The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For March 11, 2020

Date

3/11/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Kansas

Gonzaga

Dayton

Baylor

2

San Diego St.

Florida St.

Villanova

Creighton

3

Duke

Kentucky

Seton Hall

Michigan St.

4

Maryland

Louisville

Oregon

Wisconsin

5

Ohio St.

Auburn

Butler

BYU

6

West Virginia

Iowa

Penn St.

Virginia

7

Illinois

Colorado

Michigan

Arizona

8

Houston

Providence

LSU

Saint Mary’s

9

USC

Marquette

Oklahoma

Rutgers

10

Arizona St.

Florida

Indiana

Utah St.

11

E. Tennessee St.

Stanford

Xavier

Wichita St.

Texas Tech

12

Yale

Liberty

S. F. Austin

Richmond

UCLA

13

Vermont

Akron

North Texas

New Mexico St.

14

Bradley

Belmont

Hofstra

Colgate

15

UC-Irvine

N. Dakota St.

Little Rock

E. Washington

16

N. Kentucky

Winthrop

Siena

Prairie View

Robert Morris

N. C.  A&T

 

Last Four Byes:  Florida, Indiana, Stanford, and Xavier

Last Four IN: Wichita St., Texas Tech, Richmond, and UCLA

First Four OUT: North Carolina St., Cincinnati, Texas, and Mississippi St.

Next Four Out: Memphis, Northern Iowa, Purdue, and Saint Louis

 

Note:  Starting with today’s Bracketology and continuing for our final two Bracketology predictions (Friday and Sunday), our seed lines now reflect our beliefs that the NCAA Selection Committee will have some political beliefs that alter seed lines.  For instance, we moved Virginia up one seed strictly because they are the defending champions, and we believe some members on the Selection Committee will lobby on their behalf to be moved higher up.  

We are closely monitoring Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Conference.  Any blip that comes DU’s way might move the Flyers down to the 2-seed line if an elite team like Duke, Michigan St., or Kentucky romps through their conference tournament.

 

March 9, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For March 9, 2020

Date

3/9/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Kansas

Gonzaga

Dayton

Baylor

2

San Diego St.

Florida St.

Villanova

Creighton

3

Duke

Kentucky

Seton Hall

Maryland

4

Michigan St.

Louisville

Oregon

Wisconsin

5

Ohio St.

Auburn

Butler

BYU

6

West Virginia

Iowa

Penn St.

Illinois

7

Virginia

Colorado

Michigan

Arizona

8

Houston

Providence

LSU

Florida

9

Saint Mary’s

USC

Marquette

Oklahoma

10

Arizona St.

Rutgers

Texas Tech

UTAH ST.

11

East Tennessee St.

Indiana

Stanford

Xavier

Cincinnati

12

Yale

Stephen F. Austin

LIBERTY

Richmond

Wichita St.

13

Vermont

Akron

North Texas

New Mexico St.

14

BRADLEY

BELMONT

Hofstra

Colgate

15

UC-Irvine

Wright St.

Little Rock

E.  Washington

16

North Dakota St.

WINTHROP

Siena

Prairie View

St. Francis (PA)

N. Carolina A&T

Teams in all CAPS have earned automatic bids

 

The Bubble

 

Last Four BYES: Rutgers, Texas Tech, Indiana, and Stanford

Last Four IN: Xavier, Cincinnati, Richmond, and Wichita St.

 

First Four OUT: UCLA, Texas, North Carolina St., and Mississippi St.

Next Four OUT: Rhode Island, Northern Iowa, Arkansas, and Memphis

March 6, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For March 6, 2020

Date

3/6/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Kansas

Gonzaga

Baylor

San Diego St.

2

Dayton

Florida St.

Villanova

Seton Hall

3

Duke

Maryland

Louisville

Michigan St.

4

Kentucky

Creighton

Oregon

Ohio St.

5

Penn St.

Auburn

Iowa

Butler

6

Wisconsin

BYU

Colorado

Michigan

7

West Virginia

Arizona

Illinois

Marquette

8

Houston

Virginia

Saint Mary’s

LSU

9

USC

Florida

Arizona St.

Providence

10

Texas Tech

Indiana

Oklahoma

Xavier

11

Rutgers

Stanford

E. Tennessee St.

Texas

UCLA

12

Yale

S. F. Austin

Liberty

Cincinnati

Utah St.

