The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 14, 2017

PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics 505 Bracket Reveal & First Four Preview

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:57 am

For those that just want to see our Red-White-Blue Ratings for the First Four, here they are.

Team Team Red White Blue
New Orleans Mount St. Mary’s 3 -1 1
Wake Forest Kansas St. 1 1 1
UNC-Central UC-Davis 4 3 6
Providence USC 1 1 1

Now, for the rest of you:

Welcome one and all to our annually most viewed edition of the PiRate Ratings.  We have been working diligently for the past 42 hours getting this edition of March Madness Bracketnomics ready for you.

If you are new to this site today, there is something you need to do, and even if you are not, you should take this advice.  Open another window and bring up our primer from yesterday where we explain how we have come up with the numbers that we will show you today.  The link to the primer is:

https://piratings.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/bracketnomics-505-the-advanced-level-course-in-bracket-selection/

Before we begin picking winners in our bracket based on the PiRate Criteria, let us give you another little bit of advice in selecting your own brackets.

  1. Do not select a lot of early upsets.  Realize that nobody ever has picked a perfect bracket.  The chances are so slim that nobody may ever pick one!  The key to winning bracket contests where you must choose all the games at the beginning and do not get to select new winners after every round is to pick the National Champion, the Final Four, and the Elite 8 teams.  Realize that in about 95% of the cases, the Final Four teams come from one, two, three, or four seeds.  There will frequently be a seed lower than 4, but good luck trying to pick one.  What you will most likely do is remove one of the favorites to get there, so select very few upsets early.
  2. In the last 60+ years, only 2 times was the national champion a team from outside a major conference, and it has not happened since 1990.  So, go heavy on the best teams in the power conferences–Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC.  No Pac-12 team has won the title since Arizona beat Kentucky in 1997, so you might discount the Pac-12 a little.  No Big Ten team has won the title since Michigan State in 2000, so you might also want to discount the Big Ten a little.
  3. The most likely spots for upsets early come from 10-11-12 seed lines for good reason.  The top lower and mid-major teams usually end up on one of these seed lines, and in actuality, some of these teams would beat their higher-seed opponent 7 times out of 10.  In other words, these upsets are not really upsets.  They are incorrect seedings by the Committee.

Okay, we will leave the rest of that strategy up to you.  Let’s get to the Bracketnomics Facts for 2017

 

Who Has The Statistical Criteria That Looks Like A Final Four Team

This is an unusual year.  There are no teams closely similar to the Connecticut women’s team.  There is no obvious best team like in some years out of the past.  On the other hand, there are an inordinate amount of teams this year that look like they would have trouble winning the NIT 10 years ago.  There is parity by virtue of mediocrity.  The way the game is played in 2017, and with the 30-second shot clock, the game has become harder to isolate on just two or three teams and call them the heavy favorites to make the Final Four.

Let’s eliminate some teams so that what we have left is a much easier group to compare.

A. First, let’s forget the chance that a low-major or mid-major conference team will make the Final Four this year.  This does not include Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, or Wichita State, who we consider to be above mid-major.

B. Next, let’s take out any team that played a schedule too soft to prepare them for the top echelon of opponents.  From what’s left after (A), that will remove Wichita State and UCLA.

C. Next, let’s dump any team with a single-digit R+T rating after the Sweet 16 round.  Any single digit team in the Elite 8 gets knocked out, unless their opponent also has a single digit rating.  From this list of teams still in contention after (A) and (B), we now dump: South Carolina, Butler, Wake Forest, Arkansas, Minnesota, Michigan State, USC, Northwestern, Michigan, Notre Dame, Maryland, Marquette, Kansas State, Providence, Iowa State, Creighton, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.

D. Let’s remove any teams that are missing key players and might be able to get to the Sweet 16 without these players, but they are most likely to bow out at this point when the competition is too strong.  Say good bye to Xavier and Oregon.  For now, Creighton and Florida stay in because they played a significant number of games without their key players.

Now we have a much more manageable list of Final Four and Elite 8 Contenders, down to just 21 teams.

But, we are not finished eliminating teams.  What about teams that have not played all that well away from home?  We can eliminate the 22-9 team that went 17-0 at home and 5-9 away from home, because these teams are not going to all of a sudden beat the nation’s finest teams away from their home floor, at least not 4 consecutive times.

Let’s now say bye bye to Florida State, Miami (Fla.), and Seton Hall, lowering the number to 19.

And, then there is the essential thing of having enough consistency to win four games in a row against quality competition.  We cannot keep any teams that did not sustain at least one long winning streak or two extended winning streaks.  Only West Virginia fails to meet this criterion from the remaining group, lowering our list to 18.

Now,  let’s look at how the remaining 18 teams rate in the criteria that matter.

Scoring Margin

There is a reason both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s are still in this list.  They are serious contenders this year.  Gonzaga has the highest scoring margin and Saint Mary’s has the third highest among the 17 remaining teams.  From the list of 17, there are a couple teams that do not meet the 8 point minimum to be considered as a strong Final Four contender.  There are teams that make the Final Four with less than 8 point scoring margins, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and we are looking for angles that increase our percentage chance of hitting on Final Four teams.  It’s the end of the line here for Oklahoma State.

 

Field Goal Percentage Differential

Eventually, in order to get to the Final Four, a team is going to have to be superior when it comes to shooting and defending the shot, because eventually, being able to dominate the glass or force a lot of turnovers will not work against teams that can also rebound and force turnovers.  We are looking only for a difference of 5% or more to stay in the hunt for Final Four contention.  We must say adieu to three more teams that cannot meet this standard–Florida, Duke, and Wisconsin.  Now we have 14 teams on our list of Final Four contenders.

 

Rebound Margin

Remember that R+T rating is much more important than any of its components (Rebounding, Turnovers, and Steals), but for Final Four consideration, well over 90% of the past Final Four teams had positive rebound margin.  In what may help vindicate our selections to this point, all 14 teams remaining have positive rebounding margin.

 

Okay, Already, Who Is Left?

The following teams have resumes that could get them to the Final Four.  In alphabetical order, they are: Arizona, Baylor, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Purdue, Saint Mary’s, SMU, Villanova, Virginia, and West Virginia.  If our criteria is worth anything these years, we expect the Final Four to come from this list of teams.  But, we need to do better.  You cannot select 14 teams to make the Final Four or even Elite 8.

 

What we need to do now is look at each game as it is played.  It won’t help us to go with the 4 best resumes if these teams cannot all make the Final Four because they will play each other prior to that round.

Here is how we see the First Four games according to PiRate Criteria.  Note that our criteria and our Red-White-Blue Ratings have no real correlation, so the teams we predict to win may not be the same as the teams our criteria says will win.

First Four

New Orleans over Mount St. Mary’s

UNC-Central over UC-Davis

USC over Providence

Kansas St. over Wake Forest

Most brackets allow you to miss here without penalty and start in earnest at 64 teams, but we don’t go for that.

Round of 64

You will not see us picking many upsets in this round.  Remember the important factoid we revealed at the beginning: you win your bracket contests by getting your teams into the Elite 8, Final 4, and National Championship.  If you pick a lot of upsets, you are liable to have very few teams left by the Elite 8.

Villanova over New Orleans (Mount St. Mary’s)

Wisconsin over Virginia Tech

Virginia over UNC-Wilmington (upset possible, but we’ll take the Cavs)

Florida over East Tennessee (like a home game for the Gators)

SMU over USC in a rematch (also over Providence) near tossup vs. USC close to 50-50

Baylor over New Mexico St.

South Carolina over Marquette in close one that will be like home game for Gamecocks.

Duke over Troy

Gonzaga over South Dakota St.

Northwestern over Vanderbilt (close game)

Notre Dame over Princeton

West Virginia over Bucknell (not this year for Bison as Mountaineers are too physical)

Maryland over Xavier (Chris Mack becomes an early candidate for other big openings)

Florida State over Florida Gulf Coast (FGCU not as strong as their Sweet 16 team)

Saint Mary’s over VCU (Will Wade comes free for promotion to power conference team)

Arizona over North Dakota

Kansas over UNC-Central (UC-Davis)

Miami over Michigan State (MSU one and done two years in a row)

Iowa State over Nevada (but this one should be nip and tuck)

Purdue over Vermont (Boilermakers finally have the right type of resume to advance)

Creighton over Rhode Island (freeing up Dan Hurley if a big school wants him)

Oregon over Iona (loss of Chris Boucher does not hurt yet)

Oklahoma State over Michigan (This upset we will pick.  Cowboys have better criteria resume)

Louisville over Jacksonville State (UL almost has a home game in Indy)

North Carolina over Texas Southern

Seton Hall over Arkansas (should be physical and close)

Minnesota over Middle Tennessee (Blue Raiders are the Vegas favorite, but Gophers can exploit interior defense)

Butler over Winthrop (we would not be shocked if Butler has to rally to win this one)

Cincinnati over Kansas State (Wake Forest)

UCLA over Kent State

Wichita St. over Dayton (Will Archie Miller be the next NC State coach?)

Kentucky over Northern Kentucky (Norse would be happy with a lead at under 16 timeout in 1st half)

 

Round of 32

Villanova over Wisconsin

Virginia over Florida (should be very close, maybe overtime)

Baylor over SMU (this one should be a great game–Tim Jankovich in play at Illinois)

Duke over South Carolina (We don’t see Frank Martin leaving the Palmetto State unless he has 4 million reasons)

Gonzaga over Northwestern (Cinderella season ends here–no Cubs repeat in the Windy City)

West Virginia over Notre Dame (Irish wear down in the second half)

Florida State over Maryland

Arizona over Saint Mary’s (expect a hard-fought game but Gaels are outmanned)

Kansas over Miami (closer than expected)

Purdue over Iowa State (Boilermakers look impressive to this point)

Oregon over Creighton (Boucher’s absence felt but not enough for Ducks to lose)

Louisville over Oklahoma St. (Brad Underwood vs. Rick Pitino–Brilliant!)

North Carolina over Seton Hall

Butler over Minnesota (Should be a great game)

Cincinnati over UCLA (Bruins numbers padded by substandard overall schedule–not strong enough inside)

Kentucky over Wichita State (because Wildcat players appear to be on a mission and if so are the class of the field)

 

Sweet 16 to Elite 8

Villanova over Virginia (Cavs do not have enough offense to win at this point)

Baylor over Duke (Our big upset pick in this round, because Duke has holes Bears can exploit)

West Virginia over Gonzaga (Sorry Bulldog fans, WVU style of play is not what you want to face)

Arizona over Florida State (We expect Wildcats to win big in this one)

Kansas over Purdue (KU will have to play lights out to put Boilermakers away)

Louisville over Oregon (Boucher’s absence is too much to overcome in this round

North Carolina over Butler (If Heels are rolling at this point, then next round is actual title game)

Kentucky over Cincinnati (Should be ultra-physical and highly emotional game)

 

Elite 8 to Final Four

Unfortunately, at this point the top two teams in the field will meet

Baylor over Villanova (no repeat for Wildcats but a great game)

Arizona over West Virginia (Mountaineers run out of gas at this point)

Louisville over Kansas (Cards win a sloppy game)

Kentucky over North Carolina (This should have been the National Championship Game)

 

Final Four Semifinals

Baylor over Arizona (tough to go against a team playing in its home state)

Kentucky over Louisville (how much will this ticket cost)

 

National Championship

Kentucky over Baylor

 

The Kentucky criteria best matches that of past national champions.  Add to the fact that they have the most talent and a coach that can use the right psychology to motivate these future millionaires to play like their draft status is to be determined in this tournament, and we believe the Wildcats will cut the nets in Arizona.

 

Here is how the 14 top Pirate Criteria teams rank overall

  1. Kentucky
  2. North Carolina
  3. Baylor
  4. Arizona
  5. West Virginia
  6. Gonzaga
  7. Louisville
  8. Villanova
  9. Kansas
  10. Purdue
  11. Duke
  12. Cincinnati
  13. Saint Mary’s
  14. SMU

 

TV Schedule For First Four in Dayton

Day Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
Tuesday, March 14 6:40 PM truTV New Orleans vs. Mount St. Mary’s
Tuesday, March 14 9:10 PM truTV Wake Forest vs. Kansas St.
Wednesday, March 15 6:40 PM truTV UC-Davis vs. UNC-Central
Wednesday, March 15 9:10 PM truTV USC vs. Providence

 

 

 

 

Questions & Answers

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 7:15 am

Hello rabid basketball fans.  We will be issuing our bracket selections and Red-White-Blue Ratings in about 2 hours or less, and we remind you to refer back to the primer we sent out yesterday if you want to understand what our numbers mean.

We try our hardest to answer all of your comments and emails, but in the last 48 hours, we have received more than we can respond to without stopping everything we are doing.  Many of you have asked the same or similar questions, so we are going to answer the most popular ones here.  We are sorry if we cannot personally reply to all of you.

Question:Will you have your ratings available for the NCAA Tournament?

Answer: Yes!  We will issue Red-White-Blue Ratings for every NCAA Tournament game.  Whether or not it is picked up by the Prediction Tracker, we do not know.  It appears to be an issue with our formatting being picked up by their scanner.

 

Question: Do your bracket picking criteria and your point spread ratings account for injuries to players?

Answer: Yes and no.  We do not have a mathematical formula to reduce a team’s talent level for injuries, but we do apply that after the fact and include that in our intangibles to lower the rating for the team in question.  Obviously, this year, Oregon and Xavier will see their ratings lowered more than anybody else.  Also, in the Big Dance, we add a little to the ratings of teams that had a player step up in the last 10 games, because these teams can become sleepers.

 

Question: What is the difference in your three ratings?  Do they use different data?

Answer: We have three ratings in case you did not know.  We call them Red, White, and Blue, because we are patriotic PiRates.  All three of the ratings rely on the exact same Four Factors (see yesterday’s post if you are unaware) as well as other intangible factors like strength of schedule, home court advantage, visiting team disadvantage when playing on the road, and other data.

The difference in the three ratings comes from how much weight we assign to each factor.  The Red and White ratings use very similar data points and thus should not vary all that much, especially later in the season.  The Blue rating is more of a renegade and it sometimes misbehaves when compared to the other two ratings.

 

Question: Why don’t you issue ratings for every Division 1 college basketball game rather than just choose a few conferences and then only issue spreads on the weekends?

Answer: This is the most asked question from our readers.  There is one easy answer to this question.  We do not issue spreads for every game because we do not have the time to do so.  Unlike our football ratings which almost update themselves, our basketball ratings must be made from scratch after every game played.  We have to input all the statistics for each team when we issue the spreads on the game.  Because we have found that third party websites are not 100% accurate when they publish team stats, we go to each team’s homepage and get the stats from their official statbook.  It takes about 8 to 9 minutes to retrieve the stats for each game we rate.  Since there are 351 Division 1 teams playing games 7 days a week, you can see where it would take a contingent of about 20-25 volunteers to gather the information.

Once the stats are retrieved, the Captain runs them through the algorithms to get the spreads on each game.  For this reason, we can only issue basketball spreads for weekend games between the top 5 conferences plus a other top 25 teams like Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

 

Question: What is your past in the media?

Answer: Two of us on the PiRate ship have pasts in the commercial media.  The Captain’s better half enjoyed a career as a radio host in Wisconsin with a cult following on her late night time slot.

The Captain spent time in print, radio, and television as a sports announcer, play-by-play announcer, and color analyst.

Some of the wenches helping out have heavily-followed podcasts and Youtube sites in a different genre.

 

Question: Who are your favorite teams?

Answer: The one’s we pick to win.  Our goal is to be accurate and not favor one team over another due to partiality.

 

Question: Will you have baseball coverage in the future?

Answer: This is not possible at the current time, as our Captain serves as a metric specialist in professional baseball.  It would imply that he is revealing privileged information able to be seen by rivals of his employer.

 

Thank you for your patronage.  Look for our bracket selections and ratings for the First Four games in just a couple hours.

March 13, 2017

Bracketnomics 505: The Advanced Level Course in Bracket Selection

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , — piratings @ 9:00 pm

PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics 505 for 2017: Money Ball on the Hardwoods
Welcome to Bracketnomics 505 for 2017–The Advanced Level Course in Picking NCAA Tournament winners. The best way to describe our PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Bracket-Picking formula is to compare it with the 10-K financial reports of publicly traded companies. Each team’s data serves as a prospectus showcasing their worth. Do you want to buy or sell based on what the data portrays?
If you have followed our statistical releases for the past 17 years, you will not see any real changes this year, as the PiRate Ratings have added only one minor statistical detail to our repertoire, and those are in our algorithm formulas and not in the data to be presented.

However, we have strengthened our beliefs in the idea that the NCAA Tournament is a different animal from the regular season, so there are teams that did well in the regular season and even won their conference, but they are ill-prepared for the postseason. Now, we actually have new incites into why, and it comes from our experiences with Major League Baseball.

Some of you reading this know that I, the Captain of the PiRate ship, am a baseball metric specialist. You can call me one of the “Moneyball” scouts or as some even say, a “Beane Counter.” If you read the book, Mr. Beane had a famous quote, that we will paraphrase to eliminate four-letter words: “My ‘stuff’ doesn’t work in the playoffs.”

