.6 4.6 1.4 21.8 6.0 50.8
South Dakota St. 3.6 5.3 5.0 0.6 11.5 4.2 49.8
Vermont 4.5 3.9 5.4 0.2 11.8 5.0 49.9

Did you notice that Texas Tech is listed in Bold Font?  At the present time, the Red Raiders are the only Division 1 team that qualifies as a “Complete Team.”  If they can keep this rating by Selection Sunday, they might be a sleeper to make the Final Four.  TTU plays Kansas on Saturday.

Cincinnati misses out on complete team status by the thinnest of margins.  Their strength of schedule is 54.9, just a tenth of a point off the minimum criteria.

Virginia is another team that just misses complete team status.  The Cavs fall three-tenths of a steal shy.

Remember–The Atlantic Sun Tournament begins play one week from tonight.  Florida Gulf Coast has secured the top seed and is guaranteed to be the home team in any game it plays, but Lipscomb is now almost a co-favorite to win the A-Sun Tournament.  The Bisons beat FGCU in Fort Myers this weekend, and they are the hottest team in the league.

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February 16, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 16-18, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:25 am

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Spreads For Multi-Bid Conferences and Top Mid & Low Majors

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
St. Bonaventure Rhode Island 0.6
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Central Florida SMU -0.7
Tulane Memphis 2.7
Miami (Fla.) Syracuse 6.2
Georgia Tech Virginia Tech -5.1
Boston College Notre Dame -0.9
Wake Forest North Carolina St. 0.3
Louisville North Carolina 0.0
Oklahoma Texas 5.7
Kansas St. Iowa St. 7.5
Kansas West Virginia 3.9
Baylor Texas Tech -1.1
TCU Oklahoma St. 8.3
Butler Providence 8.0
Xavier Villanova -4.0
Creighton Marquette 8.0
Northwestern Michigan St. -9.4
Iowa Indiana 0.9
Maryland Rutgers 12.6
Boise St. Air Force 17.8
San Diego St. UNLV 3.9
Wyoming San Jose St. 15.1
Utah St. Nevada -8.1
Fresno St. Colorado St. 13.9
Washington Colorado 3.7
Washington St. Utah -7.5
UCLA Oregon 4.9
USC Oregon St. 9.5
LSU Missouri 0.4
Kentucky Alabama 4.4
South Carolina Auburn -6.4
Arkansas Texas A&M 2.7
Vanderbilt Florida -3.2
Georgia Tennessee -4.4
Mississippi St. Ole Miss 6.3
San Diego BYU -3.4
San Francisco Loyola Marymount 8.8
Gonzaga Pepperdine 29.2
Portland Saint Mary’s -16.1
Pacific Santa Clara 10.0
Louisiana Tech Middle Tennessee -3.8
Rice Western Kentucky -12.2
Murray St. Tennessee Tech 14.1
Louisiana-Lafayette Texas-Arlington 10.3
Seattle New Mexico St. -8.0
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
East Carolina Connecticut -4.7
Tulsa South Florida 15.9
Cincinnati Wichita St. 7.3
Temple Houston -2.2
Clemson Duke -3.1
Florida St. Pittsburgh 20.7
Seton Hall DePaul 11.4
Michigan Ohio St. 2.0
Illinois Nebraska -0.7
Purdue Penn St. 11.9
California Stanford -6.4
Evansville Loyola (Chi.) -5.9

PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 120.5 BIGE
2 Purdue 119.9 BTEN
3 Duke 119.8 ACC
4 Virginia 119.6 ACC
5 Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 118.5 AAC
7 North Carolina 116.1 ACC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Kansas 116.0 B12
10 Texas Tech 116.0 B12
11 West Virginia 115.6 B12
12 Auburn 115.2 SEC
13 Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
14 Tennessee 114.1 SEC
15 Creighton 113.4 BIGE
16 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
17 Clemson 113.2 ACC
18 Xavier 113.0 BIGE
19 Arizona 112.8 PAC12
20 Nevada 112.5 MWC
21 TCU 112.4 B12
22 Texas A&M 112.4 SEC
23 Florida St. 112.3 ACC
24 Oklahoma 112.2 B12
25 Louisville 112.1 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 118.5 AAC
Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
Houston 111.5 AAC
SMU 107.6 AAC
Temple 105.8 AAC
UCF 103.9 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Memphis 99.7 AAC
Tulane 99.4 AAC
Connecticut 99.4 AAC
East Carolina 91.7 AAC
South Florida 89.9 AAC
Duke 119.8 ACC
Virginia 119.6 ACC
North Carolina 116.1 ACC
Clemson 113.2 ACC
Florida St. 112.3 ACC
Louisville 112.1 ACC
Miami FL 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.7 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.6 ACC
North Carolina St. 108.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.3 ACC
Boston College 106.3 ACC
Wake Forest 105.6 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.5 ACC
Pittsburgh 95.1 ACC
Kansas 116.0 B12
Texas Tech 116.0 B12
West Virginia 115.6 B12
TCU 112.4 B12
Oklahoma 112.2 B12
Baylor 111.4 B12
Texas 110.0 B12
Kansas St. 109.1 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.6 B12
Iowa St. 105.1 B12
Villanova 120.5 BIGE
Creighton 113.4 BIGE
Xavier 113.0 BIGE
Butler 112.0 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.3 BIGE
Marquette 108.9 BIGE
Providence 107.5 BIGE
St. John’s 107.1 BIGE
Georgetown 104.9 BIGE
DePaul 103.4 BIGE
Purdue 119.9 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 111.9 BTEN
Penn St. 111.5 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Nebraska 107.8 BTEN
Indiana 107.1 BTEN
Northwestern 107.0 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.9 BTEN
Iowa 105.0 BTEN
Minnesota 104.8 BTEN
Illinois 104.1 BTEN
Rutgers 101.6 BTEN
Nevada 112.5 MWC
Boise St. 108.0 MWC
San Diego St. 106.8 MWC
Fresno St. 106.5 MWC
UNLV 106.4 MWC
New Mexico 102.1 MWC
Wyoming 101.9 MWC
Utah St. 100.9 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.7 MWC
San Jose St. 90.3 MWC
Arizona 112.8 PAC12
Arizona St. 110.8 PAC12
USC 109.2 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 107.7 PAC12
Stanford 104.2 PAC12
Oregon St. 103.2 PAC12
Washington 103.1 PAC12
Colorado 102.9 PAC12
Washington St. 97.2 PAC12
California 94.8 PAC12
Auburn 115.2 SEC
Tennessee 114.1 SEC
Texas A&M 112.4 SEC
Florida 111.8 SEC
Kentucky 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 111.1 SEC
Missouri 110.7 SEC
Alabama 110.4 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.8 SEC
LSU 107.6 SEC
Georgia 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
South Carolina 105.3 SEC
Mississippi 104.5 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.0 WCC
BYU 106.9 WCC
San Diego 100.5 WCC
San Francisco 100.0 WCC
Pacific 99.4 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.2 WCC
Portland 92.9 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 90.3 WCC

Top Mid-Major and Low-Major Teams

Rhode Island 111.5 A10
Middle Tennessee 108.2 CUSA
Western Kentucky 106.7 CUSA
Loyola Chicago 107.4 MVC
Murray St. 106.4 OVC
Louisiana Lafayette 108.3 SB
South Dakota 106.8 Sum
New Mexico St. 108.4 WAC

Great TV Watching Options This Weekend

Once again, another great schedule of games allows college basketball fans some excellent viewing options.  Beginning tonight (Friday) at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, St. Bonaventure hosts Rhode Island.  The game will air on ESPN2.  The Bonnies (9-4/19-6) are tied for second place in the Atlantic 10 still have a remote chance to receive an at-large bid, and any chance would necessitate a win over URI.

Saturday’s great slate of games begins at 12 Noon Eastern Time.  Oklahoma hosts Texas on ESPN; Butler hosts Providence on Fox; and Miami hosts Syracuse on CBS.

At 4 PM EST, one of the best games of the day could be Arkansas hosting Texas A&M on ESPN.  At 4:30 PM EST, the Big East regular season title could be decided when Xavier hosts Villanova on Fox.  The winner should remain a number one seed on Monday.

At 6 PM EST, Kansas hosts West Virginia on ESPN.  The loser of this game will probably be eliminated from the Big 12 regular season race, while the winner will become Texas Tech’s key rival.

At 7 PM EST, Florida Gulf Coast hosts Lipscomb on ESPN3.  FGCU has already clinched the top seed in the Atlantic Sun, while Lipscomb is currently number two.  The significance here is that FGCU will host the A-Sun Tournament, so it will be interesting to see if the second best team in the league can compete with them on the same floor.

At 7:30 PM EST on ESPNU, Baylor hosts Texas Tech.  TTU has a chance to gain a game on one of the two nearest contenders (KU-WVU), but if the Red Raiders lose, then they will lose a game to the winner of that other game.  Baylor is actually the hottest team in the Big 12, and a win here would give the Bears a great upward move in the Bubble.

At 8:15 PM EST, Louisville host North Carolina on ESPN.  The winner has a chance to move up to number two in the ACC by the end of the weekend, while the loser could fall down in the standings as far as ninth place.

At 10:15 PM EST on ESPN, UCLA hosts Oregon.  Both teams are currently Bubble teams, so the winner will start the new week in good shape, while the loser will be facing some must win games.

Sunday presents additional excellent viewing options.  It starts at 1 PM EST, with two excellent Power Conference games.  Rivals Michigan and Ohio State square off in Ann Arbor in a game televised by CBS.  At the same time, Clemson hosts Duke on the ACC Network.

At 2 PM EST on ESPN3, it might not sound like a big game, but the Vermont-Hartford game in Burlington might be one to consider watching.  UVA is 12-0 in the America East Conference and will most likely host the conference tournament.  Hartford is one of three teams with enough talent to pull off an upset.

The top game of the day tips off at 4 PM EST, when Cincinnati hosts Wichita State.  This will be a battle of two aggressive, defense-dominant teams.  Cinti fell at Houston Thursday night, while the Shockers had to come from behind to beat Temple.  Seeding will be on the line in this one.

Finally, at 8 PM EST on the Big Ten Network, Penn State visits Purdue.  The Nittany Lions roared big time in a Thursday night blowout against Ohio State.  If Penn State pulls off the upset Sunday, that will give them two Quadrant 1 wins in a row, and that will certainly place Penn State in the heat of the discussion.  Purdue must win this game to remain in contention for a number one seed.

 

 

February 15, 2018

2018 NCAA Division 1 Conference Tournament Schedule

Here is a look at the 32 Division 1 conferences’ tournament schedules.  A few league still have “to be announced starting times.”

America East Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
Tournament Re-seeded after quarterfinals
Top 8 Teams
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 ESPN3
TBA #4 #5 ESPN3
TBA #2 #7 ESPN3
TBA #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
TBA 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Higher Lower ESPN2

Vermont (11-0/21-5) has won 14 games in a row and should be the overwhelming favorite to return to the NCAA Tournament.  The Catamounts are one of the better shooting teams from behind the arc, and they are sneaking good on the boards.  They will not be an easy out for a favored power conference team in the first round.

