The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 2, 2015

America’s Most Accurate Bracketology Composite—March 2, 2015

For some leagues, the regular season race is now over, and the important next step begins as 13 conference tournaments begin between Tuesday and Saturday. We have listed the pairings for these baker’s dozen following the regular Bracketology report.

We have adjusted our format beginning this week to better show you the seedings from 1 to 16 of our two dozen plus Bracketology experts. The Bubble has greatly contracted, and it is close to impossible to even select a top 10 teams out of the tournament as of today. It is our belief that at most one or two of these last 10 out have any realistic chance of gaining admission to the Dance; in essence, these are mostly top seeds for the NIT.

Actually, the last 5-10 teams in the tournament as of today are the schools that need close watch. Some will secure a bid by continuing a late-season momentum swing to the positive. Some will misfire at the most inappropriate time and seal their fate to the NIT. And, some will become a victim of upsets in conference tournaments that will need to add one to their pot of dance partners. It could happen this week, as both the Missouri Valley and West Coast Conferences would add a dancer should a 3 seed or higher win these tournaments.

Let’s take a look at how our experts seed the 68 teams as of today. Remember, there are 20 or 21 leagues as of today that will definitely send just one team, so we went with the highest rated team in these leagues, highest rating being their NCAA Tournament criteria and not necessarily their conference record. The higher up each team is within each seed, the higher the team ranked.

The 1-Seeds
Kentucky
Virginia
Duke
Villanova
The 2-Seeds
Arizona
Wisconsin
Kansas
Gonzaga
The 3-Seeds
Oklahoma
Maryland
Baylor
Iowa St.
The 4-Seeds
Wichita St.
Utah
Louisville
Notre Dame
The 5-Seeds
Northern Iowa
Arkansas
North Carolina
West Virginia
The 6-Seeds
Butler
SMU
Providence
Georgetown
The 7-Seeds
VCU
San Diego St.
St. John’s
Ohio St.
The 8-seeds
Michigan St.
Indiana
Oklahoma St.
Dayton
The 9-Seeds
Georgia
Xavier
Iowa
LSU
The 10-Seeds
Colorado St.
Oregon
Ole Miss
Cincinnati
The 11-Seeds
Texas A&M
N. C. St.
Boise St.
Tulsa
Purdue
The 12-Seeds
Temple
Davidson
Wofford
Murray St.
Stephen F. Austin
The 13-Seeds
Louisiana Tech
Harvard or Yale
Valparaiso
Iona
The 14-Seeds
UC Davis
Central Michigan
Georgia Southern
Eastern Washington
The 15-Seeds
South Dakota St.
William & Mary
High Point
UNC-Central
The 16-Seeds
Albany
New Mexico St.
Texas Southern
Florida Gulf Coast
Bucknell
St. Francis (NY)

 

Last 10 IN

59 Oregon
60 Ole Miss
61 Cincinnati
62 Texas A&M
63 N. C. St.
64 Boise St.
65 Tulsa
66 Purdue
67 Temple
68 Davidson

 

First 10 OUT

69 BYU
70 Texas
71 Illinois
72 UCLA
73 Stanford
74 Miami (FLA.)
75 Pittsburgh
76 Old Dominion
77 TCU
78 Vanderbilt

 

Opening Round at Dayton

Tulsa vs. Davidson

Temple vs. Purdue

Texas Southern vs. St. Francis (NY)

Florida Gulf Coast vs. Bucknell

 

Sweet 16 if Seeds Held

East Regional

1 Virginia vs. 4 Notre Dame

2 Gonzaga vs. 3 Oklahoma

South Regional

1 Kentucky vs. 4 Louisville

2 Kansas vs. 3 Maryland

Midwest Regional

1 Duke vs. 4 Utah

2 Wisconsin vs. 3 Baylor

West Regional

1 Villanova vs. 4 Wichita St.

2 Arizona vs. 3 Iowa St.

 

Conference Tournament Pairings for Tournaments Commencing This Week

America East Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Lower Seed
Wednesday, March 4
8 Maine 2-14/3-26 @
1 Albany 15-1/21-8
5 Hartford 7-9/14-15 @
4 New Hampshire 11-5/18-11
6 Binghamton 5-11/6-25 @
3 Stony Brook 12-4/21-10
7 UMBC 2-14/6-25 @
2 Vermont 12-4/17-12
Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Lower Seed
Tuesday, March 3
8 Stetson 3-11/9-21 @
1 North florida 12-2/20-11
5 Lipscomb 7-7/13-16 @
4 Northern Kentucky 7-7/13-16
6 Kennesaw St. 4-10/10-21 @
3 USC Upstate 8-6/21-10
7 Jacksonville 4-10/10-21 @
2 Florida Gulf Coast 11-3/21-9
Big South Conference Tournament
Conway, SC
Wednesday, March 4
8 Presbyterian 6-12/10-21
9 Longwood 5-13/9-22
Winner vs. 1 Charleston Southern 13-5/19-10
4 Winthrop 12-6/17-12
5 Radford 12-6/21-10
6 UNC-Asheville 10-8/14-15
11 Liberty 2-16/8-23
Winner vs. 3 Coastal Carolina 12-6/21-9
7 Gardner-Webb 10-8/18-13
10 Campbell 4-14/10-21
Winner vs. 2 High Point 13-5/22-8
Colonial Conference Tournament
Baltimore
Friday, March 6
8 Elon 6-12/14-17
9 Towson 5-13/12-19
Winner vs. 1 William & Mary 12-6/18-11
4 James Madison 12-6/19-12
5 Hofstra 10-8/19-12
3 Northeastern 12-6/20-11
6 Delaware 9-9/10-19
7 Drexel 9-9/11-18
10 Charleston 3-15/8-23
Winner vs. 2 UNCW 12-6/17-12
Horizon League Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Lower Seed
Tuesday, March 3
8 Youngstown St. 2-14/11-20 @
5 Detroit 7-9/14-17
Winner at 4 Cleveland St. 11-5/17-13
Subsequent winner at 1 Valparaiso 13-3/26-5
7 Wright St. 3-13/11-19 @
6 UIC 4-12/8-23
Winner at Oakland 11-5/16-15
Subsequent winner at 2 Green Bay 12-4/23-7
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Albany, NY
Thursday, March 5
8 Siena 7-13/10-19
9 Niagara 7-13/8-21
Winner vs. 1 Iona 17-3/24-7
4 Monmouth 13-7/17-14
5 Canisius 11-9/16-13
6 Quinnipiac 9-11/15-14
11 Marist 5-15/6-24
Winner vs. 3 Manhattan 13-7/17-14
7 St. Peter’s 8-12/14-17
10 Fairfield 5-15/7-23
Winner vs. 2 Rider 15-5/21-10
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
St. Louis (Arch Madness)
Thursday, March 5
8 Missouri St. 5-13/11-19
9 Southern Illinois 4-14/11-20
Winner vs. 1 Wichita St. 17-1/27-3
4 Illinois St. 11-7/19-11
5 Evansville 9-9/19-11
3 Indiana St. 11-7/15-15
6 Loyola (Chi.) 8-10/18-12
7 Drake 6-12/9-21
10 Bradley 3-15/8-23
Winner vs. 2 Northern Iowa 16-2/27-3
Northeast Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Lower Seed
Wednesday, March 4
8 LIU 8-10/12-17
1 St. Francis (NY) 15-3/21-10
5 St. Francis (PA) 9-9/15-14 @
4 Mt. St. Mary’s 11-7/15-14
6 Sacred Heart 9-9/15-16 @
3 Bryant 12-6/15-14
7 Wagner 8-10/10-19 @
2 Robert Morris 12-6/16-14
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Nashville
Wednesday, March 4
5 Morehead St. 10-6/15-16
8 SEMO 7-9/13-16
Winner vs. 4 UT-Martin 10-6/18-11
Subsequent winner vs. 1 Murray St. 16-0/26-4
6 E. Illinois 9-7/16-13
7 SIU-Edwardsville 8-8/12-15
Winner vs. 3 Belmont 11-5/19-10
Subsequent winner vs. 2 Eastern Kentucky 11-5/19-10
Patriot League Tournament
All Games Played at Lower Seed
Tuesday, March 3
9 Loyola (MD) 7-11/11-18 @
8 Holy Cross 8-10/13-15
Winner at 1 Bucknell 13-5/18-13
5 Boston U 9-9/13-16 @
4 Lafayette 9-9/17-12
6 American 8-10/15-15 @
3 Lehigh 10-8/15-13
10 Army 6-12/15-14 @
7 Navy 8-10/12-18
Winner at 2 Colgate 12-6/15-16
Southern Conference Tournament
Asheville, NC
Friday, March 6
8 UNCG 6-12/10-21
9 Samford 6-12/13-18
Winner vs. 1 Wofford 16-2/25-6
4 Western Carolina 9-9/14-16
5 East Tennessee 8-10/16-13
3 Mercer 12-6/17-14
6 VMI 7-11/11-18
7 Citadel 6-12/11-18
10 Furman 5-13/8-21
Winner vs. 2 Chattanooga 15-3/22-9
Summit League Tournament
Sioux Falls, SD
Saturday, March 7
1 South Dakota St. 12-4/21-9
8 Western Illinois 3-13/8-19
4 IPFW 9-7/16-13
5 South Dakota 9-7/16-15
3 Oral Roberts 10-6/17-13
6 IUPUI 6-10/10-20
2 North Dakota St. 12-4/20-9
7 Denver 6-10/12-17
West Coast Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
Friday, March 6
8 San Francisco 7-11/13-17
9 Pacific 4-14/12-18
Winner vs. 1 Gonzaga 17-1/29-2
4 Pepperdine 10-8/17-12
5 San Diego 8-10 15-15
3 St. Mary’s 13-5/21-8
6 Portland 7-11/16-14
7 Santa Clara 7-11/13-17
10 Loyola Marymount 4-14/8-22
Winner vs. 2 BYU 13-5/23-8

 

February 27, 2015

Experimental Basketball Ratings for February 28 & March 1, 2015

As the college basketball regular season enters its final two weeks, the marathon NCAA Tournament dash enters its final miles.  In this race, the winner has basically lapped the field, as Kentucky appears to be headed to an undefeated regular season.

In this 5-month competition, it’s the teams that finish between number 58 and number 78 that create all the excitement.  For 20 conferences, there is no guessing to be made.  The winners of their conference tournaments will be the only teams receiving dance invitations.  The Ivy League champion will receive a the conference’s lone bid as well, making it 21 guaranteed teams.

