The Pi-Rate Ratings

April 7, 2019

PiRate Ratings 2019 National Championship Preview

PiRate Ratings

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Virginia

120.1

0.0

Texas Tech

120.2

-0.1

TV Information

Tip Time: 9:20 PM Eastern Daylight

Network: CBS

Announce Team:

Play by Play: Jim Nantz 

Analysts: Bill Raftery and Grant Hill

Sideline Reporter: Tracy Wolfson

 

Bracketnomics Breakdown

Championship Game

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia

60.55

11.6

29.7

75.2

12.7

15.5

10.0

Texas Tech

60.20

10.0

26.5

72.5

15.9

19.9

3.3

Strength of Schedule: This is basically even, so all other stats need not be adjusted.

True Shooting Percentage Margin: Virginia enjoys a tiny advantage, but not anything that can be convincing.  Both teams excel in forcing opponents to take bad shots or hurry them as the shot clock expires.  With both teams playing the Pack-Line Defense, it appears that the number of possessions per team will be quite low, as low as 60 per side, and with both teams stronger on the defensive end than on the offensive end, it would not be shocking if both teams scored less than a point per possession.

R+T Rating: This is where Virginia has the edge, thanks to better overall rebounding, avoiding mistakes, and picking up an occasional big steal.  Texas Tech’s 3.3 R+T is one of the lowest ever to make the Final Four, much less the Championship Game.

Rebounding Margin: Virginia is a better offensive rebounding team, but Texas Tech enjoys an equal advantage on the defensive glass, so this should be an even match.

Turnover Margin: Texas Tech forces turnovers on one out of every five possessions, while Virginia commits turnovers on one out of every eight possessions.  The Cavaliers usually commit more than their norm against teams that harass and sometimes overplay on defense, but they still manage to win these games.

Prediction: Experts and pundits never believed a team that runs the Pack-Line defense could win a national title, but since both championship game participants use this defense, it is guaranteed to win a national championship this year.

The raw numbers would have us suspect that 55 points might be enough to win this game, but something tells us that since these teams practice against a similar defense all the time, and Tony Bennett and Chris Beard know where their offenses can exploit each other’s defenses, that these teams could both top 60 points in this game.

There have been seven National Championship Games that have gone to overtime since the tournament began in 1939.  All of our ratings lead us to believe that this game could stay close the entire night.

Both teams have short benches, as Virginia played just seven players against Auburn, and Texas Tech used just eight players in their win over Michigan St.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Virginia 64  Texas Tech 60

April 4, 2019

PiRate Ratings 2019 Final Four Preview

PiRate Ratings

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Virginia

120.3

0.0

Auburn

116.8

3.5

Michigan St.

121.2

0.0

Texas Tech

119.7

1.5

 

 

Schedule

All Times Eastern Daylight

Team

Team

TIME (EDT)

TV

LOCATION

Auburn

Virginia

6:09 PM

CBS

Minneapolis

Texas Tech

Michigan St.

8:49 PM

CBS

Minneapolis

 

Bracketnomics

Note–These comparisons are totally unrelated to the PiRate Ratings above.  This system is only used for the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia vs. Auburn

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia

60.22

11.7

30.2

75.0

12.7

15.7

10.6

Auburn

60.67

2.2

31.9

67.8

14.4

21.5

2.3

Strength of schedule is even, so the remaining stats can be weighted equally without handicap.  Virginia has a large advantage in both true shooting % margin and R+T Rating.  The rebounding rates in this game should allow Virginia to overcome the extra turnovers they will commit against Auburn’s defense.  Virginia faced teams with similar defenses this year, committed more turnovers than their norm while not forcing many, and yet still won.  Their losses to Duke came about because the Blue Devils could neutralize their inside muscle.  Auburn cannot do this, especially one big man down.

Prediction: Virginia 66  Auburn 58

 

Michigan St. vs. Texas Tech

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Michigan St.

61.76

13.2

33.6

73.9

16.0

12.9

11.8

Texas Tech

59.64

10.1

27.0

72.3

16.0

20.0

3.6

Michigan State has a slightly stronger strength of schedule, but not so much that the Red Raiders cannot overcome it.  The Spartans’ true shooting % margin is also slightly better, but their R+T rating is considerably better.  Texas Tech would not be given much chance to win this game if it wasn’t for the fact that their biggest strength is Michigan State’s biggest weakness.