13

Vermont

Akron

North Texas

Loyola (Chi.)

14

New Mexico St.

Hofstra

Belmont

Colgate

15

Little Rock

Wright St.

UC-Irvine

S. Dakota St.

16

Montana

Radford

Prairie View

Siena

St. Francis (PA)

UNC Central

The Bubble

 

Last 4 IN: Texas, UCLA, Cincinnati, Utah St.

First 4 Out: North Carolina St., Wichita St., Richmond, Arkansas

Next 4 Out: Rhode Island, Memphis, Purdue, Saint Louis

 

Needing a miracle but probably headed to the NIT: Northern Iowa, which lost by 21 to Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference Quarterfinal Round today.

March 1, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For March 1, 2020

Sunday’s Games

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

Charlotte

Florida Intl.

3.7

Fairfield

Rider

-2.0

Georgetown

Xavier

1.9

Houston

Cincinnati

6.9

Illinois

Indiana

4.6

Louisville

Virginia Tech

13.4

Monmouth

Manhattan

5.8

Nebraska

Northwestern

2.8

North Texas

Western Kentucky

5.5

Northeastern

Towson

4.2

Ohio St.

Michigan

4.4

Old Dominion

Florida Atlantic

4.8

Quinnipiac

Marist

5.1

Rhode Island

Saint Louis

7.0

Rice

Middle Tennessee

7.2

SMU

Wichita St.

-0.9

St. John’s

Creighton

-4.0

Stanford

Colorado

1.3

Temple

South Florida

5.1

UTEP

Southern Miss

6.6

UTSA

UAB

2.2

Wisconsin

Minnesota

4.4

 

Sunday’s Key TV Games

 

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

1:00 PM

ESPN

Houston

Cincinnati

2:00 PM

CBS

Georgetown

Xavier

2:00 PM

BTN

Illinois

Indiana

2:00 PM

ESPNU

Rhode Island

Saint Louis

4:00 PM

CBS

Ohio St.

Michigan

4:00 PM

ESPNU

SMU

Wichita St.

6:00 PM

ESPNU

Stanford

Colorado

6:30 PM

BTN

Wisconsin

Minnesota

 

Conference Tournaments Start Tuesday Night

Coming Tuesday, we begin our daily conference tournament coverage all the way to Selection Sunday. 

The Atlantic Sun, Big South, Horizon, and Patriot Leagues will get started on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, the Mountain West, Northeast, and Ohio Valley Conferences commence post-season play. 

On Thursday, the Missouri Valley (Arch Madness) and The West Coast Conference start tournament play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 28, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For February 28, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:12 am

Date

2/28/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Kansas

Gonzaga

Baylor

San Diego St.

2

Dayton

Maryland

Florida St.

Duke

3

Creighton

Villanova

Seton Hall

Kentucky

4

Oregon

Louisville

Penn St.

Auburn

5

Michigan St.

Ohio St.

Colorado

Iowa

6

Michigan

West Virginia

Butler

BYU

7

Wisconsin

Arizona

Marquette

Illinois

8

LSU

Houston

Arizona St.

Florida

9

Texas Tech

Saint Mary’s

Indiana

Virginia

10

Xavier

Utah St.

Oklahoma

USC

11

Rhode Island

Wichita St.

East Tennessee St.

Northern Iowa

12

Liberty

Stephen F. Austin

Rutgers

Cincinnati

N. C. State

Providence

13

Yale

Vermont

North Texas

New Mexico St.

14

Bowling Green

Hofstra

Colgate

South Dakota St.

15

Wright St.

UC-Irvine

Little Rock

Belmont

16

Montana

Radford

St. Francis (PA)

Prairie View

Siena

N. C. A&T

First Four Out

 

69

Richmond

70

UCLA

71

Stanford

72

Arkansas

 

Next Four Out

 

73

Mississippi St.

74

Memphis

75

South Carolina

76

Texas

 

 

February 24, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For February 24, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:35 am

Date

2/21/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Kansas

Baylor

Gonzaga

San Diego St.

2

Dayton

Duke

Maryland

Florida St.

3

Creighton

Seton Hall

Louisville

Villanova

4

Kentucky

Oregon

Penn St.

West Virginia

5

Colorado

Auburn

Michigan St.

Butler

6

Iowa

Ohio St.