When you add teams like Kentucky, Virginia, Duke, Wisconsin, and all the other teams that already have resumes worthy of dancing, it really leaves about 15 spots at most to be filled by at-large teams.  This amount will drop some as unexpected teams win conference tournaments in leagues where more than one team will receive a bid.  For instance, if somebody other than Northern Iowa or Wichita St. wins Arch Madness in the Missouri Valley Conference, the league will receive three bids instead of two.

Here are the Bubble teams as of today.  They are listed in order of strongest to weakest according to our bracketology experts.  The dandy two dozen plus experts will submit their formal new list to me late Sunday night, and I will post the updated bracketology on Monday afternoon.

Last 16 In the Field
53 Ole Miss
54 Iowa
55 St. John’s
56 Dayton
57 Georgia
58 LSU
59 N. C. St.
60 Texas A&M
61 Colorado St.
62 Temple
63 Cincinnati
64 Texas
65 Stanford
66 Purdue
67 Oregon
68 Illinois
Out For Now
69 Tulsa
70 UCLA
71 Pittsburgh
72 Davidson
73 Boise St.
74 BYU
75 Miami (FL.)
76 Old Dominion
77 U Mass
78 Rhode Island

Now for this weekend’s key games involving top 25 teams as well as teams from the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC.

Our PiRate Red and White Ratings continue to top 76% accuracy, while our Blue Ratings are lagging behind at 71%+.   For those not aware of how we computer our experimental ratings, we use the “Four Factors” popularized by Dean Oliver and others and then create three separate algorithms to come up with raw ratings.  We then adjust these ratings for home and road teams as well as for strength of schedule to come up with a margin.  The actual margins are Figured to 4 decimal places, but we round it to the nearest whole number.  If the nearest whole number is 0, we round it to 1 in the favored teams’ direction, even if the margin is .0001.

SATURDAY
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Louisville Florida St. 16 13 10
Michigan Maryland -5 -1 2
Dayton VCU 1 2 1
Butler DePaul 19 14 13
Villanova Xavier 13 11 10
Miami (FL) North Carolina -5 -4 1
Oklahoma TCU 12 11 13
Wichita St. Northern Iowa 4 5 5
Kentucky Arkansas 18 16 14
Baylor West Virginia 5 6 5
Kansas St. Iowa St. -9 -6 -5
Virginia Virginia Tech 29 21 24
Kansas Texas 11 9 10
Duke Syracuse 16 15 14
San Diego St. Boise St. 8 5 6
Utah Arizona -3 1 1
Gonzaga BYU 15 11 12
Boston College N. C. St. -11 -5 -6
Clemson Georgia Tech -1 2 2
Penn St. Iowa -9 -4 -3
Illinois Northwestern 8 6 9
Georgia Missouri 21 14 19
LSU Ole Miss 2 4 -1
Vanderbilt Alabama 3 4 3
South Carolina Mississippi St. 8 9 7
Florida Tennessee 7 8 4
Texas A&M Auburn 15 12 14
SUNDAY
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Connecticut SMU -5 -1 -2
Providence Marquette 12 10 10
Wisconsin Michigan St. 9 9 7
Wake Forest Pittsburgh -1 1 3
Ohio St. Purdue 8 9 10

February 23, 2015

America’s Most Accurate Bracketology Composite—February 23, 2015

And down the stretch they come! By the end of this week, the first conference tournament brackets will be finalized, and by the end of the following week, the rest of the leagues will follow suit.

Not a lot changed last week, but there has been subtle updates to the field of 68. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the 1-bid leagues first. Here are the contenders for each of these low-major leagues, with the highest rated team displaying their predicted seed if they win their conference tournament (conference championship in Ivy).

America East Conf. Overall Seed
Albany 13-1 19-8 16 *
Vermont 11-3 16-11
Stony Brook 11-4 19-10
New Hampshire 11-4 17-10
Atlantic Sun Conf. Overall Seed
Florida Gulf Coast 11-1 21-7 15
North Florida 10-2 18-11
USC Upstate 7-5 20-9
Big Sky Conf. Overall Seed
Sacramento St. 12-3 18-8
Montana 12-3 16-10
Eastern Washington 11-3 20-7 14
Northern Arizona 10-4 15-12
Portland St. 8-7 14-11
Big South Conf. Overall Seed
High Point 12-4 21-7 15
Charleston Southern 12-4 18-9
Coastal Carolina 11-5 20-8
Radford 11-5 20-9
Winthrop 11-5 16-11
Gardner-Webb 9-7 17-12
UNC Asheville 9-7 13-14
Big West Conf. Overall Seed
UC Davis 11-1 21-4 14
UC Irvine 9-3 16-10
UC Santa Barbara 7-5 14-12
Long Beach St. 7-5 13-15
UC Riverside 7-6 14-13
Colonial Conf. Overall Seed
Northeastern 11-5 19-10 15
William & Mary 11-5 17-10
James Madison 11-5 18-11
UNC Wilmington 11-5 16-11
Hofstra 9-7 18-11
Conference USA Conf. Overall Seed
Louisiana Tech 12-3 21-7 13
UTEP 11-3 19-7
UAB 11-4 15-13
Old Dominion 9-5 20-6
Western Kentucky 9-5 16-10
Middle Tennessee 8-7 15-13
UT San Antonio 7-7 13-12
North Texas 7-7 13-13
Horizon Conf. Overall Seed
Valparaiso 12-2 25-4 12
Cleveland St. 11-4 17-12
Green Bay 10-4 21-7
Oakland 10-4 15-14
Milwaukee 7-7 12-16
Ivy Conf. Overall Seed
Harvard 9-1 19-5 12
Yale 8-2 19-8
Metro Atlantic Conf. Overall Seed
Iona 16-2 23-6 13
Rider 13-5 19-10
Monmouth 12-6 16-13
Manhattan 11-6 14-12
Canisius 10-8 15-12
Mid-American Conf. Overall Seed
Central Michigan 10-4 20-5 14
Kent State 10-4 19-8
Toledo 10-4 18-9
Bowling Green 9-5 17-8
Buffalo 8-6 17-9
Akron 8-6 17-10
Mid-Eastern Conf. Overall Seed
North Carolina Central 13-0 21-6 16
Norfolk St 10-3 17-11
UM-Eastern Shore 9-5 16-13
Howard 8-5 14-13
Delaware St. 7-5 13-14
Hampton 7-6 11-15
South Carolina St. 7-6 10-18
Northeast Conf. Overall Seed
St. Francis (NY) 14-2 20-9 16 *
Mt. St. Mary’s 10-6 14-13
Robert Morris 10-6 14-14
Bryant 10-6 13-14
St. Francis (PA) 8-8 14-13
LIU Brooklyn 8-8 12-15
Wagner 8-8 10-17
Ohio Valley Conf. Overall Seed
Murray St. 14-0 24-4 13
Belmont 10-5 18-10
Tenn-Martin 9-5 17-10
Eastern Kentucky 8-5 16-10
Eastern Illinois 9-6 16-12
Morehead St. 7-6 12-16
SIU-Edwardsville 8-7 12-14
Patriot Conf. Overall Seed
Bucknell 12-4 17-12 16 *
Colgate 10-6 13-16
Lehigh 9-7 15-12
Lafayette 8-8 16-11
Boston University 8-8 12-15
Southern Conf. Overall Seed
Wofford 14-2 23-6 12
Chattanooga 13-3 20-9
Mercer 11-5 16-13
East Tennessee St. 8-8 16-11
Western Carolina 8-8 13-15
Southland Conf. Overall Seed
Sam Houston St. 13-1 22-5 13
Stephen F. Austin 12-1 22-4
Northwestern St. 10-4 15-10
Texas A&M-CC 9-5 14-12
Southwestern Conf. Overall Seed
Texas Southern 11-2 14-12 16 *
Prairie View 8-5 10-16
Jackson St. 7-7 9-18
Summit Conf. Overall Seed
South Dakota St. 12-3 21-8 15
North Dakota St. 12-3 20-8
IPFW 8-6 15-12
Oral Roberts 8-6 15-13
South Dakota 8-6 15-14
Sun Belt Conf. Overall Seed
Georgia Southern 12-4 19-6 14
Georgia St. 12-4 19-8
UL Monroe 12-4 18-9
UL Lafayette 10-7 16-12
UT-Arlington 9-7 15-11
Western Ath. Conf. Overall Seed
New Mexico St. 11-1 19-10 16
CSU Bakersfield 7-5 12-16
UMKC 6-5 11-17
Seattle 6-6 13-13
Note: Asterisk (*) indicates opening round participant

Here is how our expert bracketologists see the multi-bid conferences as of today.

American Conf. Overall Seed
SMU 13-2 22-5 6
Tulsa 12-2 19-7 Bubble
Temple 10-5 19-9 11
Cincinnati 9-5 18-9 10
Memphis 9-5 17-10 Out
Connecticut 8-6 15-11 Out
Atlantic Coast Conf. Overall Seed
Virginia 13-1 25-1 1
Notre Dame 12-3 24-4 3
Duke 11-3 24-3 1
Louisville 9-5 21-6 4
North Carolina 9-5 19-8 4
Pittsburgh 7-7 18-10 Bubble
Miami (FL) 7-7 17-10 Bubble
N. C. St. 7-7 16-11 11
Atlantic 10 Conf. Overall Seed
VCU 11-3 21-6 5
Rhode Island 11-3 19-6 Bubble
Dayton 10-4 20-6 11
Davidson 10-4 19-6 Bubble
UMass 9-5 16-11 Bubble
Richmond 8-6 15-12 Out
George Washington 7-7 17-10 Bubble
St. Bonaventure 7-7 14-11 Out
La Salle 7-7 15-12 Out
Big East Conf. Overall Seed
Villanova 12-2 25-2 2
Georgetown 10-5 18-8 7
Providence 9-5 19-8 6
Butler 9-5 19-8 6
Xavier 8-7 18-10 8
St. John’s 7-7 18-9 9
Big Ten Conf. Overall Seed
Wisconsin 13-1 25-2 2
Maryland 10-4 22-5 4
Michigan St 10-4 19-8 7
Purdue 10-4 18-9 11
Indiana 9-6 19-9 8
Ohio State 8-6 19-8 8
Iowa 8-6 17-10 9
Illinois 7-7 17-10 12
Michigan 7-8 14-13 Out
Minnesota 5-10 16-12 Bubble
Big 12 Conf. Overall Seed
Kansas 11-3 22-5 2
Iowa State 10-4 20-6 3
Oklahoma 10-5 19-8 3
West Virginia 9-5 21-6 6
Baylor 8-6 20-7 4
Oklahoma St 7-8 17-10 7
Texas 6-8 17-10 10
Kansas St 6-9 13-15 Out
TCU 3-11 16-11 Bubble
Missouri Valley Conf. Overall Seed
Northern Iowa 15-1 26-2 5
Wichita St. 15-1 25-3 5
Mountain West Conf. Overall Seed
San Diego St 12-3 22-6 7
Wyoming 10-4 21-6 Out
Boise State 10-4 20-7 Bubble
Colorado St 10-5 23-5 9
Utah State 9-5 16-10 Out
Pac-12 Conf. Overall Seed
Arizona 12-2 24-3 2
Utah 11-3 21-5 3
Oregon 10-5 20-8 11
Stanford 8-6 17-9 12
Oregon St 8-7 17-10 Out
UCLA 8-7 16-12 Bubble
Arizona St 7-7 15-12 Bubble
Southeastern Conf. Overall Seed
Kentucky 14-0 27-0 1
Arkansas 11-3 22-5 5
Texas A&M 10-4 19-7 10
Ole Miss 10-4 19-8 8
LSU 8-6 19-8 10
Georgia 8-6 17-9 9
Florida 6-8 13-14 Bubble
West Coast Conf. Overall Seed
Gonzaga 16-0 28-1 1
Saint Mary’s 12-4 20-7 Out
BYU 11-5 21-8 Bubble

Here is the bubble–last 10 in and first 14 out.