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Orlando, FL
First 3 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
       
First Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM # 8 #9 ESPNU
2:30 PM #5 #12 ESPNU
6:00 PM #7 #10 ESPNU
8:30 PM #6 #11 ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPNU
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBS
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBS
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

Cincinnati (12-0/23-2) faces three tough regular season  games on their schedule before the AAC Tournament begins.  The Bearcats play at Houston (9-3/19-5) tonight in a game you can see on CBSSN at 7 PM Eastern.  UC looks like a national championship contender.  The Bearcats are number one in the nation in field goal percentage defense and in scoring margin.  The team is one of the quickest teams we have seen in many years, and they plug defensive holes fast enough to give up many decent shots.  Coach Mick Cronin’s forces are better offensively this year, because they just may be the best passing team in college basketball.  The ball moves much quicker through the air than by the dribble, and combining fast player movement with crisp passing makes it hard to contain.  The only question is whether the Bearcats have played a tough enough schedule.  Road games at Houston and Wichita State will give us the answer.

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Washington, DC
First 4 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #12 #13  
8:30 PM #11 #14  
       
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 NBCSN
2:30 PM #5 12 or 13 NBCSN
6:00 PM #7 #10 NBCSN
8:30 PM #6 11 or 14 NBCSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 NBCSN
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 CBSSN
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

Rhode Island (13-0/21-3) has secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament with or without the automatic bid.  Should somebody upset the Rams in the A-10 Tournament, there will be an extra A-10 team dancing, which means one bubble will pop.  URI has a 16-game winning streak, and Danny Hurley will become a hot commodity in the coaching wars in late March and April.

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Brooklyn
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #12 #13 ESPN2
2:00 PM #10 #15 ESPN2
7:00 PM #11 #14 ESPNU
       
Second Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN
2:00 PM #5 12 or 13 ESPN
7:00 PM #7 10 or 15 ESPN2
9:00 PM #6 11 or 14 ESPN2
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN
2:00 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
7:00 PM #2 7, 10, or 15 ESPN
9:00 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 ESPN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 TBA
9:00 PM 2, 7, 10, or 15 3, 6, 11, or 14 TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN

Virginia (13-1/24-2) lost at home to rival Virginia Tech (7-6/18-8), placing the Hokies many places higher on the Bubble.  This tournament should be up for grabs, because there are many quality teams.  One will get hot and play its best basketball of the season, and that team will earn the automatic bid.  Keep an eye on North Carolina State (7-6/17-9).  First year coach Kevin Keatts proved to be one of the best tournament coaches when he was at UNCW, and his players have played well above their talent levels for him.  Just a tad more improvement, and the Wolf Pack could be dangerous in the Barclay’s Center.

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 26
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 Florida Gulf Coast #8 ESPN3
TBA #4 #5 ESPN3
TBA #2 #7 ESPN3
TBA #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA 1 or 8 4 or 5 ESPN3
TBA 2 or 7 3 or 6 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA     ESPN

Florida Gulf Coast (11-0/20-8) has already secured the top seed and will host every game it plays in the A-Sun Tournament.  This Eagles team is not as strong as the great dunking 2013 team that advanced to the Sweet 16, but it will be a major upset if FGCU loses.

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Kansas City
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 ESPNU
8:00 PM #7 #10 ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #4 #5 ESPN2
1:30 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPNU
8:00 PM #3 #6 ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN2
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPN

This will be one interesting and exciting tournament.  Except for Iowa State, any of the other nine teams has the ability to win this tournament.  It will be important to finish in the top six to avoid having to play an extra game to win the thing, but even the 7 through 9 seeds will have chances to win four games in four days.  Baylor (6-7/16-10) has won four straight games to move from the cellar to a fifth place tie.  The Bears are the hot team, and their wins at Oklahoma State and Texas plus a home win over Kansas proves that they are good enough to keep winning.  Saturday’s game against front-runner Texas Tech (10-3/22-4) should be one of the best of the weekend.

Big East Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #8 #9 FS1
9:30 PM #7 #10 FS1
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 FS1
2:30 PM #4 #5 FS1
7:00 PM #2 7 or 10 FS1
9:30 PM #3 #6 FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM 1, 8,or 9 4 or 5 FS1
9:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 FS1
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM     Fox

Villanova (10-3/23-3) dropped from the top of the polls and then dropped from the top of the conference.  Xavier (12-2/24-3) is the hot team, but the Musketeers have eeked out a lot of their wins this year.  Teams that pick up many close wins seldom advance to the Final Four, but it is not impossible.  Xavier pinned one of the losses on Cincinnati, and it is slightly possible that the Final Four could have two teams from the Queen City.

After losing 11 games in a row, St. John’s (3-11/14-13) has won four in a row, including two over top five teams (Duke and Villanova).  Seldom does the last place team look capable of winning a power conference tournament, but there is precedence.  Virginia won the ACC after finishing last in the standings one season in the 1970’s.

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Reno, NV
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 Pluto tv
2:30 PM #5 #12 Pluto tv
5:30 PM #7 #10 Pluto tv
8:00 PM #6 #11 Pluto tv
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Pluto tv
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Pluto tv
5:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Pluto tv
8:00 PM #3 6 or 11 Pluto tv
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 Pluto tv
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 Pluto tv
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPNU

Three teams have put it together in the month of February, and one of the three should win the tournament.  Montana (13-0/20-5) has won 13 games in a row; Weber St. (10-2/17-7) has won 7 in a row; and Idaho (9-3/17-7) has won 4 in a row.  Montana plays at Idaho on Saturday.

Big South Conference Tournament
1st Round & Championship Game at Higher Seeds
Quarterfinals and Semfinals at #1 Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #7 #10 BSN
7:00 PM #8 #9 BSN
BSN TV at http://bigsouthsports.com    
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
3:30 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Home Visitors TV
6:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN3
8:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM     ESPN

UNC-Asheville (11-3/18-9) was the preseason pick to win the Big South, but the Bulldogs underachieved through early January.  Since then, UNCA has passed four teams to move to the top of the standings, riding a 7-game winning streak.  Keep an eye on eighth place Charleston Southern (6-8/11-14).  The Buccaneers have won four of five games, and they could easily be 9-9 by the time the tournament starts.  Many of CSU’s losses have been close, including road losses against the top part of the league.  The Bucs are peaking at the right time.

Big Ten Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #12 #13 Big Ten
7:45 PM #11 #14 Big Ten
       
Second Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 Big Ten
2:15 PM #5 12 or 13 Big Ten
6:30 PM #7 #10 Big Ten
8:45 PM #6 11 or 14 Big Ten
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Big Ten
2:15 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 Big Ten
6:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Big Ten
8:45 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 Big Ten
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 CBS
4:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 CBS
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS

The Big Ten season is ending early this year so the league can stage its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.  MSG also hosts the Big East Tournament.

The top three teams (Ohio St. 13-1/22-5), Michigan St. (13-2/25-3), and Purdue (12-2/23-4) have separated themselves from the rest of the field and are all safely in the Dance.  Michigan (10-5/21-7) is close to a lock.  There are three or four other teams that will begin the tournament needing multiple wins to have a chance to get into the field.  Nebraska (11-4/20-8) is a victim of the new way of picking at-large teams.  In past years, the Cornhuskers would be a near lock with an 11-4 record in the Big Ten.  With the new quadrant system being used, Nebraska does not have a Quadrant 1 win and not enough Quadrant 2 wins.  The Huskers have three winnable conference games and could be 14-4 in the league and still back on the Bubble, so NU will need to do some damage in the Big Apple.

Big West Conference Tournament
Anaheim, CA
Top 8 Teams Qualify & Tournament Re-seeds for Semifinals
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #2 #7 FSWest
2:30 PM #3 #6 FSWest
6:00 PM #1 #8 FSWest
8:30 PM #4 #5 FSWest
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining TBA
9:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

UC-Santa Barbara (8-2/19-5), UC-Irvine (8-3/13-14), UC-Davis (7-4/16-9), Cal State Fullerton (7-4/14-9), and Long Beach St. (7-4/13-14) have stayed bunched together all season, and no team has a great edge over any other.  With the game at the Honda Center in Anaheim, there are basically three home teams in UCI, CSF, and LBSU.  This one is up for grabs.

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
North Charleston, SC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 CAA TV
8:30 PM #7 #10 CAA TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Comcast
2:30 PM #4 #5 Comcast
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 Comcast
8:30 PM #3 #6 Comcast
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     CBSSN

In the late 1990’s John Kresse took College of Charleston to multiple NCAA Tournaments.  The Cougars (11-3/20-6) have not been to the Big Dance since, but this looks like the most promising year this century for C of C.  The Cougars are strong in the backcourt and have a beefy forward in Jarrell Brantley.

Conference USA Tournament
Frisco, TX
Top 12 Teams Qualify
All Times CST
       
Note: This facility splits into two separate courts until the semifinals
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 TBA
6:30 PM #5 #12 TBA
8:30 PM #7 #10 TBA
9:00 PM #6 #11 TBA
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Stadium
6:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Stadium
8:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Stadium
9:00 PM #3 6 or 11 Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBSSN
3:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

Middle Tennessee (12-1/20-5) will be the favorite, but the Blue Raiders will not waltz to an easy three-peat in CUSA.  The tournament has been moved to the North Dallas suburbs, where it will be played on the Cowboys’ practice facility.  The football field will be split into two courts so that two games can be played at a time (women’s tournament will also be there simultaneously).

The next three best teams, Western Kentucky (10-2/18-7), Old Dominion (10-2/19-5), and Marshall (8-4/17-8) have very little chance of sniffing an at-large bid.  WKU may have a slight chance, but realistically the Hilltoppers need to win out in the regular season and make it to the finals before their at-large hopes would be legitimate.

It’s the tier below these top four that should concern Middle Tennessee the most.  North Texas (7-5/14-11) is virtually a home team in the conference tournament.  UTSA (7-5/14-11) has improved by 10 points since December.  UAB (7-6/16-10) has not yet played up to its talent level, which means the Blazers could peak at tournament time.

Horizon League Tournament
Detroit (Motor City Madness)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
8:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
5:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
8:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
       
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPNU
9:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPNU
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

Northern Kentucky (12-2/19-7) and Wright St. (11-3/19-8) have flip-flopped between first and second place all year.  Northern Kentucky is the defending conference champions, and the Norse were the overwhelming favorite to repeat this year.

There are a couple more teams to consider in this tournament.  UIC (10-4/15-12) has quietly moved into third following a 7-game winning streak, and the top two teams still must visit UIC Pavilion.  Oakland (8-6/16-11) has a powerful, up-tempo offense, which is not all that consistent.  When consistent, the Golden Grizzlies have the ability to beat any league opponent.  Oakland won by 13 at NKU.

Ivy League Tournament
Philadelphia (Ivy Madness)
Top 4 Teams Qualify
Semifinals EST Championship Game EDT
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM #1 #4 ESPNU
3:00 PM #2 #3 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

Penn (7-1/17-7) and Harvard (7-1/12-11) have secured half of the spots in the field of four that will square off at the Palestra.  The Quakers will have the home court advantage.

The other two spots are still very much up for grabs with five teams competing and six conference games remaining.  This is a down year for the Ivy, and the winner of the tournament will most likely face a #1 seed in the first round if not forced to go to Dayton for the First Four.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Albany, NY
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM # 8 #9 ESPN3
7:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
9:00 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
9:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
9:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

This is a league in transition, as its previous top teams have settled back in the pack.  The current top three in the standings are the three teams playing their best ball in February, and we would tend to believe that one of the trio will win the automatic bid.  Those three teams are: Rider (12-2/19-7), Canisius (12-2/18-9), and Niagara (10-4/17-10).  For Rider and Canisius, it was the mid 1990’s when they were in the NCAA Tournament, while Niagara went in 2007.

