The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 18, 2013

Bracketnomics 2013: NCAA First and Second Rounds

We hope you read our informational posting about Bracketnomics.  In that post, we explained how we have back-tested certain data to find best fits for past national champions and Final Four participants.

 

We have all the data we need going back to the first year of the 64-team field.  We have sufficient data going back to the days of the 22 to 25-team fields of the 1960’s, and we have nominal data going back to the beginning of the NCAA Tournament 74 years ago.

 

In a nutshell, there are certain statistical trends that point to a team advancing deeper and deeper in the tournament.  As statistical information has become more easily obtainable, and the field has expanded to 64, 65, and now 68, this information has become much more accurate.

 

First and foremost, we look for teams that played better than average schedules.  It is obvious that a team can play 20 patsies and run up some really gaudy stats.

 

Second, we look for teams that can win away from home.  If a team goes 22-8, with a home record of 18-1 and a record away from home (away and neutral games) of 4-7, this team is not ready to win six consecutive games, or even four, away from home.

 

Once we have isolated the teams that have played an above average schedule and have enjoyed some success away from home, we look at these vital statistics:

 

1. Scoring Margin—anything that is 8 or more is important.  We really like a scoring margin at 10 or more, as all but one of the 21st Century champions have entered the Big Dance with a double digit scoring margin.  If a team has a 15-point or better scoring margin, and they satisfy the strength of schedule and road won-loss criteria, then watch out!

 

2. Field Goal Percentage Margin—this is a team’s offensive field goal percentage minus their defensive field goal percentage times 100.  The key stat here is +7.5% or better.

 

3. Rebounding Margin—a team with a rebounding margin of 5.0 or more has a chance to overcome a bad shooting game or a turnover-prone game.

 

4. Turnover Margin—similar to rebounding margin, but we have a weighted scale here.  If a team out-rebounds its opponents by 3.0 or more, then any positive turnover margin is sufficient.  If a team out-rebounds is opponents by 0.1 to 2.9, then a turnover margin of 3.0 or better is required.  And, if a team does not out-rebound its opponents, they must have a turnover margin of 5.0 or more.

 

5. Average Steals Per Game—if the rebound is gold, the steal is platinum.  We consider a steal to be worth 1.3 rebounds (reasons given in Bracketnomics 2013 posted on Sunday, March 17, 2013).  Any team that averages 7.5 or more steals per game will have several cheap basket opportunities.  Any team with double digit steals per game will be monsters in the tournament.

 

6. The PiRate R+T Rating—if rebound margin is gold, and steals per game are platinum, then our R+T rating is rhodium.  This rating combines rebounding margin, turnover margin, and steals per game into one sabrmetric-type rating, similar to any of several baseball ratings (like Wins Above Replacement).  The current formula is in Sunday’s post, but you don’t have to bother with trying to figure these out for all 68 teams.  We have done that for you.  What we isolate are the teams with an R+T rating of 5.0 or better, paying extra attention to 10.0 or better.  If a team has a negative R+T rating, they are going home quickly even if they are a number 3 seed playing a number 14 seed, which is exactly what happened in 2010, when Georgetown had a negative R+T rating and not only was upset by Ohio U in the opening round, they were blown out of the gym.

 

The 2013 Field of 68

1. Which teams qualify on all stat requirements?

 

None of the 68 teams qualify on all eight statistical requirements.  Two teams came close with seven of eight.

 

Gonzaga qualifies in all statistical categories, except schedule strength, and that is a killer.  The Bulldogs may advance to the Elite Eight, but with their lower than average SOS, we do not see this as their breakthrough season, even as a one-seed.

 

Indiana qualifies in all statistical categories except won-loss percentage away from Assembly Hall.  The Hoosiers’ won-loss percentage away from home is 71.4%, which misses qualifying by one game.

 

2. Which teams failed to qualify in even one statistical category?

 

We almost broke a record this year in “nullsville.”  11 teams failed to meet at least one of the statistical criteria and will not need reservations past the second round (what used to be the first round).