Last 10 In #
Texas A&M 59
Cincinnati 60
LSU 61
Dayton 62
N. C. St. 63
Temple 64
Purdue 65
Oregon 66
Stanford 67
Illinois 68
1st 14 Out #
Tulsa 69
Pittsburgh 70
Boise St. 71
UCLA 72
Davidson 73
BYU 74
Miami (FL) 75
Florida 76
U Mass 77
Minnesota 78
Arizona St. 79
TCU 80
Rhode Island 81
George Washington 82

Here are the Opening Round participants to play at Dayton.

Opening Round Games (Dayton)
11 Oregon vs.
11 Purdue
12 Stanford vs.
12 Illinois
16 Albany vs.
16 St. Francis (NY)
16 Bucknell vs.
16 Texas Southern

And, here are the top four seeds by region.

Top 4 Seeds By Region
East Team
1 Virginia
2 Kansas
3 Iowa St.
4 Maryland
South Team
1 Kentucky
2 Arizona
3 Oklahoma
4 Louisville
Midwest Team
1 Duke
2 Villanova
3 Utah
4 Baylor
West Team
1 Gonzaga
2 Wisconsin
3 Notre Dame
4 North Carolina

February 16, 2015

America’s Most Accurate Bracketology Composite—February 16, 2015

As the Eastern half of the nation tries to dig itself out of the latest several feet of global warming, it is hard to believe that the NCAA Tournament will begin in four weeks and one day.

The weather may not be clearing, but the dance marathon competitors are beginning to clear up.

Before going into this week’s bracketology report, let me address the shot-clock story from Friday, February 13.  If you haven’t read it, here is the link: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/college-basketball-and-the-shot-clock/

We have received a lot of feedback from dozens of you, and apparently, this is a very divisive issue.  About 75% of you favor the 24-second clock for college basketball, while about 25% of you believe it will ruin the game.  You did not buy into the statistical data showing that more possessions in a game lead to more deviation in the efficiency and thus opens up the possibility of more upsets and not fewer.

We are happy that a couple of you are mathematics educators at the highest level, and all of you were unanimous in your support of the 24-second clock and the evidence that more possession would lead to more upsets.  Yes, it could lead to power teams winning by 40 instead of 25, but as we stated, Kentucky readily welcomes minimum possession games, and if the Wildcats are to be defeated this year, we believe it will come from an up-tempo team forcing the Blue Mist to defend 70 or more possessions.

Okay, back to the issue at hand.  Our two dozen plus bracketologists have released their individual bracketology reports this week, and we have combined them into our third master list of the season.  For more information on our composite experts, look at previous bracketology reports on this site.

Once again, 21 conferences will send just one team to the NCAA Tournament, and this could become 22 if Gonzaga wins the automatic bid from the West Coast Conference, as BYU has fallen out of the at-large list.  For now, we have Gonzaga sweeping through the remainder of their schedule, so in essence 22 leagues are tapped to send one representative to the Dance.

That leaves 46 remaining at-large spots, and according to our current data, about 64 teams competing for those 46 spots.

Let’s start with the definite one-bid leagues.  The conference tournament champion will get the lone bid for these conferences.  In the case of the Ivy League, at the present time, we believe Harvard and Yale will both finish 12-2, necessitating a playoff game.

Here are the top contenders for each of the one-bid leagues.  We have approximated the seed for the leading contender.

 

America East Conf Overall Seed
Albany 12-0 18-7 16
Vermont 11-2 16-10  
New Hampshire 9-4 16-10  
Stony Brook 8-4 17-10  
       
Atlantic Sun Conf Overall Seed
Florida Gulf Coast 9-1 19-7 15
North Florida 8-2 16-11  
USC Upstate 6-4 19-8  
       
Big Sky Conf Overall Seed
Eastern Washington 10-2 19-6 14
Sacramento St. 10-3 16-8  
Montana 10-3 14-10  
Northern Arizona 8-4 13-12  
Northern Colorado 7-6 12-12  
       
Big South Conf Overall Seed
High Point 10-4 19-7 16
Radford 10-4 19-8  
Charleston Southern 10-4 16-9  
Coastal Carolina 9-5 18-8  
Winthrop 9-5 14-11  
UNC Asheville 9-5 13-12  
Gardner-Webb 8-6 16-11  
       
Big West Conf Overall Seed
UC Davis 9-1 19-4 14
UC Irvine 7-3 14-10  
Long Beach St. 7-4 13-14  
UC Santa Barbara 6-4 13-11  
Hawaii 6-5 18-9  
       
Colonial Conf Overall Seed
William & Mary 10-4 16-9 14
UNC Wilmington 10-4 15-10  
Northeastern 9-5 17-10  
James Madison 9-5 16-11  
Hofstra 8-6 17-10  
Drexel 8-6 10-15  
       
Conference USA Conf Overall Seed
Louisiana Tech 11-2 20-6 13
UTEP 10-3 18-7  
Western Kentucky 9-3 16-8  
UAB 9-4 13-13  
Old Dominion 7-5 18-6  
UT San Antonio 7-6 13-11  
       
Horizon Conf Overall Seed
Valparaiso 11-2 24-4 12
Cleveland St. 10-3 16-11  
Green Bay 9-3 20-6  
Oakland 8-4 13-14  
       
Ivy Conf Overall Seed
Harvard 7-1 17-5 12
Yale 7-1 18-7  
Princeton 4-3 11-12  
       
Metro Atlantic Conf Overall Seed
Iona 14-2 21-6 13
Rider 12-4 18-9  
Monmouth 10-5 14-12  
Manhattan 10-6 13-12  
       
Mid-American Conf Overall Seed
Bowling Green 9-3 17-6 13
Central Michigan 8-4 18-5  
Akron 8-4 17-8  
Kent St. 8-4 17-8  
Toledo 8-4 16-9  
       
Mideastern Conf Overall Seed
UNC Central 11-0 19-6 15
Norfolk St. 9-3 16-11  
Howard 7-4 13-12  
Delaware St. 6-4 12-13  
UM-Eastern Shore 7-5 14-13  
South Carolina St. 7-5 10-17  
Hampton 6-5 10-14  
       
Northeast Conf Overall Seed
St. Francis (NY) 12-2 18-9 16
Robert Morris 9-5 13-13  
Bryant 9-5 12-13  
St. Francis (PA) 8-6 14-11  
LIU 8-6 12-13  
Mt. St. Mary‘s 8-6 12-13  
       
Ohio Valley Conf Overall Seed
Murray St. 13-0 23-4 13
UT-Martin 8-4 16-9  
Eastern Kentucky 8-4 16-9  
Belmont 8-5 16-10  
Eastern Illinois 8-5 15-11  
Morehead St. 7-6 12-16  
       
Patriot Conf Overall Seed
Bucknell 10-4 15-12 16
Colgate 9-5 12-15  
Lehigh 8-6 14-11  
       
Southern Conf Overall Seed
Wofford 12-2 21-6 12
Chattanooga 11-3 18-9  
Mercer 10-4 15-12  
East Tennessee St. 8-7 15-10  
Western Carolina 8-7 13-14  
       
Southland Conf Overall Seed
Sam Houston St. 11-1 20-5 14
Stephen F. Austin 10-1 20-4  
Northwestern St. 8-4 13-10  
Texas A&M-CC 8-4 13-11  
       
Southwestern Conf Overall Seed
Texas Southern 9-2 12-12 16
Prairie View 6-5 8-16  
       
Summit Conf Overall Seed
South Dakota St. 10-3 19-8 15
North Dakota St. 10-3 18-8  
IPFW 7-5 14-11  
Oral Roberts 7-5 14-12  
South Dakota 7-6 13-14  
       
Sun Belt Conf Overall Seed
La.-Monroe 12-3 18-8 15
Georgia Southern 11-3 18-5  
Georgia St. 10-4 17-8  
UT-Arlington 8-6 14-10  
La.-Lafayette 8-7 14-12  
       
Western Athletic Conf Overall Seed
New Mexico St. 9-1 17-10 16
UMKC 6-3 11-15  

Here are the multiple-bid leagues.  We list the top contenders by conference record, but you can see in many cases teams that are lower in the standings may be ranked ahead of teams higher in the standings when it comes to tournament criteria.