Re-reading that statement sent me off on a long research project last Autumn leading to my spending way too many hours trying to put math formulas to Beane’s statement. What I came up with was this: in baseball, the offensive statistics that produce runs, for example weighted On-Base Average, works quite effectively during the regular season, when a team plays a certain number of games against every team in the league. Thus, a team will play a goodly number of games against mediocre and poor teams, and having an offense built on getting on base and hitting for power dominates against the weaker teams.

But, in the playoffs, all the opponents are very good. All of them have good offenses and usually very good pitching and defenses. Trying to win by getting a lot of runners on base by the walk and then hitting three-run homers might work against the number four and five starters of a pitching staff or the mediocre top level pitchers of the 90-loss teams, but in the playoffs, you see mostly top three starting pitchers from teams that won 90 or more games. And, Beane’s “stuff” does not work against these elite teams with the top pitchers. You have to be able to steal an extra base on a hit, steal a base, and execute the hit and run against the best of the best, which means you frequently play for just one run, because the pitching is too good to give up those three-run homers and will scatter baserunners over the course of 6 or 7 innings. Think Maury Wills scratching out a run for the 1965 Dodgers, while Sandy Koufax shuts out the opponent in a 1-0 win.

The same belief can be applied to college basketball in the NCAA Tournament. A team might win their conference by playing excellent half-court offense and defense, even if they do not rebound well nor force turnovers and pick up steals. Let’s use Purdue in the Gene Keady days as an example. Keady’s teams executed half-court offense and defense like precision clockwork. The Boilermakers almost always enjoyed better shooting opportunities than their opponents. They usually finished with a better field goal percentage than their opponents every year, and they won or shared a lot of Big Ten titles.

These Purdue teams were not all that strong on the offensive glass, and while they played intelligently and did not turn the ball over much, they did not force turnovers, nor did they steal the ball very much, frequently finishing at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in these stats.

Like Moneyball and the A’s, this “stuff” (excellent half-court offense and defense) worked just fine in the regular season, where Purdue easily handled the bottom half of the Big Ten year after year and did just well enough against the top half to finish 15-3 or 14-4. Then, the Boilermakers would get into the Big Dance looking like a Final Four contender. Unfortunately, their “stuff” didn’t work in the NCAA Tournament, and the Boilermakers lost as favorites early in the Dance to athletic underdogs with double-digit losses (Auburn, Florida, LSU), never making it to the Final Four in that time. They were no longer playing the 6-12 and 8-10 Big Ten teams Once their opponent was also good at getting open shots and preventing them on defense, the extra scoring opportunities derived from getting offensive rebounds and forcing turnovers, especially by steals, took on much more significance, just like running the bases and playing for one run in the Major League Playoffs.

Just in case you say that maybe Purdue was not capable of getting enough talent to go to the Final Four, remember that Purdue did make the Final Four under previous coach Lee Rose (he also led Charlotte to the Final Four in 1977), when Rose’s coaching philosophy included pressure defense with the hope of getting a lot of steals and an inside glass cleaner or two to dominate on the boards.
This year, we will give added weight to our special R+T metric along with schedule strength and ability to win away from home as serious factors to consider when picking teams to advance in the NCAA Tournament. These will be the three of our basic building blocks to begin the process of eliminating pretenders from the true contenders. Here are our basic blocks to begin our search for a national champion.

1. R+T Rating
2. Schedule Strength
3. Ability to win away from home
4. A member of a power conference (AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC)
5. One long winning streak against quality competition or two winning streaks of 6 or more games.
Don’t worry if this looks a bit challenging for you at this point. We will explain it all in this primer, and your test is an open book test, so you will pass with flying colors.

Here is a description of all the pertinent information you need to pick your brackets. We will explain each important statistic and tell you how it applies to the NCAA Tournament. Then in the next edition, we will apply it to all 68 teams in the Big Dance and let you use what you want to fill out your brackets. You can easily open two windows with this primer in one window, and the statistics in the other window, and voila, you have an exceptional reference at your disposal.

Remember one important bit of information–this process deals a lot with past tendencies trying to predict future outcomes. It is mechanical and includes limited subjective data. It will not include information such as how your team’s star player may have the flu this week, or he ended his season in the Pac-12 Championship Game with an ACL injury, so if you have other information, by all means include this in your selection process.

The PiRate Ratings Criteria Statistics
For 16 years, the PiRate Ratings have relied on specific back-tested data that showed us what stats have been important in selecting Final Four teams. We looked back in history to see how previous Final Four teams dominated in certain statistical areas while not dominating in other areas. Here is what we found.

Scoring Margin
For general bracket picking to the Final Four, look for teams that outscored their opponents by an average of 8 or more points per game. Over 85% of the Final Four teams since the 1950’s outscored their opponents by an average of 8 or more points per game.

More than 80% of the final four teams in the last 50 years outscored their opponents by double digit points per game. When you find a team with an average scoring margin in excess of 15 points per game, and said team is from one of the six power conferences, you have a team that can advance deep into the tournament.

This is an obvious statistic. If State U outscores opponents by an average of 85-70 and Tech outscores similar opposition by an average of 75-70, State figures to be better than Tech before you look at any other statistics.
In the days of the 64 to 68-team field, this statistic has become even more valuable. It’s very difficult and close to impossible for a team accustomed to winning games by one to five points per game to win four times in a row, much less six or seven consecutive games.

This statistic gives the same significance and weighting to a team that outscores its opposition 100-90 as it does to a team that outscores its opposition 60-50. As you can see from looking at all the NCAA Champions in the 2000’s, every team had a scoring margin of 8 or better, and 15 of 17 had double digit scoring margins (and all from power conferences).

A look at recent national champions’ scoring margins
2016 Villanova: 13
2015 Duke: 15
2014 UConn: 9
2013 Louisville: 16
2012 Kentucky: 17
2011 UConn: 8
2010 Duke: 16
2009 North Carolina: 18
2008 Kansas: 19
2007 Florida: 17
2006 Florida: 15
2005 North Carolina: 18
2004 UConn: 15
2003 Syracuse: 10
2002 Maryland: 14
2001 Duke: 20
2000 Michigan St.: 15

Field Goal Percentage Differential
Take each team’s field goal percentage minus their defensive field goal percentage to calculate this statistic. Throughout time, the differential among the most successful teams has been +7.5% or better, and for most Final Four teams, the differential has been positive by 3% or better. For example, a team that shoots 47% while their opponents shoot 39% has a FG% differential of 8%.

Teams that have singificantly positive field goal percentage differentials are consistently good teams. A team can win a game or two or possibly even three games with negative field goal percentage differentials, but in the Big Dance, they certainly are not going to win six games like this, and they have little chance to win four games.

This statistic holds true in back-tests of 50 years. Most teams that have won the tournament had FG% differentials above 3%, and many had more than a 7.5% field goal percentage advantage. In the years of the 64 to 68-team tournament, this stat has become a more accurate predictor, especially when the team comes from a power league. In the 21st Century, the teams from power conferences with field goal percentage margins in the double digits have dominated the field. For example, if you see an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, or SEC team with a FG% differential of +10% or better, that team is going to be very hard to beat in large arenas with weird sight lines.

One caveat: in the most recent couple of years, shooting percentages have normalized somewhat, so overall, FG% differentials are moving closer to 0. More three-point shooting, a reduction in the shot clock, and more fast break offenses have led to more parity in shooting percentages. And, this has to be something to monitor closely this year; teams that had the best field goal differentials last year were upset early by teams that excelled in forcing turnovers and running the fast break. This could mean that shooting percentages are going to lose some of their importance, while extra scoring opportunities are going to become more important. Think about that as you read on.

Rebound Margin
This statistic holds up all the way back to the early days of basketball, in fact as far back to the days when rebounds were first recorded. The teams that consistently control the boards are the ones that advance past the first weekend in the tournament. What we are looking for here are teams that out-rebound their opposition by five or more per game. In the opening two rounds, a difference of three or more is just as important.

There are complete rebounding statistics back to 1954, and in the 61 NCAA Tournaments between 1954 and 2014, the National Champion out-rebounded their opponents for the season all 61 times! Yes, no team with a negative rebound margin in that season has ever won the NCAA title.

The reason this statistic becomes even more important in mid-March is that teams do not always shoot as well in the NCAA Tournament for a variety of reasons (better defense, abnormal sight lines and unfamiliar gymnasiums, nerves, new rims and nets, more physical play with the refs allowing it, etc.). The teams that can consistently get offensive put-backs are the teams that go on scoring runs in these games. The teams that prevent the opposition from getting offensive rebounds, holding them to one shot per possession, have a huge advantage. Again, there will be some teams that advance that were beaten on the boards, but as the number of teams drop from 64 to 32 to 16 to eight, it is rare for one of these teams to continue to advance. West Virginia in 2005 made it to the Elite Eight without being able to rebound, but not many other teams have been able to do so.

There have been years where all four Final Four participants were in the top 20 in rebounding margin, and there have been many years where the champion was in the top 5 in rebounding margin.

Use the rebounding rule in selecting your brackets, but think about this. Rebounding is only one way to obtain a possession. There is another way to get a possession–via a turnover. Bear that in mind as you read on. So, don’t just use rebounding margin alone, as it is only one part of the equation.

Turnover Margin & Steals Per Game
Turnover margin can give a weaker rebounding team a chance to advance. Any positive turnover margin is good. If a team cannot meet the rebound exceptionally well, they can get win if they have an excellent turnover margin. Not all turnover margin is the same though. A team can have an excellent turnover margin because they seldom turn the ball over. Committing 10 turnovers per game, while the opponent commits 12 leads to a positive turnover margin of 2 per game, but it seldom amounts to much in this instance. A team that forces a high number of turnovers by way of steals has a real advantage. A steal is better than a defensive rebound, because most of the time, a steal leads to a fast-break basket or foul (or both). When a team steals the ball, they are already facing their basket, and the defense must turn around and chase. Many steals occur on the perimeter where the ball-hawking team has an immediate numbers advantage. A steal with quick points can demoralize a team, especially one that plays patiently and limits possessions.

In NCAA Tournament play, one quick spurt can be like a three-run homer in the World Series, and teams that either steal the ball and/or control the boards are the ones who will get that spurt.

Like the rebounding margin, we must not judge turnover margin and steals as standalone criteria, as they are just part of an all-encompassing statistic to determine extra scoring opportunities and the ability to go on lethal scoring spurts. What follows is the criteria to use.

The All-Important PiRate Ratings R+T Margin
Using both rebounding and turnover margin, how best can we assign an extra scoring value and the ability to go on big scoring spurts? In a tight game, a 10-0 run in three minutes will usually lead to a win for the team that makes the spurt, so we need to have a stat that shows us how much a team has spurt potential.
Our answer is the PiRate Ratings’ “R+T Rating” The R+T Rating combines rebounding margin, turnovers, and steals, and weights the three stats so that the result is a number that indicates what Clark Kellogg calls “spurtability.”
The R+T Rating Formula is: (R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T, where R is rebounding margin, S is average steals per game (Opp S is opponents steals per game), and T is turnover margin. The numbers are all rounded to one decimal point.
If a team’s R+T rating is 20 or better, and they hail from a power conference, this is a serious potential Final Four team. North Carolina had the top R+T rating last year among the power conference teams, and the Tar Heels came within a second of winning the title. In almost every year since steals have been officially kept as a statistic, the Final Four teams have enjoyed double-digit R+T Ratings.
Look for teams with R+T ratings at 15 or above. These are the teams that will get several additional opportunities to score points and go on scoring runs that put opponents away. When both teams have flashy R+T Ratings, this game becomes much harder to predict, because both teams could go on big scoring spurts.
When the R+T is 7.5 to 15, you have a team that can overcome a few other liabilities to win and still advance to the Final Four if they have exceptional FG% differentials, really difficult schedules, and an ability to win away from home. However, when they run into a team from the 15 or better R+T range with similar shooting percentages and defense, this frequently means the end of the line for the lower R+T rated team.
When the R+T is 4.5 to 7.5, you have a team good enough to win early and get to the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 but not advance past that round, unless said team has a very large field goal percentage difference margin.
When the R+T is 0 to 4.5, you have a team that cannot advance very far in the NCAA Tournament. They might win the Round of 64 and might have some chance to win in the Round of 32, but if they sneak into the Sweet 16, they are a candidate to lose big to a team with the right stuff in the R+T department.
When the R+T stat is negative, this team has the same chance of making the Final Four as a mule has of winning the Kentucky Derby. Many monumental early upsets where a double digit seed upsets a single digit seed frequently comes about when the favorite has a negative R+T rating, or the underdog has a decided R+T Rating advantage along with a halfway decent schedule strength.
A few years ago, Georgetown had a negative R+T rating but was a prohibitive favorite against Ohio U. The Bobcats had a positive R+T rating and decent numbers in the other PiRate criteria. We called for Ohio to upset Georgetown in the first round, and Ohio won by double digits.
The same thing occurred a couple years later when Georgetown once again had a negative R+T rating as the Hoyas faced unknown Florida Gulf Coast. FGCU not only pulled off the upset, they blew GU off the floor.
Last year’s negative R+T teams all lost their first games in the NCAA Tournament. In 2015, there were two Power Conference teams with negative R+T numbers, Oklahoma State and St. John’s. We pegged these two teams to lose immediately as 9-seeds against 8-seeds with positive R+T ratings, and they did just that.
The inferior R+T might win a game over the superior due to other factors, but a poor R+T rated team is eventually going to get thumped when their shots don’t fall, or they run up against a great defense (there are a lot of great defenses in the Dance).

Power Conference Plus Schedule Strength
Up to this point you might have been thinking that it is much easier for New Mexico State or North Dakota to own these gaudy statistics than it is for Arizona or Butler. And, of course, that is correct. We have to adjust this procedure so that teams that play tougher schedules get rewarded and teams that play softer schedules get punished.
Basically, the cut-off line for a Final Four team the way we rate schedule strength is 54.00, although there have been a few long shots like George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth that were below that mark. While the lowest National Champ was Florida in 2007 at 54.30, the average for the last 13 champions has been over 58. Also, bear in mind that of the 17 winners since 2000, 6 came from the ACC, 5 from the Big East , 3 from the SEC, and one each from the American, Big 12, and Big Ten. The Pac-12 has not produced the national champion since Arizona in 1997.

The last national champion that was not a member of a power conference was UNLV in 1990. Before that, it was Texas Western (UTEP) in 1966. In more than 60 seasons, just two teams that were not in power conferences have won the national title! Non-power teams have made it to the Final Four (VCU, Wichita State, George Mason, Penn), so don’t totally discount a team like Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, and Wichita State to make the Final Four or at least the Elite 8.
In the most recent years, this stat has become quite a bit more important. Villanova and North Carolina were among the tops in schedule strength last year, with Syracuse and Oklahoma being ranked high as well. We have added a bit more weight to schedule strength this year.
Won-Loss percentage Away From Home Floor
This should be obvious. Except in the rarest of instances (like Dayton playing in a First Round Game in 2015), all NCAA Tournament games are played on neutral courts. Some teams play like titans on their home floor but become pansies when playing away from home. It is one thing to accumulate great statistics by scheduling 19 home games, three neutral site games, and eight away games and then going 18-1 at home, 1-2 on the neutral site, and 3-5 on the road to finish 22-8. However, we need to locate the teams that continue to dominate away from home. Combine the road and neutral games played and look at that percentage. When you find a team with a 75% or better win percentage away from home, this team is a legitimate contender in the Big Dance. When this number tops 85%, you have a tough team capable of winning four consecutive games and advancing to the Final Four.
Winning Streaks
The NCAA Tournament Championship requires one team to win six consecutive games (seven if in the First Four) to become the champion. It requires the other Final Four teams to win four or five times to get to the Final Four. Should we expect a team that has not been able to win five conseccutive games during the regular season against all weaker competition to win five games in a row against the elite competition? It is a major plus if a team has more than one 6-game winning streak or one 10-game winning streak during the season.

Putting It All Together
1. Begin with teams from power conferences and schedule strengths better than 54.0 (we will give you each team’s schedule strength in the stats reveal).
1A. If the team does not come from a power conference, but they have dominated this year and their schedule strength is better than 54, they should still be in your consideration as a Final Four contender.
2. Look for teams that had a winning streak of 10 games or more, or teams with both 5+ and 6+ winning streaks during the year. The minimum for two different winning streaks is that one needs to be at least six games and one at least five games.
3. Look for teams with winning records away from home when looking at Sweet 16 contenders and a winning percentage of 66.7% or better when looking for Final Four teams.
4. Look for teams with R+T Ratings of 15.0 or better when selecting Final Four teams, 10.0 or better when selecting Elite 8 teams, and 5.0 or better when selecting Sweet 16 teams. Of course, you have to look at their potential opposition and remember that the better R+T Rating has a big advantage when teams have comparable schedule strengths.
5. While relying more on R+T Rating than rebound margins, remember that no National Champion ever had a negative rebound margin.
6. Look at teams with positive FG% differentials and use this stat along with those above as a significant part of your method for picking winners.
7. Look for these power conference teams that have scoring margins of 8 or above along with schedule strengths of 54 or above.

These are the basic PiRate criteria. You might be shocked to see that there are some key statistics that are not included. Let’s look at some of these stats that the PiRates do not use.