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Cleveland (First Round at Higher Seeds)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #8 #9 TBA
TBA #5 #12 TBA
TBA #7 #10 TBA
TBA #6 #11 TBA
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
9:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBSSN
9:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 See *
* This game will be available at cbssports.com
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

Buffalo (11-2/19-7) looked like the clear-cut favorite until the last week or so, and now the Bulls have stiff competition from Toledo (11-2/19-7).  However, historically, the MAC Tournament has seen an abnormally large number of surprises.  We don’t expect it to be any different this year.  Central Michigan (5-8/16-10) has disappointed this year, as their talent level is better than their results so far.  The Chippewas are a very longshot to win the tournament, but it would not surprise us if CMU looks much stronger in Cleveland–if they get there.

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Norfolk, VA
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 #13 ESPN3
9:00 PM #5 #12 ESPN3
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
6:30 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
9:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
8:00 PM 4 or 13 5 or 12 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 ESPN3
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

The winner of this conference may be forced to go to the First Four round in Dayton, but there is one team from this league that no other 16-seed wants to see in Dayton.  Savannah State (10-1/13-13) is the most up-tempo team in Division 1.  Watching the Tigers play is the closest thing to watching UNLV play in the 1970’s (not like Loyola Marymount under Paul Westhead.)  Former Georgetown great Horace Broadnax has had a total change in coaching paradigm in the last two years.  He used to coach like his mentor John Thompson, emphasizing defense and patient offense.  Now, Broadnax’s Tigers play like a Mike D’Antoni-coached team.  There is little need for a shot-clock in SSU games.  The Tigers average better than 84 possessions per game.  They take more than 73 field goal attempts per game.  They force more than 18 turnovers per game and average close to 10 steals per game, and they score 86.5 points per game.  If it weren’t for an inability to rebound, we would have SSU on our list of low majors with a legitimate chance to upset a power team in the Round of 64.  If they get to the NCAA Tournament and advance past the First Four, they will be forced to play somebody like Virginia, Villanova, or Cincinnati, and they don’t have the muscle to pull off the biggest upset in the history of the Dance.  However, if they get there, you will want to watch them play.

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
St. Louis (Arch Madness)
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 MVC TV
8:30 PM #7 #10 MVC TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 MVC TV
2:30 PM #4 #5 MVC TV
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 MVC TV
8:30 PM #3 #6 MVC TV
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
5:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

With Wichita State now in the AAC, it figured that the Valley race would be wide open.  While it still may be so, it sure looks like Loyola (Chi.) (12-3/22-5) is doing its best to return to glory.  The Ramblers won it all in 1963, and they have only been back to the NCAA Tournament one time since legendary coach George Ireland retired in the late 1960’s.  Southern Illinois (10-5/18-10) was a national joke a few years ago when Coach Barry Hinson went on one of the most famous rants in coaching history, and ESPN featured it for two days.  Hinson has never taken a team to the NCAA Tournament in 17 years as a head coach.

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:00 AM # 8 #9 Stadium
1:30 PM #7 #10 Stadium
4:00 PM #6 #11 Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 CBSSN
2:30 PM #4 #5 CBSSN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 CBSSN
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 CBSSN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

In our opinion, Eric Musselman should be the National Coach of the Year.  His Nevada Wolfpack (11-2/22-5) has 10 transfers on the roster.  Musselman inherited a 22-game loser in Reno when he arrived three years ago and immediately turned the program around, going 24-14 and winning the CBI Tournament.  He won both the regular season and conference tournament last year, but Nevada quickly got behind by double digits against Iowa State in the first round and went home after one game.

This year, Nevada has the tools to do some damage in the tournament.  They are most likely going back as an at-large team if they do not win the automatic bid.

Boise State (10-4/20-6) is worthy of making the tournament even if the Broncos cannot top Nevada for the conference tournament title.  Former Mark Few assistant Leon Rice has built the BSU program up to where it is now on par with the football program.  Rice could be in line for a pay raise and a relocation to a power conference school.

Northeast Conference Tournament
All Games at Higher Seed
Top 8 Teams Qualify and Tournament Re-seeds after Quarterfinals
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 28
Time Home Team Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 NEC *
TBA #2 #7 NEC *
TBA #3 #6 NEC *
TBA #4 #5 NEC *
* NEC Front Row at http://necfrontrow.com/
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
2:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The NEC is a candidate for placing its automatic qualifier in a First Four game.  No league team this year has enough force to do any damage in the NCAA Tournament.  First place Wagner (11-3/18-7) is not much of a favorite to win the NEC Tournament.  The Seahawks’ three conference losses came to teams in the lower half of the standings.

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Evansville, IN
Top 8 Teams Qualify, Southeast Missouri ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #5 #8 OVC
8:30 PM #6 #7 OVC
OVC Network at http://www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com/watch
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 5 or 8 OVC
8:30 PM #3 6 or 7 OVC
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 4, 5, or 8 ESPNU
9:00 PM #2 3, 6, or 7 ESPNU
       
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament is set up so that the top two seeds have large advantages over the rest of the field.  The top two start in the semifinals and only have to win twice to earn the automatic bid.

It also severely handicaps the rest of the field when the top two are considerably better than the rest of the field.  Murray State (12-2/20-5) and Belmont (12-2/20-7) have dominated the league for years, and both are capable of knocking off a favored opponent in the opening round.

The tournament has moved away from Nashville to Evansville, Indiana, so Belmont will not have a home town advantage.  Murray, Kentucky, is an easy drive from Evansville, but then so is Nashville.  It should make for a grand finale if the Racers and Bruins meet for all the marbles.

Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM # 8 #9 Pac12
2:30 PM #5 #12 Pac12
6:00 PM #7 #10 Pac12
8:30 PM #6 #11 Pac12
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Pac12
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Pac12
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 Pac12
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 Pac12
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 FS1
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     FS1

The Pac-12 may not be the best conference in the West this year.  The best four teams, maybe five teams, out West are not from the Pac-12.  Arizona (10-3/20-6) may not be as strong as Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Nevada, Boise State, and maybe New Mexico State.  So, it figures that the league will send a minimum number of teams to the Big Dance, maybe just two or three.

Arizona State (7-6/19-6) was once a lock for the NCAA Tournament, and the Sun Devils will most likely make it into the field because of the new criteria, where the way a team ends the season is not considered at all.  Wins over Kansas, Kansas State, and Xavier should be enough to get Bobby Hurley’s team into the field, where you can bet they will be placed in position to play Rhode Island in the first or second game, and the Committee will claim it was purely coincidental.

The Arizona rivals face off in Tempe tonight, and it should be one worth watching.  Tune in to ESPN at 9:00 PM Eastern.

USC, Oregon, and Washington still have work to do to make it into the field, while Utah, Colorado, and Stanford are probably looking at only an automatic bid as a means of Dancing.

Patriot League Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #7 #10 Stadium
TBA #8 #9 Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 Bucknell 8 or 9 Stadium
TBA #4 #5 Stadium
TBA #2 7 or 10 Stadium
TBA #3 #6 Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA 1 or 8 4 or 5 CBSSN
TBA 2 or 7 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA     CBSSN

Bucknell (13-2/19-9) secured the top seed this past weekend, so the Bison will host any game they play in the Pat Tourney.  One of their two league defeats came at home, so it is possible that they could be upset, but not very likely.

Southeastern Conference Tournament
St. Louis
First 4 Rounds CST, Championship Game CDT
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #12 #13 SECTV
8:30 PM #11 #14 SECTV
       
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 SECTV
2:30 PM #5 12 or 13 SECTV
6:00 PM #7 #10 SECTV
8:30 PM #6 11 or 14 SECTV
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN
2:30 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 SECTV
8:30 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 SECTV
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
2:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 ESPN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM     ESPN

There will be a double dose of Arch Madness this year, as the SEC moves its tournament to St. Louis.  It happens to coincide with the return to power of Missouri (8-5/18-8), and the Tigers’ fans may rival those from the Bluegrass.  Coach Cuonzo Martin was born just across the river, and he will have a loyal following as Mizzou has to be considered a co-favorite to win the conference tournament.  Now, if Michael Porter can suit up and play any amount of meaningful minutes, Missouri will become the odds-on favorite to win the tournament.

Auburn (11-2/23-3) will win the regular season title, while Tennessee (9-4/19-6) will most likely finish second, but the PiRates do not believe either team’s style of play and talent can win three games in three days.  If Missouri doesn’t win the tournament, it could be Alabama (8-5/17-9), a team with tough defense and enough offense to win three times in three days.

Of course, there are Florida (8-5/17-9) and Kentucky (6-7/17-9).  Who would ever count out either team with the incredible talent on both rosters?  It would not be a surprise if one or both peaked at the right time.

Southern Conference Tournament
Asheville, NC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
7:30 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
6:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

This looks like a two-team race.  East Tennessee (13-1/22-5) was cruising along with the nation’s best winning streak at 16, before they crashed and burned at UNC-Greensboro (11-2/20-6).  If anybody else wins the automatic bid, it is going to be a quick one and done.  Both ETSU and UNCG have the talent to win an opening round game.  ETSU has the strong front court, while UNCG has a fantastic press defense.

Southland Conference Tournament
Katy, TX
Top 8 Teams Qualify
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #5 #8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 #7 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #4 5 or 8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 6 or 7 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #1 4, 5, or 8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 3, 6, or 7 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

This is no longer Stephen F. Austin (10-3/21-5) and the 7 Dwarfs.  The Lumberjacks may very well win the conference tournament again this year, but they won’t just show up and receive the trophy.

Nicholls State (11-2/17-9) and Southeast Louisiana (11-3/17-10) rank ahead of SFA at the moment, and Sam Houston State (10-4/16-11) and New Orleans (10-4/13-12) are bunched up in a tight race.  None of the contenders have exceptionally strong resumes, so this league could be staring at a 16-seed in the tourney.

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
First Round at Higher Seed, Semifinal and Final Round in Houston
Grambling and Alabama A&M are ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 TBA
TBA #4 #5 TBA
TBA #2 #7 TBA
TBA #3 #6 TBA
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 TBA
8:30 PM 2 or 7 3 or 6 TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     ESPN2

It hurts that the best team, Grambling (10-3/14-12) in the league is ineligible to play in the NCAA Tournament.  The other nine teams have losing records, so the winner of this conference tournament will almost assuredly be playing in Dayton in the First Four round.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9-4/9-18) went 0-14 outside of the SWAC, yet the Lions could be the favorite to win the tournament.  Southern (8-5/12-14) and Alabama St. (6-6/6-18) are actually the two hottest teams at the moment.

Summit League Tournament
Sioux Falls, MS
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 #8 MidcoSN
8:30 PM #2 #7 MidcoSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #4 #5 MidcoSN
8:30 PM #3 #6 MidcoSN
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 MidcoSN
8:30 PM 2 or 7 3 or 6 MidcoSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

The top two teams will send a lot of fans to Sioux Falls to make their games feel like home games.  South Dakota State (10-1/22-6) and South Dakota (10-2/23-6) have to be considered prohibitive co-favorites, but we will keep a careful eye on Fort Wayne (6-6/17-12).  The Mastodons are like the Boston Red Sox during the Ted Williams days.  You know they are going to score, score, score with a powerful offense, but you never know if they are going to give up too many to the opponent.  If you saw the second half of Fort Wayne’s two-point loss at SDSU, you know that when this team puts it all together, they can beat any team in the Summit.  Indiana coach Archie Miller will tell you how talented these guys are.  The question is, will they ever put it all together for three consecutive days?