American Conf Overall Seed
SMU 12-2 21-5 6
Tulsa 10-2 17-7 12
Temple 10-3 19-7 9
Cincinnati 8-5 17-8 10
Memphis 7-5 15-10  
Connecticut 7-5 14-10  
       
Atlantic Ten Conf Overall Seed  
Dayton 9-3 19-5 8
VCU 9-3 19-6 6
Rhode Island 9-3 17-6  
Massachusetts 9-3 16-9  
Davidson 8-4 17-6  
George Washington 7-5 17-8  
       
Atlantic Coast Conf Overall Seed
Virginia 11-1 23-1 1
Notre Dame 10-3 22-4 3
Duke 9-3 22-3 1
Louisville 8-4 20-5 3
North Carolina 8-4 18-7 4
Clemson 7-6 15-10  
Pittsburgh 6-6 17-9  
NC State 6-7 15-11 12
Florida St 6-7 14-12  
Miami (FL) 5-6 15-9  
       
Big 12 Conf Overall Seed  
Kansas 10-2 21-4 2
Iowa St. 8-4 18-6 3
Oklahoma 8-5 17-8 4
West Virginia 7-5 19-6 7
Oklahoma St. 7-6 17-8 6
Baylor 6-6 18-7 4
Texas 6-6 17-8 8
       
Big East Conf Overall Seed  
Villanova 10-2 23-2 2
Butler 8-4 18-7 5
Providence 8-5 18-8 6
Georgetown 8-5 16-8 7
Xavier 7-7 16-10 10
St. John’s 6-6 17-8 9
       
Big Ten Conf Overall Seed  
Wisconsin 11-1 23-2 2
Maryland 9-4 21-5 4
Purdue 9-4 17-9  
Michigan St. 8-4 17-8 8
Ohio St. 8-5 19-7 7
Indiana 8-5 18-8 7
Illinois 7-6 17-9 11
Iowa 6-6 15-10 11
Michigan 6-7 13-12  
Minnesota 5-8 16-10  
       
Missouri Valley Conf Overall Seed  
Northern Iowa 13-1 24-2 5
Wichita St. 13-1 23-3 5
       
Mountain West Conf Overall  
San Diego St. 10-3 20-6 8
Wyoming 9-4 20-6  
Boise St. 8-4 18-7  
Colorado St. 8-5 21-5 10
       
Pac-12 Conf Overall Seed  
Arizona 10-2 22-3 2
Utah 10-2 20-4 3
Oregon 8-5 18-8  
UCLA 8-5 16-10 11
Stanford 7-6 16-9 11
Oregon St. 7-6 16-9  
       
Southeastern Conf Overall Seed  
Kentucky 12-0 25-0 1
Arkansas 9-3 20-5 5
Texas A&M 8-4 17-7 11
Ole Miss 8-4 17-8 9
LSU 7-5 18-7 10
Georgia 7-5 16-8 9
Tennessee 6-6 14-10  
       
West Coast Conf Overall Seed  
Gonzaga 14-0 26-1 1
St. Mary’s 11-3 19-6  
BYU 10-5 20-8  

Here is how the experts seed the top four by regions.

East  
1 Virginia
2 Kansas
3 Iowa St.
4 Maryland
   
South  
1 Kentucky
2 Arizona
3 Notre Dame
4 Baylor
   
Midwest  
1 Duke
2 Villanova
3 Louisville
4 Oklahoma
   
West  
1 Gonzaga
2 Wisconsin
3 Utah
4 North Carolina

The last 10 in the field are all in danger of falling out of the field of 68 with one bad week.  Michigan was in the field two weeks ago, but the Wolverines have lost four games in a row to fall off the bubble altogether.

# Last 10 In
68 Tulsa
67 N. C. St.
66 Stanford
65 Texas A&M
64 UCLA
63 Illinois
62 Iowa
61 LSU
60 Colorado State
59 Cincinnati

These are the remaining teams in order trying to move up into the field, but for now would be in the NIT if the season ended today.

# NIT Bound?
69 Purdue
70 Miami (FL.)
71 Oregon
72 U Mass
73 Old Dominion
74 BYU
75 Boise St.
76 Pittsburgh
77 Florida
78 Clemson
79 Minnesota
80 Arizona St.
81 TCU
82 Seton Hall
83 George Washington
84 Wyoming
85 Davidson
86 Rhode Island

February 13, 2015

College Basketball and The Shot Clock

Imagine that you just purchased a very special smart phone from Honest Abe’s Electronics.  In point of fact, Honest Abe’s is located in the outer reaches of the Twilight Zone.

You attempt to text your special girl that you are on your way to meet her to go to the football game, but when you hit the “send” button, a flash of white light envelopes your body, and you are temporarily unable to see your surroundings.

Then, as if a flash of the camera has passed, you find that you have been transported to a parallel universe almost identical to the Earth, but with one difference.  You have been dropped in a 50-yard line seat at what appears to be a college football stadium you do not recognize.  A game program is in your hand telling you that you are at Tech Stadium ready to watch Tech play State.

As you read, you discover that both teams are 9-0.  The winner will advance to the Asteroid Bowl to face the tough Tigers team that is also 9-0 with one game to play.

“Great!” you think to yourself, and things couldn’t get any better when the college coeds sitting adjacent to you look like clones of Hannah Davis and Kate Upton, except their attire is a little outdated.  If you didn’t know any better, you would swear with those sweaters and bobby socks, they are trying to look like coeds from 1950’s America.

Somehow, you find a way to focus your attention on the football field.  The game kicks off at the 40-yard line, and the kicker punches it straight through with a steel-toed kicking shoe, much like was used in the 1950’s in America.

The kick sails 50 yards to the 10-yard line, and it is returned 18 yards to the 28, where State begins the first drive of the game.

Quickly, you cannot believe your eyes when Tech’s defense sure looks like the Wide Tackle 6 formation; you remember that your grandfather told you all about how he had played defensive guard.  As you chuckle quietly, you almost choke when State comes to the line in the Split-T formation.  On the first play, the State QB slides down the line and hands off to the right halfback on a straight-hitting dive play that picks up two yards.

After getting eight yards in three antiquated running plays, State punts, and Tech returns the ball to their 38 yard line.  Then, you notice something funny.  No substitutions were made in any of these plays since the kickoff.  Even the Tech kicker stayed in the game as a defensive halfback, if that’s what they called the position before there were cornerbacks.

Quickly, you realize that this parallel universe is a type of “Pleasantville.”  The 1950’s never ended, and for a second as you glance at your two new friends sitting either side of you, you realize something.  College football in the 1950’s may have sounded incredible when Gramps told you about the big games, but compared to today’s brand of football, it was as boring as watching the paint dry on the picket fence.  Thank goodness the NCAA made several rules’ changes between 1955 and 2014.

Eventually, Tech scores a touchdown to win the game 6-0, as the kicker shanked the point after.  The game ends, and you cannot wait to get out and look for the Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak lookalikes that must exist in this place.

As you leave the stadium, a paper flies out of the wooden press box above.  It is a page of the stats for the game.

There were 120 total plays from scrimmage, of which 108 were running plays and 12 were passing plays.  The teams combined to complete five of the 12 pass attempts for 60 total yards through the air.  The 108 rushing attempts led to 350 rushing yards.  Tech won the game by holding onto the ball for the last eight minutes in a long drive that went from their 15 yard line to the State 30.

You notice that even though there were three opportunities for State to attempt field goals of 20-30 yards, the State coach never considered it.  Because there are limited substitutions in this brand of 1950’s college football, kicking specialists do not exist.  The State kicker is none other than one of the inside linebacker/offensive guards.

As you wish you were back in the 21st Century watching college football with 160 scrimmage plays, 80-100 passing plays, and more than 1,000 yards of offense, the white light comes from out of nowhere, and you are holding onto the hand of your girl, as you enter a 100,000-seat stadium to watch a game that could decide whether your favorite team will stay in the hunt for a college playoff spot.

This sounds impossible, correct?  Of course, it is, since Rod Serling is no longer around.  However, if you are a college basketball fan, you have been transported back to the equivalent of college football in the 1950’s, even if you didn’t see the white flash.

Yes, college basketball in 2015 is your parallel universe where all the exciting action has been taken out of the game.  Like the drastic change in total possessions between college football in 1954 and 2014, basketball has gone the opposite way with about 25 fewer possessions per game than 40-50 years ago.  And, the game has suffered immensely.

The average college basketball team today plays at a pace of 65 possessions per game.  Let’s take a look at the real past.  The statistics I am about to give you are not 100% exact, because certain data does not exist that can be used to make the data 100% accurate.  However, we can obtain a close approximation to possessions per game by looking at the statistics we do have.

In case you do not know, you can estimate college basketball possessions with great accuracy by using this formula:

FGA + (.465 * FTA) + TO – OR

Where FGA = field goal attempts, FTA = free throw attempts, TO = turnovers, and OR = offensive rebounds.

For example, if a team averages 52 field goal attempts, 22 free throw attempts, 13 turnovers, and 10 offensive rebounds per game, you can estimate their possessions per game by performing the easy math.

52 + (.465 * 22) + 13 – 10 = 65 possessions (rounded to the nearest whole number), which is about what the average is today in college basketball.

Many of you reading this know that at one time, I missed fewer than a half-dozen Vanderbilt University home basketball games between December 1963 and March of 2001.  It took 6 inches of snow and ice or a fever of 102 or more to keep me away.  Only a 2001 relocation to Colorado ended the streak.  When we returned to Nashville in time for the 2003-04 season, we did not buy tickets, as it was apparent that Vanderbilt would commence using the Princeton offense and its insomnia-curing style of play.  This style of play continued for a few years, but even when the Commodores switched offenses, the game as a whole had become too dull to warrant spending the money and time to attend the games.

The period between 1963-64 and 1975-76 were incredible for a Commodore season ticket holder, as Memorial Gymnasium was an even bigger 6th man for the home team than Cameron Indoor Stadium has been for Duke in the last 30 years.

Coach Roy Skinner did not believe in slow-paced basketball.  Reared in Kentucky, he believed in the principles of Adolph Rupp, and he produced basketball teams that lent themselves to sellouts.  The gym sold out for the season before Thanksgiving, in a time when the first games of the season were not played until the first Monday in December.

Two remodels brought the capacity of Memorial Gym to 15,626, and through the first half of the 1970’s, Vandy’s actual attendance at most games surpassed that amount.  More than one time, the city’s fire marshall, a VU fan himself, had to clear the aisles when those without a seat but with a ticket (often a student) tried to stake a claim and create a dangerous situation.

Why was Memorial Gym so packed, and why did Vanderbilt routinely win 90% of its home games in those days?  There are multiple reasons.  First, Vanderbilt was a perennial national power in the Skinner days.  In 17 seasons, his Vanderbilt squad only once finished with a losing record (still that 12-14 team defeated a 16-0 Kentucky team), and they finished with a losing SEC conference record just twice (6-8 and 8-10).  Skinner retired when his final team finished 12-6 in the SEC, which was considered a major disappointment.

The other reason for the sellouts, which is much more valid, is that Vanderbilt was one of 20-30 college teams that played up-tempo ball for 40 minutes every game.  80-point games were considered subpar performances.  It was routine to go to Memorial Gym and see the Commodores beat a name team 95-85.  Skinner did not schedule low and mid major opponents.  No, he routinely scheduled top 20 teams like North Carolina, Duke, Davidson, (when Davidson was an elite school similar to Gonzaga today), Kansas, St, John’s, Illinois, and SMU (when SMU was the Kentucky of the old Southwest Conference).

A typical game under a Skinner-coached Vanderbilt team found the Commodores with a stat line that looked like this:

FGA = 75, FTA = 30, TO = 18, OR = 16

Do the math, and you come to 91 possessions per game.  This is not just a typical stat line for one game; this is typical of an entire season.

In some games, like against Kentucky, North Carolina, or LSU, the number of possessions exceeded 100.  One night, I watched the Commodores approach 120 possessions in a game against Ole Miss (Vanderbilt scored 130 that night).