All year, the PiRate Ratings have been telling you that Michigan State’s biggest weakness was their ability to hold onto the ball.  Texas Tech made it this far by playing an aggressive defense that has forced turnovers almost as frequently as Auburn.  This gives TTU a chance to win this game.  However, Michigan State has a commanding advantage on the glass in this game.  While this wasn’t Sparty’s best rebounding team, in fact one of its worst under Tom Izzo, but it is still much better than Chris Beard’s club.  Rebounding, especially on the offensive glass was mediocre.

This will be an interesting game, and the team that can force their asset on the other’s liability will win.  While it may be close to a 50-50 tossup, due to these two extremes in the rebounding and turnovers, the winner might win by double digits.  The reason this edition has not been released until Thursday is that it has taken the PiRates a couple of days to determine which way the Bracketnomics point to in this game.  

Prediction:  Michigan State 71  Texas Tech 65

 

 

 

 

 

March 31, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Sunday, March 31, 2019

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:02 am

 

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Kentucky

118.3

0.0

Auburn

116.5

1.8

Duke

122.1

0.0

Michigan St.

121.2

0.9

Today’s Schedule

Team

Team

TIME (EDT)

TV

LOCATION

Kentucky

Auburn

2:20 PM

CBS

Kansas City

Duke

Michigan St.

5:05 PM

CBS

Washington, D.C.

 

March 30, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Saturday, March 30, 2019

Filed under: College Basketball — piratings @ 4:17 am

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Gonzaga

123.5

0.0

Texas Tech

119.3

4.2

Virginia

120.4

0.0

Purdue

117.7

2.7

 

Today’s Schedule

Team

Team

TIME (EDT)

TV

LOCATION

Gonzaga

Texas Tech

6:09 PM

TBS

Anaheim

Virginia

Purdue

8:49 PM

TBS

Louisville

 

 

 

 

Bracketnomics 2019: Picking The Elite 8

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Gonzaga

56.36

17.3

30.7

73.6

12.9

16.5

15.0

Texas Tech

59.03

10.2

27.6

72.0

16.0

20.0

4.2

Texas Tech enjoys a slight SOS edge, but Gonzaga’s exceptional R+T Rating is a major factor in this game.  Gonzaga will enjoy a modest rebounding advantage at both ends of the court, while the Bulldogs will be able to withstand the Red Raiders’ ball-hawking ability.  Thus, turnover margin should be close to even.  Gonzaga’s TS% Margin is somewhat better here, and the SOS advantage by TTU is mostly negated.

Prediction: Gonzaga by 6 to 11 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia

59.89

12.3

29.7

75.0

12.9

15.8

10.2

Purdue

61.14

3.6

34.0

74.0

13.5

16.6

11.5

Purdue’s SOS and R+T Rating are marginally better, while Virginia holds a commanding TS% Margin advantage.  Purdue should grab a few additional offensive rebounds in this game, while turnovers should be relatively close.  This has the makings of an exciting close game, just like so many others in this year’s tournament.  In this game, the Bracketnomics cannot pick a conclusive winner, so other factors must be included.  Virginia has been a little more consistent in matching their statistical data, while Purdue has been a little more varied.  I will go with the more consistent team.

Prediction: Virginia by 2 to 7 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Kentucky

60.76

9.8

36.6

74.7

15.8

16.0

16.2

Auburn

60.34

1.9

32.2

67.8

14.6

21.8

2.7

The effect of the Chuma Okeke injury can only be estimated for Auburn, while Kentucky’s P.J. Washington appears to be close to 100% for this game after playing well against Houston.

You would expect conference rivals at this point of the season to have similar SOS’s, and these two teams do.  Kentucky’s R+T Rating is so superior in this game, and their TS% Margin is considerably better, so this makes it a potential blowout game.  Auburn will force the Wildcats into a few extra turnovers, but the rebounding edge could be scary in this game, as the Big Blue might be able to win the boards by more than a 60-40% advantage.  