 

Albany, Florida Gulf-Coast, Harvard, Iona, Liberty, Long Island, Montana, North Carolina A&T, Pacific, and Western Kentucky come as no surprise to most.  These teams are not expected to win in this tournament, although either North Carolina A&T or Liberty must win one game, because they face off in the First Four in Dayton.

 

However, one major conference team is going to surprise you.  That team is: Notre Dame!  The Fighting Irish just missed out in scoring margin, rebounding margin, and strength of schedule, while their turnover margin and average steals missed by a long shot.  Keep this in mind when looking at upsets in the second round.

 

3. Which teams have a negative R+T rating and can be immediately eliminated from consideration?

 

Only one team has a negative R+T rating, and that is Liberty.  However, several teams have R+T ratings just above zero, and you should look at these teams as the type that will not get enough extra scoring opportunities to win.

 

4. Which of the teams expected to win or be competitive in a tossup game have these low R+T numbers?

 

California is a “sexy 12-seed” that many feel got the shaft in the seeding process.  A lot of experts are calling for the Golden Bears to benefit from playing in San Jose and upset 5-seed UNLV.  However, Cal has an R+T rating of 2.68, while the Runnin’ Rebels’ R+T rating is 6.88.  If you considered a game to be a tossup and then gave one team four additional possessions, which team would you expect to win?

 

La Salle is a 13-seed playing 4-seed KansasState.  The Explorers’ R+T rating is 2.46, while the Wildcats have a 7.86 rating.  Don’t count on the lads from Philly beating the lads from the other Manhattan.

 

5. Who will advance to the Final Four?

We’re glad you asked, because we have an opinion to proffer.

 

Normally, we find just one or at most two number one seeds worthy of making it to the final weekend.  The only year where we saw three 1-seeds advancing to the tournament was 2008, when we selected Kansas, Memphis, and North Carolina to advance to the Final Four as one-seeds.  That indeed happened, but we missed out on one-seed UCLA making it the one and only time that all four one-seeds won their respective regions.

 

This year, we are going with the chalk in three regions once again.  We believe Louisville, Indiana, and Kansas will win their regions.  We do not believe Gonzaga will make it four for four.  In fact, we have a dark horse candidate as our West Regional winner.  We believe six-seed Arizona will upset 2-seed OhioState in the Sweet 16 and then win again in the Elite Eight to be the surprise winner of the Regional.

 

6. So, who do we pick for the National Champion?

This is a very close call.  The top two teams, Indiana and Louisville are separated by just a hair the way we rate the teams.  It is a tossup, so we have to go to extracurricular information to figure out a winner.

 

Remember what we said were the rhodium, platinum, and gold ratings?  Both teams are in the top grouping in R+T rating.  Indiana dominates in rebounding margin, while Louisville is on the top rung in steals per game.  We have to go outside our formula to come up with a winner, and we are going with experience.  Rick Pitino has been to six Final Fours as a head coach.  Our official pick for NCAA Champion is Louisville.

 

Here are our picks for the first two rounds.  Of course, we will update the ratings and pick anew after round two with picks for Saturday on Friday night and picks for Sunday on Saturday night.

 

Opening Round (First 4 @ Dayton)

North Carolina A&T over Liberty

Middle Tennessee over St. Mary’s

Long Island over James Madison

BoiseState over La Salle

 

Second Round

Midwest

Louisville over North Carolina A&T

ColoradoState over Missouri

Oregon over OklahomaState

St. Louis over New MexicoState

Memphis over Middle Tennessee

MichiganState over Valparaiso

Cincinnati over Creighton

Duke over Albany

 

West

Gonzaga over Southern

Pittsburgh over WichitaState

Wisconsin over Ole Miss

KansasState over BoiseState

Arizona over Belmont

New Mexico over Harvard

IowaState over Notre Dame

OhioState over Iona

 