Assists and Assists to Turnover Ratio
While a high number of assists means that a team is most likely a great passing team (and we love great passing teams), this can hide a potentially lethal problem in the Big Dance. Let’s say a team gets 28 field goals and has 24 assists. That may very well indicate this team can pass better than most others. However, it may also mean two other things. First, this team may not have players who can create their own offense and must get by on exceptional passing. That may not work against the best defensive teams in the nation (like the type that get into the Dance).

Second, and even more importantly, it may indicate that this team cannot get offensive put-backs. As explained earlier, the offensive rebound is about as important as any stat can be in the NCAA Tournament. So, rely on this stat only if you must decide on a toss-up after looking at the more important stats. We would much rather go with a team that has 15 offensive rebound potential than a team that has assists on 85% of its made field goals. The NCAA Tournament is full of tough defenses, weird site lines, tight rims, and even tighter nerves, and the offensive put-back is an even more potent weapon than in the regular season, especially in the Round of 64, the Sweet 16, and the Final Four games. The Round of 32 and Elite 8 rounds tend to be less tense, because it is the second game on the playing floor for the participants.

Free Throw Shooting
You might say we are contradicting the Four Factors with this, but we are not. It is the least important of the Four Factors, and we only apply this caveat to the NCAA Tournament. Free throw shooting is similar to a walk in baseball. During the regular season, a lot of walks lead to a lot of runs, and a lot of free throw shooting leads to a lot of points, but things change in the Big Dance.

Of course, free throw shooting in the clutch decides many ball games, even close NCAA Tournament games. However, history shows a long line of teams making it deep into the tournament with poor free throw shooting percentages, and teams that overly rely on free throws may find it tough getting to the line with the liberalized officiating in the tournament.

Let’s say a team shoots a paltry 60% at the foul line while their opponent hits a great 75% of their foul shots. Let’s say each team gets to the foul line 15 times in the game, with five of those chances coming as 1&1 attempts, three coming as one shot after made baskets, and the seven other trips to the line as two shot fouls.

For the 60% shooting team, they can be expected to hit 3 of 5 on the front end of the 1&1 and then 1.8 of the 3 bonus shots; they can be expected to hit 1.8 of 3 on the one foul shot after made baskets; and they can be expected to hit 8.4 of 14 on the two shot fouls for a total of 15 out of 25.

The 75% shooting team can be expected to connect on 3.75 of 5 on the front end of the 1&1 and then 2.8 of 3.75 on the bonus shot; they can be expected to hit 2.3 of 3 on the one foul shot after made baskets; and they can be expected to connect on 10.5 of 14 on the two shot fouls for a total of 19.35 out of 25.75.

A team with one of the top FT% only scores 4.35 more points at the foul line than a team with one of the worst. That is not a lot of points to make up, and when you consider that this is about the maximum possible difference in college basketball, this stat is not all that important. Also consider that teams that shoot 60% of their foul shots but still make the NCAA Tournament are almost always the teams that have the top R+T ratings, which is much more important after the Ides of March.

Teams that make the NCAA Tournament with gaudy free throw percentages frequently get there by winning close games at the line. In the NCAA Tournament, fouls just don’t get called as frequently as in the regular season. The referees let the teams play. So, looking at superior free throw percentage can almost lead you down the wrong path.
Ponder this: The 1973 UCLA Bruins are considered to be the best college basketball team ever. That team connected on just 63% of its free throws. They had a rebounding margin of 15.2, and they forced many turnovers via steals thanks to their vaunted 2-2-1 zone press. In the great UCLA dynasty years from 1964 through 1973 when the Bruins won nine titles in 10 seasons, they never once connected on 70% of their free throws in a single season and averaged just 66% during that stretch.

3-point shooting
You have to look at this statistic two different ways and consider that it is already part of field goal percentage and defensive field goal percentage. Contrary to popular belief, you do not count the difference in made three-pointers and multiply by three to see the difference in points scored. If two teams connect on 28 field goal attempts, and if Team A hits eight treys, while their Team B opponents hit three, that is not a difference of 15 points; it’s a difference of five points. Consider made three-pointers as one extra point because they are already figured as made field goals. A team with 28 made field goals and eight treys has scored only one more point than a team with 28 made field goals and seven treys.

The only time to give three-point shots any weight in this criteria is when you are looking at a toss-up game, and when you do look at this stat, look for the team that does not rely on threes to win, but instead dominates in the paint on both sides. To put it another way, teams that live and die by the outside shot will almost always die before they can get to the Final Four, if they cannot dominate inside. The tournament is won in the paint. This isn’t the NBA, and there are few Steph Curry’s in college ball.
One Big Star or Two Really Good Players
Teams that get to the Dance by riding one big star or a majority of scoring from two players are not solid enough to advance very far. Now, this does not apply to a team with one big star and four really good players. I’m referring to a team with one big star and four lemons or two big scorers with three guys who are allergic to the ball. Many times a team may have one big scorer or two guys who score 85% of the points, but the other three starters are capable of scoring 20 points if they are called on to do so. These teams are tough to stop. Usually, it is the mid-major teams that appear to be sleeper teams that could beat a favored opponent because they have one big talent that falls under this category. For instance, South Dakota State’s Mike Daum this year fits that category. He cannot carry the Jackrabbits to the Sweet 16 on his 25 points per game if the rest of the team does not produce as well.
If you have a team with five double figure scorers, they will be harder to defend and will be more consistent on the attack side. It is hard for all five players to slump at once. Also, if you have a team where four or more players have scored 20 or more points in a game, and this team hails from a power conference, this team presents defensive matchup problems for its opponents.
We hope this primer will help you when you fill out your brackets this year. The raw statistics on each of the 68 teams follows at the end of this primer. Coming later today, we will show you how we picked our bracket as well as issue our Red-White-Blue Power Ratings for the First Four Opening Round Games in Dayton on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For those of you new to this website, our Red-White-Blue Ratings are based on three different algorithms using Basketball’a Four Factors. If you don’t know what the Four Factors are, here is an in-depth primer.

THE FOUR FACTORS
Statistician and author Dean Oliver created this quartet of metrics. He did for basketball what the incredible Bill James did for baseball. Oliver wrote the excellent book Basketball on Paper, where he showed that four separate statistical metrics could show how winners beat losers in the NBA. Later experimentation showed that this metric worked for all levels of organized basketball when strength of schedule is factored into the metric, and the weighting of each factor was altered as the talent level of play decreased.

The four factors are:
1. Effective Field Goal Percentage
2. Rebound Rate
3. Turnover Rate
4. Free Throw Rate

Each factor applies to both offense and defense, so in essence, there are really eight factors.
Each Factor has a formula that can be calculated if you have the statistics. Don’t worry. Our team has compiled all the statistics for every one of the 68 teams in the Dance.

For those math lovers of statistics, and we know a lot of you from baseball, here are the Four Factor stats and their fomulas:

1. Effective FG% = (FGM + (.5 * 3ptM))/FGA where FGM is field goals made, 3ptM is three-pointers made, and FGA is field goals attempted.
If a team made 800 FG, 250 3-pointers, and attempted 1750 field goals, their EFG% is:
(800+(.5*250))/1750 = .529 or 52.9%

2. Offensive Rebound Rate = Offensive Rebounds/(Offensive Rebounds + Opponents’ Defensive Rebounds)
If a team has 500 offensive rebounds and their opponents have 850 defensive rebounds, their Offensive Rebound Rate is:
500/(500+850) = .370 or 37.0%
The defensive equivalent of this factor is defensive rebound rate (Opponents Offensive Rebounds/(Opponents Offensive Rebounds + The Defense’s Defensive Rebounds)
If a team’s opponents have 400 offensive rebounds, while the team has 800 defensive rebounds, the defensive rebound rate is: 400/(400+800) = .333 or 33.3%

3. Turnover Rate = Turnovers per 100 possessions that do not include offensive rebounds. Possessions at the college level can be estimated with incredible accuracy by this formula:
(FGA + (.475*FTA)-OR+TO)/G, where FGA is field goal attempts, FTA is free throw attempts, OR is offensive rebounds, TO is turnovers, and G is games played.
We remove offensive rebounds from the TO Rate formula, because very few turnovers occur following an offensive rebound. Most of the time a shot is taken immediately, and this would skew the factor.
If a team has 1700 FGA, 650 FTA, 425 OR, and 375 TO in 30 games played, their average actual possessions per game is:
(1700+(.475*650)-425+375)/30 = 65.3
Removing the offensive rebounds, their true possessions are:
1700+(.475*650)+375 = 2,384 (rounded from 2383.75)
Once again, the formula for TO Rate is: percentage of Turnovers per / possessions
(TO/Possessions) * 100
Thus for the team above with 375 TO in 2,384 Possessions, their TO Rate is:
100* (375/2384) = 15.7%

4. Free Throw Rate: Oliver and others determined that getting to the line was actually more important than making the foul shots, so they did not include made free throws in their equation.
Their formula was simply: FTA/FGA, as they believed that getting the other team in foul trouble was the most important part.
Later statisticans changed this formulas to FT Made/FGA, which included made free throws, but it also erred by making teams that do not attempt many field goals but lead late in games look much better than they really were. If a team like Northern Iowa attempted just 50 field goals per game and won a lot of games by three or four points, going to the foul line many times late in the game, they would pad this stat by making a lot of FT in the final minutes when the opponent was forced to foul.
A third group of statisticians, including the statheads at the PiRate Ratings, believe that free throws made per 100 possessions is a better metric, and thus we go with this rating, which we call FT Rate*:
If the team above with 65.3 possessions per game averages 17 made free throws per game, then their FT Rate* is:
17 / 65.3 * 100 = 26.0

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All The Stats On The 68 Teams

OFFENSE G FG FGA 3pt 3ptA FT FTA OReb DReb Reb To Stl Pts
Arizona 34 891 1873 229 576 582 768 350 901 1251 390 187 2593
Arkansas 33 920 1991 218 592 590 774 375 832 1207 385 249 2648
Baylor 32 838 1738 216 601 435 607 412 807 1219 430 162 2327
Bucknell 34 915 1902 277 734 480 707 293 878 1171 451 244 2587
Butler 31 831 1740 237 652 466 630 272 723 995 315 193 2365
Cincinnati 33 897 1954 248 709 434 638 405 821 1226 336 248 2476
Creighton 34 1052 2072 297 743 391 573 278 908 1186 423 211 2792
Dayton 31 802 1705 251 649 515 748 267 801 1068 370 243 2370
Duke 35 968 2029 288 767 599 790 366 905 1271 395 207 2823
East Tennessee St. 34 935 1905 256 669 591 840 345 892 1237 502 284 2717
Florida 32 851 1892 248 685 555 764 367 826 1193 378 243 2505
Florida Gulf Coast 33 978 1947 213 608 452 644 370 873 1243 411 201 2621
Florida St. 33 982 2032 227 637 530 766 389 856 1245 390 243 2721
Gonzaga 33 1002 1934 241 631 546 740 308 1022 1330 372 236 2791
Iona 34 951 2091 332 836 502 652 326 897 1223 411 235 2736
Iowa St. 33 971 2072 329 818 398 572 308 845 1153 335 261 2669
Jacksonville St. 34 834 1823 248 666 455 639 349 872 1221 463 156 2371
Kansas 32 946 1943 279 689 476 715 385 859 1244 419 222 2647
Kansas St. 33 817 1782 234 649 499 724 314 766 1080 431 258 2367
Kent St. 35 955 2231 248 781 534 743 524 894 1418 458 227 2692
Kentucky 33 999 2096 234 664 608 873 416 911 1327 394 200 2840
Louisville 32 893 1960 228 635 467 682 425 845 1270 357 216 2481
Marquette 31 894 1834 325 755 445 571 274 756 1030 378 228 2558
Maryland 32 805 1786 265 730 498 713 344 805 1149 416 173 2373
Miami (Fla.) 32 792 1748 205 571 431 600 354 799 1153 407 204 2220
Michigan 34 893 1857 318 837 443 572 260 744 1004 322 201 2547
Michigan St. 33 850 1817 259 689 408 615 313 898 1211 467 147 2367
Middle Tennessee 34 961 1962 217 590 412 590 334 874 1208 355 233 2551
Minnesota 33 863 1985 203 589 555 785 374 943 1317 385 189 2484
Mount St. Mary’s 34 831 1873 246 690 415 615 260 770 1030 447 211 2323
Nevada 34 907 2017 312 811 593 843 374 949 1323 379 181 2719
New Mexico St. 33 885 1893 244 725 591 830 426 886 1312 454 160 2605
New Orleans 31 801 1701 138 429 525 737 375 737 1112 519 242 2265
North Carolina 34 1055 2239 246 672 531 753 537 941 1478 405 236 2887
North Dakota 31 894 1850 218 563 490 682 286 829 1115 413 245 2496
Northern Kentucky 34 902 1964 292 827 493 729 378 901 1279 460 194 2589
Northwestern 34 860 1975 242 709 455 606 366 865 1231 359 172 2417
Notre Dame 34 937 2033 320 830 458 573 317 831 1148 322 245 2652
Oklahoma St. 32 922 1986 287 716 606 770 438 737 1175 422 249 2737
Oregon 34 954 1982 292 773 489 688 355 885 1240 394 221 2689
Princeton 29 750 1659 290 758 301 410 239 731 970 289 198 2091
Providence 32 779 1744 230 625 460 666 287 787 1074 403 215 2248
Purdue 32 894 1864 288 709 488 639 315 902 1217 418 167 2564
Rhode Island 33 860 1902 207 610 494 752 391 844 1235 372 211 2421
Saint Mary’s 32 842 1698 282 706 338 452 308 830 1138 337 133 2304
Seton Hall 32 846 1880 196 581 458 712 418 848 1266 434 222 2346
SMU 33 864 1825 267 663 468 672 399 872 1271 361 193 2463
South Carolina 32 787 1897 216 637 516 747 398 765 1163 428 251 2306
South Dakota St. 34 863 1880 313 863 598 771 307 884 1191 439 177 2637
Texas Southern 34 844 1955 198 666 643 877 397 804 1201 397 244 2529
Troy 36 958 2094 306 844 602 833 392 933 1325 445 220 2824
UC-Davis 34 830 1898 212 599 524 788 347 866 1213 482 193 2396
UCLA 33 1113 2144 327 807 429 576 322 973 1295 381 202 2982
UNC-Central 33 886 1938 250 735 457 671 390 893 1283 397 199 2479
UNC-Wilmington 34 1046 2170 326 891 478 691 408 813 1221 354 230 2896
USC 33 897 1977 259 713 544 736 356 837 1193 367 239 2597
Vanderbilt 34 794 1841 337 895 498 642 279 899 1178 420 140 2423
VCU 34 916 1985 197 589 510 721 375 871 1246 426 256 2539
Vermont 34 916 1848 219 594 450 641 316 848 1164 383 193 2501
Villanova 34 913 1837 300 810 515 649 291 844 1135 381 246 2641
Virginia 32 797 1717 224 570 313 442 282 772 1054 305 181 2131
Virginia Tech 32 864 1764 283 703 525 715 234 809 1043 388 128 2536
Wake Forest 32 898 1902 259 670 590 763 342 836 1178 377 175 2645
West Virginia 34 986 2153 257 711 558 823 487 783 1270 417 353 2787
Wichita St. 34 949 2004 296 725 596 812 405 981 1386 379 233 2790
Winthrop 32 866 1895 304 814 515 715 313 884 1197 421 210 2551
Wisconsin 33 869 1915 251 707 401 624 407 830 1237 358 229 2390
Xavier 34 876 1929 239 703 546 793 415 864 1279 435 209 2537

 

