The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 29, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 29, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:00 am

Saturday’s Games

 

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Abilene Christian

Central Arkansas

9.4

Alabama

South Carolina

6.1

Albany

Stony Brook

-3.1

Alcorn St.

Southern

-0.5

Appalachian St.

Coastal Carolina

4.4

Boston U

Bucknell

8.1

Bradley

Loyola (Chi.)

1.9

Brown

Pennsylvania

-1.8

Buffalo

Akron

-1.0

Butler

DePaul

9.4

Cal St. Bakersfield

New Mexico St.

-6.7

Cal St. Northridge

Cal St. Fullerton

3.7

California

Utah

-0.2

California Baptist

Seattle

5.3

Campbell

UNC Asheville

5.2

Canisius

Saint Peter’s

-0.9

Central Connecticut

St. Francis (NY)

-4.9

Charleston

Drexel

8.6

Chattanooga

UNC Greensboro

-3.3

Clemson

Florida St.

-3.3

Colgate

Army

11.3

Colorado St.

Air Force

10.4

Columbia

Dartmouth

-0.8

Cornell

Harvard

-7.5

Denver

Western Illinois

5.5

Drake

Northern Iowa

-5.7

Duquesne

George Mason

8.3

East Carolina

Connecticut

-7.3

East Tennessee St.

Western Carolina

11.0

Eastern Kentucky

Morehead St.

4.1

Eastern Michigan

Central Michigan

4.4

Evansville

Illinois St.

-0.4

Florida Gulf Coast

North Alabama

2.0

Fresno St.

Wyoming

10.9

Furman

Citadel

21.7

Georgia

Arkansas

-1.7

Georgia Tech

Miami

6.6

Gonzaga

Saint Mary’s

13.3

Grambling

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

10.9

Grand Canyon

UT Rio Grande Valley

3.6

Green Bay

Cleveland St.

8.3

Hampton

South Carolina Upstate

4.4

Hawaii

UC Riverside

4.0

Hofstra

James Madison

14.3

Holy Cross

American

-8.4

Houston Baptist

McNeese

-5.7

Illinois Chicago

Oakland

3.8

Indiana St.

Valparaiso

4.5

Iowa

Penn St.

2.9

IUPUI

Detroit

-0.1

Jackson St.

Mississippi Valley St.

17.1

Jacksonville St.

Tennessee Tech

8.5

Kansas St.

Kansas

-12.9

Kennesaw St.

NJIT

-7.8

Kentucky

Auburn

5.3

La Salle

St. Bonaventure

-1.3

Lafayette

Navy

5.1

Lipscomb

Liberty

-9.6

Little Rock

Louisiana

9.4

Loyola (MD)

Lehigh

5.3

Loyola Marymount

San Francisco

-4.8

LSU

Texas A&M

12.3

Maine

UMBC

-2.7

Marquette

Seton Hall

2.4

Maryland

Michigan St.

1.6

Maryland-Eastern Shore

Delaware St.

5.1

Mercer

Wofford

-0.1

Miami (O)

Bowling Green

-2.5

Milwaukee

Youngstown St.

1.4

Missouri

Mississippi St.

-0.2

Missouri St.

Southern Illinois

5.1

Morgan St.

Coppin St.

5.9

Mount St. Mary’s

Fairleigh Dickinson

3.5

Murray St.

Austin Peay

4.6

Nevada

San Diego St.

-5.8

New Hampshire

Binghamton

9.6

New Mexico

Utah St.

-6.7

Niagara

Iona

-2.4

Nicholls

New Orleans

9.9

Norfolk St.

Howard

14.8

North Carolina St.

Pittsburgh

8.5

North Dakota St.

Omaha

7.8

Northern Arizona

Montana St.

4.6

Northern Colorado

Eastern Washington

6.4

Oklahoma St.

Iowa St.

4.2

Ole Miss

Vanderbilt

9.1

Oral Roberts

Purdue Fort Wayne

10.8

Pepperdine

BYU

-9.5

Prairie View A&M

Alabama St.

12.4

Presbyterian

Charleston Southern

0.5

Radford

Gardner-Webb

6.9

Richmond

Massachusetts

12.2

Robert Morris

St. Francis (PA)

0.2

Sacramento St.

Montana

0.5

Sacred Heart

Long Island

6.3

Saint Joseph’s

Fordham

2.8

Samford

VMI

-0.4

San Diego

Pacific

-2.8

San Jose St.

UNLV

14.2

Santa Clara

Portland

11.2

SIU-Edwardsville

Eastern Illinois

-4.1

South Alabama

Troy

10.4

South Carolina St.

North Carolina Central

-1.9

South Dakota

North Dakota

6.8

Southeast Louisiana

Northwestern St.

-0.9

Southern Utah

Idaho

13.0

Stephen F. Austin

Lamar

12.0

Stetson

Jacksonville

0.1

Syracuse

North Carolina

5.4

TCU

Baylor

-8.3

Tennessee

Florida

-0.5

Tennessee St.

Belmont

-8.0

Texas A&M-CC

Incarnate Word

10.3

Texas Southern

Alabama A&M

10.7

Texas Tech

Texas

9.6

Toledo

Ball St.

1.9

Tulane

Memphis

-6.9

Tulsa

Central Florida

6.5

UC Davis

Long Beach St.