During the regular season, Kentucky beat Auburn both times.  It was a close game in Auburn, but the Wildcats breezed to an easy win in Lexington.

Prediction: Kentucky by 10 to 15 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Duke

62.63

9.8

35.5

71.0

14.7

17.0

12.1

Michigan St.

61.29

14.0

33.8

74.1

16.4

12.7

12.3

This game has the makings of another classic.  The data predicts a close contest.  Duke’s SOS advantage is minimal, and the R+T Ratings basically wash.  Michigan State’s TS% Margin mostly comes from a better 3-point shooting ability, and only slightly better defense.  Duke’s big advantage comes in turnover margin.  The Blue Devils have the ability to exploit the Spartans’ real liability, as Sparty is prone to turning the ball over, while Duke is a competent team when it comes to forcing turnovers.  Michigan State’s normal rebounding strength will be somewhat negated if not totally negated in this game.

It isn’t a slam dunk win for Coach K over Coach Izzo, but the Blue Devils have more going for themselves in the data for this one.

Prediction: Duke by 5 to 10 points

 

 

 

 

 

March 29, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Friday, March 29, 2019

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Michigan St.

121.0

0.0

LSU

114.5

6.5

North Carolina

121.4

0.0

Auburn

115.9

5.5

Duke

122.4

0.0

Virginia Tech

115.4

7.0

Kentucky

118.3

0.0

Houston

116.0

2.3

 

Tonight’s Schedule

Team

Team

TIME (EDT)

TV

LOCATION

LSU

Michigan St.

7:09 PM

CBS

Washington, D.C.

Auburn

N. Carolina

7:29 PM

TBS

Kansas City

Va. Tech

Duke

9:39 PM

CBS

Washington, D.C.

Houston

Kentucky

9:59 PM

TBS

Kansas City

March 28, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Thursday, March 28, 2019

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Gonzaga

123.1

0.0

Florida St.

115.7

7.4

Tennessee

117.8

0.0

Purdue

117.6

0.2

Michigan

119.1

0.0

Texas Tech

118.4

0.7

Virginia

120.6

0.0

Oregon

111.2

9.4

 

Tonight’s Schedule

Team

Team

TIME (EDT)

TV

LOCATION

Florida St.

Gonzaga

7:09 PM

CBS

Anaheim

Purdue

Tennessee

7:29 PM

TBS

Louisville

Texas Tech

Michigan

9:39 PM

CBS

Anaheim

Oregon

Virginia

9:59 PM

TBS

Louisville

 

March 27, 2019

Bracketnomics 2019: Picking The Sweet 16

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:32 am

What a Sweet 16 we have!  My experience in watching the NCAA Tournament goes back to the 1964 season as UCLA went 30-0 using a small lineup with no starter over 6 foot 5.  The 16-0 run in 2 1/2 minutes made me a Bruin fan on the spot, especially because one of the catalysts was small,left-handed guard Gail Goodrich; I was also a small, left-handed guard.

On the whole, my memory now includes 56 different NCAA Tournaments.  I had a difficult time finding a Sweet 16 as strong as this one.  I had to go back to the 1970 season to find the equivalent in power teams still in the Dance.  Of course, in 1970,  there were just 25 teams invited to the Tournament, so 18 teams competed in the opening round, while another seven received express bids to the Sweet 16.

Among that talented group of 1970 teams, there were:

  1. UCLA was not supposed to win the 1970 tournament, as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and his fantastic class of 1969 graduated.  Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, and Henry Bibby gave John Wooden an incredibly talented trio to build around as he went back to his high post offense.

  2. Jacksonville had Artis Gilmore and Rex Morgan as an incredible inside-outside attack.  The Dolphins averaged close to 100 points per game and had a second starter in their lineup, Pembroke Burrows, who was over 7 feet tall.

  3. St. Bonaventure had the best player in college basketball not named Maravich in Bob Lanier.  Lanier led the Bonnies to the top of the Eastern Elite, and SBU made it to the Final Four.  However, Lanier was injured in the East Regional Final and SBU had no chance in the Final Four against Jacksonville.