DEFENSE G FG FGA 3pt 3ptA FT FTA OReb DReb Reb To Stl Pts
Arizona 34 808 1945 218 712 391 567 319 700 1019 405 161 2225
Arkansas 33 824 1971 246 742 540 772 413 779 1192 430 162 2434
Baylor 32 713 1791 197 623 384 540 332 601 933 357 172 2007
Bucknell 34 830 1951 211 620 419 638 332 802 1134 474 239 2290
Butler 31 737 1661 209 625 437 623 277 695 972 420 153 2120
Cincinnati 33 689 1806 223 666 396 537 348 727 1075 457 116 1997
Creighton 34 907 2076 255 765 396 584 371 848 1219 481 226 2465
Dayton 31 712 1724 221 679 417 591 301 761 1062 463 139 2062
Duke 35 908 2096 175 594 453 647 376 795 1171 419 167 2444
East Tennessee St. 34 793 1908 267 751 505 702 329 756 1085 533 230 2358
Florida 32 754 1846 179 583 443 627 337 794 1131 479 174 2130
Florida Gulf Coast 33 800 1899 230 744 440 643 341 698 1039 425 200 2270
Florida St. 33 798 1936 240 698 516 723 374 753 1127 474 166 2352
Gonzaga 33 741 2015 192 641 344 523 348 726 1074 416 172 2018
Iona 34 916 2120 271 753 493 708 416 888 1304 449 162 2596
Iowa St. 33 876 2049 254 729 370 527 398 875 1273 474 153 2376
Jacksonville St. 34 785 1891 263 701 467 649 330 750 1080 375 203 2300
Kansas 32 825 1968 235 658 431 606 375 739 1114 430 226 2316
Kansas St. 33 775 1825 236 616 423 588 369 750 1119 503 208 2209
Kent St. 35 894 2080 258 747 485 690 380 825 1205 496 212 2531
Kentucky 33 850 2006 203 656 466 695 342 814 1156 482 157 2369
Louisville 32 709 1791 197 638 492 712 340 746 1086 440 164 2107
Marquette 31 823 1803 227 615 452 648 308 733 1041 409 199 2325
Maryland 32 772 1867 203 605 423 602 375 751 1126 403 194 2170
Miami (Fla.) 32 731 1764 202 611 374 508 309 698 1007 380 196 2038
Michigan 34 847 1821 198 525 346 508 305 760 1065 437 145 2238
Michigan St. 33 777 1911 217 626 485 672 338 753 1091 363 193 2256
Middle Tennessee 34 743 1783 205 642 462 656 281 755 1036 458 162 2153
Minnesota 33 829 2084 213 699 409 599 405 870 1275 421 188 2280
Mount St. Mary’s 34 863 1925 183 532 423 641 407 873 1280 507 215 2332
Nevada 34 890 2095 228 743 404 589 334 857 1191 384 189 2412
New Mexico St. 33 792 1911 184 632 451 667 361 724 1085 454 174 2219
New Orleans 31 767 1746 199 642 415 601 345 646 991 505 263 2148
North Carolina 34 838 2013 274 799 451 628 310 737 1047 464 214 2401
North Dakota 31 788 1796 211 601 470 687 303 780 1083 472 198 2257
Northern Kentucky 34 891 2026 224 682 422 600 313 806 1119 415 202 2428
Northwestern 34 770 1911 220 656 452 678 383 820 1203 406 192 2212
Notre Dame 34 865 2007 234 694 389 533 373 838 1211 435 180 2353
Oklahoma St. 32 846 1800 219 612 586 812 342 720 1062 487 208 2497
Oregon 34 803 2002 233 748 372 520 364 749 1113 468 160 2211
Princeton 29 631 1516 191 576 330 478 231 735 966 388 307 1783
Providence 32 786 1783 200 612 360 535 307 799 1106 447 202 2132
Purdue 32 811 1962 210 650 317 445 292 704 996 385 206 2149
Rhode Island 33 711 1758 152 524 567 799 350 790 1140 434 174 2141
Saint Mary’s 32 686 1676 143 472 293 427 227 615 842 300 176 1808
Seton Hall 32 783 1813 211 621 469 654 289 765 1054 393 219 2246
SMU 33 702 1817 270 826 304 442 304 658 962 392 160 1978
South Carolina 32 671 1686 168 574 553 778 344 789 1133 552 197 2063
South Dakota St. 34 938 2077 361 960 394 539 342 803 1145 391 230 2631
Texas Southern 34 902 2038 188 581 447 656 422 834 1256 463 176 2439
Troy 36 904 2120 282 841 490 680 367 864 1231 455 209 2580
UC-Davis 34 829 1955 237 717 448 633 330 836 1166 482 232 2343
UCLA 33 912 2179 284 784 378 563 383 777 1160 399 216 2486
UNC-Central 33 766 1959 205 708 355 554 410 775 1185 456 151 2092
UNC-Wilmington 34 912 1912 185 551 539 752 316 835 1151 496 166 2548
USC 33 893 2074 276 757 353 495 379 802 1181 424 184 2415
Vanderbilt 34 836 1975 220 655 425 604 333 839 1172 367 186 2317
VCU 34 775 1852 196 580 512 737 330 818 1148 500 187 2258
Vermont 34 781 1858 190 576 342 484 305 723 1028 443 184 2094
Villanova 34 799 1912 240 768 297 417 321 691 1012 452 176 2135
Virginia 32 610 1542 191 611 369 524 246 700 946 413 158 1780
Virginia Tech 32 876 1969 251 697 378 529 345 764 1109 375 175 2381
Wake Forest 32 860 1901 264 739 509 704 317 763 1080 370 193 2493
West Virginia 34 759 1791 227 650 510 755 374 806 1180 695 190 2255
Wichita St. 34 713 1887 227 735 470 680 307 782 1089 475 177 2123
Winthrop 32 787 1941 211 681 461 636 350 815 1165 450 195 2246
Wisconsin 33 723 1782 221 589 350 475 285 744 1029 433 175 2017
Xavier 34 862 1907 253 748 449 642 288 767 1055 416 218 2426

 

Team PPG Def PPG Marg. FG%-Marg Reb-Marg. TO Marg. R+T W-L Road SOS Off Poss Def Poss Poss/G Seed
Arizona 76.3 65.4 10.8 6.0 6.8 0.4 18.1 15-3 58.18 2278 2300 67.3 2
Arkansas 80.2 73.8 6.5 4.4 0.5 1.4 7.1 10-6 55.53 2369 2355 71.6 8
Baylor 72.7 62.7 10.0 8.4 8.9 -2.3 18.8 10-5 59.46 2044 2073 64.3 3
Bucknell 76.1 67.4 8.7 5.6 1.1 0.7 5.4 9-6 48.90 2396 2396 70.5 13
Butler 76.3 68.4 7.9 3.4 0.7 3.4 9.0 10-5 59.10 2082 2100 67.5 4
Cincinnati 75.0 60.5 14.5 7.8 4.6 3.7 19.1 11-5 54.46 2188 2170 66.0 6
Creighton 82.1 72.5 9.6 7.1 -1.0 1.7 2.2 12-5 56.81 2489 2463 72.8 6
Dayton 76.5 66.5 9.9 5.7 0.2 3.0 8.8 9-6 54.65 2163 2167 69.8 7
Duke 80.7 69.8 10.8 4.4 2.9 0.7 10.6 12-7 59.78 2433 2446 69.7 2
East Tennessee St. 79.9 69.4 10.6 7.5 4.5 0.9 13.3 14-5 49.32 2461 2445 72.2 13
Florida 78.3 66.6 11.7 4.1 1.9 3.2 11.4 15-7 59.41 2266 2286 71.1 4
Florida Gulf Coast 79.4 68.8 10.6 8.1 6.2 0.4 15.8 10-4 47.19 2294 2288 69.4 14
Florida St. 82.5 71.3 11.2 7.1 3.6 2.5 14.3 7-8 58.36 2397 2379 72.4 3
Gonzaga 84.6 61.2 23.4 15.0 7.8 1.3 21.2 17-0 54.02 2350 2331 70.9 1
Iona 80.5 76.4 4.1 2.3 -2.4 1.1 1.0 14-8 49.90 2486 2489 73.2 14
Iowa St. 80.9 72.0 8.9 4.1 -3.6 4.2 2.3 11-7 58.18 2371 2375 71.9 5
Jacksonville St. 69.7 67.6 2.1 4.2 4.1 -2.6 8.0 15-9 46.93 2241 2244 66.0 15
Kansas 82.7 72.4 10.3 6.8 4.1 0.3 10.9 14-3 58.10 2317 2311 72.3 1
Kansas St. 71.7 66.9 4.8 3.4 -1.2 2.2 3.4 9-8 56.53 2243 2238 67.9 11
Kent St. 76.9 72.3 4.6 -0.2 6.1 1.1 16.4 12-7 48.67 2518 2524 72.0 14
Kentucky 86.1 71.8 14.3 5.3 5.2 2.7 17.3 14-3 58.27 2489 2476 75.2 2
Louisville 77.5 65.8 11.7 6.0 5.8 2.6 18.3 8-7 60.87 2216 2229 69.5 2
Marquette 82.5 75.0 7.5 3.1 -0.4 1.0 3.5 5-9 56.05 2209 2212 71.3 10
Maryland 74.2 67.8 6.3 3.7 0.7 -0.4 3.7 11-3 56.23 2197 2181 68.4 6
Miami (Fla.) 69.4 63.7 5.7 3.9 4.6 -0.8 11.3 7-9 56.85 2086 2076 65.0 8
Michigan 74.9 65.8 9.1 1.6 -1.8 3.4 4.5 9-8 57.52 2191 2194 64.5 7
Michigan St. 71.7 68.4 3.4 6.1 3.6 -3.2 6.5 5-12 59.07 2263 2255 68.5 9
Middle Tennessee 75.0 63.3 11.7 7.3 5.1 3.0 17.8 17-2 50.19 2263 2272 66.7 12
Minnesota 75.3 69.1 6.2 3.7 1.3 1.1 6.8 7-6 58.18 2369 2385 72.0 5
Mount St. Mary’s 68.3 68.6 -0.3 -0.5 -7.4 1.8 -10.2 8-11 48.10 2352 2329 68.8 16
Nevada 80.0 70.9 9.0 2.5 3.9 0.1 11.0 15-5 51.96 2422 2425 71.3 12
New Mexico St. 78.9 67.2 11.7 5.3 6.9 0.0 16.9 11-4 47.15 2315 2321 70.2 14
New Orleans 73.1 69.3 3.8 3.2 3.9 -0.5 8.8 9-8 46.14 2195 2191 70.8 16
North Carolina 84.9 70.6 14.3 5.5 12.7 1.7 30.3 11-7 59.04 2465 2465 72.5 1
North Dakota 80.5 72.8 7.7 4.4 1.0 1.9 7.5 11-7 44.82 2301 2291 74.1 15
Northern Kentucky 76.1 71.4 4.7 1.9 4.7 -1.3 11.0 12-8 48.18 2392 2413 70.7 15
Northwestern 71.1 65.1 6.0 3.3 0.8 1.4 5.9 9-7 55.60 2256 2256 66.4 8
Notre Dame 78.0 69.2 8.8 3.0 -1.9 3.3 3.9 9-7 57.33 2310 2322 68.1 5
Oklahoma St. 85.5 78.0 7.5 -0.6 3.5 2.0 12.5 9-7 58.52 2336 2331 72.9 10
Oregon 79.1 65.0 14.1 8.0 3.7 2.2 14.2 12-5 56.84 2348 2353 69.1 3
Princeton 72.1 61.5 10.6 3.6 0.1 3.4 2.5 13-5 49.91 1904 1900 65.6 12
Providence 70.3 66.6 3.6 0.6 -1.0 1.4 2.4 5-9 56.05 2176 2177 68.0 11
Purdue 80.1 67.2 13.0 6.6 6.9 -1.0 15.0 10-5 55.84 2271 2266 70.9 4
Rhode Island 73.4 64.9 8.5 4.8 2.9 1.9 11.6 11-6 55.20 2240 2222 67.6 11
Saint Mary’s 72.0 56.5 15.5 8.7 9.3 -1.2 19.9 13-2 54.34 1942 1952 60.8 7
Seton Hall 73.3 70.2 3.1 1.8 6.6 -1.3 14.6 9-9 56.38 2234 2228 69.7 9
SMU 74.6 59.9 14.7 8.7 9.4 0.9 23.7 12-4 53.27 2106 2115 64.0 6
South Carolina 72.1 64.5 7.6 1.7 0.9 3.9 9.5 7-7 56.25 2282 2264 71.0 7
South Dakota St. 77.6 77.4 0.2 0.7 1.4 -1.4 3.1 7-14 50.02 2378 2382 70.0 16
Texas Southern 74.4 71.7 2.6 -1.1 -1.6 1.9 3.1 13-11 44.79 2372 2391 70.0 16
Troy 78.4 71.7 6.8 3.1 2.6 0.3 8.8 12-10 47.40 2543 2531 70.5 15
UC-Davis 70.5 68.9 1.6 1.3 1.4 0.0 4.8 11-12 44.11 2407 2408 70.8 16
UCLA 90.4 75.3 15.0 10.1 4.1 0.5 11.2 12-3 53.96 2477 2462 74.8 3
UNC-Central 75.1 63.4 11.7 6.6 3.0 1.8 12.2 14-6 38.41 2264 2268 68.7 16
UNC-Wilmington 85.2 74.9 10.2 0.5 2.1 4.2 12.8 16-4 51.48 2444 2449 72.0 12
USC 78.7 73.2 5.5 2.3 0.4 1.7 6.5 9-6 54.42 2338 2354 71.1 11
Vanderbilt 71.3 68.1 3.1 0.8 0.2 -1.6 1.4 8-10 61.16 2287 2296 67.4 9
VCU 74.7 66.4 8.3 4.3 2.9 2.2 12.2 11-7 55.31 2378 2372 69.9 10
Vermont 73.6 61.6 12.0 7.5 4.0 1.8 13.2 13-4 49.16 2219 2226 65.4 13
Villanova 77.7 62.8 14.9 7.9 3.6 2.1 13.8 17-2 58.04 2235 2241 65.8 1
Virginia 66.6 55.6 11.0 6.9 3.4 3.4 14.0 10-6 59.73 1950 1958 61.1 5
Virginia Tech 79.3 74.4 4.8 4.5 -2.1 -0.4 -2.0 7-8 55.01 2258 2250 70.4 9
Wake Forest 82.7 77.9 4.8 2.0 3.1 -0.2 8.6 8-10 58.32 2299 2288 71.7 11
West Virginia 82.0 66.3 15.6 3.4 2.6 8.2 19.1 9-6 55.57 2474 2471 72.7 4
Wichita St. 82.1 62.4 19.6 9.6 8.7 2.8 24.5 14-3 50.79 2364 2378 69.7 10
Winthrop 79.7 70.2 9.5 5.2 1.0 0.9 6.1 12-3 47.36 2343 2343 73.2 13
Wisconsin 72.4 61.1 11.3 4.8 6.3 2.3 19.0 10-7 54.48 2162 2156 65.4 8
Xavier 74.6 71.4 3.3 0.2 6.6 -0.6 15.3 9-9 58.75 2326 2340 68.6 11

 

Team EFG DEFG OR% DOR% TO% DTO% FT* DFT* Win Streaks
Arizona 53.7 47.1 33.3 26.1 14.8 15.5 25.6 17.0 15 5
Arkansas 51.7 48.0 32.5 33.2 14.0 15.5 24.9 22.9 8 5
Baylor 54.4 45.3 40.7 29.1 17.5 14.8 21.3 18.5 15 5
Bucknell 55.4 47.9 26.8 27.4 16.8 17.4 20.0 17.5 7 6
Butler 54.6 50.7 28.1 27.7 13.4 17.7 22.4 20.8 8 4
Cincinnati 52.3 44.3 35.8 29.8 13.0 18.1 19.8 18.2 15 5
Creighton 57.9 49.8 24.7 29.0 15.3 17.0 15.7 16.1 13 5
Dayton 54.4 47.7 26.0 27.3 15.2 18.8 23.8 19.2 9 5
Duke 54.8 47.5 31.5 29.4 14.1 14.8 24.6 18.5 10 7
East Tennessee St. 55.8 48.6 31.3 26.9 17.9 19.2 24.0 20.7 6 5
Florida 51.5 45.7 31.6 29.0 14.4 18.3 24.5 19.4 9 7
Florida Gulf Coast 55.7 48.2 34.6 28.1 15.4 16.2 19.7 19.2 7 7
Florida St. 53.9 47.4 34.1 30.4 14.0 17.2 22.1 21.7 12 4
Gonzaga 58.0 41.5 29.8 25.4 14.0 15.5 23.2 14.8 29 3
Iona 53.4 49.6 26.9 31.7 14.6 15.5 20.2 19.8 6 4
Iowa St. 54.8 49.0 26.0 32.0 12.5 17.1 16.8 15.6 6 5
Jacksonville St. 52.6 48.5 31.8 27.5 17.9 14.6 20.3 20.8 4 4
Kansas 55.9 47.9 34.3 30.4 15.5 16.0 20.5 18.7 18 8
Kansas St. 52.4 48.9 29.5 32.5 16.9 19.3 22.2 18.9 7 5
Kent St. 48.4 49.2 38.8 29.8 15.1 17.1 21.2 19.2 5 4
Kentucky 53.2 47.4 33.8 27.3 13.6 17.1 24.4 18.8 11 7
Louisville 51.4 45.1 36.3 28.7 13.5 17.1 21.1 22.1 6 5
Marquette 57.6 51.9 27.2 28.9 15.2 16.2 20.1 20.4 5 3
Maryland 52.5 46.8 31.4 31.8 16.4 15.8 22.7 19.4 7 7
Miami (Fla.) 51.2 47.2 33.7 27.9 16.7 15.9 20.7 18.0 7 4
Michigan 56.7 51.9 25.5 29.1 13.1 17.5 20.2 15.8 5 4
Michigan St. 53.9 46.3 29.4 27.3 18.1 14.0 18.0 21.5 4 3
Middle Tennessee 54.5 47.4 30.7 24.3 13.7 17.9 18.2 20.3 10 10
Minnesota 48.6 44.9 30.1 30.0 14.0 15.1 23.4 17.2 8 6
Mount St. Mary’s 50.9 49.6 22.9 34.6 17.1 18.5 17.6 18.2 8 4
Nevada 52.7 47.9 30.4 26.0 13.6 13.9 24.5 16.7 9 7
New Mexico St. 53.2 46.3 37.0 28.9 16.6 16.9 25.5 19.4 20 5
New Orleans 51.1 49.6 36.7 31.9 20.2 19.9 23.9 18.9 5 5
North Carolina 52.6 48.4 42.2 24.8 13.5 16.7 21.5 18.3 7 6
North Dakota 54.2 49.7 26.8 26.8 16.0 18.2 21.3 20.5 6 4
Northern Kentucky 53.4 49.5 31.9 25.8 16.6 15.2 20.6 17.5 6 6
Northwestern 49.7 46.0 30.9 30.7 13.7 15.4 20.2 20.0 9 6
Notre Dame 54.0 48.9 27.4 31.0 12.3 16.1 19.8 16.8 9 7
Oklahoma St. 53.7 53.1 37.8 31.7 15.2 18.2 25.9 25.1 5 5
Oregon 55.5 45.9 32.2 29.1 14.6 17.2 20.8 15.8 17 8
Princeton 53.9 47.9 24.5 24.0 13.5 18.2 15.8 17.4 19 2
Providence 51.3 49.7 26.4 28.1 16.4 18.0 21.1 16.5 6 6
Purdue 55.7 46.7 30.9 24.5 16.2 15.0 21.5 14.0 7 6
Rhode Island 50.7 44.8 33.1 29.3 14.1 16.9 22.1 25.5 8 4
Saint Mary’s 57.9 45.2 33.4 21.5 15.0 13.8 17.4 15.0 9 7
Seton Hall 50.2 49.0 35.3 25.4 16.4 15.6 20.5 21.1 6 5
SMU 54.7 46.1 37.7 25.9 14.4 16.2 22.2 14.4 16 10
South Carolina 47.2 44.8 33.5 31.0 16.0 21.2 22.6 24.4 8 5
South Dakota St. 54.2 53.9 27.7 27.9 16.3 14.4 25.1 16.5 6 3
Texas Southern 48.2 48.9 32.3 34.4 14.3 16.5 27.1 18.7 9 6
Troy 53.1 49.3 31.2 28.2 15.2 15.7 23.7 19.4 6 4
UC-Davis 49.3 48.5 29.3 27.6 17.5 17.6 21.8 18.6 4 4
UCLA 59.5 48.4 29.3 28.2 13.6 14.0 17.3 15.4 13 10
UNC-Central 52.2 44.3 33.5 31.5 15.0 17.0 20.2 15.7 13 5
UNC-Wilmington 55.7 52.5 32.8 28.0 12.4 17.9 19.6 22.0 9 8
USC 51.9 49.7 30.7 31.2 13.6 15.5 23.3 15.0 14 5
Vanderbilt 52.3 47.9 25.0 27.0 16.4 14.0 21.8 18.5 4 3
VCU 51.1 47.1 31.4 27.5 15.5 18.5 21.4 21.6 9 8
Vermont 55.5 47.1 30.4 26.5 15.1 17.5 20.3 15.4 21 4
Villanova 57.9 48.1 29.6 27.6 15.1 17.6 23.0 13.3 14 7
Virginia 52.9 45.8 28.7 24.2 13.7 18.7 16.1 18.8 7 5
Virginia Tech 57.0 50.9 23.4 29.9 15.6 14.4 23.3 16.8 8 4
Wake Forest 54.0 52.2 31.0 27.5 14.3 14.2 25.7 22.2 4 3
West Virginia 51.8 48.7 37.7 32.3 14.1 24.4 22.6 20.6 8 4
Wichita St. 54.7 43.8 34.1 23.8 13.7 17.7 25.2 19.8 15 6
Winthrop 53.7 46.0 27.7 28.4 15.9 16.7 22.0 19.7 8 7
Wisconsin 51.9 46.8 35.4 25.6 13.9 17.7 18.5 16.2 9 8
Xavier 51.6 51.8 35.1 25.0 15.9 15.8 23.5 19.2 7 6

