The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 12, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:00 am

What a week in college basketball!  Villanova, Purdue, Duke, and Purdue lost, while Xavier continued to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat twice more.  The Muskateers are one of just two teams from the Queen City of Ohio that might be in line for a number one seed.

How can Cincinnati still be an under-the-radar team?  Look at this program.  The Bearcats are one of three teams that have made the Final Four five consecutive years (UCLA and Duke).  They have won two national titles and appeared in the Championship Game three times.

This Cinti team leads the nation in scoring margin at 20.6.  No team has finished the season with a +20 margin since Kentucky in 1996.  The Bearcats are catlike quick, and they seldom give up an easy shot.  They lead the nation in field goal percenage defense at 36%, and they dominate on the glass, seldom giving up a second shot.

Coach Mick Cronin has comes from an interesting family tree, learning the college game under Bob Huggins and Rick Pitino.  This is the best UC team since Huggins went to the Final Four with Herb Jones, Anthony Buford, and Nick Van Exel, and it could be the best Bearcat team since Ed Jucker took the school to two National Championships and a near miss third.  There are a lot of similarities between this Bearcat team and the 1962 champions.

What Are The Quadrants

With the release of the top 16 seeds a month before the real Selection Sunday, not much new came out of the committee that we did not already know, except for the fact that they seem to be placing even more emphasis this year on how each team did with quadrant wins and losses.

Our captain has already received numerous emails from friends and acquaintances asking him to explain what these quadrants are, so here is the explanation for all.

In the past, the Committee relied on won-loss records against the top 50, the 51-100 teams, the 101-150, and so on.  This was not as indicative of a team’s ability to play against the top teams in the nation as it could be.  A narrow home win over the number 50 team helped the winner a lot more than a narrow loss on the road to the number 51 team.  Teams could schedule 10 home games against opponents in the 51-100 range and go 8-2 due to home court advantage.  Meanwhile, another team might have to play all its marquee games on the road and go 3-7 against teams in the 51-100 range.  Yet, the second team might be considerably stronger than the homer team.

So, there was a change.  Now, there are four quadrants.  The ranking of the teams in each quadrant are different depending on whether a game against an opponent is at home, on a neutral floor, or on the road.  A quadrant one game is one where the home team faces an opponent ranked 1 to 30; is one where a team playing a neutral site game is facing an opponent ranked 1 to 50; or is one where a team playing a true road game is facing an opponent ranked 1 to 75.  Take a look at each quadrant.

Quadrant #1: At Home: 1-30   Neutral Site: 1-50   Road Game: 1-75

Quadrant #2: At Home: 31-75   Neutral Site: 51-100   Road Game: 76-135

Quadrant #3: At Home: 76-160   Neutral Site: 101-200   Road Game: 136-240

Quadrant #4: At Home: 161-351   Neutral Site: 201-351   Road Game 241-351

Let’s look at two teams on the Bubble, one a mid-major and one a power conference team.

Middle Tennessee State has defeated Michigan State and Minnesota in first round games in the last two NCAA Tournaments.  The Blue Raiders lead Conference USA and are listed at the most likely automatic qualifier from the league.  However, CUSA has three additional tough teams, and winning the CUSA Tournament Championship is far from a given for the Blue Raiders.  Currently at 20-5 overall, MTSU has a 1-3 record in Quadrant 1 games, a 4-1 record in Quadrant 2 games, a 4-1 record in Quadrant 3 games, and a 10-0 record in Quadrant 4 games.  Many so-called experts believe that the Blue Raiders would get in as an at-large team if they lost to Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, or Marshall in the CUSA Championship Game.

Now, let’s look at Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have improved by leaps and bounds since November and early December.  They are 10-4 in the Big Ten, good enough for fourth place, ahead of Michigan.  Yet, the Huskers are deep down on the Bubble and not really a serious contender for an at-large bid on this date.  Why?  First, the Committee does not even look at conference won-loss records.  It may be ridiculous to rule out the fact that Nebraska blew 5th place Michigan off the floor a few weeks ago and at this point of the season are plainly the superior team.  This is not what the Committee will see in the selection room.  What they will see is:

Quadrant 1: 0-6

Quadrant 2: 3-2

Quadrant 3: 7-0

Quadrant 4: 9-0

Comparing Nebraska to Middle Tennessee, the Cornhuskers are just 3-8 in top 2 Quadrant games, while the Blue Raiders are 5-4.  On the type of paper that will count, Middle Tennessee has the better resume.