8.3

UC Irvine

UC Santa Barbara

6.7

UCLA

Arizona

-5.6

UMass Lowell

Vermont

-10.6

UMKC

Chicago St.

22.5

UNC Wilmington

Delaware

-3.3

USC

Arizona St.

3.3

UT Martin

Southeast Missouri

3.7

VCU

George Washington

14.4

Villanova

Providence

8.2

Virginia

Duke

-6.3

Wagner

Bryant

-3.4

Wake Forest

Notre Dame

0.2

Weber St.

Portland St.

-1.4

West Virginia

Oklahoma

7.7

Western Michigan

Northern Illinois

-1.8

William & Mary

Elon

9.2

Winthrop

High Point

17.9

Yale

Princeton

12.1

 

Saturday’s Important TV Games

 

Games in which both teams are competing for an at-large NCAA Tournament Bid or a regular conference championship in a one-bid league

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

12:00 PM

Fox

Villanova

Providence

12:00 PM

BTN

Iowa

Penn St.

12:00 PM

ESPN

Texas Tech

Texas

2:00 PM

ESPN

TCU

Baylor

2:00 PM

ACCN

Clemson

Florida St.

2:30 PM

Fox

Marquette

Seton Hall

3:45 PM

CBS

Kentucky

Auburn

4:00 PM

ESPN2

West Virginia

Oklahoma

6:00 PM

ESPN

Virginia

Duke

6:00 PM

ESPN+

Brown

Penn

7:00 PM

ESPN+

Yale

Princeton

8:00 PM

ESPN

Maryland

Michigan St.

8:00 PM

ESPN+

Murray St.

Austin Peay

8:00 PM

ESPNU

USC

Arizona St.

8:30 PM

SECN

Alabama

South Carolina

10:00 PM

ESPN2

Gonzaga

Saint Mary’s

10:00 PM

ESPN

UCLA

Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 19, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 19, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:08 am

Wednesday’s Games

 

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Alabama

Texas A&M

13.1

American

Navy

4.9

Arkansas St.

UL Monroe

7.0

Bradley

Missouri St.

4.9

Cincinnati

Central Florida

11.2

Citadel

Chattanooga

-8.4

Colgate

Lehigh

15.3

DePaul

Villanova

-3.4

Drake

Valparaiso

2.4

Duquesne

George Washington

11.4

East Tennessee St.

Furman

4.6

Fresno St.

Air Force

6.2

Georgetown

Providence

4.8

Georgia

Auburn

-3.4

Houston

Tulsa

10.0

Houston Baptist

Abilene Christian

-10.7

Incarnate Word

McNeese

-7.3

La Salle

Fordham

7.6

Lafayette

Boston U

-0.3

Louisville

Syracuse

10.0

Loyola (Chi.)

Illinois St.

11.4

Loyola (MD)

Army

2.6

Memphis

East Carolina

15.8

Mercer

Samford

7.5

Minnesota

Indiana

4.9

Mississippi St.

South Carolina

5.5

North Carolina St.

Duke

-8.4

North Dakota

South Dakota St.

-4.1

Northwestern St.

Nicholls St.

-4.3

Richmond

George Mason

11.8

Rutgers

Michigan

1.2

Sam Houston St.

Lamar

8.8

San Jose St.

Boise St.

-11.5

Seton Hall

Butler

5.7

Siena

Iona

7.0

South Dakota

North Dakota St.

0.3

Stephen F. Austin

Central Arkansas

14.0

Texas

TCU

4.1

Texas Tech

Kansas St.

12.0

Tulane

SMU

-6.1

UC Irvine

Long Beach St.

15.7

UMKC

California Baptist

-0.2

UNC Greensboro

Wofford

10.1

Utah St.

Wyoming

21.1

Virginia

Boston College

11.6

Virginia Tech

Miami

4.9

Wake Forest

Georgia Tech

1.3

Washington St.

California

6.6

Western Carolina

VMI

9.5

 

Wednesday’s Key TV Games

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:30 PM

FS1

Seton Hall

Butler

7:00 PM

ESPN

Louisville

Syracuse

7:00 PM

BTN

Rutgers

Michigan

7:00 PM

ESPN+

East Tennessee St.

Furman

8:00 PM

ESPN3

South Dakota

North Dakota St.

8:30 PM

FS1

Georgetown

Providence

9:00 PM

ESPN

North Carolina St.

Duke

9:00 PM

ESPNU

Houston

Tulsa

9:00 PM

BTN

Minnesota

Indiana

9:00 PM

SECN

Mississippi St.

South Carolina

In Order To Perform A More Perfect Metric

 

If you follow this website on a semi-regular basis, you know that our R+T Rating has been the one unique metric used by us when predicting NCAA Tournament favorites.

For those of you that are new to this site, our R+T Rating was created two decades ago to estimate the extra scoring opportunities (by points) each team might be better than average in the NCAA Tournament.  We realized long ago that just like the “Money Ball” type of baseball strategies did not work well in the Major League Playoffs, the NCAA Tournament presented its own unique differences and required more than the Four Factors to determine winners when only the good to great teams remain.

The current formula for R+T consists of counting stats, but we have realized for some time that rate stats are much more accurate.  Using baseball as an example, a counting stat would be Johnny Horsehide hitting 43 home runs and driving in 118 runs.  These two stats might lead the Majors, but these stats may not reveal what we want them to reveal.  Gary Goodeye might hit just 34 home runs and drive in 95 runs, but Good Ole Gary might be a better home run hitter than Johnny.  How many times did Horsehide come to the plate?  What if Horsehide walked 34 times in 702 plate appearances while playing for a team that had three all-stars hitting in front of him, all of whom have on-base percentages of .400 or better?

