The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 17, 2014

PiRate Ratings Top 30 Bracketologists Report

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:13 am

Two weeks from today, the first postseason conference tournament will swing into action.  No, it will not be the big power conferences, but even an opening round game in a one-bid league is enough to stir up dance fever.

 

Selection Sunday is less than a month away, so it is time to break out the PiRate Ratings’ Bracketology report.

 

We do not have a Bracketologist on staff here.  We concentrate on Bracketnomics, the study of how to pick winners in the bracket based on reverse-engineered statistical data of past Final Four participants with an emphasis on the most recent successes.

 

This year, our Bracketnomics’ data has been drastically changed to meet the changes in the way the game has been played in recent years.  Be sure to look for our Bracketnomics primer on Selection Sunday.

 

For Bracketology, we search for little known bloggers (like us) who actually have a history of better forecasting than the big named guys like Lunardi, Palm, and The USA Today.  Yes, there are math geniuses that forecast the field of 68 with more accuracy than the guys you probably know.

 

How do we know this?  It is the same thing as the college and NFL football experts.  You may know about Sagarin and Dunkel, but there are a couple dozen (including the PiRate Ratings) with a long history of outperforming these two major computer rankings.

 

We have chosen 30 little known (nationally) Bracketologists with better predictive histories than the big guys and put them together into what we here call the “Bracket Braintrust.”

 

From this list, we then assign the competing teams one of five grades: Lock, Safe, Bubble—In, Bubble, and Bubble—Out.  “Lock” means the team is guaranteed of making the tournament even if they lose the rest of their games.  “Safe” means the team is safely in the tournament unless it totally collapses (like a 20-5 ACC team losing its last seven games to finish 20-12).  “Bubble—In” means this team is on the bubble, but if the season ended today, they would be in the tournament.  “Bubble” means this team is on the bubble and would be one of the last 4-8 out if the tournament began today.  “Bubble—Out” means the team is on the bubble, but if the season ended today, they would not be in the tournament, and they need multiple teams in front of them to fall back while they win big at the end.  We use the initials, “L, S, Bi, B, and Bo” in our conference-by-conference look.

 

Let’s Start With the One-Bid Leagues.  No matter which team wins these conference tournaments, only one team from each league will get a bid.  This does not include conferences like the MVC, where if Wichita State wins the automatic bid, the Valley will be a one-bid league.

 

We list the top contenders and a possible dark horse candidate for each of these leagues.

 

One-Bid Leagues (21)

 

American East

Vermont 11-1/17-9

Stony Brook 10-2/18-8

Albany 7-6/13-13

 

Vermont lost by one point at Duke and owns a win over Yale.

 

Atlantic Sun

Mercer 12-2/21-6

Florida Gulf Coast 11-3/17-10

East Tennessee 9-6/16-12

 

Mercer won at Ole Miss and played well in losses at Texas and Oklahoma.  FGCU has no impressive wins this year.

 

Big Sky

Weber St. 11-2/14-7

Northern Colorado 9-5/15-8

 

Northern Colorado won at Kansas St.  The winner here faces a probably trip to Dayton for the opening round.

 

Big South

Coastal Carolina 9-3/16-10

V M I  8-4/15-10

High Point 7-4/11-13

Radford 7-5/17-10

Winthrop 7-5/14-11

Gardner-Webb 7-5/14-13

UNC-Asheville 7-5/13-13

 

You can see this league is quite balanced.  Of these teams, VMI might be the toughest matchup for an opponent, because the Keydets play an unorthodox style of up-tempo ball.  There are no impressive wins here to report, and this looks like a possible opening round conference.

 

Big West

UC-Irvine 8-2/17-9

UCSB 7-3/16-7

Hawaii 7-4/18-7

Long Beach St. 7-4/11-14

 

UCI won at Washington, and UCSB beat California at home.  This league will avoid the opening round unless an upset winner takes the bid.

 

Colonial

Delaware 11-0/19-7

Towson 8-3/17-9

William & Mary 7-4/15-9

 

The Blue Hens lost close games at Villanova, Ohio St., and Richmond, but they have no top 100 wins, so they are not under consideration for an at-large bid.  The nation will get a chance to see one of the top three-men scoring machines work if Delaware wins the bid.  Devon Saddler (20.4), Davon Usher (19.4), and Jarivs Threatt (17.9) combine for 57.7 points per game.

