The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 12, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology — Final Before Selection Show

3BaylorKansas St.GonzagaConnecticut
5Iowa St.San Diego St.TCUDuke
6Miami (Fla)Saint Mary’sTexas A&MCreighton
7KentuckyMissouriMichigan St.Northwestern
8MarylandFlorida AtlanticArkansasMemphis
9IllinoisIowaWest VirginiaBoise St.
10AuburnPenn St.USCUtah St.
11ProvidenceN. Carolina St.Mississippi St.RutgersPittsburghArizona St.
12CharlestonOral RobertsDrakeVCU
13Kent St.IonaLouisianaFurman
14UC Santa BarbaraKennesaw St.Grand CanyonColgate
15PrincetonVermontMontana St.UNC Asheville
16N. KentuckyTexas A&M-CCSE Missouri St.HowardFairleigh DickinsonTexas Southern

Last 4 Byes: USC, Utah St., Providence, North Carolina St.

Last 4 In (DAYTON FIRST FOUR): Rutgers vs. Arizona St. & Mississippi St. vs. Pittsburgh

#16 First Four: SE Missouri St. vs. Texas Southern & Howard vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

First Four Out (#1 NIT Seeds): Nevada, Oklahoma St., Clemson, Vanderbilt

Next 4 Out (#2 NIT Seeds): North Carolina, Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan

PiRate Ratings College Basketball — Selection Sunday Morning Update

With five games left to go in Conference Tournament play, there are basically two spots left and 66 teams in the field. Either Princeton or Yale will receive the Ivy League’s automatic bid today, when the Tigers host the Bulldogs in the Conference Championship Game. If Yale wins, they are most likely a #13 seed, but if Princeton wins, they are smack dab on the #13/#14 seed line. Furman and UCSB are basically tied in my formula for the best #14 seed. Fortunately, this game tips off at Noon Eastern Daylight Time today, and it will be over about four hours prior to Selection Sunday’s Bracket Reveal. It should give me time to decide where Princeton gets seeded if PU beats Yale.

The other (final bid) goes to the winner of today’s Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game between VCU and Dayton. VCU is a sure thing as a #12 seed if the Rams win. If Dayton wins, the Flyers are on the #12/#13 seed line. Kent St., Iona, and Louisiana are in a statistical dead heat in my #13 seed line, so if DU wins today, I will have short notice to choose which of the four teams belongs in the final #12 seed spot. This game tips off at 3:15 PM EDT, and it won’t be over until past 5 PM, giving me less than an hour to make the final call if DU wins.

As soon as the final game that affects the Brackets is decided, my final bracketology prediction goes live here. Then, the biggest, most viewed publications for each of the last 11 years will upload here Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, the 2023 Bracketnomics Tutorial Class will show you how to fill out your bracket. Tuesday brings the actual math tables showing each of the 68 Dancing Teams’ metrics that matter. Many years of reverse engineering and back-testing the data of winning teams in the NCAA Tournament have discovered the best resumes of the teams in the field. Can we do it again this year? We picked Kansas to win it all last year.

2023 Bracketnomics has changed some from past years. We’ve streamlined the process a little, because fewer metrics are proving to be successful markers.

March 11, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Special

With just one day to go before the real bracket reveal on Selection Sunday, I am not posting an update to my bracketology. Instead, I am listing the teams on the Bubble along with some of their accolades. Most of today and tomorrow will be spent doing more in-depth analysis and calculations than a typical day’s bracketology-analysis so the final prediction tomorrow afternoon can be as accurate as possible. In the past nine years, PiRate Ratings’ Bracketology has correctly picked all 68 teams five times, 67 teams three times, and 66 teams one time.

Let’s look at the raw data for each of the Bubble Teams.

Arizona St.6666621235-64-55-08-112-7
Mississippi St.4950432044-84-35-18-09-8
North Carolina464412182-95-47-06-08-10
North Texas3846831121-33-211-19-114-5
Oklahoma St.4338111586-124-23-15-07-10
Utah St.181820292-49-113-01-212-5SDSU

These are not all the factors, but they are a lot of the factors that will lead to the final selections by the NCAA Selection Committee, and me. There is a wildcard factor called “The Eye Test,” which is the Committee’s one non-mathematical part of the puzzle. Nobody will ever admit this, but this is their “good ole boy” method of selecting the big name program over the “little guy” when the data is close enough to justify their selection. Every year, CBS announcers will question the head of the Committee about why a big team got the final bid when a 30-4 Mid-major team was left out. One year, the excuse will be that Goliath had a better Net Rating than Mouse Tech. The next year, when Mouse Tech has the better Net, the excuse will be that Goliath had a better non-conference strength of schedule. The next year, when Mouse Tech has a better Net and Strength of Schedule, the excuse will be that Goliath had a 5-9 record against Q1 opponents, while Mouse Tech was 3-2. You get the picture. There is but one real reason why, if it is close enough, Goliath always gets the nod over Mouse Tech. The reasons can come after the fact.