What this will do is give the Mid-Major powers a better shot at making the field as at-large teams over the power conference teams that would have been sure things a few years ago.  If you are a Nebraska fan, you better hope your Cornhuskers win out to finish the regular season at 14-4 in the Big Ten, and then they win their first Big Ten Tournament game.  Anything short of that, and it’s NIT for Nebraska.

This Week’s Bracketology Gurus Field of 68

Seed Team Conference
1 Villanova B East
1 Virginia ACC
1 Xavier B East
1 Purdue B Ten
2 Kansas B12
2 Auburn SEC
2 Duke ACC
2 Cincinnati AAC
3 Clemson ACC
3 Texas Tech B12
3 North Carolina ACC
3 Michigan St. B Ten
4 Tennessee SEC
4 Ohio St. B Ten
4 Arizona Pac12
4 Oklahoma B12
5 West Virginia B12
5 Rhode Island A-10
5 Texas A&M SEC
5 Gonzaga WCC
6 Kentucky SEC
6 Arizona St. Pac12
6 Wichita St. AAC
6 Florida SEC
7 Seton Hall B East
7 Miami (Fla.) ACC
7 Creighton B East
7 Saint Mary’s WCC
8 Alabama SEC
8 TCU B12
8 Missouri SEC
8 Butler B East
9 Nevada MWC
9 Michigan B Ten
9 Florida St. ACC
9 Arkansas SEC
10 Texas B12
10 Houston AAC
10 Providence B East
10 Washington Pac12
11 Virginia Tech ACC
11 UCLA Pac12
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Louisville ACC
12 Syracuse ACC
12 North Carolina St. ACC
12 Kansas St. B12
13 Vermont A East
13 East Tennessee St. SoCon
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 South Dakota Summit
14 Murray St. OVC
14 Charleston CAA
14 Rider MAAC
14 Montana B Sky
15 UCSB B West
15 Northern Kentucky Horizon
15 Bucknell Patriot
15 Wagner NEC
16 Florida GCU A Sun
16 UNC-Asheville B Sth
16 Harvard Ivy
16 SE Louisiana SLC
16 North Carolina A&T MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC
 # Bubble Teams Out Conference
69 Temple AAC
70 USC Pac12
71 Boise State MWC
72 Mississippi State SEC
74 St. Bonaventure A-10
75 Baylor B12
76 Maryland B Ten
77 Nebraska B Ten
78 Western Kentucky CUSA

First Four Games in Dayton

Louisville vs. Kansas St.

Syracuse vs. North Carolina St.

Harvard vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Southeast Louisiana vs. North Carolina A&T

Last Four Byes



Virginia Tech





February 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 5, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:34 pm
Seed Team Conf.
1 Villanova BE
1 Virginia ACC
1 Purdue BTen
1 Xavier BE
2 Auburn SEC
2 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Clemson ACC
3 Michigan St. BTen
3 Texas Tech B12
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Tennessee SEC
4 Oklahoma B12
4 North Carolina ACC
4 Arizona P12
4 Kentucky SEC
5 Ohio St. BTen
5 West Virginia B12
5 Rhode Island A10
5 Seton Hall BE
6 Gonzaga WCC
6 Saint Mary’s WCC
6 Miami (Fla.) ACC
6 Creighton BE
7 Wichita St. AAC
7 Butler BE
7 Florida St. ACC
7 Nevada MWC
8 Florida SEC
8 Texas B12
8 Michigan BTen
8 Alabama SEC
9 TCU B12
9 Arizona St. P12
9 Louisville ACC
9 Texas A&M SEC
10 Missouri SEC
10 Washington P12
10 Providence BE
10 USC P12
11 Houston AAC
11 Arkansas SEC
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 N. C. St. ACC
12 Virginia Tech ACC
12 Boise St. MWC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 Vermont AE
13 East Tennessee St. Sou
13 South Dakota St. Sum
14 Belmont OVC
14 Montana BSky
14 Northern Kentucky Hor
14 Charleston CAA
15 UCSB BWest
15 Rider MAAC
15 Bucknell Pat
15 Fla. Gulf Coast ASun
16 Wagner NEC
16 Penn Ivy
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 UNC-Asheville BSth
16 N.C. A&T MEAC
16 Ark.-Pine Bluff SWAC

Bubble Teams on the Outside, Looking In

69 UCLA P12
70 Temple AAC
73 Western Kentucky CUSA
74 Syracuse ACC
75 St. Bonaventure A10
76 Georgia SEC
77 Marquette BE
78 Mississippi State SEC
79 Maryland BTen
80 Utah P12
81 South Carolina SEC
82 Oklahoma State B12
83 Nebraska BTen


Last Four In–Headed To Dayton

North Carolina St. vs. Kansas St.