Michigan

Arizona

7

BYU

Marquette

Wisconsin

LSU

8

Houston

Illinois

Texas Tech

Arizona St.

9

Saint Mary’s

Florida

Virginia

Indiana

10

Rutgers

Xavier

Rhode Island

USC

11

Wichita St.

Utah St.

East Tennessee St.

Northern Iowa

12

Yale

Liberty

North Carolina St.

Oklahoma

Cincinnati

Providence

13

Stephen F. Austin

Vermont

North Texas

Akron

14

New Mexico St.

Colgate

Wright St.

Hofstra

15

Belmont

UC-Irvine

Little Rock

South Dakota St.

16

Radford

Montana

Saint Peter’s

Prairie View

St. Francis (PA)

N. C. A&T

Bubble Teams Outside The Field (in order)

 

69

Richmond

70

Stanford

71

Georgetown

72

Arkansas

73

Alabama

74

Purdue

75

Memphis

76

UCLA

77

Mississippi St.

78

Minnesota

79

UNC Greensboro

80

Furman

 

Teams on the Rise

Akron

Arizona St.

Belmont

BYU

Creighton

Dayton

East Tennessee St.

Hofstra

Kansas

Kentucky

Michigan

Montana

New Mexico St.

Prairie View

Radford

St. Francis (PA)

Saint Peter’s

South Dakota St.

Stephen F. Austin

UCLA

UNC Greensboro

Utah St.

Villanova

Virginia

Wisconsin

 

Teams on the Decline

Butler

Marquette

Oklahoma

Penn St.

Purdue

Rider

Rutgers

South Carolina

USC

West Virginia

Winthrop

 

 

 

 

 

February 19, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 19, 2020

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

Wednesday’s Games

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

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 17, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology for February 17, 2020

Date

2/17/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Baylor

Gonzaga

Kansas

San Diego St.

2

Duke

Dayton

Maryland

Florida St.

3

Seton Hall

Penn St.

Louisville

Villanova

4

Auburn

Oregon

Creighton

West Virginia

5

Kentucky

Colorado

Butler

Michigan St.

6

Iowa

Ohio St.

Marquette

Arizona

7

LSU

Michigan

BYU

Texas Tech

8

Houston

Wisconsin

Illinois

Rutgers

9

Oklahoma

USC

Saint Mary’s

Xavier

10

Rhode Island

Florida

Arizona St.

Virginia

11

Wichita St.

Indiana

Northern Iowa

East Tennessee St.

12

Stephen F. Austin

Yale

Georgetown

Cincinnati

Purdue

Utah St.

13

Vermont

Liberty

North Texas

New Mexico St.

14

Akron

Colgate

Wright St.

Hofstra

15

Little Rock

Winthrop

UC-Irvine

Murray St.

16

South Dakota St.

Montana

Prairie View

St. Peter’s

Robert Morris

Norfolk St.

 

The Rest of the Bubble

69

Richmond

70

Arkansas

71

Stanford

72

Mississippi St.

73

North Carolina St.

74

Alabama

75

South Carolina

76

VCU

77

Syracuse

78

Minnesota

79

Furman

80

Memphis

 

A Look At The One-Bid Leagues & Their Conference Tournaments

 

America East: 8 teams with superior seed hosting every game

Vermont (11-1/21-6) has a 2 1/2 game lead over Stony Brook (8-3/17-9), and it would be a major upset if any team other than the Catamounts won this tournament. The race for third place between Albany (7-4/14-12) and Hartford (7-5/14-13) is important, because the 3rd place finisher would get to avoid Vermont until the Championship Game. Of course, second place is still up for grabs, and in the semifinals, the second place team would host the third place team if they both won their quarterfinal round games.

Atlantic Sun: 8 teams with superior seed hosting every game (North Alabama not eligible)

What looked like a cake walk to the conference championship in December has turned into anything but. Liberty (10-2/24-3) was coming off a season in which the Flames won a game in the NCAA Tournament and returned a ton of talent. But, the Flames are not currently in first place in the A-Sun. North Florida (11-2/18-10) not only has a one half game lead over LU, they beat the Flames earlier this year. The rematch is this Thursday at Liberty.

Don’t rule out the third and fourth teams in this league. Stetson (9-3/15-12) has never been to the Division 1 NCAA Tournament, but the Hatters have been in contention in recent years. Lipscomb (7-6/12-14) is the hottest team in the league, having won five of six including a 12-point victory over UNF. The Bisons still have games remaining with the top two teams before tournament play begins.