 

Conference USA

Louisiana Tech 9-2/21-5 (B)

UTEP 9-2/19-7 (Bo)

Middle Tennessee 9-2/19-7

Southern Miss. 8-3/21-5

Tulsa 8-3/13-12

 

Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, and UTEP must all be considered as “Bo” teams if they lose in the CUSA finals.  As of today, none of this group has done enough to qualify as an at-large team.  Southern Miss’s best win was at North Dakota St., and the Selection Committee may not see that as a big win.  Louisiana Tech won at Oklahoma, but the Bulldogs have a non-conference strength of schedule in the 280’s.  We have LT on the Bubble as of today, but for the Bulldogs to get in as an at-large, it will take several teams above them playing themselves out, because LT has little chance of leapfrogging.  We have UTEP far back in the Bubble—Out teams.

 

Horizon

Green Bay 11-2/21-5

Cleveland St. 9-4/18-10

Valparaiso 8-4/16-11

 

Green Bay beat Virginia and narrowly lost to Wisconsin, so the Phoenix can compete in the round of 64 and possibly be an upset team.

 

Cleveland State stayed close at Rupp Arena against Kentucky.

 

Ivy

Harvard 7-1/20-4

Yale 7-1/13-9

 

Yale won at Harvard, but even if they sweep the Crimson, a tie would still bring a tiebreaker.  If Yale wins the league and automatic bid, Harvard would have a mild argument as an at-large, but we just don’t see the Ivy getting two teams.  Harvard’s top win is a neutral site game over Green Bay.

 

Mid-American

Toledo 9-3/21-4

Akron 9-3/17-8

Western Michigan 9-3/16-8

Ohio 8-4/18-7

Buffalo 8-4/14-8

 

Poor strengths of schedule and lack of quality wins makes this a one-bid league again.  The once proud MAC is still not back to where it once was.

 

Metro Atlantic

Iona 14-2/17-8

Manhattan 12-4/19-6

Quinnipiac 12-4/17-8

Canisius 12-4/18-9

 

Iona’s out of conference schedule was rather strong, but the Gaels did not win any of these games.

 

Mideastern Athletic

UNC-Central 11-1/19-5

Norfolk St. 8-3/14-11

Morgan St. 7-3/9-13

Hampton 9-4/14-11

 

UNC-Central’s upset win over North Carolina St. is enough to avoid the opening round if the Eagles win the MEAC Tournament.  UNCC played well in losses to Wichita St., Cincinnati, and Maryland.

 

Northeast

Robert Morris 11-1/16-11

Bryant 8-3/16-10

Wagner 7-4/13-11

 

This looks like an Opening Round game conference.  RMU has no top 100 wins.

 

Ohio Valley

Belmont 11-2/20-8

Murray St. 11-2/16-9

Morehead St. 9-3/18-9

Eastern Kentucky 8-5/18-9

 

Belmont has been close before in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Duke by one.  This year, the Bruins won at North Carolina and have close losses to Kentucky, VCU, and Richmond.

 

Patriot

Boston U. 12-2/19-8

American 11-3/15-10

Holy Cross 10-4/16-10

 

Boston U won at Maryland, but that is not an overly impressive win this season—just enough to avoid a trip to Dayton if the Terriers get the bid.

 

Southern

Davidson 11-1/15-11

Chattanooga 10-2/16-11

Wofford 9-3/15-10

Elon 8-3/15-11

Western Carolina 8-4/15-12

 

This is not a glory year for SoCon basketball.  However, the conference tournament should be quite exciting with many nail-biters.

 

Southland

Stephen F. Austin 13-0/24-2

Sam Houston 10-3/18-7

Texas A&M-Corpus Christie 10-4/13-14

 

SFA has done nothing to qualify for at-large status, but the Lumberjacks should breeze through to the automatic bid.  They swept Sam Houston in the regular season.  The only conference team to give SFA trouble was Incarnate Word, and they are ineligible as a transitioning team.

 

Summit

North Dakota St. 9-2/20-6

South Dakota St. 8-3/16-10

I P F W  7-4/19-9

 

South Dakota St. was a better upset win possibility in last year’s tournament than NDSU is this year, and the Jackrabbits bowed quickly against Michigan.

 

Sun Belt

Georgia St. 10-1/17-7

Western Kentucky 9-4/17-9

UL-Lafayette 8-5/17-9

 

Not what it once was due to teams moving to better conferences, the SBC is just strong enough to muscle up to a 15-seed if GSU wins the bid.