Virginia Tech vs. Boise St.

Last Four Byes






February 2, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 3-4, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:49 am

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

For Multi-Bid  Leagues

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut Cincinnati -13.7
Central Florida Houston -3.0
East Carolina Memphis -6.4
St. John’s Duke -11.4
North Carolina St. Notre Dame 0.6
Wake Forest Clemson -4.1
Virginia Tech Miami (Fla.) 3.1
Syracuse Virginia -6.7
Louisville Florida St. 3.3
North Carolina Pittsburgh 21.9
Kansas Oklahoma St. 13.8
TCU Texas Tech 1.7
West Virginia Kansas St. 8.4
Texas Oklahoma 1.2
Baylor Iowa St. 8.6
Butler DePaul 12.9
Marquette Providence 4.9
Xavier Georgetown 15.4
Michigan Minnesota 9.7
Rutgers Purdue -16.9
Penn St. Iowa 6.7
Indiana Michigan St. -10.2
Wyoming Fresno St. 1.6
San Jose St. New Mexico -9.0
Boise St. UNLV 6.3
Colorado St. Nevada -13.3
San Diego St. Air Force 18.2
Stanford Oregon -0.5
California Oregon St. -4.2
Washington Arizona -5.8
Missouri Kentucky 1.6
Texas A&M South Carolina 8.3
LSU Arkansas 0.2
Florida Alabama 7.6
Tennessee Ole Miss 12.1
Mississippi St. Georgia 2.8
Auburn Vanderbilt 12.8
Portland Loyola Marymount 1.1
San Diego Saint Mary’s -8.3
Gonzaga BYU 12.1
Pepperdine Pacific -6.1
Santa Clara San Francisco -4.1
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Tulsa -9.8
Tulane Temple -2.1
Boston College Georgia Tech 5.7
Villanova Seton Hall 14.0
Ohio St. Illinois 11.7
Maryland Wisconsin 9.7
Washington St. Arizona St. -9.5

Note: As of last night’s games, with both Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky winning big road contests, Conference USA actually moved into multi-bid league status.  We apologize for not including CUSA games in this week’s preview, but if both MTSU and WKU win this weekend and mid-week, then CUSA will be included in next Friday’s preview.

Additionally, Boise State fell from at-large status into one of the First Four out, so the Mountain West Conference should not be included as a multiple bid league.  The update occurred after this week’s games had been rated and placed in our database.  If the MWC is still just a one for sure bid league next Friday, we will remove it from our preview, thus trading CUSA for MWC.  If neither or both leagues remain in the multiple bid leagues, we will cancel both or include both in next Friday’s preview, depending on the outcomes through next Thursday night.

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.4 BTEN
3 Duke 120.2 ACC
4 Virginia 119.2 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
6 Kansas 117.5 B12
7 Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Xavier 115.2 BIGE
10 North Carolina 115.1 ACC
11 Auburn 114.9 SEC
12 Tennessee 114.8 SEC
13 West Virginia 114.4 B12
14 Texas Tech 114.4 B12
15 Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
16 Creighton 113.5 BIGE
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Arizona 113.1 PAC12
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
21 Oklahoma 112.9 B12
22 Clemson 112.8 ACC
23 Nevada 112.4 MWC
24 Butler 112.4 BIGE
25 Florida St. 112.4 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
UCF 104.3 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Tulane 100.2 AAC
Memphis 100.0 AAC
Connecticut 99.7 AAC
East Carolina 90.6 AAC
South Florida 89.5 AAC
Duke 120.2 ACC
Virginia 119.2 ACC
North Carolina 115.1 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.4 ACC
Louisville 111.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.8 ACC
Syracuse 108.5 ACC
North Carolina St. 107.4 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 103.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.7 ACC
Kansas 117.5 B12
West Virginia 114.4 B12
Texas Tech 114.4 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.9 B12
Texas 110.6 B12
Kansas St. 110.0 B12
Baylor 109.9 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.2 B12
Iowa St. 104.8 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.2 BIGE
Creighton 113.5 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.7 BIGE
Marquette 109.1 BIGE
Providence 107.7 BIGE
St. John’s 105.3 BIGE
Georgetown 103.3 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 121.4 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.2 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.1 BTEN
Nebraska 107.3 BTEN
Northwestern 107.2 BTEN
Minnesota 106.0 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.2 BTEN
Indiana 105.2 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.0 BTEN
Rutgers 101.5 BTEN
Nevada 112.4 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
San Diego St. 107.8 MWC
UNLV 105.6 MWC
Fresno St. 104.8 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 101.3 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.1 MWC
San Jose St. 90.4 MWC
Arizona 113.1 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.1 PAC12
USC 109.7 PAC12
UCLA 108.1 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.9 PAC12
Washington 103.8 PAC12
Stanford 103.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 98.6 PAC12
California 95.0 PAC12
Auburn 114.9 SEC
Tennessee 114.8 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Missouri 110.1 SEC
Alabama 108.2 SEC
Georgia 107.2 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.0 SEC
LSU 107.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.5 SEC
Mississippi 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
BYU 107.4 WCC
San Diego 101.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.5 WCC
Pacific 98.9 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.7 WCC
Portland 92.8 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 89.8 WCC