Check back later Tuesday for our Round by Round Bracket Selections, as well as our Red-White-Blue Ratings for the First Four games in Dayton.

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2017

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Pitch a Perfect Game

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 2:11 pm

A shout out to our Bracketology Gurus here at the PiRate Ratings.  The guys (and one gal) successfully/correctly selected all 68 teams this morning in our final Bracketology Report.

Way to go team!  We knew you could do it.

 

68 for 68–100%!!!

Sunday March Madness Update

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:48 am

Rhode Island won an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by topping VCU in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.  The Rams now must be moved into first round bye status, so now a new team must be lowered into the First Four in Dayton.

Our Gurus will not have time to send us those teams, so we will go with the lowest team that received a bye prior to URI being moved up.

Thus, Vanderbilt moves down to the First Four as an 11-seed to face USC and Wake Forest moves to a 12-seed to Kansas State in the other First Four game.

Selection Sunday Ayem–March 12, 2017

Like Xmas Day For A Basketball Junkie

5:30 PM Eastern DAYLIGHT Time cannot come quickly enough.  Today is the day fans of 68 teams get to open their March Madness presents.  Most of the teams that will be dancing know they are in, be it with an automatic bid or a for sure at-large bid.  The Bubble has shrunk to just a few teams, and our Bracketology Gurus believe they have the 68 teams this morning before any games are played today.  Only the seeding may be altered by today’s games, but they agree in 100% unison that the teams we will list are the 68 teams that will continue to pursue their National Championship dreams.

THE FINAL BUBBLE

California

Illinois St.

Iowa

Kansas St.

Rhode Island

Syracuse

USC

Vanderbilt

Wake Forest

Xavier

Room at the Inn for six of these 10 teams, so which six make it, and which 4 are number one seeds in the NIT?

The six we have in are (alphabetically): Kansas State, Rhode Island, USC, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and Xavier.

The four that will need tissues to wipe their tears are: California, Illinois State, Iowa, and Syracuse

The one that the Gurus believe should be in over one that should be out is Illinois State rather than USC.  However, the Gurus are selecting based on how they predict the Selection Committee will select, and even through the rules state that teams are not chosen within a conference by conference basis, subconsciously the members will look and see that they cannot exclude both Cal and the Trojans.  USC’s win over SMU is the reason the men of Troy get in over the men of Berkeley.

 

There are six games left to be played, and the seed lines could change based on who wins, but the Committee does not change their final seedings within the last two hours, so the final scores of some of the games will be official after the final seeding has been done.  Thus, the AAC and Big Ten Championship Games will still be underway when the final seeds are completed.  Only the name of the Sun Belt Conference Champion will have to be added late, and the Committee can already put the first letter of that champion on the board–a “T” (Texas State or Troy).

 

Here is today’s schedule.

American Athletic Conference Championship
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 29-4 vs. 2 Cincinnati 29-4 3:15 PM ESPN
                 
Atlantic 10 Conference Championship
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 Rhode Island 23-9 vs. 2 VCU 26-7 12:30 PM CBS
                 
Big Ten Conference Championship
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 Michigan 23-11 vs. 2 Wisconsin 25-8 3:00 PM CBS
                 
Ivy League Conference Championship
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Princeton 22-6 vs. 3 Yale 18-10 12:00 PM ESPN2
                 
Southeastern Conference Championship
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 28-5 vs. 3 Arkansas 25-8 1:00 PM ESPN
                 
Sun Belt Conference Championship
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 Texas St. 20-12 vs. 6 Troy 21-14 2:00 PM ESPN2
                 
Selection Sunday
5:30 PM EDT on CBS
 
NCAA Tournament
First Four: March 14-15
                 
Second Round: March 16-17
                 
Third Round: March 18-19
                 
Sweet 16: March 23-24
                 
Elite Eight: March 25-26
                 
Final Four: April 1
                 
National Championship: April 3

The Bracketology Gurus Field of 68

  1. Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, North Carolina
  2. Duke, Arizona, Kentucky, Oregon
  3. Baylor, Louisville, Florida St., UCLA
  4. West Virginia, Butler, Notre Dame, Cincinnati
  5. Florida, Iowa St., Virginia, Purdue
  6. Wisconsin, SMU, Minnesota, Michigan
  7. Creighton, Arkansas, Saint Mary’s, Wichita St.
  8. Maryland, Miami (Fla.), VCU, Virginia Tech
  9. Northwestern, Oklahoma St., Dayton, Seton Hall
  10. Michigan St., South Carolina, Marquette, Providence
  11. Middle Tennessee, Xavier, Vanderbilt, USC, Wake Forest
  12. UNC-Wilmington, Nevada, Vermont, Rhode Island, Kansas St.
  13. Bucknell, Princeton, Winthrop, East Tennessee St.
  14. Florida Gulf Coast, New Mexico St., Iona, Northern Kentucky
  15. Texas Southern, Kent State, Jacksonville St., North Dakota
  16. Texas St., UNC-Central, New Orleans, South Dakota St., UC-Davis, Mount St. Mary’s

Last Four Byes: Marquette, Providence, Vanderbilt, Xavier

Last Four In (Dayton Bound): USC vs. Wake Forest, Rhode Island vs. Kansas St.

First Four Out (#1 Seeds in NIT): California, Illinois St., Iowa, and Syracuse

 

Coming Next:  We go dark for 48 hours.  Tuesday morning, we will premier PiRate Bracketnomics for 2017 with a total primer on how we handle our bracket picking and outright winners of games for you that failed to heed our warnings and chose to wager your hard-earned dollars in Vegas or offshore.  FWIW, we have heard from a half-dozen of you that you have found something in our Blue Ratings that have made you handsome profits this year.  We hope that continues for you, but please do not rely on just our ratings to wager money with books in Vegas.  We don’t want the guilt trip when you cannot pay your April Mortgage or car payment.

In addition to Bracketnomics, we will also give you all the raw data to use for yourself.  We will have a spreadsheet of all 68 teams with their Four Factors, their PiRate Specific Ratings, and then follow that up with how the teams fit in our Final Four footprint.  We have backtested the data we use as far back as each statistic allows us to do, and we will include that in our preview.

Tell all your friends to check us out.  The Tuesday preview is our most visited entry of the year, even more than our Super Bowl and College Playoff National Championship football editions.

 

But remember our axiom: We are just a bunch of math nerds doing this for fun.  Please wager responsibly, or like us just wager a lunch with your friend.  Also, remember that you have a better chance of being abducted by aliens from space while being struck by lightning, as you hold the winning Power Ball and Mega Millions lottery tickets while getting a kiss from a supermodel (all at the same time) than you do of picking a perfect bracket.

Note: Special Congrats go to Renato Nunez on his impressive home run at Hohokam Park yesterday against the Rangers.

March 11, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Saturday, March 11, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:16 am

Joining The Field

You might be thinking, “Wait, there were no conference championship games Friday, so how could there be an addition to the automatic bid list?”

It is a technicality issue.  In the SWAC, Alcorn State is ineligible for postseason play, but they were eligible for the conference tournament.  The Braves have made it to the Championship Game of the SWAC Tournament, but they cannot receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Their opponent tonight is Texas Southern, the regular season SWAC champion.  The rules in the SWAC state that if the conference tournament champion is ineligible for the postseason, the regular season champion gets the automatic bid.  Thus, Texas Southern is in the Dance no matter what happens tonight in the conference championship game.

We rarely issue opinions on matters like this, but this one seems obvious.  The conference championship game is now meaningless, and leagues like the SWAC struggle to fill seats in tournament games if they do not put them on the home courts of the higher seeds.  This league does not include all their members in the conference tournament, yet they included an ineligible team.  It seems obvious that the SWAC should have kept Alcorn State out of the conference tournament and allowed Arkansas-Pine Bluff (one of two teams left out) to participate.  That at least would make the Championship Game mean something.

Today’s Schedule

All times Eastern Standard 

America East Conference Tournament Championship — Vermont Hosts
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Vermont 28-5 vs. 3 Albany 21-12 11:00 AM ESPN2

Vermont has a perfect America East record this year, now at 16-0, as they prepare to host Albany.  The last time these two teams met, Albany took a seven-point first half lead in Burlington, before the Catamounts clawed back into the lead in the second half.  The game was still close with less than four minutes remaining before a big closing run by VU produced a 12-point victory.  David Nichols kept Albany in that game with his three-point shooting, and if the Great Danes are to pull off the upset, they will need to be hot from behind the arc.  Vermont should win its 21st consecutive game and become a feisty lower-seed foe for a second round biggie.

 

American Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals–Hartford,CT
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 28-4 vs. 4 Central Florida 21-10 3:00 PM ESPN2
2 Cincinnati 28-4 vs. 6 Connecticut 16-16 5:00 PM ESPN2

One might think that SMU and Cincinnati have this tournament semifinals all wrapped up and will face off tomorrow in a rubber game to decide the conference tournament title winner.  Think again.  Central Florida and Connecticut are worthy competitors, and both teams have the ability to pull off upsets.

Cincinnati destroyed UConn both times they played, but the Huskies have a knack for becoming a different team in conference tournament play.  They looked like they were poised for a repeat performance after smashing a good Houston team and ending the Couagars’ hopes of an at-large bid.

Central Florida presents incredible matchup problems with 7-6 behemoth Tacko Fall able to alter gameplans all by himself.  UCF has won six consecutive games, and Coach Johnny Dawkins knows how to use Fall to suck defenders in so that his prime long-range shooters, Matt Williams, B J Taylor, and Nick Banyard, can get open looks.  UCF hit 14 three-pointers in their decimation of Memphis.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship–Brooklyn
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Duke 26-8 vs. 3 Notre Dame 25-8 9:00 PM ESPN

Neither team was picked by most of the ACC media experts to make it to the championship game of this tournament.  Duke dropped Louisville and North Carolina to make it here, while Notre Dame took care of business against Virginia and Florida St.  Both teams are safely in the NCAA Tournament, so the two are playing for pride and a chance to move up one seed line in the Dance.  Duke won at Notre Dame in their only meeting this year, and this win occurred during Coach K’s absence with Jeff Capel guiding the team.  The Blue Devils had a hot streak in that game, hitting over 50% from the field and an amazing 23 of 24 at the foul line.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Semifinals–Pittsburgh (Duquense)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Davidson 17-14 vs. 4 Rhode Island 22-9 1:00 PM CBSSN
2 VCU 25-7 vs. 3 Richmond 20-11 3:30 PM CBSSN

Nervous fans of teams on the Bubble will be watching this league the next two days.  With top-seed Dayton dismissed by Davidson, there are three teams left in this quartet that can burst some bubbles elsewhere.  Rhode Island may have already played itself in to the NCAA Tournament, but Richmond and Davidson must win the automatic bid.  This tournament should be must watch this afternoon if your team still needs some help.

 

Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship–Kansas City
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 Iowa St. 22-10 vs. 2 West Virginia 26-7 6:00 PM ESPN

They hit just 26.7% of their shots, and their press was not very effective yesterday, but West Virginia found a way to beat Kansas State, doing so by dominating on the glass.  Now, the Mountaineers go for the Big 12 Title against an Iowa State team that did not fare well against WVU in two previous tries.

In both games, the Cyclones wore out with fatigue from facing full-court pressure.  WVU went on big runs both times to win by double digits.  ISU might have more fatigue problems tonight, since this is their third game in three days.  The Mountaineers seemed to look a little tired as well last night, but Coach Huggins provided the adrenaline needed to get over the hump.

 

Big East Conference Tournament Championship–New York City
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Villanova 30-3 vs. 6 Creighton 25-8 5:30 PM Fox

Villanova already knows they will be a #1 seed as they attempt to defend their National Championship, but the Wildcats can secure the overall top-seed with a win over the Blue Jays this afternoon.  Both teams were down a key player when they met most recently, but VU has its key player back now in power forward Darryl Reynolds.  Reynolds has been pulling down the tough rebounds in his three games back, and the Wildcats once again have the look of a Final Four team.

 

Big Sky Conference Tournament Championship–Reno, NV
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Dakota 21-9 vs. 3 Weber St. 19-12 8:30 PM ESPNU

North Dakota swept the season series with Weber State, including the big win back in February that put the Fighting Hawks in control of the Big Sky race.  UND won with their incredible guard tandem of Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall, and WSU will have to come up with an incredible defensive gameplan to keep UND out of the Big Dance.  The Hawks are hoping a convincing win can help them avoid a layover in Dayton.

 

Big Ten Conference Tournament Semifinals–Washington, DC
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 Michigan 22-11 vs. 4 Minnesota 24-8 1:00 PM CBS
2 Wisconsin 24-8 vs. 6 Northwestern 23-10 3:30 PM CBS

The four teams remaining will not hurt anybody else’s Bubble chances, as they will all receive Dance invitations, but there is still drama remaining in this tournament.  Michigan survived a travel nightmare just to get to this tournament.  Northwestern has never been a factor in this tournament and has not won a Big Ten title of any kind.  Meanwhile, it would make for a terrific championship game tomorrow if neighboring rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin played for the trophy.  It also would give the Big Ten a chance to move a team into the 4-seed line.

 

Big West Conference Tournament Championship–Anaheim
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UC-Irvine 21-13 vs. 2 UC-Davis 21-12 11:30 PM ESPN2

The top two seeds split their two regular season meetings, but UC-Irvine thoroughly embarrassed UC-Davis when they met in Irvine last week with the regular season title on the line.  The Anteaters opened the game with a 22-3 lead, and the Aggies never threatened the rest of the way.  UCI connected on 14 treys in that game.

 

Conference USA Tournament Championship–Birmingham, AL
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Middle Tennessee 29-4 vs. 6 Marshall 20-14 8:30 PM CBSSN

This game might be the most exciting one of the entire day, and the fact that Middle Tennessee might already have done enough to lock up an at-large bid will not take anything away from the excitement this game promises.  Expect the shot clock to play very little factor in this game, as both teams like to push the tempo.