The average would be brought down because Vandy had three conference opponents that notoriously slowed the game down in most years.  Auburn used the shuffle offense and frequently held the ball for 45 seconds to a minute before shooting.  Remember, there was no shot clock in those days.

Until Ken Rosemond recruited beefy Bob Lienhard to Athens, Georgia also held the ball against teams like Vandy and Kentucky.  They outright stalled.

By far, the number one enemy of Vanderbilt fans was Tennessee coach Ray Mears.  Prior to the days where he recruited Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King to Knoxville, Mears was a proponent of deliberate offense and a 1-3-1 trapping zone defense that led to “snoozeball,” for all but the orange-clad fans.

Take away the six games per year against Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee, and Vanderbilt averaged about 100 possessions per game and 90 points per game.  This was without a shot clock or three-point shot.  Because the Commodores had outstanding guards that could shoot from 20 feet out, it is possible that 8-10 of their made shots per game would count as three-pointers today.  Add the shot clock into the equation, and you are looking at a program that would have averaged 100 points per game had the three slow-paced teams been forced to play with a shot clock.

Now, let’s look at a typical Tennessee team under Mears before the Ernie and Bernie show matriculated from the Empire State.  I will use the 1968-69 team, because I have their stats, and I have become a sort of friend with one of the players on that team, who lives just a jump shot away from me today.

That boring Volunteer team finished second in the SEC with a 13-5 conference record and 21-7 record overall, finishing third in the NIT, which in those days meant you were a top 20 team.

That Vol squad had a scoring margin of 67-58 in a college basketball environment when about 150 points per game was an average total.  This means the average total score in a UT game was about 17 percent below the national average, and about 33% below the average score of a Vanderbilt game that season.

Tennessee’s average possessions can be estimated thusly:

(56 FGA + (.465 * 20 FTA) + 14 TO – 11 OR = 68 possessions.

Remember, these stats came in a year with no shot clock, so teams could hold onto the ball for more than 35 seconds, even a minute if they could hold onto the ball.

Teams like Tennessee and their slow-paced style of play angered fans and coaches of other teams to the point where dozens of coaches and sportswriters, and thousands of fans clamored for a shot-clock.  Yes, those 68 possessions per game were a travesty then, as fans felt like they did not receive their money’s worth.  For what it’s worth, a college basketball ticket in 1968-69 at Memorial Gym went for $8, which had risen from $6 to help pay off the bill for the recent gymnasium expansion.  Today, 68 possessions in a game is above-average!

Put a 1968-69 college basketball fan in that Twilight Zone and transport him to the present day college basketball environment, and he will feel like you felt when you were taken to the parallel universe to watch that 6-0 football game.

Today’s college basketball with its 65 possessions per team per game pales in comparison to the brand of basketball played in the 1960’s and 1970’s when an average team played at a 80-90 possession per game pace.

The basketball purist believes that the rules should not be tinkered with, but I will counter that by saying that college basketball rules have continually been tinkered with through the decades, so basketball purity demands rules changes when they are needed.

The three-point shot and shot clock took basketball to new heights when they were instituted in the 1980’s, as in the early part of that decade, the game became stagnant with low-scoring games and some important games ending with the winning team not even scoring 40 points.

The shot-clock started at 45 seconds before moving to 35 seconds like it is today.  There is talk about trying a 30-second clock in this year’s NIT.  A few basketball experts support the 24-second clock like the NBA.

If you know me, you know I am a baseball sabermetrician.  I am into sports metrics and participate actively in sabermetric endeavors.

I can bore you with a lengthy treatise to show you exactly when a baseball manager should call for a sacrifice bunt attempt and when he should not.  I can tell you mathematically how to determine the efficiency a base stealer must have in order to help his team by trying to steal a base in every possible situation.

For basketball, I can also show you what changing the shot clock from 35 to 30 and to 24 seconds would do to total possessions per game and then make an assumption or two to refine what the math shows us.

In recent weeks, I have looked at tapes of numerous college games.  I had to take stimulants to stay awake through these boring dribblethons that led to teams getting anywhere from 52 to 69 possessions.  I tried to limit my monitoring to Top 20 teams, so I watched Kentucky, Duke, Virginia, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, and others.

What I was looking for was the percentage of possessions where a shot was taken with five seconds or less on the shot clock.  Obviously, if the shot clock were reduced to 30 seconds per possession rather than 35, then these would be the possessions affected the most (there would be a secondary adjustment that I will not bore you with).

I found over the course of about 200 total games that on average in 2015, a college team will shoot the ball, turn the ball over, or draw a foul in the final five seconds of the shot clock about 18% of the time.  If we postulate that these 12 possessions per team per game now took exactly five fewer seconds due to the shot clock moving from 35 to 30 seconds, then you can estimate that the total number of possessions per team per game would rise slightly from 65 to 71 possessions per game.  This would represent merely a modest gain of 9% additional possessions.

What if we went all the way and tried a 24-second clock?  I have not had the opportunity to look at enough games to establish a pattern, but from the three dozen games I have charted this year, about 69% of all possessions exceed 24 seconds.  This includes offensive rebounds with immediate shots, turnovers, and fouls before 24 seconds elapsed, meaning that almost all other possessions used more than 24 seconds.

This would definitely change the game.  If you postulate that all the current possessions in excess of 24 seconds all of a sudden took a maximum of 24 seconds, then the number of total possessions per team per game would head north almost back to where it was in the 1970’s, when college basketball was definitely much more exciting to watch than it is today.

College football is up-tempo, and it is just behind the NFL in popularity.  College basketball is not there.  A 24-second clock would bring the excitement back, as teams would not be able to walk the ball up the floor and then dribble around the perimeter for 30 seconds.  It would be a team game once again with much less dribbling and much more passing and movement of players.  Time would not allow such stagnation as we see in today’s basketball game, where the players without the ball should be forced to purchase a ticket to enter the arena.

Let me address one additional item.  I have heard uninformed basketball fans make the claim that a 24-second clock would put an end to upsets and teams like Butler making deep runs in the NCAA Tournament and would leave teams like Kentucky and Duke in control of the sport.

This is bogus.  First, let’s look at Kentucky today.  The Wildcats average just 63 possessions per game, and they are dominating.  It is my belief, as well as the belief of others with higher basketball intelligence that if they are to be defeated this season, it will come from a team that speeds up the tempo and forces the Cats into enough turnovers to overcome the dominant rebounding the Blue Mist has.

Mathematically, in a game with limited possessions, there will be a lower standard deviation of points scored per possession.  The dominant team actually has a better mathematical chance of winning over the lesser-talented team.  In a game with higher possessions, the standard deviation of points scored per possession rises as well.  Definitely, there is a chance for a larger blowout win by the superior team, but there is also a greater chance that the dominant team will be off enough to fall to the opponent.

The up-tempo game may allow a Kentucky to beat an Auburn by 45 points rather than 10-15, but in the low-possession game, Kentucky may have a 97% chance of winning, while in the high-possession game, they may only have a 90% chance of winning.

What’s that?  Did I hear you asking me if a regular season college basketball game has ever been played using a 24-second clock?  The answer to that is, “Yes!”

There has been one regular season college game played with a 24-second clock, unfortunately more than 50 years ago. And, where was this college game played using said 24-second shot clock?  At none other than Memorial Gymnasium at Vanderbilt University under Coach Roy Skinner, Vanderbilt played Baylor in March of 1959 using an experimental 24-second clock.  The Bears led by double digits with less than 10 minutes to play, and in those days, a lead like this would have been nearly impossible to overcome in the time remaining.  However, with BU limited to just 24-seconds per possession, they could not freeze the ball.  Vanderbilt came back and won by a point on a jump shot from the top of the key in the closing seconds.

Imagine a college game where the teams cannot afford to dribble walk the ball up the floor for nine seconds.  Imagine teams unable to walk the ball up the floor and then dribble around the perimeter for a combined 25 seconds.  Imagine more teams utilizing full-court pressure to force opponents into using up 1/3 of a 24-second shot clock.  This will lead to basketball with 80-100 possessions once again.  With the three-point shot and 90 possessions per team per game, many teams will approach 100 points per game, and the truly great defensive teams will be great because they will score off their defense and force teams into .75 points per possession.

Individually, you will see a lot more double-doubles and even more triple doubles.  If a player averages 16 points and 8 rebounds today in a 65-possession environment, then he should produce close to 22 points and 11 rebounds per game in a 90-possession environment.

Back to Kentucky of 2015: the Wildcats are undefeated, but they are not in the same level of superiority as the UCLA teams of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  This team has liabilities that can be exploited by other teams.  We believe UK will not win the national championship this year if the right team shows up in their bracket.

What type of team can topple Kentucky in the Big Dance?  It will be a team that can run up and down the floor and score points before Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Dakari Johnson can get there to alter the shots.  It will be a team that can run up and down the floor possession after possession to wear down the Cats’ big men, who have not yet been forced to play extended minutes at an accelerated pace. It will be the team that defensively can get in the passing lanes and steal passes and turn them into fast-break points.  We believe that the team that beats Kentucky will do so by forcing the tempo to a minimum of a 70-possession plus game.

Looking at some of the teams with good talent and an ability to play at a quicker pace, Iowa St., West Virginia, and North Carolina stand out as teams with enough talent to pull off a 70-possession pace against Kentucky.  Arizona and Duke could potentially play at that pace, but defensively neither can force Kentucky to speed up.

We do not believe that teams with paces similar to Kentucky can pull off the upset.  Virginia and Wisconsin would have to beat Kentucky by playing to the Wildcats’ strengths, and that does not look like a probable way to beat the Wildcats.

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, be sure to return to this website Monday, February 16, after 1 PM Eastern Standard Time, to see our latest installment of our Terrific Two Dozen plus accurate bracketologists.  We bring together the most accurate bracketologists in the nation and form a composite master bracketology list to show you if your team needs to buy dancing shows or a new TV.  Forget the famous guys on the three and four-letter networks.  Our bracketologists historically fare much better in accuracy than the guys you may know.

Now, to the PiRate Ratings for this weekend’s top games.  Remember, these are first-year ratings, and we consider them to be experimental.  We use three separate algorithms incorporating basketball’s “four factors” and adjust the data for strength of schedule and home court advantage.  The PiRate Red and PiRate White are hitting close to 80% winners so far, while the PiRate Blue is lagging behind around 70%.  Unlike our football ratings, these ratings cannot be used to pick games against the spread, as they are set up only to pick the winner.  Yes, we supply a point-spread for each game, but the key part of this experimental rating is to try to work our way into picking a successful bracket come NCAA Tournament time.