What if Goodeye had 650 plate appearances playing on a team that was quite weak offensively?  Let’s say his teammates that batted in front of him had one-base percentages between .320 and .335.  Let’s say that Goodeye didn’t always get good pitches when he appeared in the batter’s box, and he walked 125 times.

Now, if we look at the number of home runs hit per at bat or plate appearances that did not end in a walk (or hit by pitch or sacrifice), we will see that Goodeye actually hit home runs at a slightly better rate than Horsehide.  As for runs batted in, that statistic is close to meaningless, because in order to drive runs in, runners must be on base.  So, the RBI stat is more reliant on the other players on the team.  It could be that Goodeye drove in runners better than Horsehide, because when we look at how many runners were on base and what base they were on, Goodeye might have had a better percentage at driving those runners in.

Back to basketball.  A team with a rebounding advantage of 43-37 has a +6 margin.  A team with a rebounding advantage of 35-30 has a +5 margin.  Using counting stats, the 43-37 team is one better than the 35-30 team.  But, the 35-30 team rebounded 53.85% of the missed shots, while the 43-37 team only rebounded 53.75% of the shots.  So, the 35-30 team is a little better than the 43-37 team on the surface.

However, it is harder to get offensive rebounds than it is to get defensive rebounds.  In fact, data throughout the calculated history of college basketball shows that an offensive rebound is worth better than 2 1/2 defensive rebounds.  The Four Factors breaks rebounding rate down into offensive and defensive rates.  

Let’s say that in a game,  Team A shot 25 of 60 for 41.7% while shooting 16-22 at the foul line for 72.7%.  Team B shot 28 of 58 for 48.3% while shooting 10-17 at the foul line for 58.8%.  Team A hit one more three point basket than Team B and one by a point.  

Now, let’s look at the rebounding for this game.  First, there were five dead ball rebounds, which we do not count as actual rebounds.  The statistical rules in basketball is that for every missed shot, there must be a rebound.  When a player is at the foul line for two shots, and he misses the first shot, there is not a real rebound.  The foul shooting team gets credited with a dead ball rebound.

To the contrary, team rebounds do count, because these are rebounds in which possession is determined.  When a missed shot ends up out of bounds before possession can be guaranteed, the team that gets possession out of bounds receives an offensive rebound.

In this game after removing the five dead ball rebounds, there were 73 rebounds to be had.  When Team A shot, there were 39 potential rebounds following misses, while when Team B shot, there were 34 potential rebounds following misses.

Looking at the stats, Team A finished with 13 offensive rebounds and 23 defensive rebounds for 36 total rebounds.  Team B finished with 11 offensive rebounds and 26 defensive rebounds for 37 total rebounds.

Team B had a counting rebounding margin of +1, while Team A had a margin of -1.  However, let’s now look at the percentage of offensive rebounds each team enjoyed.  Team A had 13 offensive rebounds out of 39 missed shots, which is 33.3% of the missed shots at their offensive end.  Team B had 11 offensive rebounds out of 34 missed shots for 32.4% of the missed shots at their offensive end. 

Looking at the rate stats, Team A may have retrieved fewer total rebounds than Team B, but they were actually the better rebounding team in this game by almost 1%.

The rate data is obviously more telling than counting data, but how can we determine a point value to substitute rate data for counting data in our R+T Rating, which in the past has picked a lot of surprise NCAA Tournament winners?

We’ve been back-testing values daily for two months.  We had to include a constant in our formulas to smooth out the results to make the numbers mean something.  Without the constant, the results were too far apart to mean something.  Tiny differences led to major spreads, and that did not tell us what we wanted.  

After about 150 to 175 different attempts, we believe (HOPE) that we have finally had a breakthrough.  The following formula will be explained after we reveal it:

((R*8)+(S*2+((5-Opp S)*2)+(T*4)))/2.75

 

This formula now refers to Rate Stats.  The “R” in the formula now stands for Rebounding Rate.  This is a combination of both offensive and defensive rebounding rate and it is a deviation from the norm and not just a percentage.  The norm in our experiment is 28.1%.  If a team has an offensive rebounding rate above this number, it is above average, and if it is below this number, it is below average.  Thus, the norm for defensive rebounding rate is the opposite of the above number, or 71.9%.  We then calculate our R part of the formula by taking each team’s offensive rate minus 28.1 plus their defensive rate minus 71.9 and then add the two results and divide by 2.

Example: Today, Houston has an offensive rebounding rate of 38.5%, which is 10.4% higher than average (we experimented with using the actual percentage better which would have been 37% better than average, but we never arrived at a usable final number doing so.)  Houston’s defensive rebounding rate is 74.5%, which is 2.6% better than average. 

We then take both numbers (+10.4 & +2.6), sum the numbers, and divide by 2 to get +6.5.  That would be the R number for Houston in the new formula.

Let’s now update our formula:

((6.5*8)+(S*2+((5-Opp S)*2)+(T*4)))/2.75

 

The rest of this formula uses the same system as above.  The norm for steals (S) is 9.2% for both offense and defense.