  4. New Mexico State was in the top 5 all year long with future NBA stars Charlie Criss and Sam Lacey as well as hot shooting Jimmy Collins.  The Aggies were picked by many as capable of beating UCLA in the national semifinals.  Wicks and Rowe put NMSU out of their misery early in the second half.

  5. Kentucky might have had the best team in the nation in 1970 had star guard Mike Casey not have suffered season-ending injuries in a car wreck the summer before.  With Dan Issel, Mike Pratt, Tom Parker, and Larry Steele, the Wildcats might have gone 30-0 had Casey not hurt his leg.

  6. Niagara had the incomparable 5 foot 9 inch Calvin Murphy who was the total package on the hardwoods.  Murphy averaged well over 30 ppg for his career with the Purple Eagles and enjoyed a lengthy pro career.  He once scored 68 points against Syracuse.  He was a lot more than a scorer.  His defensive pressure broke down opposing teams.  He could drive quickly through defenses and pass to open teammates under the basket, and he was the best baton twirler in the college ranks.

  7. Villanova had two future NBA All-Stars in Howard Porter and Chris Ford, as well as Fran O’Hanlon, who played in the ABA.  It was Ford that tripped Lanier in the Eastern Regional Championship Game that doomed St. Bonaventure.

  8. Notre Dame had the best offensive player in the tournament in Austin Carr.  Carr was unstoppable on offense with the way officials called fouls in 1970.  He averaged over 38 points per game, but he made history in this tournament by scoring 61 points in the opening round win over Ohio U.  He hit for more than 50 in the Sweet 16 against Kentucky.

  9. Iowa set the Big Ten record for points per game in 1970, almost averaging 100 points per night.  Among their stars was Downtown Freddie Brown, who would become one of the best 6th men in NBA history.  Before he became known as “Instant Offense” off the Seattle Supersonics’ bench, he was a dynamic starter for the Hawkeyes along with John Johnson, who averaged close to 30 ppg.

14 of the 16 teams in that tournament were what I consider strong teams according to today’s statistical standards, and 14 of this year’s 16 remaining teams fit that same description.

It’s no coincidence that of the 16 teams left, the Bracketnomics correctly picked 14 of the 16.

NOTE: The data that follows may be a little different than the original Bracketnomics’ posting at the beginning of the tournament.  Stats have been altered, especially the Strengths of Schedule (SOS) for some of the teams.

If you get to re-select your brackets at this point, ignore the original predictions and use these updated stats.  The originals predictions are still our “official bracket-picks,” but in this round, there is new and improved analytics.

NOTE 2: Do not confuse the Bracketnomics’ selections with the PiRate Ratings, which may contradict these picks in a couple of games.  The PiRate Ratings are strictly mechanical with no objective reasoning applied.  Bracketnomics are more subjective based on back-tested data usable only in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Gonzaga

56.14

17.6

31.1

73.2

12.8

16.5

15.1

Florida St.

59.85

3.7

33.0

73.5

16.2

18.0

9.1

After two rounds in this tournament, Gonzaga still owns the best criteria in the field, and nothing has changed in our beliefs that they have the best chance to run the table.  The Bulldogs only potential weakness is schedule strength, but at 56%+, it is more than adequate for a national champion.  The True Shooting % Margin combined with the R+T make The Zags the much better team here.  Florida State relies on offensive rebounding and forcing turnovers, but Gonzaga is not the team that the Seminoles can exploit enough times to come up with the win.  Gonzaga gets revenge for last year’s Sweet 16.

Prediction:  Gonzaga by 10-15 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Tennessee

59.50

5.3

31.1

70.5

13.9

15.8

5.5

Purdue

60.82

3.5

34.3

74.0

13.6

16.9

11.6

Purdue hasn’t been in the Elite 8 since 2000, and they have not made it to the Final Four since 1980.  The Boilermakers have historically been unable to get scoring spurts in the Gene Keady-Matt Painter years.  They played excellent half-court offense and defense defense, but their style did not allow them to be overpowering on the boards or to gamble for steals on defense.  Like Money Ball does not work in the Major League Playoffs, possession basketball doesn’t work well in the Big Dance.  Teams need to have that spurtability, which is what the R+T rating shows, and Purdue has rarely had a great R+T rating.  That was the past; this Boilermaker squad has a very good R+T rating, and it comes from both an excellent rebounding strength combined with an adequate ability to force turnovers and not cough the ball up enough times to matter.