 

Southwestern Athletic

Southern 10-2/14-11

Alabama St. 8-4/14-9

 

The SWAC is an improving league, but the 2014 champion is still more than likely headed to Dayton for the opening round.  Southern lost by 14 at Florida and were never really in contention, but forward Calvin Godfrey showed he can play with the big guys.

 

Western Athletic

Utah Valley 9-2/15-9

New Mexico St. 9-3/20-8

 

With Grand Canyon ineligible due to the transition process to D1, Utah Valley and New Mexico St. are the only two WAC teams capable of avoiding Dayton and the opening round.  This league has fallen more than any other due to the mass defections to other conferences.

 

NMSU’s RPI is around 80, but the Aggies did beat New Mexico earlier this year.

 

The Missouri Valley Conference and The West Coast Conference—One or Two-Bid Leagues

 

Missouri Valley

Wichita St. 14-0/27-0 (L)

Indiana St. 11-3/20-6

Missouri St. 7-7/17-9

 

Wichita St. should run the table and enter the NCAA Tournament at 35-0, but if the Shockers fall in the MVC Tournament, some big team’s bubble will burst, because this will then become a two-bid league.

 

West Coast

Gonzaga 13-1/23-4 (L)

B Y U  10-5/18-10 (B)

St. Mary’s 9-5/19-8 (Bo)

 

Gonzaga is a lock for the tournament, but BYU is still on the outside looking in.  For now, we are giving this league just one team, bringing the total of teams in the field to this point to 23.

 

Multiple Bid Leagues (45)

 

As of today, we show these leagues combining to produce 45 total bids.  The teams listed as “Bi” (Bubble—In) would be in the Tournament if today was Selection Sunday, but they are in no way secure bids.

 

There is quality at the top, as the best 20 teams are quite good this year.  After the top 20, the rest of the field looks to be far down from past years.  Teams as low as second to last in the Big 12 would be considered in the field if today was Selection Sunday, and that is utterly ridiculous.

 

It is our opinion that the top eight leagues should get 24 bids (3 per conference), and the rest of the nation should get eight bids total, making this a 32-team field.  Expand the College Insider’s Tournament for the smaller conference teams and bring the NIT back to a more prestigious event.

 

Legend: (L) = Lock; (S) = Safe; (Bi) = Bubble—In; (B)= Bubble; (Bo)=Bubble—Out.  The difference between (B) and (Bo) is that the (B) are among the next 8 out, whereas the (Bo) are more than 8 out.  The (Bi) are among the last 8 in.

 

 

Atlantic Coast

Syracuse 12-0/25-0 (L)

Virginia 12-1/21-5 (L)

Duke 9-3/20-5 (L)

North Carolina 7-4/17-7 (S)

Pittsburgh 8-5/20-6 (S)

North Carolina St. 6-6/16-9 (Bo)

Clemson 6-6/15-9 (Bo)

Florida St. 6-7/15-10 (B)

 

American Athletic

Cincinnati 12-1/23-3 (L)

Louisville 10-2/21-4 (L)

SMU 9-4/20-6 (S)

Connecticut 8-4/20-5 (S)

Memphis 8-4/19-6 (S)

 

Atlantic 10

St. Louis 10-0/23-2 (S)

V C U  8-3/20-6 (S)

St. Joseph’s 7-3/17-7 (Bi)

Richmond 7-3/17-8 (Bo)

Massachusetts 7-4/20-5 (S)

George Washington 7-4/19-6 (S)

Dayton 5-5/17-8 (B)

 

Big 12

Kansas 10-2/19-6 (L)

Texas 9-3/20-5 (L)

Oklahoma 8-5/19-7 (S)

Iowa St. 7-5/19-5 (S)

Kansas St. 7-5/17-8 (S)

West Virginia 7-6/15-11 (B)

Texas Tech 5-7/13-12 (Bo)

Baylor 4-8/16-9 (B)

Oklahoma St. 4-8/16-9 (Bi)

 

Big East

Creighton 11-2/21-4 (L)

Villanova 10-2/22-3 (L)

Xavier 7-5/17-8 (S)

Marquette 7-5/15-10 (Bo)

Providence 7-6/17-9 (Bi)

St. John’s 7-6/17-9 (Bo)

Georgetown 6-7/15-10 (Bi)

 