Sun Belt Conference Tournament
New Orleans
First 3 Rounds CST, Championship Game CDT
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM # 8 #9 ESPN3
2:00 PM #5 #12 ESPN3
5:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:00 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN3
5:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 ESPN3
2:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

A month ago, this tournament looked like a mere formality where the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (11-1/21-4) would party in New Orleans.  As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friends.”  From almost out of nowhere, Georgia State (10-3/19-7).  A recent 10-game winning streak, which included a 14-point trouncing of ULL, brought GSU to within a game of first place.

West Coast Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 The W
8:00 PM #7 #10 The W
The W at: http://www.wccsports.com/ot/upcoming-events.html
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #3 #6 The W
3:00 PM #4 #5 The W
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
9:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN2
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

We know about the top two teams, as they are always in contention for an NCAA bid every year.  Gonzaga (13-1/23-4) is no longer a mid-major team.  Once you make it to within a couple minutes of a national championship, you deserve the ranks to join teams from the past like UNLV, Marquette, Jacksonville, and UTEP that came to national prominence from out of nowhere.

Saint Mary’s (13-1/24-3) is not that far behind Gonzaga.  With Jock Londale in the post, they may have the top center in the nation.  SMU should get into the Dance as an at-large if they do not win the automatic bid.

Now, the question is can a third team earn a bubble-busting spot by beating both of the league powers?  BYU (9-5/20-7) certainly has the talent to get hot and run the table at Orleans Arena.  The Cougars can be tough to match up with, especially when they get their running game going.

Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
2:30 PM #2 #7 ESPN3
6:00 PM #1 #8 ESPN3
8:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 3 or 6 2 or 7 ESPN3
8:30 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPNU

This is a league with one really good team and three or four average teams that have the capability to sneak into the tournament title.  It would be ashamed for this league if New Mexico State (9-0/22-3) were to be upset in the tournament and end up as a 1-seed in the NIT.  The Aggies may have their best team in Las Cruces since Lou Henson took the 1970 team to the Final Four.  Coach Chris Jans has been rebuilding his reputation, and after a stint as Gregg Marshall’s assistant at Wichita State, he has made a strong comeback in his first year at NMSU.  He may be able to set up a long dynasty in the WAC.

Before you think that the Aggies will go through the motions and win the league title, there are four other decent teams that can beat them.  Seattle (6-3/17-9) and Utah Valley (6-3/17-8) are tied for second, but we believe that Grand Canyon (6-4/17-9) may be the team that best has the tools to upset NMSU.  The Antelopes are coached by former NBA tough man, Dan Majerle, and his teams are an extension of his hustle.

 

February 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 12, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:00 am

What a week in college basketball!  Villanova, Purdue, Duke, and Purdue lost, while Xavier continued to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat twice more.  The Muskateers are one of just two teams from the Queen City of Ohio that might be in line for a number one seed.

How can Cincinnati still be an under-the-radar team?  Look at this program.  The Bearcats are one of three teams that have made the Final Four five consecutive years (UCLA and Duke).  They have won two national titles and appeared in the Championship Game three times.

This Cinti team leads the nation in scoring margin at 20.6.  No team has finished the season with a +20 margin since Kentucky in 1996.  The Bearcats are catlike quick, and they seldom give up an easy shot.  They lead the nation in field goal percenage defense at 36%, and they dominate on the glass, seldom giving up a second shot.

Coach Mick Cronin has comes from an interesting family tree, learning the college game under Bob Huggins and Rick Pitino.  This is the best UC team since Huggins went to the Final Four with Herb Jones, Anthony Buford, and Nick Van Exel, and it could be the best Bearcat team since Ed Jucker took the school to two National Championships and a near miss third.  There are a lot of similarities between this Bearcat team and the 1962 champions.

What Are The Quadrants

With the release of the top 16 seeds a month before the real Selection Sunday, not much new came out of the committee that we did not already know, except for the fact that they seem to be placing even more emphasis this year on how each team did with quadrant wins and losses.

Our captain has already received numerous emails from friends and acquaintances asking him to explain what these quadrants are, so here is the explanation for all.

In the past, the Committee relied on won-loss records against the top 50, the 51-100 teams, the 101-150, and so on.  This was not as indicative of a team’s ability to play against the top teams in the nation as it could be.  A narrow home win over the number 50 team helped the winner a lot more than a narrow loss on the road to the number 51 team.  Teams could schedule 10 home games against opponents in the 51-100 range and go 8-2 due to home court advantage.  Meanwhile, another team might have to play all its marquee games on the road and go 3-7 against teams in the 51-100 range.  Yet, the second team might be considerably stronger than the homer team.

So, there was a change.  Now, there are four quadrants.  The ranking of the teams in each quadrant are different depending on whether a game against an opponent is at home, on a neutral floor, or on the road.  A quadrant one game is one where the home team faces an opponent ranked 1 to 30; is one where a team playing a neutral site game is facing an opponent ranked 1 to 50; or is one where a team playing a true road game is facing an opponent ranked 1 to 75.  Take a look at each quadrant.

Quadrant #1: At Home: 1-30   Neutral Site: 1-50   Road Game: 1-75

Quadrant #2: At Home: 31-75   Neutral Site: 51-100   Road Game: 76-135

Quadrant #3: At Home: 76-160   Neutral Site: 101-200   Road Game: 136-240

Quadrant #4: At Home: 161-351   Neutral Site: 201-351   Road Game 241-351

Let’s look at two teams on the Bubble, one a mid-major and one a power conference team.

Middle Tennessee State has defeated Michigan State and Minnesota in first round games in the last two NCAA Tournaments.  The Blue Raiders lead Conference USA and are listed at the most likely automatic qualifier from the league.  However, CUSA has three additional tough teams, and winning the CUSA Tournament Championship is far from a given for the Blue Raiders.  Currently at 20-5 overall, MTSU has a 1-3 record in Quadrant 1 games, a 4-1 record in Quadrant 2 games, a 4-1 record in Quadrant 3 games, and a 10-0 record in Quadrant 4 games.  Many so-called experts believe that the Blue Raiders would get in as an at-large team if they lost to Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, or Marshall in the CUSA Championship Game.

Now, let’s look at Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have improved by leaps and bounds since November and early December.  They are 10-4 in the Big Ten, good enough for fourth place, ahead of Michigan.  Yet, the Huskers are deep down on the Bubble and not really a serious contender for an at-large bid on this date.  Why?  First, the Committee does not even look at conference won-loss records.  It may be ridiculous to rule out the fact that Nebraska blew 5th place Michigan off the floor a few weeks ago and at this point of the season are plainly the superior team.  This is not what the Committee will see in the selection room.  What they will see is:

Quadrant 1: 0-6

Quadrant 2: 3-2

Quadrant 3: 7-0

Quadrant 4: 9-0

Comparing Nebraska to Middle Tennessee, the Cornhuskers are just 3-8 in top 2 Quadrant games, while the Blue Raiders are 5-4.  On the type of paper that will count, Middle Tennessee has the better resume.

What this will do is give the Mid-Major powers a better shot at making the field as at-large teams over the power conference teams that would have been sure things a few years ago.  If you are a Nebraska fan, you better hope your Cornhuskers win out to finish the regular season at 14-4 in the Big Ten, and then they win their first Big Ten Tournament game.  Anything short of that, and it’s NIT for Nebraska.

This Week’s Bracketology Gurus Field of 68

Seed Team Conference
1 Villanova B East
1 Virginia ACC
1 Xavier B East
1 Purdue B Ten
2 Kansas B12
2 Auburn SEC
2 Duke ACC
2 Cincinnati AAC
3 Clemson ACC
3 Texas Tech B12
3 North Carolina ACC
3 Michigan St. B Ten
4 Tennessee SEC
4 Ohio St. B Ten
4 Arizona Pac12
4 Oklahoma B12
5 West Virginia B12
5 Rhode Island A-10
5 Texas A&M SEC
5 Gonzaga WCC
6 Kentucky SEC
6 Arizona St. Pac12
6 Wichita St. AAC
6 Florida SEC
7 Seton Hall B East
7 Miami (Fla.) ACC
7 Creighton B East
7 Saint Mary’s WCC
8 Alabama SEC
8 TCU B12
8 Missouri SEC
8 Butler B East
9 Nevada MWC
9 Michigan B Ten
9 Florida St. ACC
9 Arkansas SEC
10 Texas B12
10 Houston AAC
10 Providence B East
10 Washington Pac12
11 Virginia Tech ACC
11 UCLA Pac12
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Louisville ACC
12 Syracuse ACC
12 North Carolina St. ACC
12 Kansas St. B12
13 Vermont A East
13 East Tennessee St. SoCon
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 South Dakota Summit
14 Murray St. OVC
14 Charleston CAA
14 Rider MAAC
14 Montana B Sky
15 UCSB B West
15 Northern Kentucky Horizon
15 Bucknell Patriot
15 Wagner NEC
16 Florida GCU A Sun
16 UNC-Asheville B Sth
16 Harvard Ivy
16 SE Louisiana SLC
16 North Carolina A&T MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC
     
 # Bubble Teams Out Conference
69 Temple AAC
70 USC Pac12
71 Boise State MWC
72 Mississippi State SEC
73 LSU SEC
74 St. Bonaventure A-10
75 Baylor B12
76 Maryland B Ten
77 Nebraska B Ten
78 Western Kentucky CUSA

First Four Games in Dayton

Louisville vs. Kansas St.

Syracuse vs. North Carolina St.

Harvard vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Southeast Louisiana vs. North Carolina A&T

Last Four Byes

Providence

Washington

Virginia Tech

UCLA

 

 

February 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 9-11, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:00 am

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Note–We add one Friday night game to Include Rhode Island in our coverage.