Tennessee is more like the old Purdue teams.  The Volunteers have excellent half-court presence on both sides of the ball, but they cannot dominate on the glass, and they do not force enough turnovers.  In this game, I look for Purdue to get numerous second chance scoring opportunities, and eventually, the Boilermakers will go for the kill shot with a scoring run that gives them the victory.

Prediction: Purdue by 6 to 11 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Michigan

59.87

8.8

24.0

75.6

12.1

15.9

4.0

Texas Tech

58.42

10.1

28.1

71.7

16.1

20.0

4.4

 

This has the chance to be a classic game that will generate headlines for a long time.  This is the closest thing to a 50-50 tossup there can be.  If you had to choose one game to go to triple overtime, this is the one I’d pick (I just gave it the kiss of death and it will be a blowout now).

With Michigan’s 1 1/2 point SOS advantage, it basically makes all the criteria dead even.  Two teams with excellent defensive efficiency should lead to the game being decided on rebounding and turnovers.  The Red Raiders are better on the offensive glass, but the Wolverines are better on the defensive glass.  Texas Tech is considerably better forcing turnovers, but Michigan is considerably better holding onto the ball.  The R+T is dead even.  The only tiny little stat where there is a difference is TS% Margin, where even with the better SOS, Michigan comes up just a tad short, but not enough to matter more than one point on the scoreboard.

I have to go to extracurricular statistics here to select a winner in this game.  Texas Tech has been more consistent with their production, while Michigan’s standard deviation of statistics has been greater.  The Wolverines have been up for five consecutive games, while Texas Tech has been on an even keel since January.  Michigan has experience from making it to the Championship Game last year, while Texas Tech made it to the Elite 8 last year, so once again this washes.  Michigan is 7-3 against ranked teams this year.  TTU is 3-2.  Maybe, this is the only stat I can use to pick a winner, and it is still a total guess.  I’ll have my eyes glued to this game.

Prediction: Michigan by 1 to 5 points, possibly in overtime

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia

59.95

12.9

29.9

74.8

13.0

15.7

10.4

Oregon

55.83

4.5

29.4

71.7

15.4

18.3

4.3

Oregon coach Dana Altman deserves a ton of credit.  If you don’t think losing a 5-star McDonald’s All-American freshman phenom when you have another one on the roster  hurts, look at what happened to Bryce Drew at Vanderbilt.  Drew lost Darius Garland early in the year but still had another 5-star freshman phenom in Simi Shittu.  Vanderbilt lost their final 20 games in a row, and Drew was dismissed.  Altman lost superstar Bol Bol early in the year, and the Ducks were counted out.  Altman rallied Oregon and won the Pac-12 Tournament.  Then, they knocked out mid-major darling UC-Irvine to make it back to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years.

Virginia survived a scare against Gardner-Webb, but the Cavaliers righted the ship and stormed back to win by 15, and then the Cavs ousted Oklahoma much more easily in the Round of 32.  On the surface, some may believe that UVA is strictly a half-court possession wonder, the type that usually disappoints in the Big Dance.  This is not so.  The Cavaliers have a double-digit R+T rating, which makes them capable of benefiting from scoring spurts, like they did in 2016, when they made it to the Elite 8 and watched a second half double-digit lead against Syracuse turn into a loss when the Orangemen went on a huge scoring run.

This game looks like the most lopsided in this round.  Virginia has the advantage across the board, and Oregon has not beaten a team this good all year.  The Ducks only played one ranked team in the regular season.  Think of Bol Bol as twice the player Tacko Fall is for Central Florida.  That’s why  Oregon should be happy they made the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Virginia by 12-17 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Michigan St.

61.11

14.0

33.8

74.1

16.4

12.7

12.3

LSU

58.71

3.4

36.5

69.8

15.2

17.6

9.4

The fact that four SEC teams made the Sweet 16, and LSU won the conference championship shows that the Tigers are good enough to keep playing into April, even with acting coach Tony Benford taking over for Will Wade.