 

Big Sky: 11 teams in regular bracket at Boise, ID

There is no dominant team inside the league this year. Defending champion Montana (12-3/16-10) was supposed to have a rebuilding season after losing five of the top seven players from consecutive conference championship teams. Give Travis Decuire a lot of credit for his ability to recruit to Missoula and then teach his players to play as a team. The whole is much better than the sum of the parts, and Decuire rates high on our coaches ready to move on to Power Conference schools list, as he is close to leading the Grizzlies to their fourth conference championship in his six years at the school.

Eastern Washington (10-4/17-8) and Northern Colorado (10-4/17-8) are the next two in line in the Big Sky, but EWU has already been swept by Montana, while UNC is one of the three league teams to pin a loss on the Grizzlies. Keep an eye on 6th place Southern Utah (7-7/14-11). The Thunderbirds have been in a bit of a tailspin in the last month, but if they can pull out of it and play like they did in December, they could be a tough out for any of the top five in the league.

Big South: 11 teams. The first round is played at the home court of the higher-seeded team. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds are then played at the #1 seed’s home floor. The Championship Game is then played on the higher-seeded team’s home floor.

With first place vital in this conference, Winthrop (13-2/19-9) and Radford (12-2/17-9) have separated themselves from the pack and will most likely share the regular season title with identical 16-2 conference records. Since they split their season series with both teams winning on the road against each other, the #1 seed would be settled in a tiebreaker by looking at how these two co-champs fared against the next team in the standings and so forth until the tie is broken. Winthrop’s other conference loss was to 7-6 Gardner-Webb, while Radford’s loss was to 6-8 UNC Asheville. Radford has the advantage here, but remember that Winthrop won at Radford in the regular season, and the Eagles have the superior inside game, which tends to play more of a factor in March.

Big West: 8 teams in regular bracket. All games in Anaheim

UC-Irvine (9-2/17-10) lost some big-time talent off a team that won a game last year’s Big Dance and took Oregon to the final minutes in the Round of 32, but Coach Russ Turner has his Anteaters in first place again this year, and UCI is running away with the regular season race.

The real race is between the second through eighth place teams. First, the ninth place team does not qualify for the tournament, and at the moment, just two games separate second from ninth. Any of the eight teams other than UCI could miss out, while any of the other eight teams could end up with the number two seed. UCSB (5-5/16-9) matches up well with UCI and has a victory over the Anteaters, but they have been swept by Cal St. Northridge (6-5/11-16) and handily defeated by UC-Davis (6-5/12-15). UC-Riverside (4-7/14-13) is a team to watch if they don’t miss out and finish in ninth place. The Highlanders have a very tall lineup that can control the boards and get inside shots when they can control the pace of their games. They are capable of winning three times in three days at the Honda Center.

Colonial Athletic: 10 teams in regular bracket. All games in Washington, D.C.

This is a somewhat down year for the CAA as there are no teams that look capable of winning a second round NCAA Tournament game. The conference race is an interesting one with seven better than average teams.

Joe Mihalich led Niagara to four conference championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances before coming to Hofstra (11-3/20-7). This is his seventh season in Hempstead, and he’s won two CAA Championships thus far, inlcuding last season. This Gaels team is in line to make it number three, but Hofstra has yet to win the CAA Tournament in this time. This teams isn’t as good as last year’s, so it’s hard to say that the Gaels are big favorites to make it to the Dance for the first time since Jay Wright was coaching there in 2001.

Willliam & Mary (10-5/18-10), Delaware (9-5/19-8), and Towson (9-5/16-11) are next in line, but the potentially more dangerous teams are behind them. Charleston (9-6/15-12) and defending Conference Tournament champion Northeastern (7-7/13-13) are talented enough to steal the bid from Hofstra yet again. Charleston is probably the team to watch in the CAA Tournament.

Conference USA: 12 teams in regular bracket. All games in Frisco, TX.

This is a really unique way to host a conference tournament in the Dallas Cowboys practice facility. The league places two playing floors separated by a curtain, and it is possible to sit in such a way that you can see two games at once.