South

Kansas over Western Kentucky

North Carolina over Villanova

VirginiaCommonwealth over Akron

Michigan over South DakotaState

Minnesota over UCLA

Florida over Northwestern State

San DiegoState over Oklahoma

Georgetown over FloridaGulfCoast

 

East

Indiana over Long Island

North CarolinaState over Temple

UNLV over California

Syracuse over Montana

Bucknell over Butler (big upset pick)

Marquette over Davidson (closest game in this round according to our ratings)

Colorado over Illinois

Miami over Pacific

 

Third Round (Will be updated on Friday and Saturday for those that get to pick every round)

 

Midwest

Louisville over ColoradoState

Oregon over St. Louis

MichiganState over Memphis

Duke over Cincinnati

 

West

Gonzaga over Pittsburgh

Wisconsin over KansasState

Arizona over New Mexico

OhioState over IowaState

 

South

Kansas over North Carolina

Michigan over VirginiaCommonwealth (very close)

Florida over Minnesota

Georgetown over San DiegoState

 

East

Indiana over North CarolinaState

Syracuse over UNLV

Bucknell over Marquette (our Cinderella team in the Sweet 16)

Miami over Colorado

 

Sweet 16

Midwest

Louisville over Oregon

MichiganState over Duke

 

West

Gonzaga over Wisconsin

Arizona over OhioState

 

South

Kansas over Michigan

Florida over Georgetown

 

East

Indiana over Syracuse

Miami over Bucknell

 

Elite 8

Midwest

Louisville over MichiganState

 

West

Arizona over Gonzaga

 

South

Kansas over Florida

 

East

Indiana over Miami

 

Final 4

Louisville over Arizona

Indiana over Kansas

 

Championship

Louisville over Indiana

 

Here is a look at our raw stats:

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

D FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

RW-L

Akron

72.7

62.0

10.7

.457

.390

6.7

37.9

32.0

5.9

13.6

13.8

0.2

7.2

7.58

51.34

68.8

Albany

64.8

60.6

4.2

.436

.422

1.4

34.0

30.4

3.6

13.5

12.5

-1.0

5.3

3.46

45.63

64.7

Arizona

73.3

63.7

9.6

.450

.415

3.5

36.2

30.3

5.9

13.1

13.8

0.7

6.9

8.12

57.27

68.8

Belmont

77.2

64.0

13.2

.494

.410

8.4

32.2

33.0

-0.8

13.5

17.4

3.9

9.8

5.84

54.17

68.4

Boise St.

73.3

65.0

8.3

.459

.431

2.8

33.9

29.7

4.2

12.1

13.5

1.4

6.7

7.22

55.64

43.8

Bucknell

67.3

57.5

9.8

.456

.378

7.8

36.2

30.3

5.9

9.5

9.2

-0.3

3.6

6.26

48.45

77.8

Butler

69.7

63.7

6.0

.455

.417

3.8

36.6

28.9

7.7

13.2

11.2

-2.0

5.7

6.44

56.61

70.6

California

67.5

64.4

3.1

.446

.396

5.0

37.2

34.0

3.2

12.5

11.1

-1.4

5.8

2.68

56.35

60.0

Cincinnati

66.6

58.8

7.8

.402

.385

1.7

40.0

33.5

6.5

12.8

13.2

0.4

7.0

8.38

57.16

60.0

Colorado

68.2

63.8

4.4

.436

.404

3.2

37.2

33.8

3.4

13.3

12.9

-0.4

7.0

4.32

57.40

52.9

Colorado St.