Houston has a 7.4% steal rate, which is 1.8% below average.  Houston’s opponents have a 7.5% steal rate against them, which is 1.7% above average for Houston.  Once again, we update the formula.

 

((6.5*8)+(-1.8*2+((5- [-1.7])*2)+(T*4)))/2.75

 

Now, we need Turnover rates, both offensive and defensive.  The norm for turnover rate is 16.9%.  Obviously, the lower the offensive turnover rate is, the better, and the higher the defensive turnover rate is, the better.  Houston’s offensive turnover rate is 14.9%, which is 2.0% better than average.  The Cougars’ defensive turnover rate is 15.8%, which is 1.1% below average.  We sum the two numbers and divide by 2:  2.0 + (-1.1) = 0.9 and divided by 2 = 0.45.  The 0.45 is now our T in the equation and we are ready to solve the equation.  The 2.75 by the way is our constant that when used brings the results into what we hope is a usable formula.

 

((6.5*8)+(-1.8*2+((5- [-1.7])*2)+(.45*4)))/2.75

 

We will simplify the formula in case you have math anxiety like one of our PiRate lasses.

 

((52)+(-3.6+(6.7*2)+(1.8)))/2.75

 

(52+9.8+1.8)/2.75

 

63.6/2.75 = 23.13

 

We will have some growing pains with this new formula, and there’s a good chance that the numbers will be tweaked in the future, but this is the Rate Version of the R+T Rating that we will use in the NCAA Tournament.  Because it is an experiment, we will also use the original R+T formula when we issue our Bracketnomics 2020 edition.

 

Here are the two formulas together for you to compare.

 

Original R+T using actual counting margins and averages

 

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T

R = Rebounding Margin
S = Average Steals Per Game
T = Turnover Margin

 

New Experimental R+T using rate the percentage number difference from the norm

 

((R*8)+(S*2+((5-Opp S)*2)+(T*4)))/2.75

The 2020 Norms

Offensive Rebounding:        28.1%

Defensive Rebounding:       71.9%

Steals (O&D):                         9.2%

Turnovers (O&D)                16.9%

 

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 12, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:28 am

Wednesday’s Games

 

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Abilene Christian

Houston Baptist

16.6

American

Loyola (MD)

6.2

Army

Lafayette

-1.8

Auburn

Alabama

5.6

Binghamton

Stony Brook

-10.6

Bradley

Indiana St.

2.9

Butler

Xavier

6.3

Central Arkansas

New Orleans

4.7

Chattanooga

VMI

9.1

East Tennessee St.

Citadel

21.9

Evansville

Loyola (Chi)

-8.6

Georgia

South Carolina

2.6

Georgia Tech

Louisville

-5.6

Hartford

Albany

1.5

Hawaii

Long Beach St.

11.8

La Salle

Richmond

-4.7

Lehigh

Holy Cross

7.4

Miami (Fla.)

Boston College

5.4

Missouri St.

Drake

2.2

Navy

Bucknell

4.3

Niagara

Canisius

-0.8

Nicholls

Lamar

8.2

Northern Iowa

Illinois St.

16.1

Northwestern

Michigan

-6.3

Northwestern St.

Incarnate Word

9.5

Ohio St.

Rutgers

6.5

Oklahoma

Iowa St.

5.6

Oral Roberts

Omaha

7.4

Pittsburgh

Clemson

4.4

Samford

Furman

-12.4

San Jose St.

Fresno St.

-6.5

Seton Hall

Creighton

6.0

SMU

Connecticut

2.5

South Dakota

Western Illinois

14.2

South Florida

Houston

-6.6

Southeast Louisiana

Sam Houston St.

-9.8

St. John’s

Providence

1.8

Texas A&M

Florida

-5.6

Texas A&M-CC

Stephen F. Austin

-7.8

Tulane

Temple

-3.8

Tulsa

East Carolina

12.3

UAB

Middle Tennessee

8.2

UC Riverside

UC Irvine

-3.9

UMass Lowell

Maine

6.8

UNC Greensboro

Western Carolina

10.3

UNLV

Nevada

-1.3

Valparaiso

Southern Illinois

2.7

VCU

George Mason

14.4

Vermont

New Hampshire

15.7

Villanova

Marquette

2.8

West Virginia

Kansas

-0.9

Wofford

Mercer

8.3

 

Wednesday’s Top TV Games

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:30 PM

FS1

Seton Hall

Creighton

6:30 PM

CBSSN

Butler

Xavier

7:00 PM

ESPN+

West Virginia

Kansas

7:00 PM

BTN

Ohio St.

Rutgers

8:30 PM

FS1

Villanova

Marquette

 

The 25-Teams Could Win The NCAA Championship Myth

 

If you view a national basketball telecast this year, the so-called experts announcing the games repeatedly say that this season is different because there are no overly dominating teams in college basketball.  These scribes say that 25 different teams could be good enough to win the national championship.  Some even say that 40 different teams are talented enough to make the Final Four.

We at the PiRate Ratings tend to be contrarian in nature.  We just don’t buy these theories of parity.  Certainly, none of the teams in this year’s Top 10 appear to be as talented and dominant as any of the Top 10 teams of the past decade.  However, none of the teams outside of the Top 10 appear to be as talented as their counterparts of the past decade.

We do not see the parity that others see, and the analytics when compared on a one season basis, actually tell us that fewer than 10 teams this season have statistical resumes worthy of contending for a national championship.

