The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 27, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament: The Elite 8–March 28-29, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament

The Elite 8

 March 28-29, 2009


We’ve decided to combine the Saturday and Sunday games into one blog since this is being compiled late Friday night after the games have ended.


It’s not quite the Big East Tournament part two, but it looks like there will be two and as many as three Big East teams headed to Detroit.


Our Sweet 16 picking brought an end to our chances of hitting the national champion for a fourth consecutive season.  We missed that pick, although we did mention that we thought Missouri should be the true favorite in that game and that they could easily run out to a quick double-digit lead in the game.  We also must admit that our mentor and originator of this blog told us to watch Missouri knock Memphis out, and we didn’t listen as much as we should have.


So, which teams left in the tournament still possess all the PiRate Criteria necessary to win it all?  In the East, Pitt easily qualifies.  Villanova now qualifies if you factor in their win over Duke, since their points per game margin reached 10.0 following the easy win.  In the Southeast, North Carolina qualifies, but Oklahoma just misses.  In the Midwest, Louisville qualifies but not Michigan State.  In the West, Connecticut and Missouri both qualify.  Seven of the eight remaining teams qualify, and the one that misses does so by a mere one point. 


Of the original 11 teams we listed as super teams possessing the statistical criteria similar to past champions, five have made it to the Elite 8 round. 


Our record for the Sweet 16 was just 5-3, bringing the three round total to 43-13.



(numbers in parentheses are PiRate Criteria scores)

[number in brackets is Strength of Schedule advantage]


East Region @ Boston


Pittsburgh (14) vs. Villanova (9) [Pittsburgh 2]

Game Time: Saturday, 7:00 PM EDT

These teams played just once during the regular season with Villanova winning by 10 at home.  In that game, Pitt’s Dejuan Blair sat on the bench with foul trouble for much of the night.


With Blair staying out of foul trouble this time, we think the Panthers will advance to their first Final Four.


Prediction: Pittsburgh 72 Villanova 64


South Region @ Memphis


North Carolina (17) vs. Oklahoma (9) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Sunday, 5:00 PM EDT

What a great match between two dominant big men we have here!  Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin are two of the top five college players in the game. 


Griffin may end up with the better numbers in this game, but Hansbrough has a much better supporting cast.  The Tar Heels will advance yet again to another Final Four.


Prediction: North Carolina 85 Oklahoma 73


Midwest Region @ Indianapolis


Louisville (10) vs. Michigan State (7) [Mich. State 1]

Game Time: Sunday, 2:20 PM EDT

The Two games on this side of the bracket provide us with great studies in contrast.  A quick, full-court team will take on an inside banger team that has some decent outside shooting.


Four of Louisville’s five losses came to teams that can bang the ball inside and get plenty of offensive rebounds.  Connecticut, Notre Dame, Minnesota, and UNLV all play a game similar to Michigan State.  The Spartans are capable of holding the Cardinals under 45% shooting and take 55% of the rebounds.  Capable yes, but we don’t think it will happen.  Rick Pitino will guide UL back to the Final Four.


Prediction: Louisville 70 Michigan State 63


West Region @ Glendale, AZ


Connecticut (14) vs. Missouri (12) [Connecticut 1]

Game Time: Saturday, 4:30 PM EDT

We think this will be the best game of the four in this round.  Missouri looked every bit as good as the 1994 Arkansas team that won the NCAA Championship, a team with current Tiger coach Mike Anderson on the bench as an assistant.


On the other hand, UConn looks every bit as good if not better than the two Husky teams that won national titles.


We don’t think Mizzou will be able to force all that many turnovers in this game, and if they only pick up 8-10 steals, it will not be enough.  They need 12-15 steals to have a chance to win this game.


Connecticut’s inside game will be too strong for MU, and we think it will force the Tigers into foul trouble. 


Prediction: Connecticut 86 Missouri 74

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