The PiRates Are Adjusting How We Look For Buried Treasure

The PiRate Ratings began and operated for years as a college and pro football prediction establishment.  The ratings themselves began in October of 1969 and have operated continuously since.  In 1978-79, basketball ratings were added, and from 1980-2009, the PiRates did some horse racing prognosticating.  In all this time, however, it was an added filler that actually became our most patronized product we have publicly issued, be it in print or radio.

Our March Madness Bracket Picking guides have annually dwarfed all others, be it in the number of readers to this site, the number of responses from our historic newspaper presence, or the number of responses to our historic radio presence (and in one case to our sponsor, when one team’s fans threatened to boycott the adult beverage because our leader picked their rival to win the rivalry game).

We back-tested all the past Final Four and National Champions for the years where we had statistical data to identify the fingerprint statistics that might help us forecast future Final Four and National Championship teams.  We identified some consistent stats and discovered that some stats had little or no bearing.

For instance, we discovered that for most years, teams that scored a very high percentage of their points at the foul line tended to lose with more frequency as the rounds progressed.  We surmised that a lesser number of fouls were called in the bigger games, and the teams that got this far that were not great foul shooting teams got to where they were because they were dominant in other areas.  It just so happened that these other areas were the consistent ones that produced the champions.

We wanted to come up with a statistic that could be used to represent what has helped teams dominate in NCAA Tournament play.  We began refining this data over the years.

When our captain became a baseball metric specialist and started researching advanced analytics, he learned what many others had already learned.  What may work to determine the regular season division winners may not work in the playoffs.  Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane was quoted as saying (expletive altered), “My stuff doesn’t work in the playoffs.”

Beane was onto something, or in other words, it was plain to see that Oakland’s “Moneyball” ways produced 100-wins in the regular season, but it did not work in the playoffs, since the Athletics never won the pennant.  Forget for a minute that his predecessor Sandy Alderson actually began the advanced statistical age in Oakland, and he won three consecutive AL Pennants using a computer program to help determine some strategies.  Let’s look at why Moneyball issues do not work in the playoffs.

  1. On base percentage is superior to batting average, but in order to draw walks, the pitcher must throw pitches outside the strike zone.  In 130 out of 162 regular season games, a team might face pitching that would throw enough balls outside of the strike zone to walk four times per game.  However, in the playoffs, this team is more likely to face pitchers like Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, Clayton Kershaw, and Steven Strasburg.  These guys will paint the corners and force batters to either swing or walk back to the dugout rather than to first base.
  2. The sacrifice hit, hit and run, stolen base, and taking an extra base on singles and doubles may not be the most intelligent way to score runs in the regular season when again, 130 out of 162 games may present better ways to score runs by getting men on and hitting three-run homers.  However, try to wait for that three-run homer against Strasburg, Kluber, Sale, or Carrasco and see how far that gets you.  You are likely to lose 3-2 more than get that three-run tater.  Many people understand that giving up one of just 27 outs to advance a runner one base is foolish–most of the time.  If you are playing for one run in the eighth or ninth inning and have a runner on 2nd with no outs, it is the right thing to do to bunt the runner over to third.  Also, when the batter is facing a dominant pitcher, and the expected on base average for this batter against this pitcher is far south of what his normal OBA is, then it may also be the smarter option to bunt a runner up a base rather than risk a non-productive out or worse a GIDP.
  3. Relief pitching changes in the playoffs, especially the World Series.  In actuality, managers more intelligently use their best reliever when leverage is the highest, even if that is with two outs in the fifth inning.  Rather than bring in the top ace to protect a 3-run lead in the ninth, managers are more likely to use that ace in a one-run game in earlier innings.  Under Beane in the height of the Moneyball years where the A’s made the playoffs and lost, Oakland never invested a lot in a true stopper.  The numbers said that just about any above-average reliever could get 35 saves coming into the game in the ninth inning protecting a two or three-run lead.  In the playoffs, when Oakland needed the next Rollie Fingers, Paul Lindblad, Bob Locker, or Darold Knowles, or the next Dennis Eckersley, and they needed that stopper to stop a rally in the 6th inning, he wasn’t on the roster.