On the other side, Michigan State is almost perfect when you look at the resume of a Final Four team.  The Spartans do not force turnovers like most Final Four teams in the past, and they are vulnerable to a team that can pressure them into turnovers.

LSU has the personnel to force MSU out of their normal offense and negate any potential rebounding advantage Sparty has.  This game still looks favorable to Michigan State due to a great difference in True Shooting Percentage Margin.  LSU might not get enough open looks and second chance points to match the inside scoring of Nick Ward and Xavier Tillman combined with the three-point shooting of Cassius Winston.

Prediction: Michigan State by 4 to 9 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

North Carolina

62.05

5.4

34.8

77.7

14.6

16.5

18.9

Auburn

59.91

1.9

32.2

67.8

14.6

21.8

2.7

 

This game should be played at a tempo of 75 possessions per team.  Auburn was the best up-tempo team in the SEC this year, but North Carolina was the best up-tempo team in the ACC.

Can Auburn force North Carolina, namely point guard Coby White to make enough mistakes to keep this game close?  White has been prone to force the issue a bit at times, but in the games against the best pressure man-to-man teams, he did not make enough mistakes to cost Carolina the win, and in several games, his deft handling of the ball was the reason the Tar Heels won.

North Carolina remains the second best team in the tournament according to Bracketnomics, and this game has the potential to get out of hand.  The Tar Heels have a huge advantage on the offensive glass, and this should be the deciding factor.  UNC will score on several consecutive possessions at some point in this game and take a commanding lead that forces Auburn to panic on offense and commit some mistakes of their own.

Prediction: North Carolina by 10-15 points

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Duke

62.61

9.8

35.5

71.0

14.7

17.0

12.1

Virginia Tech

58.20

8.5

29.0

72.9

15.3

19.1

6.1

 

Virginia Tech’s home court advantage in a game with Duke was three points and change, but let’s round it back to 3.  They beat Duke in Blacksburg by five points.  Duke didn’t have Zion Williamson.  Is Zion worth three points more for Duke than his backup?  Of course, he is; he’s worth a lot more than three extra points in Duke’s overall production.

Duke has an exploitable liability, and Central Florida exposed it.  Buzz Williams will do everything to try to force the Blue Devils to beat his squad by not being weak in their perimeter shooting.  UCF had two big guys inside that could force Duke to shoot from the perimeter.  Virginia Tech has one big guy, Kerry Blackshear, who probably cannot stop the Duke inside game.

In my opinion, there are a couple teams that can force Duke to have a better than average perimeter shooting night to beat them, but Virginia Tech is not one of them.

Prediction: Duke by 8 to 13 points

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Kentucky

60.44

9.8

36.6

74.7

15.8

16.0

16.2

Houston

55.45

8.3

34.2

74.8

14.0

15.8

14.6

This game could be very interesting in a different way than the Michigan and Texas Tech game.  You get contrasting styles in this contest, and there are many variables, some of which favor the underdog Cougars in this cat fight.

There is a giant variable here, one that is enough to take this game from a relatively safe victory for Kentucky to a toss-up.  Star forward P.J. Washington might play in this game, and he might not be healthy enough.  Even if he plays, he cannot possibly be all that effective.  What bothers me is that he went from a protective boot to a cast, which means the injury was worse than first thought.  He’s going to one of the top foot specialists in the nation, and I think the goal here is to make sure Washington is ready for the NBA Draft.

If Washington does not play in this game, it becomes one where Houston has a 40-45% chance of winning.  If Washington plays sparingly, Kentucky’s chances increase by another 5-10%.  If miraculously Washington can play near full strength for 25 minutes, then the Big Blue win this game going away.

I will select this game based on the assumption that Washington will play but at much less than full strength.  Reid Travis is ready to have a big game for Kentucky now that he is basically 100% at full strength following his injury, and I look for John Calipari to direct his team to play intelligently and take advantage of their muscle advantage.

Prediction: Kentucky but 5-10 points

 

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Sunday, March 24, 2019

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Tennessee

117.9

0.0

Iowa

111.4

6.5

North Carolina

121.3

0.0

Washington

109.7

11.6

Duke

122.9

0.0

Central Florida

110.0

12.9

Texas Tech

118.0

0.0

Buffalo

115.2

2.8

Virginia Tech

115.5

0.0

Liberty

107.3

8.2

Virginia

120.8

0.0

Oklahoma

111.4

9.4

Houston

115.3

0.0

Ohio St.