If you have been reading our chicken scratch long enough, you obviously know that we value certain data when predicting the outcomes of college basketball games past the Ides of March.  We have looked at reams and reams of data dating back to the years where statistics were kept on these games and have identified consistencies in the champions that other teams could not match.

Namely, the ability to rebound the basketball on the offensive end and get extra shooting chances appears to be much more valuable in the Big Dance than it is in the regular season, because so many of the tournament teams are in the top group of defensive teams.  Additionally, being able to protect the ball and limit turnovers has become more and more important in the 21st Century, because the age of pressing full court for 40 minutes and then relying on fast breaks off these turnovers just doesn’t happen like it used to work when UCLA ran its incredible 2-2-1 press and Rick Pitino used his matchup press defense at Kentucky.  So many of the top teams have little to no problem defeating the press defense and exploiting it for points that this strategy has become a non-factor most of the time.

Teams with excellent offensive efficiency, very good defensive efficiency, an ability to hold onto the ball, and a highly-ranked offensive rebounding rate rise above the rest when there are just 68 teams remaining in contention for the title.  Additionally, teams that lack this ability to rebound on the offensive end or limit turnovers have been vulnerable to early round upsets, as was seen multiple times with teams like Georgetown and Vanderbilt in the past decade, two notorious teams that were excellent offensive efficiency teams, very good defensive efficiency teams, but lousy offensive rebounding teams with no turnover margin advantage.

When you combine the teams that possess excellent offensive efficiency, very good defensive efficiency, strong rebounding ability with decent turnover prevention, and then said team has played a schedule that ranks in the top 35% of college basketball (basically a Power Conference), these are the teams that have National Championship Resumes.

By now, we hope you are wondering how many teams currently fit this National Championship footprint?  How many have excellent offensive efficiency, very good defensive efficiency, highly-ranked offensive rebounding ability, and a good rate of taking care of the rock?

The answer is far from the 25 to 40 teams that the hardwood pundits claim.  As of Wednesday, February 12, there are only 3 teams that possess these national championship worthy resumes.

Those three teams are: Duke, Gonzaga, and San Diego State.  Gonzaga and San Diego State just barely qualify on the basis of schedule strength, and unfortunately for the Aztecs in the Mountain West Conference, their remaining schedule might lower their overall schedule strength to remove SDSU from this list.

Because the West Coast Conference is abnormally stronger this season, Gonzaga still has enough games against opponents that will maintain the Bulldogs’ schedule strength above the line needed to qualify.

So, the next time you hear that this could be the year that somebody like Penn State or Rutgers makes an unexpected run to the national title, or that this is the year the Pac-12 returns to prominence with Oregon or Arizona winning it all, refer them to this data that says this is not so.  For now, we would tend to believe that Duke and Gonzaga are runaway top contenders.  We aren’t saying that somebody else might get hot and move into the field of legitimate contenders, since there is a month to go until Selection Sunday, but when somebody says that 25 teams today are good enough to win the title, laugh at the statement and educate them in the analytics of long historical importance.

Let’s take a look at the supposed biggest dark horse national champion in the last 60 years.  The infamous 1966 Texas Western Miners (UTEP today) pulled off the monumental upset over the mighty Kentucky Wildcats.  Was Texas Western a use anomaly that year?  Did they come from out of nowhere to upset the trends and blow this theory apart?

Quite the opposite.  The issue that year wasn’t the mathematics; it was the publicity.  Texas Western was no dark horse.  Let’s take a look at the stats available to us.

First, let’s start with the obvious.  What was the Miners strength of schedule?  They were an independent in 1966, which in those days was the largest group of all.  There were close to 50 Division I Independents then, and they included some of the top teams in the nation like former National Champion Loyola of Chicago, future National Runner-up Dayton, Providence, Houston, and Syracuse.

Texas Western finished the regular season with a 23-1 record and were ranked #3 in the polls.  When has the #3-ranked team ever been considered a dark horse or surprise team?  Just because the Nabobs of the Eastern Elite Media didn’t dub the Miners with their accolades, it did not make the Miners a dark horse.

The Miners played one Top 10 team in the regular season.  They slaughtered Iowa by 18 points.  They beat a host of above average teams by well above average margins and blew out the rest of the teams on their schedule until the final game.   They lost by two at Seattle, when the Chieftains were still a strong program and just seven years removed from appearing in the National Championship Game.

The issue with the established press is that all these TW wins came against teams west of the Mississippi River.  The media didn’t realize that the Miners had outrebounded their opponents by an average of 51.5 to 36.2 in their 24 regular season games.  They didn’t know that the Miners had one of the toughest defenses in the nation, limiting opponents to an estimated 79 points per 100 possessions (not exact because offensive rebounds and turnovers were not official stats then),  They didn’t see that the Miners were quite efficient for the day with an estimated 99 points per 100 possessions.  Remember that there was no three-point line then, and anything over 85 points per 100 possessions was above average.  That Texas Western team also took good care of the ball.  They had exceptional ball handlers in Bobby Joe Hill, Willie Worsley, and Orsten Artis.

Texas Western began tournament play with an easy 15-point victory over Oklahoma City, holding the Chiefs 25 points under their average of nearly 100 points per game.  The Miners dominated on the glass and proved to be much too quick for the Chiefs, fouling out four of OKC’s starters.