What does this have to do with March Madness, you may ask?  Plenty, we respond.  In basketball, the Four Factors have come to represent some of the best statistical analysis that can reveal the superior teams over the inferior teams.  During the regular season, these stats may show that State U is a top 25 team and should be no worse than a 5-seed in the Big Dance.  Then, this team gets a 4 or 5-seed in the tournament and goes up against a 12 or 13-seed that dominated a mid-major conference during the regular season.  This underdog possesses some of the dominating stats that work in the tournament, while the big team from the big conference does not.  And, lo and behold, the underdog upsets the favorite, making the sports media talk about how so many 12-seeds beat 5-seeds, like it is a curse.

Never once did these media experts consider that the reason the 12-seeds beat the 5-seeds much more often than normal is because these 12-seeds would beat these 5-seeds 7 times out of 10.  In other words, they are not really upsets.  They are indicators that the people that set the seeds are doing a poor job.

So, by now, you must be anxious to see what these special stats are that help us determine what works in the playoffs.  The answer is: The PiRate R+T Rating.

Huh?  What is the R+T Rating?  If you have followed our site for a long enough time, you have seen the R+T used since the 2000 NCAA Tournament.  It has been refined through the years, sort of like how weighted on-base average goes through refinements based on each season’s environments.

At the present time, our R+T rating is:

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T

R = Rebounding Margin per game

S = Average Steals per game

T= Turnover Margin per game

This formula translates into the number of extra scoring opportunities a team should be expected to gain over an average team.  It took hours of backtesting to refine it to the point where the result represented a real number that estimated the number of “cheap” points a team might be expected to receive over an average team.

It looks simple enough. If one team has a large rebounding edge in a game, they will benefit with an extra number of shots.  Depending on whether the advantage is at the offensive or defensive end, or both, limiting shots to one per possession and getting putbacks on the offensive end can create spurts in games that turn close contests into blowouts.

Turnover margin is not as important as rebounding margin except for when the turnover comes by way of a steal.  If the opponent turns the ball over due to travelling or stepping out of bounds or committing a charge, the opponent does not immediately see a benefit.  It ends the opponents’ possession, but it does not lead to fast break opportunities or the ability to tip the ball in the basket from a couple feet away.

When a team steals the ball, however, this is the absolute best extra possession.  Most steals come when the defense gains possession of the ball while their players are facing their basket, and the team turning the ball over has their back to that basket.  Almost all steals immediately present a number’s advantage for the team gaining possession.  If it is 2 on 1 or 3 on 2, this is like having a 3-0 count as a batter with the bases loaded.  Even if the steal results in a 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, the team with the ball has the advantage, since any even strength less than 5 on 5 favors the offense in basketball.

This is what the R+T represents.  A steal and rebound counts more than a turnover or lack of a turnover, but the turnover has value too.

How do we interpret R+T?  We have levels of interpretation.

If a team has an R+T rating of 20 or better, this is a potentially dangerous tournament team.  In a tight, evenly matched game, a team with a 20+ R+T rating has a huge advantage over a team with an average R+T rating.  At crunch time, a crucial steal or offensive rebound resulting in a basket can be the difference.

An R+T rating of 15-20 is a good rating, and a team with a rating in this range has Sweet 16 potential and maybe Elite 8 potential.