If you like to follow the Houston Rockets with James Harden, Lou Williams, and Eric Gordon playing like thoroughbred race horses, then Marshall is the team for you.  There is a good reason why the Thundering Herd plays like the Rockets, as they are coached by Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s brother.  The Thundering Herd run up and down the floor like UNLV from the 1970’s, but they have one huge Achilles’ Heel.  They cannot rebound very well.  Middle Tennessee is an average rebounding team, but the Blue Raiders swept Marshall in the regular season thanks to spreading the wealth around.  In their most recent game against the Herd, MTSU placed six players in double figures, while a seventh had nine points in a 97-86 win.  Get your popcorn and soda ready for this one, as it will give you two hours of pure viewing pleasure.

 

Ivy League Tournament Semifinals–Philadelphia
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Princeton 21-6 vs. 4 Penn 13-14 1:30 PM ESPNU
2 Harvard 18-9 vs. 3 Yale 17-10 4:00 PM ESPNU

We aren’t going to hide our joy over this tournament finally becoming a reality.  The Ivy League plays quality fundamental basketball.  If you play or coach at a lower level and must use sound principles and intelligence for your team to win, this is the league for you to watch.

Princeton aced the field this year with a perfect 14-0 league mark, and if the Tigers knock off rival Penn tonight and then win tomorrow, they should be a 13-seed in the Tournament with a somewhat decent chance to knock off the right type of 4-seed (not West Virginia or Cincinnati).  Having legendary rivals Harvard and Yale play in the second game just makes this inaugural affair perfect.

Harvard took Princeton to the wire in both games, but the Tigers handled the Bulldogs rather easily.  Few fans are giving Penn much chance in this tournament, but they are getting to host this thing at the Palestra, which should give the Quakers about 5-6 points in home court advantage.

 

Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship–Cleveland
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Akron 26-7 vs. 6 Kent St. 21-13 7:30 PM ESPN2

A February swoon cost Akron any chance of qualifying as an at-large team should they not win the MAC automatic bid.  Included in that fall was a three-point loss at home to Kent State, as the Golden Flashes put an end to the Zips’ 30-game home winning streak.  Akron recovered to win at Kent State last week, so this should be an interesting rematch and close to a 50-50 tossup.

 

Mideast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Norfolk, VA (Norfolk St.)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UNC-Central 24-8 vs. 2 Norfolk St. 17-15 1:00 PM ESPN2

UNC-Central has remained unnoticed among the nation’s basketball fans outside of the MEAC, but the Eagles have gone 15-2 in their last 17 games and fared rather well in its road games against the power conference teams.  Should UNCC win and then be forced to head to Dayton, the Eagles would most likely emerge victorious and advance, but a win today coupled with an upset somewhere else could be all that it takes to keep Central out of Dayton.  If Norfolk State pulls off the upset, they can send their laundry to Dayton on the next express out of Norfolk.  It does help that the Spartans get to play this game on their home floor.

 

Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas (UNLV)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Nevada 27-6 vs. 2 Colorado St. 28-6 6:00 PM CBS

These two teams squared off last Saturday in Reno with the top seed in this tournament on the line.  Nevada won by 13, controlling the tempo and going on a big 20-3 run in the middle of the game.  Nevada is a team without a glaring weakness, albeit not on the same page with Kentucky and Oregon.  The Wolf Pack have a lineup similar to SMU in that all five starters can play in the wing positions and can post up inside.  It reminds us a lot of Louisville during Denny Crum’s time when he had big-time stars like Junior Bridgman, Darrel Griffith, Jim Price, and Ron Thomas.

Colorado State plays a muscle power game and tries to grind opponents down.  The Rams rely on senior guard Gian Clavell to score points, and when his shots are off, CSU can struggle to score.  In the Rams’ favor tonight is the fact that they just played Nevada a week ago and know what they are going to face, as there has not been time to tweak the gameplans all that much.

 

Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Oregon 29-4 vs. 2 Arizona 29-4 11:00 PM ESPN

Our Red-White-Blue Ratings that we will not publish today actually indicate that this game is a true tossup.  In fact, two of the ratings show the spread at 0!  The top two seeds met just once in the regular season, and Oregon used a 36-9 run in the first half to put the game away quickly.  The Ducks have the top home court advantage in America, so the 27-point margin of victory can be tossed out the window, and you can give the Wildcats a little more incentive to seek revenge tonight.  However, we think the Ducks have the better roster, and that gives Oregon the slight edge.

 

Southeastern Conference Tournament Semifinals–Nashville
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 27-5 vs. 5 Alabama 19-13 1:00 PM ESPN
7 Vanderbilt 19-14 vs. 3 Arkansas 24-8 3:20 PM ESPN

Vanderbilt played its way into the NCAA Tournament with its third win over Florida.  The Commodores should be able to avoid a First Four game in Dayton as well.

Alabama has the potential to give Kentucky all it can handle.  Had the Tide hit their free throws in their one contest against the Wildcats, they could have won their regular season game in Tuscaloosa.  This is Nashville, and the last time we checked, Nashville was about halfway between these two schools’ campuses, but it will look more like Rupp Arena this afternoon as the Music City is crawling with Royal Blue clothed tourists up and down Broadway and in Hatty B’s Hot Chicken.

Arkansas and Vanderbilt played two close games this year, with the visiting team winning both times.  Since the Commodores won at Bud Walton, Arkansas has been a different team.  The Razorbacks have won seven of eight games, including a road victory over South Carolina.

 

Southland Conference Tournament Championship–Katy, TX (Greater Houston area)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 New Orleans 19-11 vs. 2 Texas A&M-CC 20-10 9:30 PM ESPN2

Disclaimer: We cannot preview this game in an impartial manner.  We will not withhold the secret that we are rooting like crazy for Coach Willis Wilson to guide TAMCCU to the Big Dance.  A finer man in the coaching business does not exist, and Wilson has not been given the accolades that should have been afforded to him.  The Rice alum coached at his alma mater for 18 years, taking the Owls to the near edge of NCAA qualification only to come up a tad short, having to make do with the NIT.  Trying to win at Rice is extremely tough, as the high-academic standards and having to be the number two team in the city of Houston did not help the Owls recruit players to Main Street, where on a sunny day, more folks turn out to the zoo across the street than come to the Rice basketball games.

Wilson has built up the TAMCCU program to the point where the Islanders have made consecutive trips to the CIT, as Stephen F. Austin dominated the league under former coach Brad Underwood.  Tonight, the Islanders have their best shot at making the Dance, where they have been just once before, back in 2007.

New Orleans also has a nice story that needs to be told.  The basketball program shut down after the 2009-2010 season and stayed dark for two seasons before re-emerging as one of the final two teams to play as an independent (Cal State Bakersfield is the other).  The Privateers have had a somewhat storied history with a bevy of excellent coaches working in the Crescent City (Ron Greene, Butch van Breda Kolff, Bennie Dees, Tim Floyd, and Buzz Williams).  They have made it to four NCAA Tournaments, albeit none in the last 20 years, and they actually have won Dance win over BYU in 1987.  There will be emotions running wild on both sides tonight, so check this game out if only for a little bit of your time.

 

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Houston
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Texas Southern 22-11 vs. 2 Alcorn St. * 18-13 6:30 PM ESPNU
* Alcorn St. is ineligible for the postseason. Texas Southern earns automatic bid win or lose tonight.

We have already spoken about this game and the fact that it does not matter if TSU wins or loses, since they already own the automatic bid.  However, it will help the Tigers to win this game, because we believe they will definitely avoid Dayton with a win tonight, and they could be punished and sent to Dayton if they lose.

The game should be entertaining and nip and tuck, as TSU had difficulty beating Alcorn twice this year, once by a bucket, and once in overtime.  Unfortunately, the one player that might have made a difference for the Tigers against a power conference team, muscular forward and former SWAC POY Derrick Griffin, decided to leave school to prepare for the pro draft–not the NBA, but the NFL, where he stands a good chance of being drafted as a mighty big receiver target.

 

Sun Belt Conference Tournament Semifinals–New Orleans
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UT-Arlington 25-7 vs. 4 Texas St. 19-12 12:30 PM ESPN3
2 Georgia St. 20-11 vs. 6 Troy 20-14 3:00 PM ESPN3

There are some Bracketologists that believe UT-Arlington will have done enough to get an at-large bid if they beat Texas State this afternoon and lose tomorrow, but 12 of our 13 Bracketology Gurus beg to differ.  The Mavericks are the team to beat in this tourney, but the other three teams don’t fear UTA.  In fact, Texas State and Troy both know they can beat the top seed, as they did so convincingly during the regular season.  Still, UTA is a team that defeated Saint Mary’s and had a double-digit lead at Arkansas before the Razorbacks nipped them in the final minute.  If the Mavericks win the automatic bid, it would not surprise us at all if they move up to a 12-seed, the one seed that has become the seed of upsets.

 

Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Cal St. Bakersfield 22-8 vs. 2 New Mexico St. 27-5 11:00 PM ESPNU

When we think of Bakersfield, we think of the “Bakersfield Sound” that produced stars like Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Jean Shepard.  Our founder also thinks of some great Bakersfield Dodgers baseball teams in the Class A California League that produced future Dodgers stars like Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, Doug Rau, Eric Karros, Pedro and Ramon Martinez, John Wetteland, and Mike Piazza.

Others might think of all the farmland in and around the area or the giant arch just off Highway 99.  Basketball does not come to mind when one thinks of Bakersfield.  Yet, the Roadrunners, under former Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes, are just one win away from making their second consecutive trip to the Big Dance.

It will be no cakewalk tonight for the top-seeded Roadrunners.  Their opponent is a formidable foe, and New Mexico State might even be considered the favorite in this game.  The teams match up favorably well, and this looks like a championship game where if they played a best of seven series, it would go seven games.

CSUB has one big disadvantage tonight.  The Roadrunners were forced to play an extra half last night, when Utah Valley took them to 4 overtimes.  The Roadrunners shot less than 30% from the field, gave up an astronomical 68 rebounds to Utah Valley, and they still won, because they forced the Wolverines into committing 28 turnovers and stole the ball 11 times.

 

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Update for Saturday AM

  1. Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga
  2. Kentucky, Oregon, Duke, Arizona
  3. Baylor, Louisville, West Virginia, Florida St.
  4. UCLA, Notre Dame, Butler, Minnesota
  5. Florida, Cincinnati, Iowa St., SMU
  6. Virginia, Purdue, Wisconsin, Creighton
  7. Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Michigan, Wichita St.
  8. Virginia Tech, Miami, Northwestern, VCU
  9. Arkansas, South Carolina, Dayton, Oklahoma St.
  10. Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Michigan St., Seton Hall
  11. Providence, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Wake Forest, USC
  12. UT-Arlington, UNC-Wilmington, Nevada, Kansas St., Syracuse
  13. Vermont, Princeton, Akron, Bucknell
  14. East Tennessee St., Florida Gulf Coast, New Mexico St., Winthrop
  15. Iona, Texas Southern, Northern Kentucky, UC-Irvine
  16. South Dakota St., UNC-Central, Jacksonville St., Texas A&M CC, North Dakota, Mount St. Mary’s

Last Four Byes

Seton Hall

Providence

Vanderbilt

Xavier

Last Four In–Headed to Dayton

Wake Forest vs. USC

Kansas St. vs. Syracuse

First Four Out

Rhode Island–can jump into the field with a win Saturday

Illinois State

California

Alabama–we jumped the Tide up here, because they are the only team still playing with a chance to move up.  All others in this spot have no chance to make the field and have no games left to play (Illinois, Iowa, Houston, TCU, Georgia, Indiana)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 10, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Friday, March 10, 2017

Bubble Update

Iowa, Illinois, and Utah clinched bids yesterday, but it’s to the junior prom rather than the senior prom.  The trio are NIT-bound.  USC lost a close one to rival UCLA last night, but we believe the Trojans are rather safe for now.

Some interesting upsets has made it a nerve-wracking day for a few teams that thought they were on the good side of the Bubble.  Let’s take a look at those teams that received Bubble invitations Thursday.

A. TCU–The Horned Frogs pulled the big upset over Kansas, although the Jayhawks were missing a key player due to suspension.  Kansas will remain a #1 seed, but they could move down to the fourth top-seed.  Meanwhile, Jamie Dixon is looking like a genius, taking a program that has been down for a long time and bringing it to the precipice of NCAA Tournament membership.  A Frog win today over Iowa State would give TCU 20 wins with a better than average schedule strength.  It would be mighty impressive on a resume, and the Committee would probably move that piece of paper up into the “accepted pile.”

B. Kansas State–The surprises kept coming in Kansas City, as the Wildcats knocked off Baylor in the nightcap of the Big 12 Quarterfinals.  At this point, K-State may have done enough to earn a bid, so this is probably the end of the line for Illinois State, and it could put a Friday Bubble loser in jeopardy.

C. Indiana demolished Iowa yesterday, and the Hoosiers looked more like the team they were suppose to be this year.  If IU drops Wisconsin today, the Hoosier will have a chance to make the field.  However, the Committee does not seem to favor the Big Ten this year, and it would be difficult to substantiate Indiana making the field if they do not advance to the Championship Game.  Purdue may be fortunate to become a 4-seed, and with Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, and Michigan State all expected to make the field, an eighth Big Ten team would have to be very impressive in the next couple of days in order to make the field.  The interesting plot line here is that IU can win this tournament if they continue to play like they did yesterday, and then it would almost be a given that the Big Ten sent eight teams.  That would definitely burst a Bubble down the line.

D. Xavier had played itself down to the Bubble prior to Big East Tournament play, but the Musketeers moved back to the safe zone with their win over Butler Thursday.  XU will get a bid even if Creighton tops them tonight.

Bubblelicious Games on Friday

If your favorite team is still in that gray area,  and another upset or two makes the Committee order more ice cream, it could be a nervous 48 hours if your team loses today.  Here are the teams that should consider today must win games, even if some Bracketologists consider these teams to be in the field.  The key is that our 13 Bracketology Gurus are not unanimous in their beliefs that these teams are safe even with a loss today.

A. Vanderbilt:  The Commodores made it three for three over Texas A&M, and they bombed away from the perimeter to bury the Aggies with a second half barrage of threes.  Vandy must now do the same thing to the highly-ranked Florida Gators today to become a safe Bubble team.  A loss would leave the Commodores at 18-15, and that would give VU two negatives.  No 15-loss team has ever received and at-large bid, and almost all at-large teams have won four more games than they have lost.  19-15 improves Vandy’s chances by leaps and bounds over 18-15.

B. Houston: The Cougars still need more than one win to have any chance to make the Field.  They must beat UConn today, and then they will need an upset of Cincinnati tomorrow to even move into serious consideration.  Of course, that means Cinti must win their game against Tulsa.

C. Rhode Island is in the same boat with Houston.  Not only must the Rams take out St. Bonaventure today to have a shot at the Dance, they also must upset Dayton tomorrow and thus need Dayton to beat Davidson to set up that game.

D. TCU will move into the Field with a win over Iowa State today.  Of course, it will be a probationary invitation, because they could then be leapfrogged if a team like Indiana or Alabama should win an automatic bid.

E. Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers will become an official Bubbler today if they beat Wisconsin.

F. All four SEC games today have Bubble Implications.  We already told you about Vanderbilt.  Georgia has a chance to make some noise if the Bulldogs can find a way to upset Kentucky.  UGA came close to sweeping the Wildcats in the regular season only to lose two heartbreakers.  If UK wants to win this tournament, they will waltz through with three double-digit wins, but if the players are already thinking about the NBA Draft and don’t want to jeopardize their chances by giving their all and risking injury, then any team left in the field can beat the Wildcats.

G. Ole Miss has 20 wins, and a win today over Arkansas, followed by a possible win tomorrow over Florida (if UF beat Vandy), could move the Rebels into contention for a bid.

H. Alabama is the forgotton team in the SEC Tournament.  The Crimson Tide have the potential to play with any league member when they take smart shots.  Coach Avery Johnson knows how to prepare his team to compete, and it all comes down to FG% for the Tide.  Until somebody beats the Crimson, they cannot be overlooked–even if they are.  If the Tide beats South Carolina today and then gets a semifinal game with Kentucky tomorrow, a win over the Wildcats would have to make ‘Bama a serious contender.

I. The three Mid-Major Players: Middle Tennessee, Nevada, and Texas-Arlington are still alive in the at-large race, but the way the trio is playing, they will really have to lay an egg to lose in their conference tournaments.  MTSU faces the one team that beat them in conference play today, and we expect the Blue Raiders to punish UTEP with a blowout win.

Nevada faces a somewhat tougher task facing Fresno State, and if the men from Reno win, they are no guarantee in the Championship against either Colorado State or San Diego State.  In fact, the way the Aztecs played yesterday, they looked similar to all their past teams that advanced into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.  This is possibly the best tournament to watch tonight if you are a basketball junkie from another league.

UT-Arlington is the least likely of the three in this group to get an at-large bid if they fail to win their conference tournament, but they do own the one victory over Saint Mary’s other than the three Gonzaga pinned on the Gaels.  There isn’t a lot to add to their schedule strength, so UTA really needs to win the Sun Belt title.