73.1

62.9

10.2

.448

.409

3.9

40.4

28.4

12.0

10.8

11.1

0.3

4.9

13.34

56.44

56.3

Creighton

75.4

63.1

12.3

.508

.407

10.1

35.2

30.3

4.9

12.3

10.6

-1.7

5.0

3.86

54.46

70.6

Davidson

73.7

62.2

11.5

.463

.412

5.1

33.8

31.4

2.4

10.9

12.3

1.4

5.7

5.22

48.49

70.0

Duke

78.3

65.4

12.9

.476

.418

5.8

33.8

35.0

-1.2

10.7

14.4

3.7

6.5

4.54

60.79

68.8

Florida

71.6

53.7

17.9

.481

.377

10.4

35.1

30.3

4.8

11.1

14.0

2.9

7.0

9.68

57.28

61.1

FloridaGulfCoast

73.1

66.7

6.4

.460

.406

5.4

36.6

35.4

1.2

14.7

15.9

1.2

9.0

4.44

47.87

50.0

Georgetown

64.6

55.7

8.9

.456

.376

8.0

32.9

31.7

1.2

12.7

14.2

1.5

7.5

4.50

57.95

64.3

Gonzaga

78.0

59.7

18.3

.503

.382

12.1

37.4

30.0

7.4

11.3

13.9

2.6

8.0

12.12

54.72

93.8

Harvard

68.9

63.9

5.0

.482

.440

4.2

29.4

30.4

-1.0

13.5

13.8

0.3

7.4

0.84

48.79

42.9

Illinois

69.1

65.3

3.8

.416

.427

-1.1

33.5

34.9

-1.4

11.5

14.4

2.9

6.9

3.46

58.79

55.6

Indiana

80.0

62.5

17.5

.486

.390

9.6

38.6

30.9

7.7

13.0

14.4

1.4

7.5

10.88

58.69

71.4

Iona

80.7

75.8

4.9

.457

.449

0.8

36.0

35.9

0.1

12.2

14.1

1.9

6.6

3.70

50.69

42.9

Iowa St.

79.6

71.2

8.4

.455

.427

2.8

38.7

34.0

4.7

13.3

13.2

-0.1

6.5

5.88

56.13

37.5

James Madison

65.2

64.4

0.8

.420

.427

-0.7

32.7

34.2

-1.5

11.2

13.8

2.6

7.9

3.20

45.92

50.0

Kansas

75.4

61.5

13.9

.480

.360

12.0

39.1

32.5

6.6

13.7

12.9

-0.8

7.2

7.08

57.80

75.0

Kansas St.

69.2

60.4

8.8

.436

.418

1.8

35.3

32.1

3.2

11.6

14.3

2.7

7.1

7.86

56.31

62.5

La Salle

72.4

66.0

6.4

.448

.456

-0.8

31.7

34.7

-3.0

11.7

14.9

3.2

8.1

2.46

54.70

53.3

Liberty

69.1

69.9

-0.8

.429

.419

1.0

35.7

36.3

-0.6

13.4

10.8

-2.6

5.5

-2.62

44.38

35.0

Long Island

79.5

76.4

3.1

.484

.468

1.6

35.4

33.6

1.8

14.4

13.0

-1.4

6.8

1.48

45.45

43.8

Louisville

73.6

58.0

15.6

.445

.388

5.7

37.5

33.9

3.6

12.7

18.7

6.0

10.7

12.94

59.42

77.8

Marquette

69.0

62.7

6.3

.467

.405

6.2

35.0

30.6

4.4

13.6

12.9

-0.7

6.7

4.90

58.24

46.7

Memphis

75.9

65.1

10.8

.479

.405

7.4

37.8

32.9

4.9

14.6

15.5

0.9

9.0

7.78

54.81

81.3

Miami

69.9

60.7

9.2

.460

.399

6.1

35.8

32.5

3.3

10.9

11.9

1.0

6.3

5.76

59.20

72.2

Michigan

75.2

62.9

12.3

.484

.419

6.5

35.1

32.2

2.9

9.2

12.1

2.9

6.0

7.58

56.00

60.0

Michigan St.