Home Visitor Red White Blue
Saturday, February 14      
Kentucky South Carolina 23 19 16
Virginia Wake Forest 22 18 21
Gonzaga Pepperdine 24 20 15
Syracuse Duke -10 -6 -7
Butler Villanova -3 -1 2
Kansas Baylor 11 7 7
Louisville N. C. St. 16 12 11
Pittsburgh North Carolina -14 -7 -8
Iowa St. West Virginia 4 6 2
Illinois St. Wichita St. -10 -3 -10
Kansas St. Oklahoma -10 -8 -3
Penn St. Maryland -7 -1 -6
G W U V C U -5 -3 -2
T C U Oklahoma St. -6 -3 -5
Michigan St. Ohio St. -1 1 3
Ole Miss Arkansas 1 4 5
S M U Connecticut 8 6 10
Clemson Virginia Tech 13 8 9
Georgia Auburn 18 13 12
Georgia Tech Florida St. 10 7 2
Tennessee L S U -1 -1 -4
Missouri Mississippi St. -2 2 -5
Texas A&M Florida 2 3 7
Texas Texas Tech 19 16 21
Alabama Vanderbilt 2 4 12
Sunday, February 15
Wisconsin Illinois 19 15 13
Washington St. Arizona -28 -16 -17
Utah California 16 19 10
Missouri St. Northern Iowa -27 -11 -15
Northwestern Iowa -11 -6 -7
Purdue Nebraska 12 9 10
Boston College Miami (FL) -4 -1 3
Indiana Minnesota 3 5 8

February 9, 2015

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Report for Monday, February 9, 2015

We at the PiRate Ratings have realized that the public can find much more accurate bracketology data than that provided by the famous bracketologists at the major media outlets.  We have known this because as regular annual participants in the Football Prediction Tracker, you don’t see the most famous computer ranking services finishing at the top.  Looking at this week’s Basketball Prediction Tracker record of picking winning teams (http://www.thepredictiontracker.com/bbresults.php), you will see that it is our new experimental PiRate White and PiRate Red rankings that sit at number one and number two at 77.2% and 76.5%.  It’s always some math genius, sports fan professor of mathematics at some university (or somebody like us who got lucky and finished first twice before).

 

Bracketology is not an exact science.  There is no sabermetric formula you can plug into a computer and spit out the 68 teams that should be selected for the tournament.  There is no Batter’s Wins, Pitcher’s Wins, and Fielding Wins that show you the Mike Trout’s of college basketball.

 

Instead, we have smart guys like Patrick Stevens of the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper, who for several years has been putting out bracketology selections considerably more accurate than the famous gurus at the major outlets.  Stevens is not alone.  We have isolated more than two dozen bracketologists with five or more years experience that all dust the major competition in accuracy.

 

When you combine these less known but more accurate hard-working guys, their composite selections are about as accurate as you will find anywhere.  For instance, two years ago, a couple successfully selected all 68 teams, and the rest picked 66 or 67 teams out of 68 correctly.  As a combined group, the composite successfully picked all 68 teams correctly.  Last year, the group as a whole hit on 67 of 68.

 

We first became interested in finding a more accurate bracketology experience when most of the gurus failed to select Virginia Commonwealth to make the Big Dance in 2011, and the Rams merely advanced to the Final Four.  One of the big-time selectors failed to include Dayton in last year’s predictions, and the Flyers advanced to the Elite 8.

 

And so, continuing today and appearing frequently until Selection Sunday, we will monitor our 20-something unknown Einsteins and keep what we call the PiRate Composite Bracketology rankings.

 

Report for Monday, February 09, 2015

 

Let’s begin with the one-bid leagues.  21 conferences will send just one team to the NCAA Tournament.  In the case of 20 of these 21, the conference tournament winner will receive that lone bid.

 

The Ivy League may never hold a dedicated conference tournament, but many times in the past, a post-season playoff for first place has given the league a quasi-tournament.  In the Ivy, any team finishing tied for first qualifies for a playoff, even if one of the co-champs swept the other in the regular season.  Harvard and Yale could very well play in March to determine the league champ.

 

For the one bid leagues, we will name the top contenders at the present time based on conference won-lost record.

 

America East Conference Overall
Albany 11-0 16-7
Vermont 9-2 14-10
New Hampshire 7-4 14-10
Stony Brook 6-4 15-10
     
Atlantic Sun Conference Overall
Florida Gulf Coast 7-1 17-7
North Florida 7-1 15-10
USC Upstate 5-3 18-7
     
Big Sky Conference Overall
Sacramento St. 10-1 16-6
Eastern Washington 9-1 18-5
Montana 8-3 12-10
Northern Arizona 7-3 12-11
Northern Colorado 7-4 12-10
     
Big South Conference Overall
High Point 8-4 17-7
Coastal Carolina 8-4 17-7
Radford 8-4 17-8
Gardner-Webb 8-4 16-9
Charleston Southern 8-4 14-9
Winthrop 8-4 13-10
UNC Asheville 8-4 12-11
     
Big West Conference Overall
UC Davis 8-1 18-4
UC Irvine 7-2 14-9
Long Beach St. 7-2 13-12
     
Colonial Conference Overall
William & Mary 9-3 15-8
Northeastern 8-4 16-9
UNC Wilmington 8-4 13-10
Hofstra 7-5 16-9
James Madison 7-5 14-11
Drexel 7-5 9-14
     
Conference USA Conference Overall
Louisiana Tech 9-2 18-6
Western Kentucky 9-2 16-7
U A B 9-2 13-11
U T E P 8-3 16-7
Old Dominion 7-3 18-4
UT San Antonio 6-5 12-10
Middle Tennessee 6-5 13-11
     
Horizon Conference Overall
Valparaiso 9-2 22-4
Cleveland St. 9-2 15-10
Green Bay 8-2 19-5
Oakland 7-3 12-13
     
Ivy League Conference Overall
Harvard 5-1 15-5
Yale 5-1 16-7
Princeton 3-2 10-11
Columbia 3-3 11-9
Cornell 3-3 11-11
     
M A C Conference Overall
Bowling Green 7-3 15-6
Akron 7-3 16-7
Kent St. 7-3 16-7
Toledo 7-3 15-8
Central Michigan 6-4 16-5
Buffalo 6-4 15-7
Western Michigan 5-5 14-9
     
M A A C Conference Overall
Iona 11-2 18-6
Rider 10-4 16-9
Manhattan 9-5 12-11
Monmouth 9-5 13-12
     
M E A C Conference Overall
UNC Central 10-0 18-6
Norfolk St. 9-1 16-9
Howard 6-3 12-11
UM-Eastern Shore 6-4 13-12
South Carolina St. 6-4 9-16
     
Northeast Conference Overall
St. Francis (NY) 10-2 16-9
Robert Morris 8-4 12-12
Bryant 8-4 11-12
St. Francis (PA) 7-5 13-10
Mt. St. Mary‘s 7-5 11-12
     
Ohio Valley Conference Overall
Murray St. 11-0 21-4
Tenn-Martin 7-3 15-8
Belmont 7-4 15-9
Eastern Illinois 7-4 14-10
Morehead St. 7-4 12-14
Eastern Kentucky 6-4 14-9
     
Patriot Conference Overall
Bucknell 8-4 13-12
Colgate 8-4 11-14
Lehigh 7-5 13-10
Lafayette 6-5 14-8
     
Southern Conference Overall
Wofford 11-1 20-5
Chattanooga 9-3 16-9
Mercer 9-3 14-11
Western Carolina 7-6 12-13
     
Southland Conference Overall
Stephen F. Austin 9-0 19-3
Sam Houston St. 10-1 18-5
Northwestern St. 7-3 12-9
Texas A&M-C.C. 7-3 12-10
     
Summit Conference Overall
North Dakota St. 9-2 17-7
South Dakota St. 9-3 18-8
Oral Roberts 6-4 13-11
I P F W 6-5 13-11
     
Sun Belt Conference Overall
La. Monroe 10-3 16-8
Georgia Southern 9-3 16-5
Georgia St. 9-4 16-8
UT-Arlington 7-5 13-9
La. Lafayette 7-6 13-11
     
S W A C Conference Overall
Texas Southern 8-2 11-12
Jackson St. 5-5 7-16
Prairie View 5-5 7-16
Alabama A&M 5-5 6-14
     
W A C Conference Overall
New Mexico St. 7-1 15-10
U M K C 5-3 10-15
Seattle 4-4 11-11

 

The remaining 11 conferences will divvy up the 47 remaining bids.  For these conferences, we will list the teams by the average seed given to them by our two dozen plus experts.  If an expert left a team off his list, we assign a seed of “20” to this team to lower their overall seeding.  Thus, it is better to be the last team in the Big Dance on every bracketologist’s list and seeded at 13 than to be a 12-seed on 80% and not included on 20%.

 

American Conference Overall Seed
Tulsa 10-1 17-6 12
SMU 10-2 19-5 7
Cincinnati 8-3 17-6 7
Temple 8-3 17-7 13
Memphis 6-4 14-9 Out
Connecticut 6-4 13-9 Out
       
Atlantic 10 Conference Overall Seed
V C U 8-2 18-5 5
Rhode Island 8-2 16-5 Bubble
Dayton 7-3 17-5 10
George Washington 7-3 17-6 1st out
U Mass 7-3 14-9 8th out
Davidson 6-4 15-6 Bubble
St. Bonaventure 6-4 13-8 Out
       
A C C Conference Overall Seed
Virginia 9-1 21-1 1
Notre Dame 9-3 21-4 4
North Carolina 8-3 18-6 3
Duke 7-3 20-3 1
Louisville 7-3 19-4 3
Clemson 6-5 14-9 7th out
Pittsburgh 5-5 16-8 Bubble
Miami (FL) 5-5 15-8 13
N.C. State 5-6 14-10 6th out
       
Big East Conference Overall Seed
Villanova 8-2 21-2 2
Butler 8-3 18-6 5
Providence 7-4 17-7 6
Georgetown 7-5 15-8 7
Xavier 6-6 15-9 9
DePaul 6-6 12-13 Out
Seton Hall 5-6 15-8 12
St. John’s 4-6 15-8 12
       
Big Ten Conference Overall Seed
Wisconsin 9-1 21-2 2
Maryland 7-4 19-5 4
Ohio St. 7-4 18-6 8
Indiana 7-4 17-7 7
Purdue 7-4 15-9 4th out
Iowa 6-4 15-8 8
Michigan St. 6-4 15-8 11
Illinois 6-5 16-8 11
Michigan 6-6 13-11 Bubble
Minnesota 4-7 15-9 Bubble
       