An R+T rating of 10-15 is average for an NCAA Tournament team.  Unless this team is outstanding in other areas such as field goal percentage margin, they probably do not have the necessary talent to make it past the Sweet 16.  There have been teams that made the Final Four with R+T ratings in  this range, but most of the time, they got there because they played opponents with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 5-10 range might win a game or even sneak into the Sweet 16, but they should not be expected to go any farther.  It is unlikely that a team in this range will face three consecutive teams with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 0-5 range does not have the goods to make it to the second weekend of the tournament.  Favored teams in this range playing underdogs with double-digit R+T ratings are prime to be “upset.”

And, when you see a team with a negative R+T, treat this team like you would treat a race horse with “four white socks.”

There is an old poem about horses wearing white socks (hooves), as it was generally believed, rightly or wrongly, that white hooves were a sign of weakness in a horse.  If we remember correctly it goes:

One white sock, keep him to the end.

Two white socks, give him to a friend.

Three white socks, send him far away.

Four white socks, keep him not a day.

A team with a negative R+T rating has four white socks.  Pick them not a game.  Teams with negative R+T ratings almost always lose in the Round of 64, even if they are a 2-seed playing a 15-seed.  There was a year where three heavily favored teams from power conferences but with negative R+T ratings played three double-digit seeds from mid-major conferences but with good R+T ratings.  All three heavily favored teams lost.

Do you remember in 2013 when Florida Gulf Coast made Andy Enfield famous for something more than his fantastic spouse, when his 15th-seeded Eagles clobbered second-seed Georgetown?  FGCU had a fat R+T rating, while the Hoyas had a negative R+T rating.

Let’s look at this statistic in tabular form with several potential NCAA Tournament teams.  These numbers represent only the stats from conference games for each team, thus eliminating games where a power conference team beat a low-major team by 35 points and padded their stats.

Team Reb. Stl. Opp Stl. TO R+T  Conf.
Alabama -0.1 7.7 6.7 -0.3 2.7 1
Arizona 6.1 4.8 5.7 -0.2 14.7 5
Auburn -0.3 8.1 5.8 4.4 8.1 1
Buffalo 4.1 6.9 4.8 2.4 15.3 13
Cincinnati 9.1 7.1 5.1 3.1 25.8 7
Clemson -1.9 5.4 6.4 -0.5 -2.0 2
Duke 6.9 7.8 5.7 -0.1 17.9 2
East Tennessee 7.7 6.8 5.6 0.2 19.4 17
Florida -3.6 5.2 3.3 3.0 1.1 1
Florida St. 3.6 5.5 5.8 0.0 10.2 2
Gonzaga 10.5 5.7 4.9 2.6 27.6 11
Kansas -5.2 5.8 5.7 0.3 -6.9 3
Kansas St. -8.0 8.3 6.0 3.0 -8.9 3
Kentucky 2.0 5.7 5.1 -1.7 6.1 1
UL-Lafayette 10.2 7.9 5.7 1.1 25.8 23
Louisville 1.6 7.9 7.3 2.1 8.0 2
Loyola (Chi.) 0.8 7.4 5.7 2.2 7.8 9
Miami (Fla.) 0.9 7.6 6.3 1.6 6.9 2
Michigan -0.5 5.1 4.7 3.2 6.1 6
Michigan St. 9.0 3.5 4.8 -4.5 16.5 6
Middle Tennessee 10.0 5.5 6.2 -0.9 21.7 14
Montana 4.5 8.8 4.1 4.3 19.6 20
Nevada -1.2 7.3 4.4 4.8 7.7 10
New Mexico St. 11.5 4.3 5.3 1.7 27.6 15
North Carolina 9.9 5.5 5.7 -1.2 21.7 2
North Carolina St. 0.9 6.8 6.0 1.6 6.8 2
Ohio St. 6.0 5.8 3.9 0.0 17.0 6
Oklahoma 1.6 6.3 7.8 -3.2 1.4 3
Oregon 1.8 6.7 4.8 0.7 8.9 5
Purdue 1.9 5.5 5.4 1.5 8.7 6
Rhode Island 1.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 12.1 8
Saint Mary’s 6.4 5.8 6.3 -0.7 14.7 11
South Dakota St. 2.9 5.1 4.4 -0.2 9.8 16
USC -1.4 8.0 4.7 7.0 9.5 5
SMU -0.7 8.4 4.0 2.8 7.6 7
Tennessee 1.4 6.0 5.7 0.7 6.8 1
Texas Tech 5.1 6.2 6.7 0.6 13.2 3
UCLA -0.1 6.1 4.9 0.5 4.5 5
Villanova -3.2 6.7 4.3 3.6 2.3 4
Virginia -2.9 8.3 4.1 6.2 6.5 2
Virginia Tech -6.4 6.4 5.8 1.4 -8.0 2
West Virginia 2.8 6.9 6.0 2.3 11.4 3
Wichita St. 9.3 4.9 6.1 0.8 21.8 7