There is quite an advantage here, as the tournament takes place in the backyard of North Texas (12-2/18-9), the current league leader. The Mean Green are undefeated in conference play on their home floor, and they would have to be considered the prohibitive favorite to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Western Kentucky (11-3/18-8) defeated UNT in Bowling Green earlier this year, but the Hilltoppers suffered a crippling blow when sure NBA Draft choice big man Charles Bassey’s season ended with a leg injury.

Louisiana Tech (10-4/19-7) plays tough defense, handles the ball well, and they frequently get extra scoring opportunities, so the Bulldogs are a top contender in the conference tournament. If any other team should sneak through and cut the nets at Jerryworld Headquarters, they would most likely be looking at a 16-seed and possible trip to Dayton.

Horizon: 10 teams. The first two rounds are played at the higher-seeded teams’ home courts. Also, after every round, this league re-seeds its remaining teams like the NFL Playoffs. The final two rounds will then be played in Indianapolis, and the top two teams receive byes to the semifinal round, so finishing first or second is extremely important.

Like they have in recent years, this has been a two-team race, and it’s almost a sure thing that Wright St. (13-2/23-5) and Northern Kentucky (11-4/19-8) will be the top two teams. Wright St. is enjoying its best season in their 14-year run as the class of the Horizon League. However, the Raiders did not have a strong out-of-conference schedule, and we would be shocked if they were to win a game in the NCAA Tournament.

Northern Kentucky is transitioning with a new coach, and the Norse are not as strong as they were under former coach John Brannen, who took NKU to two NCAA Tournaments in his final three years.

Ivy: 4 teams in regular bracket. Games will be played at Harvard.

The Ivy League probably has the correct format for a smaller conference. Only the top four teams qualify for the conference tournament, meaning the champion is at least one of the league’s deserving teams.

As of today, the interesting part of this league is that five teams are competing for four spots. All tied for third with 5-3 conference records and six games to go are Harvard (16-7), Penn (13-8), and Brown (12-9).

Yale (6-2/18-6) and Princeton (6-2/11-10) are only a game ahead of the other three, and both teams must finish their regular season playing four road games and two home games. So, one of the co-leaders could easily fall to 8-6 or 7-7 in league play and finish fifth.

Harvard hosts the tournament, and the Crimson have four home games and just two road games remaining. But, those four home games are versus the other four contenders.

Dartmouth (2-6/9-14) is three games behind the contenders, but the Mean Green have the perfect remaining schedule with four home games, while their two road games are against the two weakest teams in the league. It isn’t impossible for Dartmouth to finish 7-7, and then hope that two of those 5-3 teams come back to the pack.

Metro Atlantic: 11 teams in regular bracket. Games will be played in Atlantic City, NJ

What we have here is an almost sure trip to Dayton for the Conference Tournament champion. The MAAC is quite weak this year, and the automatic bid will go to a team that will immediately become an underdog in a first round play-in game unless some 20-loss team pulls off a conference tournament upset.

Saint Peter’s (10-5/13-11) has gone 8-2 in their last ten games. Former Seton Hall star Shaheen Holloway is in his second year with the Peacocks, and his team is the best in the league in defense and rebounding. As hot as the Peacocks have been, there is one team even hotter. Siena (9-5/13-10) has won six of their last seven games, and the six wins were by an average of more than 16 points per game. The Saints have been on a three-point shooting tear in this winning streak, hitting 40 of 103 from behind the arc, while limiting opponents to just 29-106.

Mid-American: 12 teams in regular bracket. First round games at higher-seeded teams. Remaining rounds in Cleveland.

This is not a particularly strong year for some Maction. This is a definite one-bid league, while in past years multiple teams have made the Field.
This is also the only league that continues to divide its teams into divisions. At the present time, the East is a bit stronger than the West, as it has the top four teams in the league. Bowling Green (10-3/19-7) has a slim half-game edge over Akron (9-3/19-6), while Kent St. (7-5/17-8) and defending MAC Champ Buffalo (7-5/15-9) are right behind.

In the West, Northern Illinois (8-5/15-11) leads Ball St. (7-5/14-11) by a half-game with Central Michigan (6-5/13-11) another half-game back, with all three teams tied in the loss column.

Akron and Kent St. have played stronger schedules than the rest of these teams, but neither has pulled off a big win. The Zips probably give this league its best chance to compete as a double-digit seed in the second round of the Dance.