In the second round, TW had to go to overtime to beat the favored Cincinnati Bearcats.  Cincinnati actually controlled the boards, but the Miners won with steals and not turning the ball over.  It was the only game where the other team won the rebounding war, but the difference in turnovers was huge.

In the Midwest Regional Final, Texas Western faced a favored Kansas team that featured all-American center Walt Wesley and 1st team all-Big 8 guard Jo Jo White.  The press basically advanced the Jayhawks to the Final Four before this game began, but the Miners proved to be too quick for the slower KU team.  TW won the rebounding and turnover battle, and Kansas’s two stars were matched by the Miners’ balance.  On to the Final Four in College Park, Maryland, went the Miners, finally playing games in the East.

The Final Four was nothing like it is today.  The University of Maryland’s gymnasium was no 70,000-seat dome stadium. Cole Field House seated about 12,000.  However, the press made a big deal out of half of this field.  The Eastern Region Champion Duke Blue Devils, the number two team in the nation placed the Mideast Region Champion Kentucky Wildcats, the number one team in the nation.  The winner of this game would then win the National Championship Game the next night against the winner of the other semifinal game.  Texas Western and Utah were there too.

The semifinal games were both close.  Kentucky came from behind to nip Duke, while Texas Western stayed ahead of Utah most of the game but never ran away from the Utes, thanks to superstar forward Jerry Chambers keeping the Utes in the game.

The Championship Game was considered an afterthought.  The mighty Wildcats of Kentucky were basketball royalty with their Baron, Adolph Rupp.  Texas Western was this tiny school from El Paso with a coach that had learned the game from the great Hank Iba, but they were almost as much a patsy for Kentucky’s soon to be fifth national title as the Washington Generals were for the Harlem Globetrotters.

There were some astute professional gamblers that knew what was really about to happen.  Kentucky’s players were quite talented.  They could shoot the ball about as competently as any team in the history of the game, and with Louie Dampier and Pat Riley on the perimeter, they could quickly shoot a weaker opponent out of the gym.  Kentucky’s devastating 1-3-1 zone trap defense had forced numerous opponents out of their normal offense, where they either turned the ball over or took a hurried shot.  It had worked like a charm 27 times out of 28.  Ironically, just like Texas Western, Kentucky only lost their regular season finale at Tennessee, a team that would win the SEC the following year.

The “Sharp” gamblers knew something that most of the rest of the nation and just about all of the Eastern Establishment media did not know.  Texas Western was much quicker than Kentucky.  Their man to man defense was stronger than Kentucky’s 1-3-1 zone trap, and it did not surrender a handful of easy buckets like the gambling press.

In the opening minutes of the game, neither team could find the range, but Kentucky’s fast break led to a couple of baskets.  Additionally in the first part of the game Kentucky enjoyed a huge rebounding edge, as the Wildcats missed multiple offensive tips.  Texas Western scored on some lob passes over the zone for easy layups, and even though they were a tad sloppy with the ball, they limited turnovers, being called for a couple of travelling violations but not giving UK easy breakaway baskets off steals.

The key sequence of the game was when Kentucky’s Tommy Kron dribbled the ball up the floor guarded man to man and then from the blind-side, Bobby Joe Hill came in and stole the ball, driving for an easy layup.  The play tightened the screws on the favored Wildcats.  On the very next possession, star guard Louie Dampier brought the ball up the middle of the floor, and Hill pressured him to the left.  As Dampier attempted to cross over, Hill stole the ball again and drove for another easy basket.

Texas Western never relinquished the lead the rest of the night.  As the game continued, Kentucky only had one shooting opportunity per possession, while Texas Western had second and third chances.  Thunderous dunks by power player David Latin allowed the patient Miners to keep the lead.  Kentucky had chances to tie or take the lead, but every time, the Texas Western defense held and secured the rebound.

Can San Diego State be this year’s Texas Western?  Can Gonzaga finally get over the hump and win the National Championship?  Will Coach Mike Krzyzewski win another national championship?  If we had to predict the champion today, we believe these are the only three possible teams that could go from 68 to 1.  Duke has the perfect resume this year.  We’ll see if anybody else joins the group of championship-worthy teams in the final four weeks before Selection Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 3, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 4, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:33 pm

Tuesday’s Games

 

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Rhode Island

Massachusetts

15.7

Boston College

Duke

-17.2

Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech

3.2

Texas Tech

Oklahoma

7.0

DePaul

Xavier

0.8

Maryland

Rutgers

7.4

Michigan

Ohio St.

1.1

Michigan St.

Penn St.

7.9

Fairfield

Monmouth

0.1

Kent St.

Ball St.

3.5

Eastern Michigan

Buffalo

-1.7

Miami (O)

Western Michigan

4.3

Toledo

Northern Illinois

6.0

Central Michigan

Bowling Green

1.5

Fresno St.

Colorado St.

-0.8

Wyoming

Boise St.

-10.7

Nevada

Air Force

10.4

Arkansas

Auburn

3.4

Alabama

Tennessee

6.1

Kentucky

Mississippi St.

4.7

Texas A&M

Missouri

-0.9

 

Tuesday’s Best TV Games

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

7:00 PM

FS1

Maryland

Rutgers

7:00 PM

SECN

Arkansas

Auburn

7:00 PM

ESPN2

Michigan

Ohio St.

7:00 PM

ESPNU

Alabama

Tennessee

8:00 PM

BTN

Michigan St.

Penn St.