Big Ten

Michigan St. 10-3/21-5 (L)

Michigan 10-3/18-7 (L)

Iowa 8-4/19-6 (S)

Wisconsin 8-5/21-5 (L)

Ohio St. 7-6/20-6 (S)

Nebraska 6-6/14-10 (Bo)

Minnesota 6-7/17-9 (Bi)

 

Mountain West

San Diego St. 11-1/22-2 (L)

New Mexico 10-2/19-5 (S)

 

Pac-12

Arizona 10-2/23-2 (L)

U C L A  9-3/20-5 (S)

Arizona St. 8-4/19-6 (S)

California 8-4/17-8 (S)

Colorado 8-5/19-7 (S)

Stanford 7-5/16-8 (Bi)

Utah 6-7/17-8 (Bo)

Washington 6-7/14-12 (Bo)

Oregon St. 5-7/13-11 (Bo)

Oregon 4-8/16-8 (Bi)

 

Southeastern

Florida 12-0/23-2 (L)

Kentucky 9-3/19-6 (L)
Georgia 8-4/14-10 (Bo)

Ole Miss 7-5/16-9 (Bo)

Missouri 6-6/18-7 (Bi)

L S U  6-6/15-9 (B)

Tennessee 6-6/15-10 (Bi)

 

If The Season Ended Today

Seed

Team

Conference

 

1

Florida

SEC

 

1

Syracuse

ACC

 

1

Arizona

Pac-12

 

1

Wichita St.

Missouri Valley

 

2

Villanova

Big East

 

2

Kansas

Big 12

 

2

Michigan St.

Big Ten

 

2

Duke

ACC

 

3

Michigan

Big Ten

 

3

Creighton

Big East

 

3

Wisconsin

Big Ten

 

3

Iowa St.

Big 12

 

4

San Diego St.

Mountain West

 

4

Cincinnati

American

 

4

Virginia

ACC

 

4

St. Louis

Atlantic 10

 

5

Iowa

Big Ten

 

5

Kentucky

SEC

 

5

Louisville

American

 

5

Texas

Big 12

 

6

U C L A

Pac-12

 

6

Ohio St.

Big Ten

 

6

Connecticut

American

 

6

Oklahoma

Big 12

 

7

North Carolina

ACC

 

7

Massachusetts

Atlantic 10

 

7

Gonzaga

West Coast

 

7

Memphis

American

 

8

Kansas St.

Big 12

 

8

Arizona St.

Pac-12

 

8

V C U

Atlantic 10

 

8

Pittsburgh

ACC

 

9

S M U

American

 

9

New Mexico

Mountain West

 

9

Colorado

Pac-12

 

9

Oklahoma St.

Big 12

 

10

George Washington

Atlantic 10

 

10

Stanford

Pac-12

 

10

California

Pac-12

 

10

Xavier

Big East

 

11

Minnesota

Big Ten

 

11

Missouri

SEC

 

11

Tennessee

SEC

 

11

Harvard

Ivy

 

12

Green Bay

Horizon

 

12

Toledo

Mid-American

 

12

Georgetown

Big East

1st Rd

12

St. Joseph’s

Atlantic 10

1st Rd

12

Providence

Big East

1st Rd

12

Oregon

Pac-12

1st Rd

13

Stephen F. Austin

Southland

 

13

Belmont

Ohio Valley

 

13

North Dakota St.

Summit

 

13

Delaware

Colonial

 

14

Mercer

Atlantic Sun

 

14

Iona

Metro Atlantic

 

14

Vermont

America East

 

14

Georgia St.

Sun Belt

 

15

UNC-Central

MEAC

 

15

Boston U.

Patriot

 

15

Southern Miss.

CUSA

 

15

U C S B

Big West

 

16

Davidson

Southern

 

16

Southern U.

SWAC

 

16

Weber St.

Big Sky

1st Rd

16

Robert Morris

Northeast

1st Rd

16

Coastal Carolina

Big South

1st Rd

16

Utah Valley

WAC

1st Rd

 

Last Eight Bubble Teams On the Inside For Now (Oregon is last team in today)

Oregon

Providence

St. Joseph’s

Georgetown

Tennessee

Missouri

Minnesota

Xavier

 

Top Eight Bubble Teams On the Outside, Looking In (Richmond is first team out today)

Richmond

B Y U

Louisiana Tech

Florida St.

Baylor

Dayton

L S U

West Virginia

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