Mideastern Athletic: 10 teams in regular bracket. All games will be played in Norfolk, VA

North Carolina Central (8-2/12-12) and Nofolk St. (8-2/12-13) hold slim leads over North Carolina A&T (8-3/12-14) and Florida A&M (8-4/10-13), but FAMU is not eligible this year. This is a league where past history showing the #1 seed winning the conference tournament over half the time, and teams finishing fourth or fifth tending to win most of the other times.

There are three teams in contention for fifth place where a 9-7 conference mark should be sufficient to qualify as that dark horse contender. They are: Morgan St. (7-5/13-14), Bethune-Cookman (6-5/12-13), and South Carolina St, (6-5/11-12).
Should either of the top three teams run the table in the league and the conference tournament, there is a chance they could avoid a play-in game in Dayton.

Missouri Valley: 10 teams in regular bracket. All games will be played in St. Louis (Arch Madness)

This is one of two leagues where the regular season champion could still get an at-large bid if it loses in the conference tournament. Northern Iowa (11-3/22-4) has worked its way up the ladder where if they win out, the Panthers could earn a single-digit seed in the Field of 68. If UNI were to lose in the Valley Championship Game and finish the regular season at 28-5, they will probably steal an at-large bid away from a big league like the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, or Big 12.

Loyola of Chicago (10-4/18-9) isn’t nearly as strong as they were two years ago when they surprised the nation with a Final Four run, but the Ramblers are good enough to beat UNI in the Conference Tournament if they handle the ball well and play tough defense. Both of their regular season games with the Panthers went to overtime, with the teams splitting the two games.

Bradley (9-5/18-9) did not match up well with the two teams above the Braves in the MVC standings, while Southern Illinois (9-5/15-12) lacks the offensive firepower to win three games in three days in March.

Keep an eye on a team coming from off the pace to challenge UNI in the MVC Tournament. Drake, Indiana State, Valparaiso, and Missouri State are all tied at 7-7 in the league. It might be advantageous to finish 6th and avoid UNI until a potential championship game. While Arch Madness is usually won by one of the top two seeds, it has been won from the middle of the pack before.

Northeast: 8 teams in regular bracket. All games will be played at higher-seeds’ home courts. Merrimack is ineligible during their transition to D1, while the bottom two teams of the remaining 10 will be eliminated from the tournament.

The rule forcing transitioning teams to be ineligible for the NCAA Tournament is just plain stupid. The NEC has a dominating team in Merrimack (12-2/18-9), who should at least get a chance to prove themselves with an NIT bid. If a team is good enough to win their conference championship and conference tournament, why punish the team and their league? Merrimack doesn’t have an advantage moving up in classification. It’s understandable that a team moving down might should be punished with ineligibility until all of its former Division 1 players have graduated, but this is a team moving up to D1.

The eventual tournament champion is a sure bet for banishment to Dayton and the play-in game. The contenders are all quite weak and none of these teams should be expected to compete against more athletic play-in opponents. The best of the rest include Robert Morris (11-3/15-12), Saint Francis (PA) (10-4/17-8), and Sacred Heart (9-5/16-11). With a five-game winning streak and the best offense in the league, SFPA should be considered the team to beat.

Ohio Valley: 8 teams playing in a special format in Evansville, IN. The OVC brackets their tournament in a method similar to the finals of the Professional Bowlers Association. First, only the top eight of the 12 league teams qualify for the tournament. In the first round, teams 5-8 play, with the two winners advancing to the quarterfinals to play teams 3-4. The two teams that win this round then advance to the semfinals to play teams 1 and 2, so finishing in the top two gets you a two-round bye to the semifinals.

There are four teams in contention for those two double byes, and this league is strong at the top, but not strong enough to sneak a second team into the field like last year.

Murray St. (12-2/19-7) and Austin Peay (12-2/18-9) have been tough rivals for years in the OVC and have enjoyed their share of success in the NCAA Tournament. Belmont (11-3/20-7) beat Temple in the NCAA Tournament last year, but the Bruins have nearly beaten top-rated teams in the NCAA Tournament before, like when a last second shot nearly missed that would have knocked out Duke. Fourth place Eastern Kentucky (10-4/13-14) has averaged 83.5 points per game in their last nine games, using a pressure defense to come up with a lot of steals and fast break points. The Colonels don’t have the same talent as the other three contenders, but they are likely to come with a reckless abandon attitude, while the others might be a bit tight.