68.2

59.3

8.9

.460

.394

6.6

37.3

30.5

6.8

13.4

12.8

-0.6

8.1

7.70

59.69

53.3

Middle Tennessee

71.2

57.8

13.4

.463

.394

6.9

36.8

30.8

6.0

13.8

15.8

2.0

7.1

9.82

51.62

70.6

Minnesota

68.4

61.7

6.7

.442

.396

4.6

38.8

30.6

8.2

13.8

12.8

-1.0

7.6

8.52

59.67

33.3

Missouri

76.2

66.2

10.0

.460

.401

5.9

41.4

31.8

9.6

13.2

12.0

-1.2

6.8

9.52

56.00

37.5

Montana

71.1

65.0

6.1

.474

.427

4.7

31.2

32.4

-1.2

12.1

12.2

0.1

5.9

0.10

46.85

66.7

N.C.State

77.5

70.1

7.4

.494

.418

7.6

36.8

33.9

2.9

12.4

11.6

-0.8

6.6

3.26

56.64

47.1

New Mexico

67.4

60.4

7.0

.425

.388

3.7

35.2

33.1

2.1

11.5

12.7

1.2

6.1

4.76

60.31

77.8

New Mexico St.

68.0

62.1

5.9

.461

.398

6.3

37.6

31.1

6.5

14.4

12.4

-2.0

5.6

5.22

52.46

50.0

North Carolina

77.2

69.1

8.1

.444

.422

2.2

38.9

36.5

2.4

12.2

15.3

3.1

8.2

7.76

58.63

55.6

North Carolina A&T

62.4

61.4

1.0

.398

.383

1.5

35.4

36.6

-1.2

15.1

16.1

1.0

7.1

1.42

43.39

40.9

Northwestern St.

81.0

71.2

9.8

.461

.424

3.7

39.3

38.9

0.4

14.0

17.0

3.0

9.8

5.96

48.32

58.8

Notre Dame

70.4

63.1

7.3

.463

.418

4.5

36.2

32.1

4.1

11.1

10.4

-0.7

5.1

4.28

55.83

53.3

Ohio St.

69.2

57.9

11.3

.454

.395

5.9

35.5

31.8

3.7

10.6

13.2

2.6

6.8

8.18

58.31

66.7

Oklahoma

71.1

66.2

4.9

.436

.417

1.9

36.7

34.9

1.8

11.8

13.3

1.5

6.5

4.90

57.40

47.1

Oklahoma St.

72.4

62.8

9.6

.440

.390

5.0

36.4

34.6

1.8

12.4

14.8

2.4

7.5

6.18

56.26

64.3

Ole Miss

77.9

67.3

10.6

.438

.410

2.8

38.7

37.7

1.0

11.4

15.6

4.2

8.4

7.72

51.73

58.8

Oregon

72.5

62.9

9.6

.451

.406

4.5

37.9

30.9

7.0

15.1

15.7

0.6

8.8

9.48

53.29

60.0

Pacific

67.5

68.1

-0.6

.452

.444

0.8

32.3

31.9

0.4

11.1

11.3

0.2

5.6

1.76

50.38

47.4

Pittsburgh

69.6

55.4

14.2

.475

.393

8.2

35.3

28.3

7.0

10.9

13.5

2.6

6.7

11.46

54.91

64.3

San Diego St.

69.2

60.7

8.5

.438

.388

5.0

36.8

33.4

3.4

11.9

12.7

0.8

6.9

5.74

57.98

47.1

South Dakota St.