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Rhode Island Davidson 6.1
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Temple -12.5
Wichita St. Connecticut 18.6
North Carolina St. North Carolina -4.7
Boston College Miami (Fla.) -2.6
Notre Dame Florida St. 1.5
Virginia Virginia Tech 12.4
West Virginia Oklahoma St. 11.8
Baylor Kansas -2.6
Iowa St. Oklahoma -4.6
TCU Texas 5.5
Kansas St. Texas Tech -2.5
Villanova Butler 12.5
St. John’s Marquette 1.0
Creighton Xavier 1.8
Georgetown Seton Hall -4.6
Providence DePaul 8.9
Maryland Northwestern 6.6
Michigan St. Purdue 1.6
Nebraska Rutgers 9.9
Ohio St. Iowa 12.3
Air Force New Mexico -6.4
Colorado St. San Jose St. 8.9
Nevada San Diego St. 7.6
UNLV Wyoming 7.8
Utah St. Boise St. -4.3
Arizona St. UCLA 5.9
Utah California 14.4
Oregon St. Washington 0.3
Arizona USC 6.6
South Carolina Florida -1.7
Missouri Mississippi St. 5.9
Georgia Auburn -6.2
LSU Ole Miss 4.6
Alabama Tennessee -2.6
Texas A&M Kentucky 3.6
Arkansas Vanderbilt 8.4
BYU San Francisco 12.0
Santa Clara San Diego -7.0
Loyola Marymount Pepperdine 7.2
Saint Mary’s Gonzaga 3.4
Pacific Portland 9.4
Middle Tennessee North Texas 14.3
New Mexico St. Grand Canyon 8.6
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
SMU Cincinnati -5.3
Memphis Central Florida -0.9
Houston Tulane 13.8
Pittsburgh Louisville -12.0
Syracuse Wake Forest 6.8
Georgia Tech Duke -13.5
Wisconsin Michigan -2.6
Illinois Penn St. -1.3
Colorado Stanford 1.7
Oregon Washington St. 13.1

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.4 BIGE
2 Purdue 120.3 BTEN
3 Virginia 119.9 ACC
4 Duke 119.4 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 117.8 AAC
7 Kansas 116.7 B12
8 West Virginia 115.8 B12
9 North Carolina 115.7 ACC
10 Auburn 115.6 SEC
11 Tennessee 115.2 SEC
12 Xavier 115.1 BIGE
13 Texas Tech 115.1 B12
14 Gonzaga 114.9 WCC
15 Saint Mary’s 114.8 WCC
16 Wichita St. 114.6 AAC
17 Ohio St. 113.9 BTEN
18 Creighton 113.4 BIGE
19 Clemson 113.2 ACC
20 Florida St. 112.7 ACC
21 Oklahoma 112.6 B12
22 TCU 112.5 B12
23 Butler 112.4 BIGE
24 Arizona 112.4 PAC12
25 Nevada 111.6 MWC

This week, we add three highly-ranked Mid-Major teams that are good enough to receive at-large bids if they fail to win their conference’s automatic bids.  In most likelihood, these three teams would need to at least make the semifinals of their conference tournament.

Team PiRate Conf.
Rhode Island 111.1 A-10
New Mexico St. 109.0 WAC
Middle Tennessee 108.8 CUSA

PiRate Ratings By Power Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.8 AAC
Wichita St. 114.6 AAC
Houston 110.6 AAC
SMU 109.0 AAC
Temple 105.4 AAC
UCF 103.6 AAC
Tulsa 102.4 AAC
Tulane 100.3 AAC
Connecticut 99.5 AAC
Memphis 99.2 AAC
East Carolina 91.1 AAC
South Florida 89.9 AAC
Virginia 119.9 ACC
Duke 119.4 ACC
North Carolina 115.7 ACC
Clemson 113.2 ACC
Florida St. 112.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.6 ACC
Louisville 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.5 ACC
Notre Dame 110.2 ACC
Syracuse 108.6 ACC
North Carolina St. 108.0 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.3 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.9 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.4 ACC
Kansas 116.7 B12
West Virginia 115.8 B12
Texas Tech 115.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.6 B12
TCU 112.5 B12
Baylor 110.6 B12
Texas 110.5 B12
Kansas St. 109.1 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.5 B12
Iowa St. 104.5 B12
Villanova 121.4 BIGE
Xavier 115.1 BIGE
Creighton 113.4 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.5 BIGE
Marquette 109.2 BIGE
Providence 107.9 BIGE
St. John’s 106.7 BIGE
Georgetown 103.9 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 120.3 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.9 BTEN
Michigan 111.6 BTEN
Maryland 110.4 BTEN
Penn St. 109.9 BTEN
Northwestern 107.8 BTEN
Nebraska 107.6 BTEN
Indiana 106.1 BTEN
Minnesota 106.1 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.5 BTEN
Illinois 105.1 BTEN
Iowa 105.1 BTEN
Rutgers 101.2 BTEN
Nevada 111.6 MWC
Boise St. 108.6 MWC
San Diego St. 107.5 MWC
UNLV 106.4 MWC
Fresno St. 106.1 MWC
New Mexico 102.2 MWC
Wyoming 102.1 MWC
Utah St. 100.8 MWC
Colorado St. 96.0 MWC
Air Force 92.8 MWC
San Jose St. 90.6 MWC
Arizona 112.4 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.0 PAC12
USC 109.3 PAC12
UCLA 108.6 PAC12
Oregon 107.1 PAC12
Utah 106.5 PAC12
Washington 104.8 PAC12
Stanford 104.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.8 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.1 PAC12
Washington St. 97.5 PAC12
California 95.6 PAC12
Auburn 115.6 SEC
Tennessee 115.2 SEC
Texas A&M 111.6 SEC
Kentucky 111.5 SEC
Florida 110.9 SEC
Missouri 110.5 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Alabama 109.1 SEC
Mississippi St. 108.1 SEC
LSU 106.7 SEC
Georgia 106.4 SEC
South Carolina 105.7 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.4 SEC
Mississippi 105.1 SEC
Gonzaga 114.9 WCC
Saint Mary’s 114.8 WCC
BYU 107.8 WCC
San Diego 101.9 WCC
Pacific 99.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.3 WCC
Portland 93.2 WCC
Loyola Marymount 93.1 WCC
Santa Clara 91.9 WCC
Pepperdine 88.9 WCC

Conference Tournaments Less Than 3 Weeks Away

It seems to have crept up on us this year.  In our environs, it has been a much colder and much wetter winter, the type that makes you feel it will last for a year.  So, it surprised us this morning when one of our followers asked us when we would post the conference tournament schedules like we do every year.

We will get to work on that this week and hopefully will have this in next Friday’s report or in a separate one midweek.

For now, here is a list of the conference tournaments with the dates.  The first action begins in just 17 days.

2018 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS
LEAGUE DATE LOCATION
Atlantic Sun Feb. 26-Mar. 4 Higher Seed
Big South Feb. 27, Mar. 1-4 Higher Seed
Patriot Feb. 27, Mar. 1, 4, & 7 Higher Seed
Big Ten Feb. 28-Mar. 4 New York City
Ohio Valley Feb. 28, Mar. 1-3 San Antonio
Northeast Feb. 28, March 3 & 6 Higher Seed
Missouri Valley Mar. 1-4 St. Louis
Metro Atlantic Mar. 1-5 Albany, NY
Southern Mar. 1-5 Asheville, NC
West Coast Mar. 1-6 Las Vegas
Ivy Mar. 10-11 Philadelphia
Big West Mar. 12-14 Anaheim
Horizon Mar. 2-6 Detroit
Colonial Athletic Mar. 3-6 N. Charleson, SC
Summit Mar. 3-6 Sioux Falls, SD
America East Mar. 3, 6 & 10 Higher Seed
Mideastern Athletic Mar. 5-10 Norfolk, VA
Mid-American Mar. 5, 7-10 Higher Seed/Cleveland
Atlantic Coast Mar. 6-10 Brooklyn
Big Sky Mar. 6, 8-10 Reno, NV
Southwestern Athletic Mar. 6, 9-10 Houston
Big East Mar. 7-10 New York City
Big 12 Mar. 7-10 Kansas City
Conference USA Mar. 7-10 Frisco, TX
Mountain West Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Pac-12 Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Western Athletic Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Atlantic 10 Mar. 7-11 Washington, DC
Southeastern Mar. 7-11 St. Louis
Southland Mar. 7-11 Katy, TX
Sun Belt Mar. 7-11 New Orleans
American Athletic Mar. 8-11 Orlando

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 5, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:34 pm
Seed Team Conf.
1 Villanova BE
1 Virginia ACC
1 Purdue BTen
1 Xavier BE
2 Auburn SEC
2 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Clemson ACC
3 Michigan St. BTen
3 Texas Tech B12
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Tennessee SEC
4 Oklahoma B12
4 North Carolina ACC
4 Arizona P12
4 Kentucky SEC
5 Ohio St. BTen
5 West Virginia B12
5 Rhode Island A10
5 Seton Hall BE
6 Gonzaga WCC
6 Saint Mary’s WCC
6 Miami (Fla.) ACC
6 Creighton BE
7 Wichita St. AAC
7 Butler BE
7 Florida St. ACC
7 Nevada MWC
8 Florida SEC
8 Texas B12
8 Michigan BTen
8 Alabama SEC
9 TCU B12
9 Arizona St. P12
9 Louisville ACC
9 Texas A&M SEC
10 Missouri SEC
10 Washington P12
10 Providence BE
10 USC P12
11 Houston AAC
11 Arkansas SEC
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 N. C. St. ACC
12 Virginia Tech ACC
12 Boise St. MWC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 Vermont AE
13 East Tennessee St. Sou
13 South Dakota St. Sum
14 Belmont OVC
14 Montana BSky
14 Northern Kentucky Hor
14 Charleston CAA
15 UCSB BWest
15 Rider MAAC
15 Bucknell Pat
15 Fla. Gulf Coast ASun
16 Wagner NEC
16 Penn Ivy
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 UNC-Asheville BSth
16 N.C. A&T MEAC
16 Ark.-Pine Bluff SWAC

Bubble Teams on the Outside, Looking In

69 UCLA P12
70 Temple AAC
71 SMU AAC
72 LSU SEC
73 Western Kentucky CUSA
74 Syracuse ACC
75 St. Bonaventure A10
76 Georgia SEC
77 Marquette BE
78 Mississippi State SEC
79 Maryland BTen
80 Utah P12
81 South Carolina SEC
82 Oklahoma State B12
83 Nebraska BTen

 

Last Four In–Headed To Dayton

North Carolina St. vs. Kansas St.

Virginia Tech vs. Boise St.

Last Four Byes

Arkansas

Houston

USC

Providence

 

February 2, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 3-4, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:49 am

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

For Multi-Bid  Leagues

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut Cincinnati -13.7
Central Florida Houston -3.0
East Carolina Memphis -6.4
St. John’s Duke -11.4
North Carolina St. Notre Dame 0.6
Wake Forest Clemson -4.1
Virginia Tech Miami (Fla.) 3.1
Syracuse Virginia -6.7
Louisville Florida St. 3.3
North Carolina Pittsburgh 21.9
Kansas Oklahoma St. 13.8
TCU Texas Tech 1.7
West Virginia Kansas St. 8.4
Texas Oklahoma 1.2
Baylor Iowa St. 8.6
Butler DePaul 12.9
Marquette Providence 4.9
Xavier Georgetown 15.4
Michigan Minnesota 9.7
Rutgers Purdue -16.9
Penn St. Iowa 6.7
Indiana Michigan St. -10.2
Wyoming Fresno St. 1.6
San Jose St. New Mexico -9.0
Boise St. UNLV 6.3
Colorado St. Nevada -13.3
San Diego St. Air Force 18.2
Stanford Oregon -0.5
UCLA USC 1.4
California Oregon St. -4.2
Washington Arizona -5.8
Missouri Kentucky 1.6
Texas A&M South Carolina 8.3
LSU Arkansas 0.2
Florida Alabama 7.6
Tennessee Ole Miss 12.1
Mississippi St. Georgia 2.8
Auburn Vanderbilt 12.8
Portland Loyola Marymount 1.1
San Diego Saint Mary’s -8.3
Gonzaga BYU 12.1
Pepperdine Pacific -6.1
Santa Clara San Francisco -4.1
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Tulsa -9.8
Tulane Temple -2.1
Boston College Georgia Tech 5.7
Villanova Seton Hall 14.0
Ohio St. Illinois 11.7
Maryland Wisconsin 9.7
Washington St. Arizona St. -9.5

Note: As of last night’s games, with both Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky winning big road contests, Conference USA actually moved into multi-bid league status.  We apologize for not including CUSA games in this week’s preview, but if both MTSU and WKU win this weekend and mid-week, then CUSA will be included in next Friday’s preview.