Our final bracket reveal will publish here on Selection Sunday, as soon as the last game that can affect the bracket goes final. There are some potential bid-stealers still playing.

In the American Athletic Conference, Houston and Memphis are locks. So, if Cincinnati or Tulane wins the automatic bid, one Bubble will burst.

Red hot Ohio State has advanced to the Big Ten semifinals. If the Buckeyes beat Purdue today and then either Indiana or Penn State tomorrow, they are in with the automatic bid.

If UAB beats Florida Atlantic today in the CUSA Championship Game, FAU is close to a sure thing to receive an at-large bid.

March 10, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

3Kansas St.GonzagaMarquetteTennessee
5Iowa St.Miami (Fla)San Diego St.TCU
6Saint Mary’sCreightonKentuckyDuke
7Texas A&MMichigan St.NorthwesternMissouri
9Florida AtlanticMemphisAuburnBoise St.
10West VirginiaProvidenceNorth Carolina St.USC
11Utah St.RutgersPittsburghMississippi St.Penn St.Arizona St.
12Oral RobertsDrakeCharlestonVCU
13ToledoUtah ValleyIonaYale
14LouisianaFurmanUC Santa BarbaraColgate
15Kennesaw St.VermontUNC AshevilleMontana St.
16N. KentuckyTexas A&M-CCSE Missouri St.GramblingHowardFairleigh Dickinson

Starting Today, First Four Out and Next Four Out give way to the teams that can still work their way into the Field of 68 if they keep winning. There are six teams on the Bubble but not currently in the Bracket Prediction above. Additionally, there is a definite potential bid-stealer.

Teams (In Order) that can still play their way into the Field:

Oklahoma St.
North Texas

Potential Bid-Stealer: Ohio St.

Potential At-large addition if they lose in their tournament: Florida Atlantic

February 24, 2023

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

3MarquetteVirginiaKansas St.Tennessee
4Iowa St.IndianaGonzagaConnecticut
5Miami (Fla)XavierSaint Mary’sCreighton
6San Diego St.IllinoisTCUNorthwestern
7DukeMarylandProvidenceTexas A&M
8Michigan St.ArkansasIowaNorth Carolina St.
10Florida AtlanticPittsburghNevadaBoise St.
11MemphisOklahoma St.West VirginiaUSCMississippi St.Wisconsin
12Oral RobertsDrakeToledoMarshall
13HofstraKennesaw St.VCUIona
14ColgateUtah ValleyUC-IrvineEastern Washington
15PennCleveland St.VermontSamford
16UNC AshevilleNorthwestern St.Morehead St.HowardAlcorn St.St. Francis (PA)

Last 4 Byes: Nevada, Boise St., Memphis, Oklahoma St.

Last 4 In: West Virginia, USC, Mississippi St., Wisconsin

First 4 Out: Utah St., North Carolina, Texas Tech, Michigan

Next 4 Out: Clemson, New Mexico, Penn St., Arizona St.

What Is My Process?

I have been asked by multiple people how I make my bracketology. It is a multi-step process. I use the same data that the NCAA Selection Committee uses–Net Ratings, Strength of Schedule, Strength of Wins, Eye Test, etc. that the Committee uses.

I begin by choosing the one-bid conference representatives. Each time, I use the team that is in first place at the time. If two or more teams are tied for first, I choose the team with the most current success. Most of these teams automatically move to the 12-16 seed lines. They will be compared to each other and seeded 12 through 16. A couple (like Florida Atlantic this year) may move up. If enough move up, then the at-large field may feature two or even four 12-seeds, but in most years, the last 4 teams in the field will be the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th best 11-seeds.

The next step in the process is to pick the teams that are obviously getting bids from the multiple bid conferences. These include teams like Virginia, Marquette, Alabama, Purdue, Kansas, and UCLA among others at the present time. After that, I then choose about 20 other teams that represent the Bubble. From these 20 Bubble teams, I will closely examine the resumes of each, ranking them from 1 to 20. The big question with the Bubble is, “how many are needed to get to 68 total teams?” This week, it was seven. Seven teams made the field. Eight teams fell into first 4 out or next 4 out, while the other five would be placed in an under consideration list and needing a lot of help. Michigan had been in the under consideration group for weeks until recent victories allowed the Wolverines to jump up to first 4 out status. A couple more wins, and the Maize and Blue might find themselves in the Field.

Once I have the 68 teams chosen, and I have the 12-16 seeds filled in (22 teams), the remaining 46 teams are ranked as I believe the Committee will rank them. When you see my seed lines, they are in the order of my rankings, so that looking at today’s #3 seeds, Marquette is my top 3-seed team. Tennessee has fallen to the last 3-seed team. I do not alter my seed lines to prevent teams from the same conference from playing in the first round. If two Big 12 teams are shown playing in the Round of 64, the Committee will change the S-Curve. I’ll leave the teams where they finish in my rankings.