73.9

65.5

8.4

.470

.442

2.8

34.9

30.7

4.2

10.5

11.2

0.7

5.0

6.04

48.89

55.0

Southern

67.7

57.1

10.6

.434

.365

6.9

35.2

35.3

-0.1

10.9

13.7

2.8

7.5

4.76

40.21

55.0

St. Louis

68.7

58.1

10.6

.448

.412

3.6

32.8

32.5

0.3

11.5

15.2

3.7

7.5

6.24

55.73

69.2

St. Mary’s

75.5

63.5

12.0

.474

.419

5.5

37.1

28.4

8.7

12.0

11.7

-0.3

6.3

9.60

53.70

68.8

Syracuse

71.3

60.1

11.2

.440

.377

6.3

38.7

34.6

4.1

12.6

15.5

2.9

8.9

9.36

59.30

56.3

Temple

72.8

68.1

4.7

.430

.434

-0.4

34.5

35.8

-1.3

11.0

13.7

2.7

8.0

3.54

55.35

60.0

U C L A

74.7

68.9

5.8

.455

.422

3.3

36.3

38.1

-1.8

11.1

14.1

3.0

8.2

3.44

57.71

62.5

U N L V

71.7

63.0

8.7

.439

.388

5.1

40.1

33.5

6.6

14.0

13.0

-1.0

7.4

6.88

57.99

50.0

V C U

77.3

64.8

12.5

.449

.444

0.5

34.8

34.8

0.0

11.8

19.9

8.1

11.8

12.08

55.72

64.7

Valparaiso

71.7

62.2

9.5

.489

.414

7.5

32.9

28.5

4.4

14.5

12.8

-1.7

6.7

3.70

49.76

66.7

Villanova

67.8

64.7

3.1

.415

.402

1.3

36.3

33.2

3.1

15.7

15.2

-0.5

7.7

4.04

57.43

47.1

Western Kentucky

67.2

65.7

1.5

.431

.422

0.9

36.2

33.0

3.2

15.1

13.9

-1.2

6.1

2.98

49.50

45.0

Wichita St.

69.4

60.7

8.7

.443

.400

4.3

38.4

30.0

8.4

12.8

13.2

0.4

7.5

10.38

53.84

64.7

Wisconsin

65.5

55.9

9.6

.425

.394

3.1

36.7

32.9

3.8

9.7

11.2

1.5

5.7

6.74

58.11

50.0

 

Here is a look at the stats of the NCAA Champions since 2000:

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

D FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

RW-L

12 Kentucky

76.7

59.0

17.7

.483

.368

11.5

39.1

31.9

7.2

11.4

11.9

0.5

6.3

9.06

56.84

87.5

11 Uconn

72.4

64.9

7.5

.434

.393

4.1

39.7

35.3

4.4

11.4

11.5

0.1

6.3

5.78

72.2

10 Duke

77.0

61.0

16.0

.440

.401

3.9

39.0

32.8

6.2

11.1

14.2

3.1

6.7

11.26

70.6

09 North Carolina

89.8

72.0

17.8

.480

.410

7.0

42.0

35.7

6.3

12.4

15.9

3.5

8.6

12.22

82.4

08 Kansas

80.5

61.5

19.0

.508

.379

12.9

38.7

30.8

7.9

13.2

15.6

2.4

8.9

12.56

78.6

07 Florida

79.6

62.6

17.0

.526

.407

11.9

37.6

29.1

8.5

14.1

12.8

-1.3

6.7

8.28

68.8

06 Florida

78.3

63.5

14.8

.500

.399

10.1

35.9

32.3

3.6

14.4

15.5

1.1

7.6

6.44

73.3

05 North Carolina

88.0

70.3

17.7

.499

.401

9.8

40.5

33.0

7.5

16.1

17.8

1.7

9.8

11.50

75.0

04 Connecticut

78.8

63.9

14.9

.480

.369

11.1

44.7

34.9

9.8

13.6

12.2

-1.4

6.0

9.32

66.7

03 Syracuse

79.6

69.6

10.0

.475

.390

8.5

40.7

38.1

2.6

14.1

14.9

0.8

8.5

5.26

58.3

02 Maryland

85.0

70.9

14.1

.482

.399

8.3

41.1

37.4

3.7

13.8

15.4

1.6

8.4

7.30

73.3

01 Duke

90.7

70.5

20.2

.481

.416

6.5

38.6

37.5

1.1

13.6

19.1

5.5

10.5

9.80

88.9

00 Michigan St.

74.1

58.9

15.2

.474

.394

8.0

39.0

27.3

11.7

14.6

13.7

-0.9

6.6

11.94

63.2

 

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