Friday’s Schedule

Conference Tournament Schedule–All Times Eastern Standard
American Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 27-4 vs. 9 East Carolina 15-17 12:00 PM ESPN2
4 Central Florida 20-10 vs. 5 Memphis 19-12 2:00 PM ESPN2
2 Cincinnati 27-4 vs. 7 Tulsa 15-16 7:00 PM ESPNU
3 Houston 21-9 vs. 6 Connecticut 15-16 9:00 PM ESPNU
                 
Atlantic Coast Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Carolina 27-6 vs. 5 Duke 25-8 7:00 PM ESPN
2 Florida St. 25-7 vs. 3 Notre Dame 24-8 9:00 PM ESPN
                 
Atlantic 10 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Dayton 24-6 vs. 9 Davidson 16-14 12:00 PM NBCSN
4 Rhode Island 21-9 vs. 5 St. Bonaventure 20-11 2:30 PM NBCSN
2 VCU 24-7 vs. 7 George Mason 20-12 6:00 PM NBCSN
3 Richmond 19-11 vs. 6 George Washington 19-13 8:30 PM NBCSN
                 
Big 12 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 TCU 19-14 vs. 4 Iowa St. 21-10 7:00 PM ESPN2
2 West Virginia 25-7 vs. 6 Kansas St. 20-12 9:00 PM ESPN2
                 
Big East Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Villanova 29-3 vs. 5 Seton Hall 21-10 6:30 PM FS1
7 Xavier 21-12 vs. 6 Creighton 24-8 9:00 PM FS1
                 
Big Sky Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Dakota 20-9 vs. 4 Idaho 18-12 8:35 PM Big Sky
2 Eastern Washington 22-10 vs. 3 Weber St. 18-12 11:05 PM Big Sky
                 
Big Ten Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Purdue 25-6 vs. 8 Michigan 21-11 12:00 PM ESPN
4 Minnesota 23-8 vs. 5 Michigan St. 19-13 2:20 PM ESPN
2 Wisconsin 23-8 vs. 10 Indiana 18-14 6:30 PM BTN
3 Maryland 24-7 vs. 6 Northwestern 22-10 8:50 PM BTN
                 
Big West Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
2 UC-Davis 20-12 vs. 3 Cal St. Fullerton 17-13 9:30 PM ESPN3
1 UC-Irvine 20-13 vs. 4 Long Beach St. 15-18 12:00 AM ESPN3
                 
Conference USA
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Middle Tennessee 28-4 vs. 4 UTEP 15-16 12:30 PM CBSSN
2 Louisiana Tech 23-9 vs. 6 Marshall 19-14 3:00 PM CBSSN
                 
Mid-American Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Akron 25-7 vs. 4 Ball St. 21-11 5:30 PM CBSSN
2 Ohio U 20-10 vs. 6 Kent St. 20-13 8:00 PM CBSSN
                 
Mideastern Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UNC-Central 23-8 vs. 5 Md.–Eastern Shore 13-19 6:00 PM ESPN3
2 Norfolk St. 16-15 vs. 11 Howard 10-23 8:00 PM ESPN3
                 
Mountain West Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Nevada 26-6 vs. 4 Fresno St. 20-11 10:00 PM CBSSN
2 Colorado St. 22-10 vs. 6 San Diego St. 20-13 12:30 AM CBSSN
                 
Pac-12 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Oregon 28-4 vs. 5 California 21-11 9:00 PM P12 Net.
2 Arizona 28-4 vs. 3 UCLA 29-3 11:30 PM ESPN
                 
Southeastern Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 26-5 vs. 8 Georgia 19-13 1:00 PM SECN
4 South Carolina 22-9 vs. 5 Alabama 18-13 3:20 PM SECN
2 Florida 24-7 vs. 7 Vanderbilt 18-14 7:00 PM SECN
3 Arkansas 23-8 vs. 6 Ole Miss 20-12 9:20 PM SECN
                 
Southland Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 New Orleans 18-11 vs. 5 Sam Houston St. 21-12 6:00 PM ESPN3
2 Texas A&M-CC 19-10 vs. 3 Stephen F. Austin 18-13 8:30 PM ESPN3
                 
Southwestern Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Texas Southern 21-11 vs. 5 Grambling 16-16 3:30 PM None
2 Alcorn St. * 17-13 vs. 3 Southern 15-17 9:30 PM None
                 
*Alcorn St. is ineligible for postseason play due to low APR scores.
If the Braves win the tourney, Texas Sou. wins the bid.
                 
Sun Belt Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UT-Arlington 24-7 vs. 8 Coastal Carolina 16-16 1:30 PM ESPN3
4 Texas St. 18-12 vs. 12 Louisiana-Monroe 9-23 3:00 PM ESPN3
2 Georgia St. 19-11 vs. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette 21-11 6:00 PM ESPN3
3 Georgia Southern 18-13 vs. 6 Troy 19-14 8:30 PM ESPN3
                 
Western Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Cal St. Bakersfield 21-8 vs. 4 Utah Valley 15-15 9:00 PM ESPN3
2 New Mexico St. 26-5 vs. 3 Missouri-KC 17-15 11:30 PM ESPN3

NOTE: We are getting several inquiries about our Red-White-Blue ratings and why we do not post them for every game.  The computing of these ratings are quite laborious; it takes upwards of 7 to 8 minutes to do just one game, and even with five or six people retrieving the stats, it limits us to once per week and just the Power Conference games.  We are not issuing any this weekend, as we are spending all our extra time getting this information for the teams that have clinched bids and finished regular season play.

We will issue picks for all NCAA Tournament games, commencing with the First Four at Dayton.  We hope to have the First Four previews on this site by Monday Night Eastern Daylight Time.  

 

March 9, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Thursday, March 9, 2017

New Dance Teams

Only one conference champion was decided Wednesday night, as Bucknell took care of business in the Patriot League with a home win over Lehigh.  The Bison have upset higher-seeded teams in the past, and they own a road win at Vanderbilt this year.  They cannot be overlooked.

There are no automatic bids up for grabs today.

 

Thursday Morning Mimosas

Break out the bubbly, or the Bubble teams.  Today, a host of Bubble teams will be in action.  Let’s look at what happened last night and what games affect the Bubble today.

ACC

Clemson played a sloppy game and lost to Duke, and the Tigers are now NIT-Bound.  Coach Brad Brownell could be skating on thin ice, as CU fans do not tolerate losing for long.  The football national championship may provide just enough Soma for the fans to forgive the basketball program for one more year.

Wake Forest lost to Virginia Tech, but the Demon Deacons should be okay for an at-large bid.  Wake plus Syracuse should join the eight quarterfinal teams to give the ACC 10 teams in the field, but there is no guarantee that either Wake Forest or Syracuse will get an at-large bid should other leagues start producing surprise winners.

 

Big 12

Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State are safely in the field.  Kansas State is on the Bubble and needs an additional win or more.  The Wildcats are in action tonight against Baylor, and an upset over the Bears would go a long way in getting the guys from the Little Apple in the field.  A loss would put K-State in serious jeopardy of missing the tournament

 

Big East

Xavier was almost safely in the field a month ago before injuries sent the Musketeers on a downward slide to the point where they began the Big East Tournament on the Bubble.  Last night, Xavier had to come from behind to defeat bottom-feeder DePaul, and the win should probably earn the Musketeers a bid, but an upset win over Butler tonight would definitely be their elixir.

At 2:30 PM Eastern Time today, Marquette and Seton Hall face off in what could almost be called a fifth First Four game.  The winner of this game will move to the highest shelf on the Bubble seed line, while the loser will have to sweat it out until Sunday afternoon hoping that teams like Nevada and Middle Tennessee win their tournaments.

Providence faces Creighton in the nightcap of today’s Big East action, and a Friar win most likely cinches their Dancing destination.  A loss would knock them down a few notches to where they too would have to do a little sweating for three days.

 

Big Ten

We are probably being a bit cautious here, but we feel the need to based on the preliminary 4-deep seeds issues a month ago that failed to include a single team from this league.  So, with the belief that the committee has discounted the success of the Big Ten this year, we are placing teams we would consider safe in other years as not-so-safe this year.

Michigan and Michigan State would be safe if we were the committee, but the Wolverines and Spartans may not be as safe as one might think.  This should be an interesting day in D.C. with the first three games on the slate directly affecting the Bubble.  At Noon Eastern, Michigan plays Illinois.  Illinois could still get into the at-large mix with a big run this weekend, while Michigan can wrap up a safe spot with a win today.

The next game features Michigan State playing Penn State.  The Spartans and Nittany Lions hooked up in January at the Palestra in Philadelphia, and Penn State played its best game of the season, beating Sparty by nine and leading for about 39 minutes.  A repeat performance in the nation’s capital would cause Coach Tom Izzo to open the Maalox bottle.

The 6:30 PM Eastern game pits Iowa and Indiana.  The Hawkeyes are much closer than the Hoosiers into becoming part of the Bubble mix, but both teams need multiple wins.  A loss by Indiana could be the last time you see Coach Tom Crean coaching IU in a meaningful game.

 

Conference USA

Middle Tennessee is the current top mid-major team if you do not count Gonzaga and Wichita State as mid-majors.  The Blue Raiders are better this year than they were last year when they upset Michigan State in the second round.  However, an early exit upset loss today would probably make MTSU the top seed in the NIT.  They face 9-seed UTSA in the quarterfinal round today at 12:30 PM Eastern.  If MTSU loses in the CUSA Championship Game, the Blue Raiders would be 29-5 and a strong at-large candidate.

 

Mountain West

Nevada is right there with Middle Tennessee in the mid-major Bubble group.  The Wolf Pack can ill afford to lose today to Utah State, and if the boys from Reno advance to the MWC Championship Game and lose to a good team (Boise State or Colorado State), Nevada would be in the conversation at Committee Central.

 

Pac-12

California and USC both looked like NIT teams yesterday, but the Bears and Trojans escaped with ugly wins over the bottom two teams in the league.  Both may have a little work to do to convince the Committee of their worthiness.  Cal could earn a lot of brownie points with a win over Utah today, while USC could virtually clinch a bid if they can beat UCLA tonight, giving the Trojans two out of three wins against the Bruins.

 

SEC

This is the toughest league to figure out, basically because the one true Bubble team is such an anomaly.  Vanderbilt enters tonight’s game with Texas A&M with a 10-8 league mark and 17-14 record overall.  The SEC is not a top 5 league this year, but it is still a power league.  Four teams know they will get invitations, and Vanderbilt beat three of the four, including a sweep over Florida.  The Commodores beat Iowa State out of the league, and their six non-conference losses came to teams that should all be in the Tournament (Marquette, Dayton, Bucknell, Middle Tennessee, Butler, and Minnesota.)

Vanderbilt swept both the Aggies and Gators, and they will have to make it three for three against both teams to advance to the semifinals, where at that point, the Commodores would be expected to be safe.  However, there is the issue of 15 losses, which VU would have if they do not win the automatic bid.  Seven of our 13 Gurus believe Vandy is on the good side of the Bubble starting today, while six say they are a #1 NIT Seed entering today.  Coach Bryce Drew’s club definitely needs to beat A&M again tonight.  A loss puts the Commodores probably a spot below Illinois State and Syracuse.

Georgia might still have an at-large hope if the Bulldogs can top Tennessee today and then pull off the big upset of Kentucky tomorrow.

Does Ole Miss still have a chance?  We are quite bearish on the Rebels’ chances, but if Andy Kennedy’s team can get on a run and make it to Sunday, and then lose a close game to Kentucky, at 22-13, they might have a slim chance.  We’ll believe it when we see it.

 

Tournaments Beginning Action Thursday

 

American Athletic Conference Tournament–Hartford,CT
First Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Temple 16-15 vs. 9 East Carolina 14-17 3:30 PM ESPNU
2 7 Tulsa 14-16 vs. 10 Tulane 6-24 6:00 PM ESPNNews
3 6 Connecticut 14-16 vs. 11 South Florida 7-22 8:00 PM ESPNNews
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 1 SMU 27-4 vs.   Game 1 winner   12:00 PM ESPN2
5 4 Central Florida 20-10 vs. 5 Memphis 19-12 2:00 PM ESPN2
6 2 Cincinnati 27-4 vs.   Game 2 winner   7:00 PM ESPNU
7 3 Houston 21-9 vs.   Game 3 winner   9:00 PM ESPNU
                   
Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8   Game 4 winner   vs.   Game 5 winner   3:00 PM ESPN2
9   Game 6 winner   vs.   Game 7 winner   5:00 PM ESPN2
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 12
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
10   Game 8 winner   vs.   Game 9 winner   3:15 PM ESPN

 

Big West Conference Tournament–Anaheim
Quarterfinal Round–Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 2 UC-Davis 19-12 vs. 7 Cal Poly 11-19 3:00 PM FSW
2 3 Cal St. Fullerton 16-13 vs. 6 Cal St. Northridge 11-18 5:30 PM FSW
3 1 UC-Irvine 19-13 vs. 8 UC-Riverside 7-20 9:00 PM Prime
4 4 Long Beach St. 14-18 vs. 5 Hawaii 14-15 11:30 PM Prime
                   
Semifinal Round–Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5   Game 1 winner   vs.   Game 2 winner   9:30 PM ESPN3
6   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 4 winner   12:00 AM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game–Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   11:30 PM ESPN2

 

Western Athletic Conference Tournament–Las Vegas
Quarterfinal Round–Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 4 Utah Valley 14-15 vs. 5 Seattle 13-16 5:00 PM WAC Digital
2 2 New Mexico St. 25-5 vs. 7 Chicago St. 6-25 7:30 PM WAC Digital
3 3 Missouri-KC 16-15 vs. 6 UT Rio Grande Valley 10-21 10:00 PM WAC Digital
                   
Semifinal Round–Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 1 Cal State Bakersfield 21-8 vs.   Game 1 winner   9:00 PM ESPN3
5   Game 2 winner   vs.   Game 3 winner   11:30 PM ESPN3
                   
Championship Game–Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
6   Game 4 winner   vs.   Game 5 winner   11:00 PM ESPNU

 

Today’s Tournament Schedule

Time (ET) Network Conference Team vs. Team
3:30 PM ESPNU American Temple vs. East Carolina
6:00 PM ESPNNews American Tulsa vs. Tulane
8:00 PM ESPNNews American Connecticut vs. South Florida
           
12:00 PM ESPN ACC North Carolina vs. Miami (Fla.)
2:00 PM ESPN ACC Louisville vs. Duke
7:00 PM ESPN ACC Florida St. vs. Virginia Tech
9:00 PM ESPN ACC Notre Dame vs. Virginia
           
12:00 PM NBCSN A-10 LaSalle vs. Davidson
2:30 PM NBCSN A-10 St. Bonaventure vs. Massachusetts
6:00 PM NBCSN A-10 George Mason vs. Fordham
8:30 PM NBCSN A-10 George Washington vs. St. Louis
           
12:30 PM ESPN2 Big 12 Iowa St. vs. Oklahoma St.
2:30 PM ESPN2 Big 12 Kansas vs. TCU
7:00 PM ESPNU Big 12 West Virginia vs. Texas
9:00 PM ESPNU Big 12 Baylor vs. Kansas St.
           
12:00 PM FS1 Big East Villanova vs. St. John’s
2:30 PM FS1 Big East Marquette vs. Seton Hall
7:00 PM FS1 Big East Butler vs. Xavier
9:30 PM FS1 Big East Providence vs. Creighton
           
3:05 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky North Dakota vs. Portland St.
5:35 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky Idaho vs. Montana
8:35 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky Eastern Washington vs. Sacramento St.
11:05 PM Watch Big Sky Big Sky Weber St. vs. Southern Utah
           
12:00 PM BTN Big Ten Michigan vs. Illinois
2:20 PM BTN Big Ten Michigan St. vs. Penn St.
6:30 PM ESPN2 Big Ten Iowa vs. Indiana
8:50 PM ESPN2 Big Ten Northwestern vs. Rutgers
           
3:00 PM FSW Big West UC-Davis vs. Cal Poly
5:30 PM FSW Big West Cal St. Fullerton vs. Cal St. Northridge
9:00 PM Prime Big West UC-Irvine vs. UC-Riverside
11:30 PM Prime Big West Long Beach St. vs. Hawaii
           
12:30 PM ASN CUSA Middle Tennessee vs. UTSA
3:00 PM ASN CUSA UTEP vs. Rice
6:30 PM ASN CUSA Louisiana Tech vs. UAB
9:00 PM ASN CUSA Old Dominion vs. Marshall
           
12:00 PM ESPN3 MAC Akron vs. Eastern Michigan
2:30 PM ESPN3 MAC Ball St. vs. Western Michigan
6:30 PM ESPN3 MAC Ohio U vs. Toledo
9:00 PM ESPN3 MAC Buffalo vs. Kent St.
           
6:00 PM ESPN3 MEAC Morgan St. vs. Howard
8:00 PM ESPN3 MEAC Hampton vs. Md.-Eastern Shore
           
3:00 PM CBSSN MWC Nevada vs. Utah St.
5:30 PM CBSSN MWC Fresno St. vs. New Mexico
9:00 PM CBSSN MWC Colorado St. vs. Air Force
11:30 PM CBSSN MWC Boise St. vs. San Diego St.
           