9:00 PM

ESPN

Kentucky

Mississippi St.

9:00 PM

ESPN2

Texas Tech

Oklahoma

 

 

January 28, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 28, 2020

Tuesday’s Games

 

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St. John’s

Villanova

-2.1

Tennessee

Texas A&M

12.4

Virginia

Florida St.

-1.5

Florida

Mississippi St.

5.1

Cincinnati

SMU

6.2

VCU

Richmond

4.1

George Mason

Rhode Island

-5.4

Akron

Buffalo

9.5

Toledo

Kent St.

2.9

Clemson

Syracuse

1.3

Nebraska

Michigan

-6.2

Miami (O)

Central Michigan

0.7

Bowling Green

Ball St.

-0.9

Rutgers

Purdue

3.0

Miami

Virginia Tech

-1.0

Northern Illinois

Ohio

5.0

Missouri

Georgia

3.9

Duke

Pittsburgh

18.3

Georgetown

Butler

-0.7

Ole Miss

Auburn

-5.0

Air Force

Fresno St.

1.8

Wyoming

Utah St.

-13.6

 

Tuesday’s Best Games On TV

 

Tonight’s small slate of games features a couple of key contests where teams are

jostling for NCAA Tournament berths.  The top game of the night is an inner-city

battle between Virginia Commonwealth and Richmond, two Atlantic 10 rivals

separated by just five miles and a half dozen monuments.

 

If St. John’s has any idea of getting back on the Bubble for a potential NCAA

Tournament at-large bid the Red Storm needs to upset Villanova tonight at Madison

Square Garden.  St. John’s has dropped six of their last eight games.

 

Could it be that last year’s National Champion misses out on an NCAA Tournament

bid?  Virginia is hanging on by a thread in the at-large wars, as the Cavaliers might

become the first champion in five years not to make the Big Dance the next season.

UVA is 5-4 in the ACC and 13-6 overall with a couple of good wins, but multiple bad

losses.  A win tonight over a tough Florida State team could put the Cavs back above

the midpoint of the Bubble, but the Seminoles are competing for a number one

seed, and a road win in the ACC could strengthen that chance.

 

The Big Ten is the strongest conference in the nation today, and when 12 teams in

one league are competing for probably 10 bids, every game is vital.  Purdue is in

10th place in the Big Ten at 4-5/11-9, but the Boilermakers are in contention for an

at-large bid.  Rutgers is in great shape, as the Scarlet Knights are enjoying their best

season since Phil Sellers, Eddie Jordan, and Hollis Copeland made RU basketball the

most exciting event in the Metro NY-NJ area.  This year’s RU team sits at 6-3 in the

Big Ten, good enough for a tie for third and just one game behind the co-leaders.

 

At 2-5/12-8, Georgetown has moved far down the Bubble and is currently an NIT

team from the Big East.  If the tournament started today, five Big East Teams would

have invitations.  Butler 4-3/16-4 would be one of those five.  The Hoyas need a big

win over the Bulldogs tonight.

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:30 PM

FS1

St. John’s

Villanova

7:00 PM

ESPN

Virginia

Florida St.

7:00 PM

CBSSN

Va. Commonwealth

Richmond

8:00 PM

BigTen

Rutgers

Purdue

9:00 PM

CBSSN

Georgetown

Butler

 

 

January 22, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 22, 2020

Spreads For Games Being Played Wednesday

 

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Xavier

Georgetown

2.6

Auburn

South Carolina

10.9

Louisville

Georgia Tech

13.6

Dayton

St. Bonaventure

16.9

Michigan

Penn St.

4.0

Mississippi St.

Arkansas

1.4

Richmond

La Salle

11.7

Rhode Island

Duquesne

4.3

Fordham

George Washington

0.3

Stony Brook

Binghamton

17.9

Hartford

UMBC

4.6

Albany

UMass Lowell

4.7

Notre Dame

Syracuse

3.2

Temple

Cincinnati

0.1

Marist

Manhattan

-4.2

Loyola (MD)

American

0.4

Lafayette

Army

9.7

Boston U

Navy

5.8

Evansville

Drake

-6.1

Chattanooga

Citadel

10.2

Mercer

Western Carolina

-2.0

Furman

Samford

16.3

Maine

Vermont

-15.9

Davidson

Saint Louis

3.3

George Mason

Massachusetts

5.9

Marshall

Western Kentucky

-0.2

Wofford

VMI

11.8

Holy Cross

Lehigh

-3.5

Northwestern St.

Stephen F. Austin

-10.5

Little Rock

Troy

10.0

Incarnate Word

Lamar

-7.1

Nicholls St.

Houston Baptist

16.4

Loyola (Chi)

Indiana St.

5.1

Texas A&M-CC

New Orleans

4.6

SMU

East Carolina

15.3

Bradley

Illinois St.

11.2

SE Louisiana

McNeese St.

-3.5

South Dakota St.

North Dakota St.

3.6

Virginia Tech

North Carolina

5.4

Seton Hall

Providence

11.4

Sam Houston St.

Abilene Christian

5.3

Tulsa

Memphis

-4.5

DePaul

Creighton

0.5

Pittsburgh

Boston College

10.9

Iowa

Rutgers

5.6

Vanderbilt

Alabama

-8.3

Southern Illinois

Northern Iowa

-6.6

Colorado St.

Fresno St.

4.4

California Baptist

Chicago St.