Additionally, Boise State fell from at-large status into one of the First Four out, so the Mountain West Conference should not be included as a multiple bid league.  The update occurred after this week’s games had been rated and placed in our database.  If the MWC is still just a one for sure bid league next Friday, we will remove it from our preview, thus trading CUSA for MWC.  If neither or both leagues remain in the multiple bid leagues, we will cancel both or include both in next Friday’s preview, depending on the outcomes through next Thursday night.

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.4 BTEN
3 Duke 120.2 ACC
4 Virginia 119.2 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
6 Kansas 117.5 B12
7 Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Xavier 115.2 BIGE
10 North Carolina 115.1 ACC
11 Auburn 114.9 SEC
12 Tennessee 114.8 SEC
13 West Virginia 114.4 B12
14 Texas Tech 114.4 B12
15 Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
16 Creighton 113.5 BIGE
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Arizona 113.1 PAC12
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
21 Oklahoma 112.9 B12
22 Clemson 112.8 ACC
23 Nevada 112.4 MWC
24 Butler 112.4 BIGE
25 Florida St. 112.4 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
UCF 104.3 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Tulane 100.2 AAC
Memphis 100.0 AAC
Connecticut 99.7 AAC
East Carolina 90.6 AAC
South Florida 89.5 AAC
Duke 120.2 ACC
Virginia 119.2 ACC
North Carolina 115.1 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.4 ACC
Louisville 111.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.8 ACC
Syracuse 108.5 ACC
North Carolina St. 107.4 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 103.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.7 ACC
Kansas 117.5 B12
West Virginia 114.4 B12
Texas Tech 114.4 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.9 B12
Texas 110.6 B12
Kansas St. 110.0 B12
Baylor 109.9 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.2 B12
Iowa St. 104.8 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.2 BIGE
Creighton 113.5 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.7 BIGE
Marquette 109.1 BIGE
Providence 107.7 BIGE
St. John’s 105.3 BIGE
Georgetown 103.3 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 121.4 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.2 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.1 BTEN
Nebraska 107.3 BTEN
Northwestern 107.2 BTEN
Minnesota 106.0 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.2 BTEN
Indiana 105.2 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.0 BTEN
Rutgers 101.5 BTEN
Nevada 112.4 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
San Diego St. 107.8 MWC
UNLV 105.6 MWC
Fresno St. 104.8 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 101.3 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.1 MWC
San Jose St. 90.4 MWC
Arizona 113.1 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.1 PAC12
USC 109.7 PAC12
UCLA 108.1 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.9 PAC12
Washington 103.8 PAC12
Stanford 103.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 98.6 PAC12
California 95.0 PAC12
Auburn 114.9 SEC
Tennessee 114.8 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Missouri 110.1 SEC
Alabama 108.2 SEC
Georgia 107.2 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.0 SEC
LSU 107.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.5 SEC
Mississippi 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
BYU 107.4 WCC
San Diego 101.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.5 WCC
Pacific 98.9 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.7 WCC
Portland 92.8 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 89.8 WCC

The PiRates Are Adjusting How We Look For Buried Treasure

The PiRate Ratings began and operated for years as a college and pro football prediction establishment.  The ratings themselves began in October of 1969 and have operated continuously since.  In 1978-79, basketball ratings were added, and from 1980-2009, the PiRates did some horse racing prognosticating.  In all this time, however, it was an added filler that actually became our most patronized product we have publicly issued, be it in print or radio.

Our March Madness Bracket Picking guides have annually dwarfed all others, be it in the number of readers to this site, the number of responses from our historic newspaper presence, or the number of responses to our historic radio presence (and in one case to our sponsor, when one team’s fans threatened to boycott the adult beverage because our leader picked their rival to win the rivalry game).

We back-tested all the past Final Four and National Champions for the years where we had statistical data to identify the fingerprint statistics that might help us forecast future Final Four and National Championship teams.  We identified some consistent stats and discovered that some stats had little or no bearing.

For instance, we discovered that for most years, teams that scored a very high percentage of their points at the foul line tended to lose with more frequency as the rounds progressed.  We surmised that a lesser number of fouls were called in the bigger games, and the teams that got this far that were not great foul shooting teams got to where they were because they were dominant in other areas.  It just so happened that these other areas were the consistent ones that produced the champions.

We wanted to come up with a statistic that could be used to represent what has helped teams dominate in NCAA Tournament play.  We began refining this data over the years.

When our captain became a baseball metric specialist and started researching advanced analytics, he learned what many others had already learned.  What may work to determine the regular season division winners may not work in the playoffs.  Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane was quoted as saying (expletive altered), “My stuff doesn’t work in the playoffs.”

Beane was onto something, or in other words, it was plain to see that Oakland’s “Moneyball” ways produced 100-wins in the regular season, but it did not work in the playoffs, since the Athletics never won the pennant.  Forget for a minute that his predecessor Sandy Alderson actually began the advanced statistical age in Oakland, and he won three consecutive AL Pennants using a computer program to help determine some strategies.  Let’s look at why Moneyball issues do not work in the playoffs.

  1. On base percentage is superior to batting average, but in order to draw walks, the pitcher must throw pitches outside the strike zone.  In 130 out of 162 regular season games, a team might face pitching that would throw enough balls outside of the strike zone to walk four times per game.  However, in the playoffs, this team is more likely to face pitchers like Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, Clayton Kershaw, and Steven Strasburg.  These guys will paint the corners and force batters to either swing or walk back to the dugout rather than to first base.
  2. The sacrifice hit, hit and run, stolen base, and taking an extra base on singles and doubles may not be the most intelligent way to score runs in the regular season when again, 130 out of 162 games may present better ways to score runs by getting men on and hitting three-run homers.  However, try to wait for that three-run homer against Strasburg, Kluber, Sale, or Carrasco and see how far that gets you.  You are likely to lose 3-2 more than get that three-run tater.  Many people understand that giving up one of just 27 outs to advance a runner one base is foolish–most of the time.  If you are playing for one run in the eighth or ninth inning and have a runner on 2nd with no outs, it is the right thing to do to bunt the runner over to third.  Also, when the batter is facing a dominant pitcher, and the expected on base average for this batter against this pitcher is far south of what his normal OBA is, then it may also be the smarter option to bunt a runner up a base rather than risk a non-productive out or worse a GIDP.
  3. Relief pitching changes in the playoffs, especially the World Series.  In actuality, managers more intelligently use their best reliever when leverage is the highest, even if that is with two outs in the fifth inning.  Rather than bring in the top ace to protect a 3-run lead in the ninth, managers are more likely to use that ace in a one-run game in earlier innings.  Under Beane in the height of the Moneyball years where the A’s made the playoffs and lost, Oakland never invested a lot in a true stopper.  The numbers said that just about any above-average reliever could get 35 saves coming into the game in the ninth inning protecting a two or three-run lead.  In the playoffs, when Oakland needed the next Rollie Fingers, Paul Lindblad, Bob Locker, or Darold Knowles, or the next Dennis Eckersley, and they needed that stopper to stop a rally in the 6th inning, he wasn’t on the roster.

What does this have to do with March Madness, you may ask?  Plenty, we respond.  In basketball, the Four Factors have come to represent some of the best statistical analysis that can reveal the superior teams over the inferior teams.  During the regular season, these stats may show that State U is a top 25 team and should be no worse than a 5-seed in the Big Dance.  Then, this team gets a 4 or 5-seed in the tournament and goes up against a 12 or 13-seed that dominated a mid-major conference during the regular season.  This underdog possesses some of the dominating stats that work in the tournament, while the big team from the big conference does not.  And, lo and behold, the underdog upsets the favorite, making the sports media talk about how so many 12-seeds beat 5-seeds, like it is a curse.

Never once did these media experts consider that the reason the 12-seeds beat the 5-seeds much more often than normal is because these 12-seeds would beat these 5-seeds 7 times out of 10.  In other words, they are not really upsets.  They are indicators that the people that set the seeds are doing a poor job.

So, by now, you must be anxious to see what these special stats are that help us determine what works in the playoffs.  The answer is: The PiRate R+T Rating.

Huh?  What is the R+T Rating?  If you have followed our site for a long enough time, you have seen the R+T used since the 2000 NCAA Tournament.  It has been refined through the years, sort of like how weighted on-base average goes through refinements based on each season’s environments.

At the present time, our R+T rating is:

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T

R = Rebounding Margin per game

S = Average Steals per game

T= Turnover Margin per game

This formula translates into the number of extra scoring opportunities a team should be expected to gain over an average team.  It took hours of backtesting to refine it to the point where the result represented a real number that estimated the number of “cheap” points a team might be expected to receive over an average team.

It looks simple enough. If one team has a large rebounding edge in a game, they will benefit with an extra number of shots.  Depending on whether the advantage is at the offensive or defensive end, or both, limiting shots to one per possession and getting putbacks on the offensive end can create spurts in games that turn close contests into blowouts.

Turnover margin is not as important as rebounding margin except for when the turnover comes by way of a steal.  If the opponent turns the ball over due to travelling or stepping out of bounds or committing a charge, the opponent does not immediately see a benefit.  It ends the opponents’ possession, but it does not lead to fast break opportunities or the ability to tip the ball in the basket from a couple feet away.

When a team steals the ball, however, this is the absolute best extra possession.  Most steals come when the defense gains possession of the ball while their players are facing their basket, and the team turning the ball over has their back to that basket.  Almost all steals immediately present a number’s advantage for the team gaining possession.  If it is 2 on 1 or 3 on 2, this is like having a 3-0 count as a batter with the bases loaded.  Even if the steal results in a 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, the team with the ball has the advantage, since any even strength less than 5 on 5 favors the offense in basketball.

This is what the R+T represents.  A steal and rebound counts more than a turnover or lack of a turnover, but the turnover has value too.

How do we interpret R+T?  We have levels of interpretation.

If a team has an R+T rating of 20 or better, this is a potentially dangerous tournament team.  In a tight, evenly matched game, a team with a 20+ R+T rating has a huge advantage over a team with an average R+T rating.  At crunch time, a crucial steal or offensive rebound resulting in a basket can be the difference.

An R+T rating of 15-20 is a good rating, and a team with a rating in this range has Sweet 16 potential and maybe Elite 8 potential.

An R+T rating of 10-15 is average for an NCAA Tournament team.  Unless this team is outstanding in other areas such as field goal percentage margin, they probably do not have the necessary talent to make it past the Sweet 16.  There have been teams that made the Final Four with R+T ratings in  this range, but most of the time, they got there because they played opponents with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 5-10 range might win a game or even sneak into the Sweet 16, but they should not be expected to go any farther.  It is unlikely that a team in this range will face three consecutive teams with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 0-5 range does not have the goods to make it to the second weekend of the tournament.  Favored teams in this range playing underdogs with double-digit R+T ratings are prime to be “upset.”

And, when you see a team with a negative R+T, treat this team like you would treat a race horse with “four white socks.”

There is an old poem about horses wearing white socks (hooves), as it was generally believed, rightly or wrongly, that white hooves were a sign of weakness in a horse.  If we remember correctly it goes:

One white sock, keep him to the end.

Two white socks, give him to a friend.

Three white socks, send him far away.

Four white socks, keep him not a day.