If a team from the back of the pack has a chance, it might be Tennessee State (8-6/16-11). The Tigers have the talent to put it together and as a 5-seed, beat the numbers 8, 4, and 1-seed to get to the Championship Game.

Patriot: 8 teams playing in a regular bracket with the higher seeds hosting all games.

Colgate (11-3/20-7) looked like the class of the field until yesterday, when the Raiders fell second division Loyola of Maryland (5-9/13-14). Colgate also lost twice to Lafayette (8-6/16-9). Second place Boston U (10-4/16-11) has won six of seven, but the Terriers lost twice to Colgate. American (9-5/13-12) is in third, while the aforementioned Lafayette rests in fourth place, which probably irritates Colgate, because that would put the Leopards and Raiders on the same side of the Conference Tournament bracket.

Southern: 10 teams playing in a regular bracket with all games played in Asheville, NC.

This is the other league besides the Missouri Valley where a second team could earn an at-large bid. This league is dangerously good at the top of the standings. East Tennessee (12-2/23-4) won at LSU by double digits. Furman (12-2/22-5) lost in overtime at Auburn. UNC Greensboro (11-3/21-6) has road wins against Georgetown and Vermont as well as a close loss at Kansas. Plus, UNCG plays a very unorthodox defense that is difficult to face the first time. Additionally, the fourth through seventh place teams, all with records of 8-6 or 7-7 in league play (Western Carolina, Wofford, Chattanooga, and Mercer) are strong enough to probably win other Mid-Major leagues like the NEC, Patriot, and Big Sky).

If the two championship game participants include ETSU and either Furman or UNCG, the loser of this game deserves an at-large bid, especially if it is at the expense of a power conference team with a losing conference record.

Southland: 8 teams playing in a regular bracket with all games played in Katy, TX, and the bottom five teams in the standings eliminated from the tournament.

Stephen F. Austin (13-1/22-3) will not get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they do not win the automatic bid, even though the Lumberjacks won at Duke. The rest of their schedule has not been strong enough to allow them this pass. Should they lose in the SLC Tournament, SFA will actually be a team capable of winning the NIT,but that’s not what they want.

Who could possibly upset SFA in the Conference Tournament? The team to watch would be Nicholls State (11-4/17-9). The Colonels full court press the entire game, and nobody wants to face that pressure in pressure-packed games. At 10 steals per game out of 73 possessions, it leaves little room for error for the team that commits a few too many additional turnovers. Opponents turn the ball over better than one out of every four possessions.

Southwest Athletic: 8 teams playing in a regular bracket with first round games at the higher seeded teams’ home courts and all the final two rounds in Birmingham, AL.

If you follow this incredible conference steeped in great history, you are in for quite a treat at this year’s SWAC Tournament, because as many as seven teams have the ability to come through and get the automatic bid. This might be the most exciting tournament from game one to the Championship Game!

Prairie View (9-2/13-11) and Texas Southern (8-3/11-13) lead the pack at the present time. Both teams have played some very good games on the road against heavy favorites, and both have won games that prove they could contend and maybe scare a heavily-ranked team if one of these teams could sneak into a 15-seed.

After the top two, there are five teams tied for third at 7-5 (Grambling, Alcorn St., Jackson St., Southern, and Alabama St.). We believe that Texas Southern gives the SWAC its best chance to win a play-in game as a 16-seed, while Prairie View is the only team capable of sneaking up to a 15-seed.

Summit: 9 teams playing in a regular bracket with all games played in Sioux Falls, SD.

When your conference tournament is played inside the state where two of your league’s top three teams play, the odds are stacked in the favor of the two in-state teams. South Dakota St. (11-2/20-8) has basically become the Kentucky of the Summit League. The Championship comes through Brookings and then Sioux Falls becomes Frost Arena II, where the Jackrabbits have won five of the last eight Summit League Tournaments.

North Dakota State (10-2/19-7) finished behind SDSU last year in the Summit League race, but then the Bison won the Summit Championship, then won their play-in game in the NCAA First Round, and then stayed within single digits of Duke for 30 minutes in the Second Round.

Don’t forget South Dakota (9-4/19-9) or Oral Roberts (7-6/14-12). Both teams can score a lot of points, and a hot streak by either team could see them cutting down the nets.