Big 12 Conference Overall Seed
Kansas 8-2 19-4 2
Iowa St. 7-3 17-5 3
Oklahoma 7-4 16-7 4
Baylor 6-4 18-5 3
West Virginia 6-4 18-5 6
Oklahoma St. 6-5 16-7 6
Kansas St. 5-6 12-12 Out
Texas 4-6 15-8 8
       
Missouri Valley Conference Overall Seed
Northern Iowa 11-1 22-2 5
Wichita St. 11-1 21-3 5
       
Mountain West Conference Overall Seed
Wyoming 8-3 19-5 10th out
San Diego St. 8-3 18-6 9
Boise St. 7-3 17-6 5th out
Colorado St. 7-4 20-4 9
       
Pac-12 Conference Overall Seed
Arizona 8-2 20-3 2
Utah 8-2 18-4 4
Oregon 7-4 17-7 3rd out
Oregon St. 7-4 16-7 Out
Stanford 7-4 16-7 10
U C L A 6-5 14-10 2nd out
Washington 3-8 14-9 Bubble
       
S E C Conference Overall Seed
Kentucky 10-0 23-0 1
Arkansas 7-3 18-5 6
Texas A&M 7-3 16-6 10
Ole Miss 7-3 16-7 9
L S U 6-4 17-6 10
Georgia 6-4 15-7 8
Tennessee 5-5 13-9 Bubble
Florida 5-5 12-11 9th out
Alabama 4-6 14-9 Bubble
       
West Coast Conference Overall Seed
Gonzaga 12-0 24-1 1
Saint Mary’s 10-2 18-5 Bubble
B Y U 8-5 18-8 Bubble
Pepperdine 8-5 15-9 Out

 

Using the average seeding of all the teams, here is how the experts see the top four seeds per region as of today.

 

South Seed
Kentucky 1
Arizona 2
Louisville 3
Maryland 4
   
East Seed
Virginia 1
Villanova 2
Iowa St. 3
Oklahoma 4
   
Midwest Seed
Duke 1
Kansas 2
North Carolina 3
Utah 4
   
West Seed
Gonzaga 1
Wisconsin 2
Baylor 3
Notre Dame 4

 

This is how our experts seed the eight teams that must play an opening round game in Dayton.  This includes the last four teams making the NCAA Tournament as #12 or #13 seeds as well as the lowest four-seeded teams among those that receive automatic bids.

 

Opening Round Games at Dayton
Miami (FL.) vs. St. John’s
Temple vs. Seton Hall
America East Champion vs. Patriot Champion
S W A C Champion vs. Northeast Champion

 

How about the top five teams from conferences that will receive just one bid?  There are five teams seen as capable of beating a higher seed, including one team deemed to be talented enough to sneak into the Sweet 16.

 

Top 5 Teams From 1-bid Leagues
Old Dominion Sweet 16
Stephen F. Austin 1 win
Louisiana Tech 1 win
Valparaiso 1 win
Murray St. 1 win

 

So you want some dark horse candidates to sneak into the Final Four.  Here are four teams that have qualities that can make it hard for opponents to prepare to play on short notice.  This is a quartet of teams that could make an unexpected run to the Final Four.

 

4 Darkhorse Final 4 Candidates
Indiana
Iowa St.
Northern Iowa
Utah

 

Every year, a top-6 seed loses its opening round game in such a way that it really does not look like an upset.  In the past Georgetown and Vanderbilt have lost multiple times to double-digit seeds in such a way that the underdog looked like it could win nine times out of 10.  Here are the teams this season most vulnerable to losing a first round game as the favorite, while looking like they might lose nine times out of 10 to the “upset” winner.

 

5 1st Round Upset Candidates
Arkansas
Maryland
Notre Dame
Oklahoma St.
Villanova

 

Congratulations to Georgetown!  The Hoyas appear to have the talent to win that first round game this year.

 

Here are the 10 most vulnerable at-large teams this week.  A couple of unexpected losses or too many unexpected losses will send these teams to the NIT.

 

Last 10 IN Overall Seed
Miami (FL) 68
Temple 67
Seton Hall 66
St. John’s 65
Tulsa 64
Michigan St. 63
Illinois 62
Texs A&M 61
L S U 60
Stanford 59

 

Here are the top 10 teams waiting to move up into the field if and when some of the last 10 flub up.  These teams are one winning steak or a big win or two away from moving into the field of 68.

 

1st 10 Out Overall Seed
George Washington 69
U C L A 70
Oregon 71
Purdue 72
Boise St. 73
N. C. St. 74
Clemson 75
U Mass 76
Florida 77
Wyoming 78

 

We will have another update next Monday, February 16.  It won’t be long until the first conference tournaments commence.  Three weeks from tomorrow, the Atlantic Sun, Horizon, and Patriot League tournaments start.

 

We will have the conference tournament seeds and score updates daily starting with Monday, March 2.

 

February 2, 2015

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Report for Monday, February 2, 2015

If its’ the first Monday in February, then it’s the annual first installment of the PiRate Composite Bracketology Report.

We at the PiRate Ratings have realized that the public can find much more accurate bracketology data than that provided by the famous bracketologists at the major media outlets.  We have known this because as regular annual participants in the Football Prediction Tracker, you don’t see the most famous computer ranking services finishing at the top.  It’s always some math genius, sports fan professor of mathematics at some university (or somebody like us who got lucky and finished first twice before).

Bracketology is not an exact science.  There is no sabermetric formula you can plug into a computer and spit out the 68 teams that should be selected for the tournament.  There is no Batter’s Wins, Pitcher’s Wins, and Fielding Wins that show you the Mike Trout’s of college basketball.

Instead, we have smart guys like Patrick Stevens of the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper, who for several years has been putting out bracketology selections considerably more accurate than the famous gurus at the major outlets.  Stevens is not alone.  We have isolated more than two dozen bracketologists with five or more years experience that all dust the major competition in accuracy.

When you combine these less known but more accurate hard-working guys, their composite selections are about as accurate as you will find anywhere.  For instance, two years ago, a couple successfully selected all 68 teams, and the rest picked 66 or 67 teams out of 68 correctly.  As a combined group, the composite successfully picked all 68 teams correctly.  Last year, the group as a whole hit on 67 of 68.

We first became interested in finding a more accurate bracketology experience when most of the gurus failed to select Virginia Commonwealth to make the Big Dance in 2011, and the Rams merely advanced to the Final Four.  One of the big-time selectors failed to include Dayton in last year’s predictions, and the Flyers advanced to the Elite 8.

And so, starting today and appearing frequently until Selection Sunday, we will monitor our 20-something unknown Einsteins and keep what we call the PiRate Composite Bracketology rankings.

Report for Monday, February 02, 2015

Let’s begin with the one-bid leagues.  21 conferences will send just one team to the NCAA Tournament.  In the case of 20 of these 21, the conference tournament winner will receive that lone bid.  The Ivy League may never hold a dedicated conference tournament, but many times in the past, a post-season playoff for first place has given the league a quasi-tournament.  In the Ivy, any team finishing tied for first qualifies for a playoff, even if one of the co-champs swept the other in the regular season.

For the one bid leagues, we will name the top contenders at the present time based on conference won-lost record.

America East Confer. Overall
Albany 9-0 14-7
Vermont 7-2 12-10
Stony Brook 6-3 15-9
New Hampshire 6-3 13-9
Atlantic Sun Confer. Overall
Florida Gulf Coast 6-1 16-7
North Florida 6-1 14-10
USC-Upstate 4-3 16-7
Big Sky Confer. Overall
Sacramento St. 9-1 15-6
Eastern Washington 7-1 16-5
Montana 7-2 11-9
Northern Colorado 6-3 11-9
Big South Confer. Overall
High Point 8-2 17-5
Radford 7-3 16-7
Charleston Sou. 7-3 13-8
UNC-Asheville 7-3 11-10
Coastal Carolina 6-4 15-7
Gardner-Webb 6-4 14-9
Winthrop 6-4 11-10
Big West Confer. Overall
UC-Davis 6-1 16-4
UC-Irvine 6-1 13-8
Long Beach St. 6-1 12-11
Colonial Confer. Overall
William & Mary 8-2 14-7
Northeastern 7-3 15-8
UNC-Wilmington 7-3 12-9
James Madison 6-4 13-10
Conference USA Confer. Overall
Louisiana Tech 8-1 17-5
Western Kentucky 8-1 15-6
UAB 7-2 11-11
Old Dominion 6-3 17-4
UTEP 6-3 14-7
Horizon Confer. Overall
Valparaiso 7-2 20-4
Cleveland St. 7-2 13-10
Green Bay 6-2 17-5
Oakland 6-2 11-12
Ivy League Confer. Overall
Yale 4-0 15-6
Harvard 3-1 13-5
Princeton 2-1 9-10
Mid-American Confer. Overall
Akron 6-2 15-6
Kent St. 6-2 15-6
Central Michigan 5-3 15-4
Toledo 5-3 13-8
Buffalo 5-3 14-6
Bowling Green 5-3 13-6
Metro Atlantic Confer. Overall
Iona 9-2 16-6
Rider 8-3 14-8
Manhattan 8-4 11-10
Monmouth 8-4 12-11
Canisius 7-5 12-9
Mideastern Ath. Confer. Overall
UNC Central 8-0 16-6
Norfolk St. 8-1 15-9
UM-Eastern Shore 6-2 13-10
Howard 5-2 11-10
South Carolina St. 6-3 8-15
Northeast Confer. Overall
St. Francis (NY) 8-2 14-9
Robert Morris 7-3 11-11
Bryant 7-3 10-10
St. Francis (PA) 6-4 12-9
Mt. St. Mary’s 6-4 10-11
Wagner 6-4 8-13
Ohio Valley Confer. Overall
Murray St. 9-0 19-4
Belmont 7-2 15-7
Eastern Illinois 7-3 13-9
UT-Martin 5-3 13-8
Patriot Confer. Overall
Bucknell 7-3 12-11
Colgate 7-3 10-13
Army 5-5 14-7
Lafayette 5-5 13-8
Southern Confer. Overall
Wofford 9-1 18-5
Chattanooga 8-2 15-8
Mercer 7-3 12-11
East Tennessee 6-5 13-8
Western Carolina 6-5 11-12
Southland Confer. Overall
Stephen F Austin 8-0 18-3
Sam Houston 8-1 16-5
Texas A&M-CC 6-2 11-9
Northwestern St. 6-3 11-9
Southwestern Ath. Confer. Overall
Texas Southern 7-1 10-11
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4-4 7-15
Summit Confer. Overall
South Dakota St. 8-2 17-7
North Dakota St. 7-2 15-7
Oral Roberts 5-3 12-10
Sun Belt Confer. Overall
Georgia Southern 8-2 15-4
Georgia St. 8-3 15-7
Louisiana-Monroe 8-3 14-8
Western Ath. Confer. Overall
New Mexico St. 5-1 13-10
Missouri-KC 4-2 9-14

The remaining 11 conferences will divvy up the 47 remaining bids.  For these conferences, we will list the teams by the average seeding given to them of our two dozen plus experts.  If an expert left a team off his list, we assign a seeding of “20” to this team to lower their overall seeding.  Thus it is better to be the last team in the Big Dance on every bracketologist’s list and seeded at 13 than to be a 12-seed on 80% and not included on 20%.

