The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 13, 2022

Sunday Morning From The Hull

This early Sunday morning on the PiRate ship, we are hunkered down in the hull with a spreadsheet full of numbers. After New Mexico State, Arizona, and Cal St. Fullerton enjoyed late night trophy raisings in Las Vegas, we added the updated numbers to our Bracketology and narrowed the field of hopefuls down to 70 and then realized we had one more team that maybe should not have been sent to the SS NIT and one team that maybe shouldn’t be considered a lock for the Dance. So, we are sitting at 72 teams this morning. There are six teams at the bottom of the Bubble, and three of them will be happy around 6:30 PM EDT, while three will have to settle for a possible trip to the flowerless garden in the Big Apple rather than the Garden District in the Crescent City.

The six bubblers this morning (in alphabetical order) are: Rutgers, SMU, Texas A&M, Xavier, Wake Forest, and Wyoming. Let us add the last potential bid-stealer to this formula. If Richmond upsets Davidson today in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game, the Spiders will receive an automatic bid, while Davidson receives an at-large invitation. That will reduce one spot at the bottom of the Bubble. Additionally, if Texas A&M upsets Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, the Aggies will move ahead of the Last Four in, as they would be guaranteed immunity from going to Dayton early next week. That would then take a team that currently has a bye and drop them into First Four purgatory.

By 3:00 PM EDT, we will know whether Richmond secured a spot in the Field of 68 and if Texas A&M is either an automatic bid-earner or Bubble team in the last decisions to be made. One of our fine Buckaroo lasses then pointed out that the outcome of the American Athletic Conference Championship Game between Houston and Memphis could affect the resume of SMU. A Memphis win might drag the Mustangs along in the Tiger draft. Additionally, the Iowa-Purdue Big Ten Championship Game tips off after 3:00 PM EDT, and both teams’ seed line could move one spot from this game. A Purdue loss and a Tennessee win could see the Boilermakers and Vols switching spots on the seed line. Iowa could possibly jump up one spot with a win, especially if Houston loses today.

Therefore, our final Bracketology prediction will go live only once the outcomes of the last two games are known. If both games are blowouts, we will go ahead and publish the final prediction before the games end. If either game is undecided until the closing minutes, then expect our final Bracketology to go live within 10 minutes of the final horn.

Coming Monday afternoon (Eastern Time Zone), our first installment of Bracketnomics for the 2022 NCAA Tournament will post here. This will be the explanation for how to go about picking your brackets using analytics that have been back-tested for maximum accuracy. We cannot guarantee you will win your bracket-picking contests, but we have a history of many of our subscribers doing that over the two decades this page has existed. And, you cannot beat the price of this information–only the time it takes you to read it.

There is one small warning for this year: Using the criteria we rely on, there is way too much parity in this forthcoming tournament. Usually, five to eight teams have Final Four worthy resumes. As of this morning, only two teams have such wonders. That means that two teams that do not have Final Four resumes are guaranteed to make this year’s Final Four. It also means that a team like Connecticut in both 2011 and 2014 might be poised to make a run to the National Championship Game, and it is a much higher probability that a Mid-Major makes the Final Four like Loyola, Wichita State, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, and George Mason have done in this Century and Indiana State and Penn did in 1979. If you are wondering when was the last time a team from outside of a power conference actually won the tournament, it was UNLV in 1990, 32 years ago. Gonzaga has come close twice, losing in the final game to North Carolina and to Baylor. Butler came within a final shot rolling on the rim and falling off of winning against Duke.

This shapes up to be a very exciting NCAA Tournament this year. There will be a lot of interesting story lines, so today, we are informing you that you probably feel a bit off. By Thursday morning, you just won’t be able to get up and going, and you will have to call in sick to work with a 48-hour bug, forcing you to take sick days on Thursday and Friday. Being self-employed or a member of sports media through the years, I was fortunate not to have to get Madness Fever.

Today’s Conference Tournament Schedule

All Times Eastern Daylight

12:00 PM on ESPN2: Ivy League Championship Game

Princeton vs. Yale

1:00 PM on ESPN: Southeastern Conference Championship Game

Tennessee vs. Texas A&M

1:00 PM on CBS: Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game

Davidson vs. Richmond

3:15 PM on ESPN: Conference USA Championship Game

Houston vs. Memphis

3:30 PM on CBS: Big Ten Conference Championship Game

Iowa vs. Purdue

6:00 PM on CBS: Selection Sunday Show

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