Sun Belt: 10 teams playing in a special bracket. The first three rounds will be played at the higher-seeded teams’ home courts, while the semifinals and finals will be played in New Orleans. Teams 7-10 only will play in the first round. The two winners will then play at seeds 5-6 in the second round, and the two winners in that round will play at seeds 3-4 in the third round. The top two seeds get byes to the semifinals in New Orleans, so the regular season conference race will be a mad dash to the finish.

The SBC plays a 20-game conference schedule, and with four games to go, Little Rock (12-4/18-9) holds a slim lead over (Georgia St. (11-5/18-9). Texas St. (10-6/17-10) and Georgia Southern (10-6/17-11). Two other teams, South Alabama and Appalachian St., are 9-7 in the league and still in the race for second place.

All these teams have had nights where they played a good Power Conference team close in a loss, but none of these teams have a big win this year. The champion of this league is likely looking at a quick second round exit as a 15-seed.

Western Athletic: 8 teams playing in regular bracket with all games played in Las Vegas. California Baptist is ineligible.

New Mexico State (12-0/21-6) is such a heavy favorite that it would be a bigger upset if they lost in the WAC Tournament than if the New York Knicks won this year’s NBA Championship. The Aggies have won this league three years in a row and seven times in the last eight seasons.

With second place Cal Baptist (7-3/18-7) not eligible, the next best team is Grand Canyon (7-4/12-13) with Texas Rio Grande Valley next at (7-5/11-14).

February 14, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For February 14, 2020

Date

2/14/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Baylor

Gonzaga

Kansas

San Diego St.

2

Duke

Dayton

Louisville

Maryland

3

Seton Hall

Florida St.

West Virginia

Auburn

4

Villanova

Butler

Penn St.

Oregon

5

Kentucky

Creighton

Michigan St.

Colorado

6

Marquette

Iowa

Arizona

LSU

7

Arizona

Rutgers

Wisconsin

Michigan

8

Ohio St.

Texas Tech

Illinois

Houston

9

USC

Purdue

Rhode Island

Saint Mary’s

10

Oklahoma

Florida

Xavier

Wichita St.

11

Stanford

Indiana

Northern Iowa

Arkansas

Virginia

12

East Tennessee St.

Yale

Stephen F. Austin

Cincinnati

Arizona St.

13

Liberty

Vermont

New Mexico St.

North Texas

14

Colgate

Wright St.

Akron

Winthrop

15

Hofstra

Little Rock

Murray St.

UC-Irvine

16

South Dakota St.

Montana

Prairie View

Rider

Robert Morris

Norfolk St.

 

Bubble Contenders

 

69

VCU

70

N. Carolina St.

71

Mississippi St.

72

Utah St.

73

Georgetown

74

Richmond

75

Minnesota

76

Memphis

77

Furman

78

Notre Dame

79

Alabama

80

Tennessee

 

First Four Games

11–seeds: Arkansas vs. Virginia

12–seeds: Cincinnati vs. Arizona St.

16-seeds: Prairie View vs. Robert Morris

16-seeds: Rider vs. Norfolk St.

 

Best PiRate Rating Criteria To Win National Championship

Duke

February 10, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For February 10, 2020

Date

2/10/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Baylor

Gonzaga

Kansas

San Diego St.

2

Duke

Dayton

Louisville

Maryland

3

Seton Hall

Florida St.

West Virginia

Auburn

4

Villanova

Butler

Oregon

Penn St.

5

Kentucky

Michigan St.

Iowa

Creighton

6

LSU

Colorado

Marquette

Illinois

7

Arizona

Rutgers

Wisconsin

Michigan

8

Houston

Texas Tech

BYU

Ohio St.

9

USC

Purdue

Wichita St.

Arkansas

10

Saint Mary’s

Rhode Island

Oklahoma

Florida

11

Xavier

Indiana

Northern Iowa

Stanford

Virginia

12

E. Tennessee St.

Yale

S. F. Austin

Mississippi St.

VCU

13

Liberty

Vermont

New Mexico St.

North Texas

14

Bowling Green

Wright St.

Colgate

Hofstra

15

Winthrop

Little Rock

Murray St.

UC-Irvine

16

South Dakota St.

Montana

Prairie View

Rider

Robert Morris

N. Carolina A&T

The Bubble Contenders

69

Arizona St.

70

Cincinnati

71

Memphis

72

Utah St.

73

Minnesota

74

N. Carolina St.

75

Richmond

76

Syracuse

77

Notre Dame

78

Furman

 

 

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