If you see a team marked with a number followed by the word “out,” that team is one of the top 10 teams just outside of the field.  If you see a team marked with a number followed by an asterisk (*), that team is one of the last 10 to make the field and very vulnerable for dropping out if they lose a couple games they should not.  If a team is marked as “bubble,” then they received at least one placement in one of the experts’ seedings but did not make the first 10 teams out of the tournament.

American Ath. Confer. Overall Seed
SMU 9-1 18-4 7
Cincinnati 6-3 15-6 8
Tulsa 9-0 16-5 11 *
Temple 6-3 15-7 2nd out
Connecticut 4-4 11-9 bubble
Atlantic Coast Confer. Overall Seed
Virginia 7-1 19-1 1
Duke 5-3 18-3 2
Louisville 6-2 18-3 3
North Carolina 7-2 17-5 3
Notre Dame 8-2 20-3 3
Miami 4-4 14-7 11 *
NC State 5-5 14-9 11 *
Syracuse 5-3 14-7 8th out
Clemson 5-4 13-8 9th out
Atlantic 10 Confer. Overall Seed
VCU 7-1 17-4 4
Dayton 7-2 17-4 9
George Washington 6-3 16-6 12 *
Davidson 5-3 14-5 1st out
Rhode Island 7-2 15-5 10th out
U Mass 5-3 12-9 bubble
Big East Confer. Overall Seed
Villanova 6-2 19-2 2
Butler 6-3 16-6 5
Georgetown 7-3 15-6 6
Providence 6-3 16-6 6
Seton Hall 5-4 15-6 8
Xavier 5-5 14-8 9
St. John’s 3-5 14-7 11 *
Big Ten Confer. Overall Seed
Wisconsin 7-1 19-2 2
Maryland 6-3 18-4 4
Ohio State 6-3 17-5 7
Indiana 6-3 16-6 7
Michigan State 6-3 15-7 9
Iowa 4-4 13-8 11 *
Michigan 6-4 13-9 bubble
Purdue 6-3 14-8 bubble
Illinois 4-5 14-8 bubble
Big 12 Confer. Overall Seed
Kansas 7-1 18-3 2
Iowa State 6-2 16-4 3
West Virginia 6-2 18-3 4
Baylor 4-4 16-5 5
Oklahoma 5-4 14-7 5
Texas 3-5 14-7 7
Oklahoma State 4-5 14-7 10
Kansas State 5-4 12-10 bubble
Missouri Valley Confer. Overall Seed
Wichita State 9-1 19-3 5
Northern Iowa 9-1 20-2 6
Mountain West Confer. Overall Seed
San Diego State 7-2 17-5 8
Colorado State 6-3 19-3 10 *
Wyoming 7-2 18-4 5th out
Boise State 5-3 15-6 bubble
Pac-12 Confer. Overall Seed
Arizona 8-1 20-2 1
Utah 7-2 17-4 4
Stanford 6-3 15-6 8
Washington 3-6 14-7 3rd out
UCLA 5-4 13-9 bubble
Southeastern Confer. Overall Seed
Kentucky 8-0 21-0 1
Arkansas 5-3 16-5 6
Georgia 5-3 14-6 9
LSU 5-3 16-5 10 *
Texas A&M 6-2 15-5 10 *
Mississippi 5-3 14-7 12 *
Florida 5-3 12-9 4th out
Tennessee 5-3 13-7 6th out
Alabama 3-5 13-8 bubble
South Carolina 2-6 11-9 bubble
West Coast Confer. Overall Seed
Gonzaga 10-0 22-1 1
BYU 7-4 17-7 7th out
St. Mary’s (CA) 9-2 17-5 bubble

The experts have the following eight teams playing an opening round game in Dayton:

North Carolina St. vs. George Washington

Tulsa vs. Ole Miss

New Mexico St. vs. Texas Southern

Bucknell vs. St. Francis (NY)

The top seeds would be seeded thusly:

East: Virginia

South: Kentucky

Midwest: Gonzaga

West: Arizona

The number two seeds would go here:

East: Wisconsin

South: Villanova

Midwest: Duke

West: Kansas

The 3-Seeds:

East: North Carolina

South: Louisville

Midwest: Iowa St.

West: Notre Dame

The 4-seeds:

East: Maryland

South: West Virginia

Midwest: VCU

West: Utah

January 29, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Simulator

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , — piratings @ 9:09 am

Thanks to finally gaining access to the simulator of a prestigious college computer lab, the PiRates have simulated Super Bowl XLIX 10,000 times.  Without further adieu, here are the key essential numbers.

 

Weather was input into the simulation.  We used the current forecast for Phoenix at the approximate time of halftime–64 degrees.  We used a 7 MPH wind from the Southeast with mostly cloudy skies and relative humidity of 60%.

 

10,000 Simulations (rounded to the nearest whole number)

New England Patriots Won 63%

Seattle Seahawks Won 37%

Average Margin of victory: New England by 2

Average Total Points Scored: 54

New England at -1 Covered the Spread: 59%

Seattle at +1 Covered the Spread: 37%

Push (NE won by 1): 4%

New England Won by 14 or more points: 7%

New England Won by 7-13 points: 17%

New England Won by 4-6 points: 21%

New England Won by 1-3 points: 18%

Seattle Won by 14 or more points: 2%

Seattle Won by 7-13 points: 8%

Seattle Won by 4-6 points: 11%

Seattle Won by 1-3 points: 16%

Game went Over 48 points: 56%

Game went Under 48 points: 40%

Game total exactly 48 %: 4%

Game Went to Overtime: 9% (This is rather high, but 896 of the 10,000 simulations showed the game going to overtime, and one simulation had the game going into the second period of OT.  Could we be looking at the first OT in Super Bowl history?  9% is still just one chance in 11, but there has not been a league championship game ending with overtime since the Dallas Texans defeated the Houston Oilers in the AFL Championship in the 1962 season, and not since the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in the NFL Championship in 1958.  That means 58 consecutive pro football championships have not ended in overtime. 

There have been a couple of very close finishes where the last play of the game stopped an overtime from happening in a Super Bowl.

Super Bowl V ended with Colts’ kicker Jim O’Brien connecting on the game-winning FG as the clock expired in what became known as the “Kick heard ’round the world.” 

 

Super Bowl XXXIV ended with Tennessee Titan receiver Derek Mason being stopped one yard short of the goal line with the St. Louis Rams up by seven.

 

January 23, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks: January 24-25, 2015

The second experimental week of the PiRate Ratings Basketball Edition showed some improvement, but our Red rating is a cause for concern.  This is the most fragile of the three, and our early opinion is that the strength of schedule element in this rating is not adequately affecting the statistical data the way it should.  We are monitoring the situation, but at this point, there is insufficient data to draw firm conclusions.

If this is your first time here, our basketball ratings commenced two weeks ago.  For the time being, we are only selecting weekend games played between teams in the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC, chosen strictly because these three conferences represent about 80% of our regular audience that continue to support our football ratings for several years.

Our basketball ratings use three separate formulae based on basketballs “Four Factors,” strength of schedule, home court advantage and visitors’ disadvantage, pace, and just a pinch of school tradition.

 

Here are our selections for January 24-25, 2015

Home

Visitor

Red White Blue
Saturday        

South Carolina

Kentucky

-23 -11

-11

Michigan Wisconsin

-17

-9

-6

North Carolina Florida St.

22

20

20

Purdue Iowa

1

1

2

Clemson Wake Forest

5

3

5

Penn St. Rutgers

8

5

3

Tennessee Texas A&M

-3

4

2

Missouri Arkansas

-18

-7

-11

Minnesota Illinois

6

5

-1

Mississippi St. Georgia

-16

-10

-6

Syracuse Miami (FL)

6

3

5

Nebraska Michigan St.

-5

-3

-7

Vanderbilt LSU

5

1

-6

Ole Miss Florida

-3

4

1

Alabama Auburn

15

12

13

         
Sunday        
Virginia Tech Virginia

-25

-20

-27

NC State Notre Dame

-13

-1

-4

Pittsburgh Louisville

-16

-4

-8

Maryland Northwestern

19

14

15

Ohio St. Indiana

19

6

8

Georgia Tech Boston College

-2

4

2

 

January 16, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks: January 17-18, 2015

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:11 pm

The PiRate Ratings introduced our new basketball ratings last week with mixed results.  This is an experimental rating in its infancy, so our algorithms may be adjusted over time.

Our method is to use basketball’s “Four Factors” and find algorithms that take this data and determine a pointspread based on the data.  Obviously, strength of schedule and home court advantage must be factored into the equation.

We found three separate algorithms that, when back-tested, proved to be more accurate than all others we experimented with.

We call the three ratings, PiRate Red, PiRate White, and PiRate Blue, since it would be ridiculous to call one rating the Effective Field Goal % bias, another one the Rebounding/Turnover Bias, and the third one the rating that incorporates steals into turnover rate.  Red, white, and blue are easier to remember.

Because the amount of time to figure each game is lengthy and cannot be done mechanically, we are covering just the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC games on Saturdays and Sundays for now.

Once the NCAA Tournament seedings are announced, we will select all tournament games.

Here is our second weekend of official “experimental” picks–January 17-18, 2015

A minus number means the visitor is the favorite.

Home Visitor Red White Blue
Saturday        
Alabama Kentucky -23 -8 -12
Arkansas Ole Miss 12 8 10
Auburn South Carolina -13 -4 -2
Boston College Virginia -24 -14 -16
Clemson Syracuse -13 -1 -7
Florida St. NC State -8 -4 -2
Georgia Florida -4 3 -5
Iowa Ohio St. -15 1 2
Louisville Duke 6 5 4
LSU Texas A&M 3 7 7
Maryland Michigan St. 1 4 -2
Michigan Northwestern 10 8 12
Minnesota Rutgers 23 12 11
Mississippi St. Vanderbilt -17 -7 -2
Missouri Tennessee -7 1 3
Notre Dame Miami (FL) 21 11 7
Penn St. Purdue -1 1 -2
Pittsburgh Georgia Tech 8 3 7
Sunday
Illinois Indiana 6 3 3
North Carolina Virginia Tech 18 21 21
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