A team with a negative R+T rating has four white socks.  Pick them not a game.  Teams with negative R+T ratings almost always lose in the Round of 64, even if they are a 2-seed playing a 15-seed.  There was a year where three heavily favored teams from power conferences but with negative R+T ratings played three double-digit seeds from mid-major conferences but with good R+T ratings.  All three heavily favored teams lost.

Do you remember in 2013 when Florida Gulf Coast made Andy Enfield famous for something more than his fantastic spouse, when his 15th-seeded Eagles clobbered second-seed Georgetown?  FGCU had a fat R+T rating, while the Hoyas had a negative R+T rating.

Let’s look at this statistic in tabular form with several potential NCAA Tournament teams.  These numbers represent only the stats from conference games for each team, thus eliminating games where a power conference team beat a low-major team by 35 points and padded their stats.

Team Reb. Stl. Opp Stl. TO R+T  Conf.
Alabama -0.1 7.7 6.7 -0.3 2.7 1
Arizona 6.1 4.8 5.7 -0.2 14.7 5
Auburn -0.3 8.1 5.8 4.4 8.1 1
Buffalo 4.1 6.9 4.8 2.4 15.3 13
Cincinnati 9.1 7.1 5.1 3.1 25.8 7
Clemson -1.9 5.4 6.4 -0.5 -2.0 2
Duke 6.9 7.8 5.7 -0.1 17.9 2
East Tennessee 7.7 6.8 5.6 0.2 19.4 17
Florida -3.6 5.2 3.3 3.0 1.1 1
Florida St. 3.6 5.5 5.8 0.0 10.2 2
Gonzaga 10.5 5.7 4.9 2.6 27.6 11
Kansas -5.2 5.8 5.7 0.3 -6.9 3
Kansas St. -8.0 8.3 6.0 3.0 -8.9 3
Kentucky 2.0 5.7 5.1 -1.7 6.1 1
UL-Lafayette 10.2 7.9 5.7 1.1 25.8 23
Louisville 1.6 7.9 7.3 2.1 8.0 2
Loyola (Chi.) 0.8 7.4 5.7 2.2 7.8 9
Miami (Fla.) 0.9 7.6 6.3 1.6 6.9 2
Michigan -0.5 5.1 4.7 3.2 6.1 6
Michigan St. 9.0 3.5 4.8 -4.5 16.5 6
Middle Tennessee 10.0 5.5 6.2 -0.9 21.7 14
Montana 4.5 8.8 4.1 4.3 19.6 20
Nevada -1.2 7.3 4.4 4.8 7.7 10
New Mexico St. 11.5 4.3 5.3 1.7 27.6 15
North Carolina 9.9 5.5 5.7 -1.2 21.7 2
North Carolina St. 0.9 6.8 6.0 1.6 6.8 2
Ohio St. 6.0 5.8 3.9 0.0 17.0 6
Oklahoma 1.6 6.3 7.8 -3.2 1.4 3
Oregon 1.8 6.7 4.8 0.7 8.9 5
Purdue 1.9 5.5 5.4 1.5 8.7 6
Rhode Island 1.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 12.1 8
Saint Mary’s 6.4 5.8 6.3 -0.7 14.7 11
South Dakota St. 2.9 5.1 4.4 -0.2 9.8 16
USC -1.4 8.0 4.7 7.0 9.5 5
SMU -0.7 8.4 4.0 2.8 7.6 7
Tennessee 1.4 6.0 5.7 0.7 6.8 1
Texas Tech 5.1 6.2 6.7 0.6 13.2 3
UCLA -0.1 6.1 4.9 0.5 4.5 5
Villanova -3.2 6.7 4.3 3.6 2.3 4
Virginia -2.9 8.3 4.1 6.2 6.5 2
Virginia Tech -6.4 6.4 5.8 1.4 -8.0 2
West Virginia 2.8 6.9 6.0 2.3 11.4 3
Wichita St. 9.3 4.9 6.1 0.8 21.8 7

There are a couple of extra things to add to this discussion before you receive your BS in R+Tology.  Most of you by now have thought that it is a lot easier for New Mexico State to dominate in the WAC than it is for Kansas to dominate in the Big 12.  Beating Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Texas Tech is a lot harder than beating Chicago State, Missouri-Kansas City, and Seattle.  Definitely, the strength of the conference must be factored into this equation.  In the last column above, you see a number under the heading of “conf.”  This represents the rating of conferences by strength.  As of today, the SEC is the toughest league in college basketball.  The ACC is number two; the Big 12 is number three; and so on.  The WAC is number 15.  There are 31 Division One conferences, so 15 is about average, while the SEC and ACC are many points better than an average conference.

We do handicap these ratings when we do our March Madness picking.  An ACC team with an R+T rating of 15 is better than a Colonial Athletic Association team with an R+T rating of 23.  A SWAC team with an R+T rating of 7 is like a Big 12 team with a negative R+T rating.

One final adjustment.  When looking at the components of the R+T ratings, notice whether a team’s components are all positive numbers.  In other words, look to see if a team has positive rebounding margins, positive turnover margins (commit less than they force), averages more than 6 steals per game and who limits opponents steals to less than 6 per game.  This is the sign of a complete team, and complete teams frequently beat teams with superior R+T ratings when the other team is not a complete team.

Let’s look at two examples from above.

Dan Hurley has done a great job at Rhode Island, and the Rams are a “complete team.”  They have a positive rebounding margin.  They average more than 6 steals per game and give up less than 6 steals per game, and they have a really nice turnover margin.  Their R+T rating is 12.1, and the Atlantic 10 conference is rated #8.  URI is definitely Sweet 16-worthy with these stats before we begin to look at other factors like shooting percentages and defensive shooting percentages.

Now, let’s look at Michigan State.  The Spartans have a 16.5 R+T rating from the number 6 conference.  However, Sparty averages only 3.5 steals per game and have a negative turnover margin of 4.5.  This is a real warning sign for bracket-pickers.  MSU will dominate on the boards in a matchup against Rhode Island, but the Rams will even up that advantage with a large turnover margins against the Spartans.  If both teams shoot a similar percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line, you have a toss-up game.

Michigan State saw how this lack of being complete hurt them in the past.  In the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Spartans faced a Middle Tennessee State team that excelled in turnover margin and steals.  The Blue Raiders basically were much quicker than Michigan State, and this is why their turnover margin was so excellent.  They could pressure the ball and play in the passing lanes without giving up easy baskets.  MTSU pulled off the upset thanks to turnover margin equalizing the rebounding margin of their opponent.  The Blue Raiders’ quickness led to a lot of open shots, while Michigan State’s power game did not produce an equivalent number of open shots.  MTSU took MSU out of its game plan and forced the tempo, turning this into a 70-possession game.  Michigan State preferred a 60-64 possession game, and those extra 6-10 possessions per side helped the underdog team.

It is not always this cut and dried.  Other factors have to be considered, and this is where the PiRate Ratings have made substantial changes starting this year.  In past years, we did not give a lot of support to excellent three-point shooting teams, because we favored teams that could get shots from within 5 feet of the basket.  During the last three or four years, the three-point shot has become much more important, essential if you will.  The Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams now rely on advanced analytical data almost as much as Major League Baseball teams.  Three-point shooting has been determined to be as vital as having the relief ace that can enter the World Series in the 6th inning and get six high-leverage outs.  The PiRate Bracket-picking protocol has now incorporated true shooting percentages with R+T ratings and conference strength to refine our ratings.

The game has come down to whether a team can be expected to shoot a certain percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line and whether they can be expected to get extra scoring opportunities.  A combination of these two basic factors will be how we handicap games in the future.  Of course, we will handicap the two factors based on conference strength.

When you look at our spreads each week, you are looking at an algorithm that incorporates and handicaps due to conference strength, expected true shooting percentages and scoring opportunities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 29, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for January 29, 2017

Our Bracket Gurus have spoken for the first time this year.  Maybe, you should listen, because in 2017, the Gurus were 100% correct in picking the final 68 teams on Selection Sunday morning, something mighty impressive considering there were about a half-dozen teams competing for the last three spots in the field.

All 12 of last year’s March Gurus have returned, and because we thought we might fall one shy, we added a trio of new Gurus who have credibility with the PiRate Captain.  So, in this report, the number of Gurus reporting is 15.

Let’s get to it.  Here are the 68 teams seeded 1-16.

Seed Team League
1 Villanova BIGE
1 Purdue BTEN
1 Virginia ACC
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Xavier BIGE
2 Auburn SEC
2 Oklahoma B12
3 Clemson ACC
3 Arizona PAC12
3 Michigan St. BTEN
3 North Carolina ACC
4 Texas Tech B12
4 Cincinnati AAC
4 Tennessee SEC
4 West Virginia B12
5 Kentucky SEC
5 Florida SEC
5 Ohio St. BTEN
5 Seton Hall BIGE
6 Wichita St. AAC
6 Rhode Island A-10
6 Creighton BIGE
6 Miami (Fla.) ACC
7 Arizona St. PAC12
7 Louisville ACC
7 Florida St. ACC
7 Gonzaga WCC
8 TCU B12
8 Arkansas SEC
8 Saint Mary’s WCC
8 Michigan BTEN
9 Nevada MWC
9 Alabama SEC
9 Texas B12
9 Butler BIGE
10 USC PAC12
10 Providence BIGE
10 Kansas St. B12
10 Houston AAC
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
11 Buffalo MAC
11 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Texas A&M SEC
12 Syracuse ACC
12 Marquette BIGE
12 North Carolina St. ACC
12 Washington PAC12
12 Boise St. MWC
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 East Tennessee St. SOCON
13 Vermont AMEAST
13 South Dakota St. Summit
14 Belmont OVC
14 Wright St. Horizon
14 William & Mary CAA
14 Bucknell Patriot
15 Montana BSKY
15 UC-Davis BWEST
15 Canisius MAAC
15 Stephen F. Austin SLC
16 Florida Gulf Coast A-SUN
16 Penn Ivy
16 Wagner NEC
16 UNC-Asheville BIGS
16 Bethune-Cookman MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC

Here is the breakdown of Multiple Bid Leagues. There are 23, one-bid leagues in this first report, with the Mountain West Conference just barely sneaking in with two teams and Conference USA just barely missing out on getting a second team in this field.

AAC: 3

ACC: 9

Big 12: 7

Big East: 7

Big Ten: 4

Mountain West: 2

Pac-12: 4

SEC: 7

WCC: 2

 

The Bubble

The Last 4 Teams With a Bye

Kansas St.

Houston

Texas A&M

Syracuse

 

The Last 4 Teams In The Field (First Four Teams in Dayton)

Marquette vs. Boise St.