If I could change one thing in how the Selection Committee chooses the at-large teams, it would be to add conference record into the equation. If the third place team in the ACC beats the sixth place team both times in the regular season and finishes three games ahead in the standings, that should at least mean as much as out of conference results. In my mind, a 13-7 ACC team that sweeps a 10-10 ACC team has proven itself to be the better of the two teams. Yet, every year, the Committee takes one of these teams that finished behind another and that lose to the other team that did not receive a bid. The Committee tends to give more weight to out of conference games in November and December than conference games in January and February.

Championship Fortnight Begins Monday

The greatest five weeks of college basketball action start Monday night when the first conference tournament action begins. The Atlantic Sun Tournament begins with the top 10 finishers in the regular season qualifying. Team #9 will host Team #10 and Team #7 will host Team #8.

The #9 vs. #10 winner will then play the #1 seed, and the #7 vs. #8 winner will then play the #2 seed in the quarterfinals. The #3 seed will play the #6 seed, and the #4 seed will play the #5 seed. Unlike most leagues, this conference will then re-seed the teams, like the NFL Playoffs, in the semifinal round. All A-Sun Tournament games will be played at the home gym of the better seed.

Three more tournaments begin on Tuesday. The Horizon League’s first round will find the #6 through 11 seeds playing to make the quarterfinals, while the top 5 seeds receive first round byes. First Round and Quarterfinal Round games will be played on the better seeds’ home floors, with the semifinals and finals moving to Indianapolis.

The Patriot League will take place exclusively on the better seeds’ home floors. Tuesday’s first round games will see #10 playing at #7 and #9 playing at #8, or a normal first round bracket in a 10-team field.

The Sun Belt Conference features all 14 teams playing in beautiful Pensacola, Florida. The first round begins Tuesday with the #11 seed playing #14 and the #12 seed playing #13. This will be a hotly contested tournament for the one bid, as there are four teams in this league (Marshall, Southern Miss, Louisiana, and James Madison) talented enough to beat a single digit seed in the Round of 64. If Marshall wins the automatic bid, the Thundering Herd’s R+T Rating is going to be high enough to be considered a dark horse for the Sweet 16.

Check back daily once conference tournament action begins. The PiRate Ratings will have daily updates.

December 30, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology–Friday, December 30, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:41 am
4West VirginiaDukeWisconsinIndiana
5ArkansasMiami (Fla.)Ohio St.Xavier
6MarylandAuburnVirginia TechMarquette
7North CarolinaSan Diego St.MIssouriIllinois
8New MexicoMississippi St.KentuckyTCU
9MemphisTexas TechNorth Carolina St.Kansas St.
10CreightonPenn St.Arizona St.Iowa St.
11Michigan St.UABOklahomaFlorida AtlanticSaint Mary’sRutgers
12CharlestonKent St.IonaDayton
13Indiana St.YaleUC-IrvineOral Roberts
14James MadisonUMass LowellLibertyFurman
15Grand CanyonYoungstown St.Montana St.Colgate
16Northwestern St.LongwoodGramblingSIU-EdwardsvilleNorfolk St.Wagner

Last 4 Byes: Penn St., Arizona St., Iowa St., Michigan St.,

Last 4 In: Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic, Saint Mary’s, Rutgers

#16-Seeds in First Four: Grambling, SIUE, Norfolk St., Wagner

Top Dozen Waiting In The Wings (alphabetically)

Boise St.
Oklahoma St.
St. John’s
Utah St.

December 27, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Bracketology

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:30 am
3ArkansasGonzagaWest VirginiaTexas
4VirginiaDukeOhio St.Baylor
5WisconsinVirginia TechIndianaKentucky
7XavierNorth CarolinaSan Diego St.Mississippi St.
8MiamiMarquetteNew MexicoIowa St.
9Saint Mary’sArizona St.Penn St.Michigan St.
10IowaTexas TechTCUKansas St.
11RutgersFlorida AtlanticCreightonMissouriOklahomaUtah
12Sam HoustonKent St.YaleCharleston
13Oral RobertsIonaBradleyJames Madison
15SIU-EdwardsvillePurdue-Ft. WayneMontana St.Furman
16LongwoodGramblingColgateNorfolk St.Nicholls St.Wagner

Last Four In: Creighton, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah

Last Four Byes: Texas Tech, TCU, Kansas St., Rutgers

First 4, 16-seeds: Colgate, Norfolk St., Nicholls St., Wagner

First Four Out: Utah St., St. John’s, Northwestern, Oklahoma St.