110.2

5.1

Oregon

110.8

0.0

UC Irvine

106.6

4.2

Sunday’s Schedule

Time

Game

Network

Site

12:10 PM

Tennessee vs. Iowa

CBS

Columbus

2:40 PM

North Carolina vs. Washington

CBS

Columbus

5:15 PM

Duke vs. Central Florida

CBS

Columbia

6:10 PM

Texas Tech vs. Buffalo

TNT

Tulsa

7:10 PM

Virginia Tech vs. Liberty

TBS

San Jose

7:45 PM

Virginia vs. Oklahoma

TruTV

Columbia

8:40 PM

Houston vs. Ohio St.

TNT

Tulsa

9:40 PM

Oregon vs. UC-Irvine

TBS

San Jose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2019

Bracketnomics 2019: Picking The Round of 32 for Sunday, March 24, 2019

Filed under: College Basketball — piratings @ 12:09 pm

Round of 32, Sunday, March 24, 2019

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Tennessee

59.44

9.4

31.2

70.3

13.8

15.8

5.5

Iowa

58.41

4.9

29.7

71.0

15.1

15.9

-0.6

This is not a for sure win for the #2 seed.  Tennessee showed multiple vulnerabilities in their game against Colgate, and the Volunteers’ inside game can be stopped by better teams.

Iowa is not a giant killer.  This is a good but not great Hawkeye team with even more vulnerabilities than the Vols.  

Tennessee has a small TS% margin edge and an even better R+T rating edge.  If you know me and this criteria, I always pick against a negative R+T rating if the other team has decent criteria stats, which the Big Orange have.

Predicted Winner: Tennessee by 7-12 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

North Carolina

62.01

5.2

34.6

77.5

14.5

16.5

18.3

Washington

56.07

4.8

29.3

65.7

17.4

20.6

-3.6

 

North Carolina didn’t look ready to play in the first half against Iona.  If you think that matters, remember this: in the 1982 national championship season with Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, and James Worthy on the roster, the Tar Heels almost lost their first tournament game against James Madison!

The only way Washington can compete in this game is to force Carolina into a lot more turnovers than they normally commit.  The Tar Heels have had some issues where they played a bit too fast and made additional mistakes, but this doesn’t look like one game where that will happen enough times to matter.  The Heels have the highest remaining R+T rating in the tournament, one of the top SOS, and a decent TS% margin.  If UNC gets beat in this tournament, it will be to a team that has a superior TS% margin and good enough SOS and R+T ratings to overcome Carolina’s advantage.

Predicted Winner: North Carolina by 10-15 points

 

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Duke

62.51

10.3

35.6

70.8

14.8

17.1

12.3

Central Florida

55.09

9.7

29.2

70.9

15.5

15.5

2.4

While many people think UCF will give Duke a good game, the criteria here states the opposite.  This one screams Duke blowout.  Duke’s SOS is 7 1/2 points per game stronger.  UCF’s strong point is true shooting % margin, and Duke is clearly better when their number is handicapped with the schedule strength.  Even with Tack Fall in the UCF lineup, Duke should win the rebounding battle, and Duke’s pressure man to man defense will force UCF into enough mistakes to put this game out of reach by halftime.

Predicted Winner: Duke by 20+ points

 

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Texas Tech

58.21

10.1

27.8

71.8

16.1

20.0

4.1

Buffalo

53.48

6.1

31.9

74.1

13.6

18.1

10.6

 

This should be an interesting chess match type of game.  The numbers predict a close contest.  Texas Tech has the better SOS by enough points to matter.  Their TS% margin is clearly better as well, thanks mostly to having an incredible defense.  Buffalo has a slightly better rebounding game, while turnover margin is close to a wash.  The Bulls R+T rating advantage is lessened a bit due to schedule strength, and it comes down to how mnay good looks Buffalo gets against a great defense.