North Carolina St. vs. Washington

 

The Rest of the Bubble (in order of votes by the Gurus)

SMU

Western Kentucky

Virginia Tech

Missouri

South Carolina

LSU

UCLA

St. Bonaventure

Georgia

Utah

Notre Dame

Old Dominion

Maryland

 

 

January 26, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 27-28, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:16 am

Spreads For Major Conference Games This Weekend

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Memphis Cincinnati -13.8
North Carolina North Carolina St. 12.2
Duke Virginia 5.0
Florida St. Miami (Fla.) 3.8
Pittsburgh Syracuse -9.6
Notre Dame Virginia Tech 4.8
Louisville Wake Forest 9.8
South Carolina Texas Tech -4.2
Florida Baylor 5.4
Texas Ole Miss 7.4
Kansas St. Georgia 7.8
Alabama Oklahoma -1.7
Iowa St. Tennessee -5.2
Vanderbilt TCU -4.9
Kansas Texas A&M 10.0
Arkansas Oklahoma St. 7.4
West Virginia Kentucky 8.8
Butler St. John’s 8.5
Creighton Georgetown 14.5
Penn St. Rutgers 9.0
Nebraska Iowa 4.7
San Jose St. Wyoming -9.7
Fresno St. Utah St. 7.6
New Mexico Colorado St. 9.4
Air Force Boise St. -13.2
UNLV San Diego St. 0.2
Arizona Utah 10.2
Arizona St. Colorado 12.1
Oregon Oregon St. 7.9
UCLA Stanford 7.5
Auburn LSU 9.5
Mississippi St. Missouri -1.0
Loyola Marymount San Diego -3.9
Pepperdine Santa Clara 1.4
Gonzaga San Francisco 20.0
BYU Pacific 12.7
Saint Mary’s Portland 23.0
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
SMU East Carolina 22.6
Houston South Florida 24.1
Wichita St. Tulsa 16.1
Temple Connecticut 7.1
Georgia Tech Clemson -6.9
Marquette Villanova -9.0
DePaul Seton Hall -5.0
Maryland Michigan St. -5.4
Indiana Purdue -13.6
USC California 17.9
Washington Washington St. 6.4

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.7 BTEN
3 Duke 120.0 ACC
4 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
5 Virginia 119.0 ACC
6 Cincinnati 117.2 AAC
7 Kansas 117.0 B12
8 Gonzaga 116.7 WCC
9 West Virginia 116.2 B12
10 North Carolina 115.9 ACC
11 Xavier 115.4 BIGE
12 Texas Tech 114.5 B12
13 Wichita St. 114.4 AAC
14 Auburn 114.0 SEC
15 Creighton 114.0 BIGE
16 Oklahoma 113.5 B12
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Tennessee 113.4 SEC
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Arizona 112.9 PAC12
21 Clemson 112.8 ACC
22 Florida St. 112.6 ACC
23 Saint Mary’s 112.5 WCC
24 Nevada 112.3 MWC
25 Florida 112.3 SEC

Note: Rhode Island from the Atlantic 10 Conference is #27, but no other A-10 team is in line for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.  Thus, the A-10 stays as a one-bid league if URI wins the automatic bid by winning the A-10 Tournament title.  If a second team should make it into serious Bubble contention, then we will commence with A-10 expanded coverage.

Also, the Mountain West Conference is in danger of being removed from this list.  While Nevada remains in the top 25 and looks like a near lock to make the NCAA Tournament with or without an automatic bid, the Wolfpack’s nearest competition, Boise State and San Diego State, have fallen back enough to be remote at-large candidates.  Should the Broncos and Aztecs fall off that Bubble, we will remove the Mountain West Conference as a Major.

PiRate Ratings by Major Conference 

Cincinnati 117.2 AAC
Wichita St. 114.4 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.9 AAC
UCF 104.4 AAC
Temple 104.2 AAC
Tulsa 101.8 AAC
Tulane 100.7 AAC
Connecticut 100.6 AAC
Memphis 99.9 AAC
East Carolina 90.8 AAC
South Florida 89.7 AAC
Duke 120.0 ACC
Virginia 119.0 ACC
North Carolina 115.9 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.6 ACC
Miami FL 111.8 ACC
Notre Dame 111.6 ACC
Louisville 111.3 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.8 ACC
North Carolina St. 106.7 ACC
Boston College 105.6 ACC
Wake Forest 105.0 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.9 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.2 ACC
Kansas 117.0 B12
West Virginia 116.2 B12
Texas Tech 114.5 B12
Oklahoma 113.5 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Kansas St. 110.7 B12
Baylor 110.4 B12
Texas 110.2 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.6 B12
Iowa St. 104.7 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.4 BIGE
Creighton 114.0 BIGE
Butler 110.9 BIGE
Seton Hall 110.9 BIGE
Marquette 109.7 BIGE
Providence 108.2 BIGE
St. John’s 105.9 BIGE
Georgetown 103.0 BIGE
DePaul 102.9 BIGE
Purdue 121.7 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.3 BTEN
Maryland 110.4 BTEN
Penn St. 108.6 BTEN
Northwestern 107.0 BTEN
Nebraska 106.5 BTEN
Minnesota 106.5 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.7 BTEN
Iowa 105.3 BTEN
Indiana 105.1 BTEN
Illinois 104.3 BTEN
Rutgers 102.6 BTEN
Nevada 112.3 MWC
Boise St. 109.0 MWC
San Diego St. 108.3 MWC
UNLV 105.5 MWC
Fresno St. 105.3 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
Colorado St. 96.5 MWC
Air Force 92.8 MWC
San Jose St. 89.7 MWC
Arizona 112.9 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.3 PAC12
USC 109.6 PAC12
UCLA 107.8 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.2 PAC12
Stanford 103.8 PAC12
Washington 103.1 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 99.7 PAC12
California 95.2 PAC12
Auburn 114.0 SEC
Tennessee 113.4 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 111.4 SEC
Arkansas 111.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.0 SEC
Missouri 109.9 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
LSU 108.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.8 SEC
Georgia 106.4 SEC
Mississippi 106.3 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.9 SEC
Vanderbilt 104.7 SEC
Gonzaga 116.7 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.5 WCC
BYU 107.7 WCC
San Diego 101.2 WCC
San Francisco 99.7 WCC
Pacific 98.5 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.3 WCC
Portland 92.5 WCC
Santa Clara 92.3 WCC
Pepperdine 90.7 WCC

PiRate Ratings Take on the Current 68

Beginning next week, we hope to commence with our 2018 March Madness Bracket Gurus report.  We have received the go ahead from 11 of our 12 gurus saying they will be ready to send us their selections on Monday or Tuesday each week for the rest of the season.  We have not been able to establish contact with Guru #12 this year, so we are in the market for a 12th Guru.  We have feelers sent out to a couple of reputable bracketologists hoping to get back to a dozen.

Until then, here is our personal take on 68 teams.

America East–1: Vermont 7-0/17-5

AAC–4: Cincinnati 7-0/18-2, Wichita St. 6-2/16-4, Houston 5-2/15-4, SMU 4-4/14-7

Atlantic 10–1: Rhode Island 8-0/16-3

ACC–8: Virginia 8-0/19-1, Duke 6-2/18-2, North Carolina 5-3/16-5, Clemson 5-3/16-4, Louisville 5-2/15-5, Miami (Fla.) 4-3/15-4, Florida St. 4-4/15-5, Notre Dame 3-4/13-7

Atlantic Sun–1: Florida Gulf Coast 6-0/15-8

Big 12–7: Kansas 6-2/16-4, Oklahoma 5-3/15-4, West Virginia 5-3/16-4, Texas Tech 5-3/16-4, Kansas St. 5-3/15-5, TCU 3-5/15-5, Texas 4-4/13-7

Big East–7: Villanova 6-1/19-1, Xavier 7-2/19-3, Creighton 6-3/16-5, Seton Hall 4-3/15-5, Butler 4-4/14-7, Providence 5-3/14-7, Marquette 4-4/13-7

Big Sky–1: Montana 8-0/15-5

Big South–1: Radford 7-2/14-8

Big Ten–4: Purdue 9-0/20-2, Michigan St. 6-2/18-3, Ohio St. 9-1/18-5, Michigan 6-4/17-6

Big West–1: Hawaii 4-1/13-5

Colonial–1: Northeastern 7-2/14-7

Conference USA–1: Middle Tennessee 7-1/15-5

Horizon–1: Northern Kentucky 7-1/14-6

Ivy–1: Penn 3-0/12-6

MAAC–1: Canisius 7-1/13-8

MAC–1: Buffalo 7-0/15-5

MEAC–1: Bethune-Cookman 5-0/11-9

Missouri Valley–1: Loyola (Chi.) 7-2/17-4

Mountain West–2: Nevada 7-1/18-4, Boise St. 7-2/17-4

Northeast–1: Wagner 6-2/13-6

Ohio Valley–1: Belmont 8-1/16-6

Pac-12–3: Arizona 7-1/17-4, Arizona St. 3-5/15-5, USC 7-2/16-6

Patriot–1: Bucknell 8-1/14-8

SEC–8: Auburn 6-1/18-2, Tennessee 5-3/14-5, Florida 6-2/14-6, Kentucky 5-3/15-5, Alabama 5-3/13-7, Arkansas 4-4/14-6, Missouri 3-4/13-7, Texas A&M 2-6/13-7

Southern–1: East Tennessee 8-0/17-4

Southland–1: Stephen F. Austin 5-2/16-4

SWAC–1: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7-0/7-14

Summit–1: South Dakota 6-1/18-5

Sun Belt–1: Louisiana-LaFayette 8-0/18-3

West Coast–2: Saint Mary’s 9-0/20-2, Gonzaga 8-1/18-4

WAC–1: New Mexico St. 5-0/17-3

Last 4 In (headed to Dayton in a First 4 Game)

Notre Dame vs. Boise St.

Kansas St. vs. USC

#16 Seeds headed to Dayton in a First 4 Game

Wagner vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Penn vs. Radford

5 Double Digit Mid-Major Seeds No Single Digit Seed Wants to Play 

New Mexico St.

Middle Tennessee or Western Kentucky

Louisiana-Lafayette

East Tennessee St.

Vermont

 

5 Final Four Dark Horses (lower than 4 seed)

Kentucky

Wichita St.

Saint Mary’s

Nevada

Michigan

The Bubble On the Outside Looking In

69 Syracuse

70 Georgia

71 Washington

72 Western Kentucky (or Middle Tennessee if WKU wins automatic bid)

73 Baylor

74 Maryland

75 North Carolina St.

76 Oklahoma St.

 

 

 

January 24, 2018

PiRate Ratings Super Bowl Teaser

We come to the last football picks post of the season.  The PiRates stayed away from the college bowl season and the NFL playoffs to this point, but we are staring at a little deficit for the season.

For three consecutive years, the PiRate Ratings earned a “profit” with our “imaginary” bank roll.  Wagering an equal fake $100 on every selection, we have enjoyed two marvelous seasons and one minor success in the last three years.

The 2017-18 season brought us back down to Earth, but a late surge brought the losses to the point where one final win would give us a winning season even more miraculous than the Jets beating the Colts in SB III.

So, with that in mind, we issue our final selection for the football season.  And, it is not even a money line selection like almost all of our picks.  We go back to a 10-point teaser parlay, something that used to give us some success, but something we got away from when we became rather lucky with money line parlays.

Because our computer ratings and simulations show this game to be as tight as it can be, and the standard deviation of our simulations comes in rather lean, we believe it is possible to make four picks in this game and combine them into a 4-event parlay at +136 odds.  The deficit sits at $-146, so a win would make a 3% loss become a 2% profit for the year.

So, without further adieu, here is our pretend final play of the season.

The wager for this game is doubled to $200.

SUPER BOWL 52 Pick

Super Bowl 52  Sunday, February 4, 2018 6:30 PM EST 
10-point teaser 
 $200 on 4-team parlay @ +136 $200 wins $472
Team 1 Team 2 Number
New England Philadelphia +4.5
Philadelphia New England +15.5
New England Philadelphia Under 57.5
New England Philadelphia Over 37.5
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