3:00 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 Oregon vs. Arizona St.
5:30 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 Utah vs. California
9:00 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Colorado
11:30 PM ESPN Pac-12 UCLA vs. USC
           
1:00 PM SECN SEC Georgia vs. Tennessee
3:20 PM SECN SEC Alabama vs. Mississippi St.
7:00 PM SECN SEC Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M
9:20 PM SECN SEC Ole Miss vs. Missouri
           
6:00 PM ESPN3 Southland Houston Baptist vs. Sam Houston St.
8:30 PM ESPN3 Southland Stephen F. Austin vs. Lamar
           
5:00 PM WAC Digital WAC Utah Valley vs. Seattle
7:30 PM WAC Digital WAC New Mexico St. vs. Chicago St.
10:00 PM WAC Digital WAC Missouri-KC vs. UT Rio Grande Valley

 

Teams With Automatic Bids

Teams Earning Automatic Bids
Ohio Valley Conference: JACKSONVILLE ST. (20-14)
Big South Conference: WINTHROP (26-6)
Missouri Valley Conference: WICHITA ST. (30-4)
Atlantic Sun Conference: FLORIDA GULF COAST (26-7)
Colonial Athletic Association: UNC-WILMINGTON (29-5)
Southern Conference: EAST TENNESSEE ST. (27-7)
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: IONA (22-12)
Horizon League: NORTHERN KENTUCKY: (24-10)
Northeast Conference: MOUNT ST. MARY’S (19-15)
Summit League: SOUTH DAKOTA ST. (18-16)
West Coast Conference: GONZAGA (32-1)
Patriot League: BUCKNELL (26-8)

 

 

 

March 8, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Good Wednesday to all.  Today, the PiRates are hunkered down in our own version of our war room, preparing for Selection Sunday and the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

We have received a heavy load of contacts from you ladies and gentlemen, and a lot of you want to know about our Red-White-Blue Ratings.

  1. We do not know why the Prediction Tracker has not posted our ratings the last two weeks, because we sent them in.  They use a system that takes them off our page, and maybe it is not working properly or it was something we did to make them invisible.
  2. We will attempt to publish ratings for all 67 NCAA Tournament games.
  3. We will publish all the Four Factor and PiRate Bracketnomics information for every team in the Field and update it for every round.

This marks the peak of conference tournament action, as more games will be played in the next two days than any other time during Conference Championship Fortnight.

Teams That Clinched Automatic Bids Tuesday

Making The Field 100% of the Time???

Here’s a trivia question you can use to fool your sports teams?  Name the only school that has made the NCAA Tournament every year since it has been an eligible Division I team.

The answer is simple if you watched the Horizon League Tournament Championship Game last night.  Northern Kentucky, in its first year of D1 eligibility won the automatic bid by holding on against 23-loss Milwaukee.  The Norse closes the season on a rush, winning nine of their last 10 games, but it looks like they will be a heavily over-matched opponent as a 15-seed or at best a 14-seed.

 

Top of the Mountain Again

Our congratulations go out for a fifth time to Mount St. Mary’s, winner of the Northeast Conference Tournament Championship.  This may be the best MSM team to make it to the NCAA Tournament.  The Mountaineers have been fodder for some major #1 seeds through the years, losing to Kentucky by 46, North Carolina by 39, and to Michigan State by 23.  The Mountaineers have been sent to Dayton twice before, beating Coppin State and losing to Albany.  Short of some additional upsets where sub .500 teams receive automatic bids, Mount St. Mary’s is most likely looking at a third trip to Dayton.

 

Reaching the Summit

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits were not expected to compete for the Summit League title this year after former coach Scott Nagy left for the Wright State job, and prospects were not great when SDSU finished the regular season at just 8-8 in the league.  New coach  T.J. Otzelberger may be a star in the making, as he has a slew of national supporters from his days as an assistant at Washington and Iowa St.  His Jackrabbits won the Summit League Championship last night, which means SDSU (18-16) is going to be a 16-seed with a possible visit to Dayton.

 

Bulldog Tough Again

Gonzaga looked like a Final Four team again last night after a week of malaise.  The Bulldogs punished rival Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference Championship Game, looking more like a power team from the 1960’s and 1970’s from the Big Ten.  And, star guard Nigel Williams-Goss looked more like Oscar Robertson last night, basically destroying the Gaels’ with his shooting, passing, and ball-hawking defense.

 

Other Conference Tournament Games

The Bubble burst for one team, while two others strengthened their resumes in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.  Clemson stayed alive by dismissing North Carolina State with relative ease.  Wake Forest withstood a valiant effort from an undermanned Boston College team, and Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons may have secured their at-large spot with the win.  However, another win today over Virginia Tech should definitely get them in.  Georgia Tech fell to Pittsburgh in an ugly game, which was made uglier by an open microphone that caught Panther Head Coach Kevin Stallings saying some very nasty things to one of his players, making it two years with two teams where an open mic caught the fiery Gene Keady disciple cursing one of his players.

 

Last Place Team Watch

99% of you reading this probably saw none of the Big Sky Tournament opening round games, but to the 1% that did, you were quite entertained Tuesday.  Portland State and Sacramento State won their first games in high-octane fashion, but the nightcap between last place Southern Utah and 6-seed Montana State proved to be the game of the day.  At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 78.  Five minutes later after overtime, the score was knotted at 93-93.  Five minutes later, it was 101-101.  It took three extra sessions, but the last place team with a 5-26 record entering the night emerged victorious.  Southern Utah won 109-105 to advance to the quarterfinals against 3-seed Weber State.  The Thunderbirds were led by former Texas Tech Red Raider Randy Onwuasor, who broke the tournament record with 43 points.  Onwuasor played 53 out of the 55 minutes, and he had a rather poor shooting night, hitting just 11-33 from the field, but he drew fouls like a cheap diner draws flies.  The bulky guard connected on 20 foul shots, something that is rarely done when your last name isn’t Maravich or Chamberlain.

 

SWAC’s Best Advance

In recent years, the Southwestern Athletic Conference representative in the NCAA Tournament has been a 16-seed and frequently forced to play in the Opening Round (First Four) in Dayton.  Texas Southern has a chance to move up to a 15-seed if they win the conference tournament in Houston.  The Tigers began tournament play with an 87-72 win over 8-seed Alabama State.  TSU has a surrogate team playing for their NCAA Tournament hopes.  Alcorn State also advanced yesterday with a win over Mississippi Valley.  If the 2-seed Braves win the SWAC Tournament title, it is just as if Texas Southern wins it.  Alcorn State is on probation for low APR scores, and they are ineligible for postseason play.  If ASU wins, then TSU gets the bid as the regular season champion.

 

Big Conference Action Today

The ACC started conference play yesterday and continues with Round 2 today.  Six other multiple bid leagues commence action today–The Atlantic 10, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC.  Here is a look at each of these multiple bid league brackets.

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament–Brooklyn
First Round, Tuesday, March 7
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Score  
1 12 Clemson 16-14 vs. 13 North Carolina St. 15-16 75-61  
2 10 Wake Forest 18-12 vs. 15 Boston College 9-22 92-78  
3 11 Georgia Tech 17-14 vs. 14 Pittsburgh 15-16 59-61  
                   
Second Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 8 Syracuse 18-13 vs. 9 Miami (Fla.) 20-10 12:00 PM ESPN
5 5 Duke 23-8 vs. 12 Clemson 17-14 2:00 PM ESPN
6 7 Virginia Tech 21-9 vs. 10 Wake Forest 19-12 7:00 PM ESPN2
7 6 Virginia 21-9 vs. 14 Pittsburgh 16-16 9:00 PM ESPN2
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 1 North Carolina   vs.   Game 4 winner   12:00 PM ESPN
9 4 Louisville   vs.   Game 5 winner   2:00 PM ESPN
10 2 Florida St.   vs.   Game 6 winner   7:00 PM ESPN
11 3 Notre Dame   vs.   Game 7 winner   9:00 PM ESPN
                   
Semfinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
12   Game 8 winner   vs.   Game 9 winner   7:00 PM ESPN or 2
13   Game 10 winner   vs.   Game 11 winner   9:00 PM ESPN or 2
                   
Championship Game, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
14   Game 12 winner   vs.   Game 13 winner   9:00 PM ESPN

 

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament–Pittsburgh (Duquense)
1st Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 12 Massachusetts 14-17 vs. 13 St. Joseph’s 11-19 6:00 PM ASN
2 11 St. Louis 11-20 vs. 14 Duquesne 10-21 8:30 PM ASN
                   
2nd Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 8 LaSalle 15-14 vs. 9 Davidson 15-14 12:00 PM NBCSN
4 5 St. Bonaventure 19-11 vs.   Game 1 winner   2:30 PM NBCSN
5 7 George Mason   vs. 10 Fordham   6:00 PM NBCSN
6 6 George Washington 18-13 vs.   Game 2 winner   8:30 PM NBCSN
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 1 Dayton 24-6 vs.   Game 3 winner   12:00 PM NBCSN
8 4 Rhode Island 21-9 vs.   Game 4 winner   2:30 PM NBCSN
9 2 VCU 24-7 vs.   Game 5 winner   6:00 PM NBCSN
10 3 Richmond 19-11 vs.   Game 6 winner   8:30 PM NBCSN
                   
Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
11   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   1:00 PM CBSSN
12   Game 9 winner   vs.   Game 10 winner   3:30 PM CBSSN
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 12
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
13   Game 11 winner   vs.   Game 12 winner   12:30 PM CBS

 

 

Big 12 Conference Tournament–Kansas City
1st Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 TCU 17-14 vs. 9 Oklahoma 11-19 7:00 PM ESPNU
2 7 Texas Tech 18-13 vs. 10 Texas 10-21 9:00 PM ESPNU
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 4 Iowa St. 20-10 vs. 5 Oklahoma St. 20-11 12:30 PM ESPN2
4 1 Kansas 28-3 vs.   Game 1 winner   2:30 PM ESPN2
5 2 West Virginia 24-7 vs.   Game 2 winner   7:00 PM ESPNU
6 3 Baylor 25-6 vs. 6 Kansas St. 19-12 9:00 PM ESPNU
                   
Semifinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 4 winner   vs.   Game 3 winner   7:00 PM ESPN or 2
8   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   9:00 PM ESPN or 2
                   
Championship Game, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   6:00 PM ESPN

 

 

Big East Conference Tournament–New York City
1st Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 St. John’s 13-18 vs. 9 Georgetown 14-17 7:00 PM FS1
2 7 Xavier 19-12 vs. 10 DePaul 9-21 9:30 PM FS1
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 1 Villanova 28-3 vs.       12:00 PM FS1
4 4 Marquette 19-11 vs. 5 Seton Hall 20-10 2:30 PM FS1
5 2 Butler 23-7 vs.       7:00 PM FS1
6 3 Providence 20-11 vs. 6 Creighton 23-8 9:30 PM FS1
                   
Semifinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7   Game 1 winner   vs.   Game 2 winner   6:30 PM FS1
8   Game 3 winner   vs.   Game 4 winner   9:00 PM FS1
                   
Championship Game, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   5:30 PM Fox

 

 

Big Ten Conference Tournament–Washington, DC
1st Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 12 Nebraska 12-18 vs. 13 Penn St. 14-17 4:30 PM ESPN
2 11 Ohio St. 17-14 vs. 14 Rutgers 14-17 7:00 PM BTN
                   
2nd Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 8 Michigan 20-11 vs. 9 Illinois 18-13 12:00 PM BTN
4 5 Michigan St. 18-13 vs.   Game 1 winner   2:20 PM BTN
5 7 Iowa 18-13 vs. 10 Indiana 17-14 6:30 PM ESPN2
6 6 Northwestern 21-10 vs.   Game 2 winner   8:50 PM ESPN2
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 1 Purdue 25-6 vs.   Game 3 winner   12:00 PM ESPN
8 4 Minnesota 23-8 vs.   Game 4 winner   2:20 PM ESPN
9 2 Wisconsin 23-8 vs.   Game 5 winner   6:30 PM BTN
10 3 Maryland 24-7 vs.   Game 6 winner   8:50 PM BTN
                   
Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
11   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   1:00 PM CBS
12   Game 9 winner   vs.   Game 10 winner   3:30 PM CBS
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 12
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
13   Game 11 winner   vs.   Game 12 winner   3:00 PM CBS

 

 

Pac-12 Conference Tournament–Las Vegas
1st Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 8 Arizona St. 14-17 vs. 9 Stanford 14-16 3:00 PM P12 Net.
2 5 California 19-11 vs. 12 Oregon St. 5-26 5:30 PM P12 Net.
3 7 Colorado 18-13 vs. 10 Washington St. 13-17 9:00 PM P12 Net.
4 6 USC 23-8 vs. 11 Washington 9-21 11:30 PM P12 Net.
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 1 Oregon 27-4 vs.   Game 1 winner   3:00 PM P12 Net.
6 4 Utah 20-10 vs.   Game 2 winner   5:30 PM P12 Net.
7 2 Arizona 27-4 vs.   Game 3 winner   9:00 PM P12 Net.
8 3 UCLA 28-3 vs.   Game 4 winner   11:30 PM ESPN
                   
Semifinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9   Game 5 winner   vs.   Game 6 winner   9:00 PM P12 Net.
10   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   11:30 PM ESPN
                   
Championship Game, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
11   Game 9 winner   vs.   Game 10 winner   11:00 PM ESPN

 

 

Southeastern Conference Tournament–Nashville
1st Round, Wednesday, March 8
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 12 Mississippi St. 15-15 vs. 13 LSU 10-20 7:00 PM SECN
2 11 Auburn 18-13 vs. 14 MIssouri 7-23 9:00 PM SECN
                   
2nd Round, Thursday, March 9
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
3 8 Georgia 18-13 vs. 9 Tennessee 16-15 1:00 PM SECN
4 5 Alabama 17-13 vs.   Game 1 winner   3:20 PM SECN
5 7 Vanderbilt 17-14 vs. 10 Texas A&M 16-14 7:00 PM SECN
6 6 Ole Miss 19-12 vs.   Game 2 winner   9:20 PM SECN
                   
Quarterfinal Round, Friday, March 10
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
7 1 Kentucky 26-5 vs.   Game 3 winner   1:00 PM SECN
8 4 South Carolina 22-9 vs.   Game 4 winner   3:20 PM SECN
9 2 Florida 24-7 vs.   Game 5 winner   7:00 PM SECN
10 3 Arkansas 23-8 vs.   Game 6 winner   9:20 PM SECN
                   
Semifinal Round, Saturday, March 11
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
11   Game 7 winner   vs.   Game 8 winner   1:00 PM ESPN
12   Game 9 winner   vs.   Game 10 winner   3:20 PM ESPN
                   
Championship Game, Sunday, March 12
Gm # Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
13   Game 11 winner   vs.   Game 12 winner   1:00 PM ESPN

Today’s TV Schedule

You can have a lot of fun watching a slew of games today and tonight, even if just one bid goes out.  That one automatic addition will come from the Patriot League, where the top seed Bucknell Bison host Lehigh.  Time and TV follow.

Championship Games
Time (ET) Network Conference Team vs. Team
7:30 PM CBSSN Patriot Bucknell vs. Lehigh

 

 

Ongoing Tournament Games
Time (ET) Network Conference Team vs. Team
12:00 PM ESPN ACC Syracuse vs. Miami (Fla.)
2:00 PM ESPN ACC Duke vs. Clemson
7:00 PM ESPN2 ACC Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest
9:00 PM ESPN2 ACC Virginia vs. Pittsburgh
           
6:00 PM ASN A-10 Massachusetts vs. St. Joseph’s
8:30 PM ASN A-10 St. Louis vs. Duquesne
           
7:00 PM ESPNU Big 12 TCU vs. Oklahoma
9:00 PM ESPNU Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Texas
           
7:00 PM FS1 Big East St. John’s vs. Georgetown
9:30 PM FS1 Big East Xavier vs. DePaul
           
4:30 PM ESPN Big Ten Nebraska vs. Penn St.
7:00 PM BTN Big Ten Ohio St. vs. Rutgers
           
12:30 PM Campus Insiders CUSA Western Kentucky vs. UTSA
3:00 PM Campus Insiders CUSA Rice vs. Southern Miss.
6:30 PM Campus Insiders CUSA UAB vs. Charlotte
9:00 PM Campus Insiders CUSA Marshall vs. Florida Atlantic
           
6:00 PM ESPN3 MEAC UNC-Central vs. Delaware St.
8:00 PM ESPN3 MEAC Norfolk St. vs. South Carolina St.
           
2:00 PM MWN MWC Utah St. vs. San Jose St.
4:30 PM MWN MWC Wyoming vs. Air Force
7:00 PM MWN MWC San Diego St. vs. UNLV
           
3:00 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 Arizona St. vs. Stanford
5:30 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 California vs. Oregon St.
9:00 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 Colorado vs. Washington St.
11:30 PM P12 Net. Pac-12 USC vs. Washington
           
7:00 PM SECN SEC Mississippi St. vs. LSU
9:00 PM SECN SEC Auburn vs. MIssouri
           
6:00 PM ESPN3 Southland Sam Houston St. vs. Central Arkansas
8:30 PM ESPN3 Southland Lamar vs. Southeastern Louisiana
           
1:30 PM ESPN3 Sun Belt Coastal Carolina vs. South Alabama
3:00 PM ESPN3 Sun Belt Arkansas St. vs. Louisiana-Monroe
6:00 PM ESPN3 Sun Belt Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
8:30 PM ESPN3 Sun Belt Troy vs. Appalachian St.

 

 

 

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