Predicted Winner: Texas Tech by 2 to 7 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia Tech

58.08

8.8

29.4

72.5

15.4

19.2

6.0

Liberty

46.94

9.0

25.6

74.9

15.0

18.4

4.8

 

Virginia Tech was overlooked as the number five team in the ACC.  Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida State got all the publicity as possible Final Four teams, but the Hokies cannot be overlooked at this phase of the tournament.  The SOS is so biased in Tech’s favor, that they should dominate every phase of the game.  

Liberty has nothing to be ashamed of.  They will not be the next Atlantic Sun team to make the Sweet 16 (after Florida Gulf Coast), but they had a great year.  They just don’t have the personnel to knock off a potential Elite 8 opponent.

Predicted Winner: Virginia Tech by 12-18 points

 

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia

58.08

13.0

30.2

74.5

13.1

15.8

10.2

Oklahoma

60.42

5.0

25.9

72.5

15.1

15.1

-2.0

 

Virginia scared a lot of people for about 17 minutes Friday night.  That “oh, no, not again” feeling had begun to creep into the minds of many, maybe even some of the Cavalier players.

Oklahoma had played so poorly in February and March that many pundits believed the Sooners did not belong in this field.  The Sooners struck Ole Miss like the OU football team against a Sun Belt opponent.  The game was never in doubt against the Rebels.

One thing you can bet for sure is that the Sooners will not come out and score 50 points in the first half.  They will be fortunate to score 35.  Virginia will control the tempo in this game, much like Sooner Coach Lon Kruger did when he was head coach at Florida.  Oklahoma will have to hit open jumpers when they present themselves and then try to crack the Pack-line code inside.

Virginia’s offense is not one to overlook.  The Cavs can be quite efficient on the attack, and even though they rarely top 75 points in a game, at 60 possessions, scoring 70 points is nearly impossible to lose.

Oklahoma has a negative R+T rating.  That’s enough to make this a decisive win for the Cavs.

Predicted Winner:  Virginia by 10-15 points 

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Houston

55.04

8.4

34.5

74.6

14.2

15.7

14.4

Ohio St.

59.46

2.3

27.9

74.1

16.3

16.3

-0.1

 

Houston and Ohio State have played in the NCAA Tournament before.  Very few people saw that game, basically only those at the L.A. Sports arena.  It was the since-cancelled consolation game of the Final Four, and Ohio State upset the Cougars a day after the top-ranked team lost big to #2 UCLA.  It turned out to be the last college game of the great Big E, Elvin Hayes and Don “Duck” Chaney, who both went on to enjoy stellar NBA careers.

None of this matters, but at least you now know.

As for this game, Houston’s R+T rating is far superior to Ohio State’s, and the Buckeyes’ R+T is just under 0.  The Buckeyes’ SOS is a little stronger than Houston’s, which in effect allows the slightly negative R+T to be negated, but not enough to overcome Houston’s excellent R+T rating.  This data says that Houston will enjoy a game-winning scoring spurt in this contest that Ohio State will not be able to replicate.

Predicted Winner: Houston by 7 to 12 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Oregon

55.68

4.3

29.4

71.8

15.5

18.3

4.0

UC-Irvine

47.66

6.7

34.1

73.4

15.0

14.7

11.8

UC-Irvine coach Russ Turner was worth the difference in the Anteaters’ win over Kansas State on Friday.  UCI doesn’t have the overall talent to advance much deeper into this tournament, but neither did Loyola of Chicago last year.  It isn’t part of the criteria, but Turner has many qualities similar to Red Auerbach with the Celtics.  It isn’t shocking that I compare him to Auerbach; he’s a grandson in the Auerbach coaching tree, having been an assistant to Don Nelson who played for the Celtics under Auerbach.

Oregon’s SOS is much stronger than the Anteaters.  Irvine’s R+T is better but when you handicap the SOS, it is almost a wash.  Irvine might be able to hold their own on the boards against the Ducks, but Oregon will force more turnovers on the Anteaters than their norm.  It isn’t impossible the UCI could become the darling of the Sweet 16, but my goal here is to try to help you win your bracket pool, and I’d say that Oregon has a 60% chance or better of winning this game, and Dana Altman is an A+ coach as well.

Predicted Winner: Oregon by 4 to 9 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.