Next Four Out: UNLV, UAB, North Carolina St., LSU

March 13, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Sunday, March 13, 2022

Sunday’s Conference Tournaments
American Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Atlantic 10 Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Big Ten Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeastern Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
TennesseeTexas A&M7.8

Final Bracketology coming this afternoon after SEC Championship Game Concludes

After last night’s late games on the West Coast concluded, our Bracketology hopefuls shrunk to 70 teams. We still have to eliminate two teams from our field of 68 and then do a final seeding after the conclusion of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The outcome of that game will most definitely affect the field, possibly changing who plays an opening round “play-in” game in Dayton.

March 12, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology–Saturday Morning, the day before Selection Sunday

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:27 am
3VillanovaTennesseeTexas TechWisconsin
6Saint Mary’sLSUAlabamaColorado St.
7Michigan St.Boise St.Ohio St.USC
8San Diego St.TCUMurray St.Creighton
9MemphisNorth CarolinaIowa St.Seton Hall
10MarquetteDavidsonLoyola (Chi.)San Francisco
11IndianaMiami (Fla.)Notre DameMichigan
12South Dakota St.UABSMUWyomingRutgersVirginia Tech
13VermontChattanoogaNew Mexico St.Princeton
14Kent St.Montana St.LongwoodColgate
15Long Beach St.MonmouthDelawareJacksonville St.
16Wright St.BryantNorfolk St.Georgia St.Texas SouthernTexas A&M-CC

Teams That Can Steal a Bid (Alphabetical Order)

Saint Louis
Texas A&M

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Saturday, March 12, 2022

Saturday’s Conference Tournaments
America East Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher Seed at Home
VermontMaryland Baltimore Co.14.3
American Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Atlantic 10 Conference–Semifinals
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
DavidsonSaint Louis0.2
Atlantic Coast Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
DukeVirginia Tech5.6
Big 12 Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
KansasTexas Tech1.1
Big East Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Big Sky Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Montana St.Northern Colorado3.4
Big Ten Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
PurdueMichigan St.5.4
Big West Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Henderson, NV
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Long Beach St.Cal St. Fullerton-0.5
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
UABLouisiana Tech4.8
Ivy League–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Atlantic City, NJ
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Saint Peter’sMonmouth1.8
Mid-American Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Kent St.Akron0.4
Mideastern Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Norfolk St.Coppin St.8.1
Mountain West Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Boise St.San Diego St.-1.4
Pac-12 Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeastern Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
ArkansasTexas A&M5.3
Southland Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeast LouisianaTexas A&M-CC-1.6
Southwestern Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas SouthernAlcorn St.4.5
Western Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
New Mexico St.Abilene Christian3.1

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

Hunkered Down In The Hull

The PiRates have had their tea and bickies and swabbed the deck. It’s time to head down to the hull and hunker down with typical PiRate ship tools. We have no torpedos and no swords. Our weapons are power ratings, strengths of schedule, quad ratings, and strengths of record. We will be carefully perusing the field to see which team to pillage and which team to let pass into the Dancing waters.

The Florida Gators have been scuttled and sunk to the bottom where they have met the sandy silt known as NIT. Texas A&M just might pass through if the Aggies can fire more shots at the SS Razorback today then they take on.

With a late Winter storm plunging most of the Eastern half of the nation back into January-like weather, this is a good day to stay indoors and watch teams qualify for the Big Dance. We will be looking at a lot of Bubble teams as well as teams that can greatly alter our Bracketology.

Our final Bracketology prediction will be published here tomorrow afternoon. Depending on the games to be played after 1 PM EDT (yes, remember it will be D and not S tomorrow), we may have to have two different brackets prepared and waiting to use one over the other depending on the outcome of the final games. Fortunately, almost all the Cinderella teams that could only get into the Field of 68 by qualifying automatically lost yesterday. Colorado, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, and Central Florida helped teams like Wake Forest, BYU, and Xavier feel a little better when they bowed out of their tournaments. Indiana probably worked their way into the field by topping Michigan and Illinois, so the Hoosiers can win or lose today and tomorrow and not change the teams getting bids.

There are still some potential bid-stealers where the top seed could lose and still get an at-large bid, but if the top seed wins, the conference in question will not receive the extra bid. In the Atlantic 10, Davidson is now a lock to make the field without winning their tournament. If Saint Louis wins today, or if today’s Richmond-Dayton winner beats Davidson tomorrow, the A-10 will get one extra team in the field, and one bubble will burst. In the American Athletic, should Tulane upset Houston today and then beat the winner of today’s SMU-Memphis game, the AAC will receive an extra bid, and another bubble will burst. If Tulane is put out of the tournament today, then the only game that will affect the 68 teams tomorrow would be the A-10 Championship Game. That game should end between 2:45 and 3:00 PM EDT, so our final projections should publish soon after the conclusion of that game and possibly earlier if this game is a blowout.

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