25.3

UC Davis

Cal St. Fullerton

5.1

Long Beach St.

UC Irvine

-9.6

UCSB

Cal St. Northridge

9.9

Nevada

UNLV

5.1

 

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 15, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:04 am

Power Conference & Top 25 Teams Playing Wednesday

 

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Butler

Seton Hall

4.8

South Carolina

Kentucky

-6.1

Syracuse

Boston College

10.3

Florida St.

Virginia

7.7

Georgetown

Creighton

1.7

Georgia

Tennessee

0.1

Duquesne

Fordham

16.0

North Carolina St.

Miami (Fla.)

6.8

East Carolina

Tulsa

-3.6

Saint Bonaventure

Massachusetts

6.8

Rutgers

Indiana

3.2

Saint Joseph’s

Rhode Island

-9.6

Baylor

Iowa St.

10.4

Marquette

Xavier

5.4

Oklahoma St.

Texas

4.0

Arkansas

Vanderbilt

13.0

Providence

St. John’s

3.4

Georgia Tech

Notre Dame

1.4

Alabama

Auburn

-2.3

Minnesota

Penn St.

2.8

Temple

Wichita St.

-1.6

Houston

SMU

8.0

Air Force

Boise St.

-0.7

Colorado St.

New Mexico

-0.1

UCLA

Stanford

-3.1

UNLV

San Jose St.

13.4

January 13, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For January 13, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:01 pm

Date

1/13/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Duke

Baylor

Gonzaga

Butler

2

San Diego St.

Auburn

Kansas

Michigan St.

3

West Virginia

Louisville

Oregon

Dayton

4

Wichita St.

Maryland

Florida St.

Kentucky

5

Villanova

Seton Hall

Ohio St.

Arizona

6

Michigan

Colorado

Stanford

Arkansas

7

Penn St.

Creighton

Memphis

Texas Tech

8

Wisconsin

Iowa

Marquette

BYU

9

Virginia

Indiana

Illinois

Purdue

10

Saint Mary’s

Houston

LSU

Oklahoma

11

Rutgers

VCU

Washington

Florida

Xavier

Georgetown

12

Liberty

Northern Iowa

Akron

Yale

13

Stony Brook

Western Carolina

Georgia St.

Stephen F Austin

14

New Mexico St.

Charlotte

Wright St.

William & Mary

15

UC-Irvine

Northern Colorado

Colgate

Belmont

16

North Dakota St.

Radford

Rider

Grambling

Bethune-Cookman

St. Francis (PA)

 

 

First Four Out

Virginia Tech

Duquesne

N. Carolina St.

Tennessee

 

 

Next Four Out

Oregon St.

TCU

Minnesota

Saint Louis

January 11, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 11, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:35 am

Power Conference & Top 25 Teams Playing Saturday

 

Home

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Spread

Auburn

Georgia

10.5

Boston College

Georgia Tech

-1.0

BYU

Portland

21.6

California

Washington

-7.9

Central Florida

Cincinnati

-2.2

Dayton

Massachusetts

20.5

Duke

Wake Forest

21.4

East Carolina

SMU

-8.4

Illinois

Rutgers

4.5

Indiana

Ohio St.

-2.5

Iowa St.

Oklahoma

2.4

Kansas

Baylor

10.1

Kentucky

Alabama

8.1

Loyola Marymount

Gonzaga

-17.4

LSU

Mississippi St.

8.6

Missouri

Florida

0.1

New Mexico

Air Force

9.7

North Carolina

Clemson

5.9

Northwestern

Nebraska

5.2

Notre Dame

Louisville

-3.3

Ole Miss

Arkansas

-3.5

Oregon

Arizona St.

11.4

Penn St.

Wisconsin

4.4

Saint Mary’s

Santa Clara

14.2

San Diego St.

Boise St.

12.5

Seton Hall

Marquette

6.3

St. John’s

DePaul

3.6

Stanford

Washington St.

11.0

TCU

Oklahoma St.

3.8

Temple

Tulane

11.7

Tennessee

South Carolina

9.6

Texas

Kansas St.

5.5

Tulsa

Houston

-5.7

UCLA

USC

-1.1

Utah St.

Nevada

7.0

Vanderbilt

Texas A&M

5.8

Villanova

Georgetown

6.2

Virginia

Syracuse

6.8

Virginia Tech

North Carolina St.

1.3

West Virginia

Texas Tech

6.3

Wyoming

UNLV

-5.5

Xavier

Creighton

4.1

 

January 8, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 8, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:19 am

Power Conference & Top 25 Teams Playing Wednesday

 

Home

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Spread

Alabama

Mississippi St.

3.4

Auburn

Vanderbilt

16.4

Boise St.

UNLV

6.0

Cincinnati

Tulsa

8.0

Connecticut

Tulane

11.0

Georgetown

St. John’s

5.0

Georgia Tech

Duke

-13.1

Indiana

Northwestern

11.1

Iowa St.

Kansas

-7.2

LSU

Arkansas

4.5

North Carolina

Pittsburgh

6.5

North Carolina St.

Notre Dame

5.5

San Jose St.

Nevada

-11.9

SMU

Central Florida

6.1

Texas

Oklahoma

1.4

Wake Forest

Florida St.

-6.4

Wisconsin

Illinois

3.8

Wyoming

San Diego St.

-18.6

Xavier

Seton Hall

0.7

 

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