There are a couple of extra things to add to this discussion before you receive your BS in R+Tology.  Most of you by now have thought that it is a lot easier for New Mexico State to dominate in the WAC than it is for Kansas to dominate in the Big 12.  Beating Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Texas Tech is a lot harder than beating Chicago State, Missouri-Kansas City, and Seattle.  Definitely, the strength of the conference must be factored into this equation.  In the last column above, you see a number under the heading of “conf.”  This represents the rating of conferences by strength.  As of today, the SEC is the toughest league in college basketball.  The ACC is number two; the Big 12 is number three; and so on.  The WAC is number 15.  There are 31 Division One conferences, so 15 is about average, while the SEC and ACC are many points better than an average conference.

We do handicap these ratings when we do our March Madness picking.  An ACC team with an R+T rating of 15 is better than a Colonial Athletic Association team with an R+T rating of 23.  A SWAC team with an R+T rating of 7 is like a Big 12 team with a negative R+T rating.

One final adjustment.  When looking at the components of the R+T ratings, notice whether a team’s components are all positive numbers.  In other words, look to see if a team has positive rebounding margins, positive turnover margins (commit less than they force), averages more than 6 steals per game and who limits opponents steals to less than 6 per game.  This is the sign of a complete team, and complete teams frequently beat teams with superior R+T ratings when the other team is not a complete team.

Let’s look at two examples from above.

Dan Hurley has done a great job at Rhode Island, and the Rams are a “complete team.”  They have a positive rebounding margin.  They average more than 6 steals per game and give up less than 6 steals per game, and they have a really nice turnover margin.  Their R+T rating is 12.1, and the Atlantic 10 conference is rated #8.  URI is definitely Sweet 16-worthy with these stats before we begin to look at other factors like shooting percentages and defensive shooting percentages.

Now, let’s look at Michigan State.  The Spartans have a 16.5 R+T rating from the number 6 conference.  However, Sparty averages only 3.5 steals per game and have a negative turnover margin of 4.5.  This is a real warning sign for bracket-pickers.  MSU will dominate on the boards in a matchup against Rhode Island, but the Rams will even up that advantage with a large turnover margins against the Spartans.  If both teams shoot a similar percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line, you have a toss-up game.

Michigan State saw how this lack of being complete hurt them in the past.  In the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Spartans faced a Middle Tennessee State team that excelled in turnover margin and steals.  The Blue Raiders basically were much quicker than Michigan State, and this is why their turnover margin was so excellent.  They could pressure the ball and play in the passing lanes without giving up easy baskets.  MTSU pulled off the upset thanks to turnover margin equalizing the rebounding margin of their opponent.  The Blue Raiders’ quickness led to a lot of open shots, while Michigan State’s power game did not produce an equivalent number of open shots.  MTSU took MSU out of its game plan and forced the tempo, turning this into a 70-possession game.  Michigan State preferred a 60-64 possession game, and those extra 6-10 possessions per side helped the underdog team.

It is not always this cut and dried.  Other factors have to be considered, and this is where the PiRate Ratings have made substantial changes starting this year.  In past years, we did not give a lot of support to excellent three-point shooting teams, because we favored teams that could get shots from within 5 feet of the basket.  During the last three or four years, the three-point shot has become much more important, essential if you will.  The Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams now rely on advanced analytical data almost as much as Major League Baseball teams.  Three-point shooting has been determined to be as vital as having the relief ace that can enter the World Series in the 6th inning and get six high-leverage outs.  The PiRate Bracket-picking protocol has now incorporated true shooting percentages with R+T ratings and conference strength to refine our ratings.

The game has come down to whether a team can be expected to shoot a certain percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line and whether they can be expected to get extra scoring opportunities.  A combination of these two basic factors will be how we handicap games in the future.  Of course, we will handicap the two factors based on conference strength.

When you look at our spreads each week, you are looking at an algorithm that incorporates and handicaps due to conference strength, expected true shooting percentages and scoring opportunities








January 26, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 27-28, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:16 am

Spreads For Major Conference Games This Weekend

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Memphis Cincinnati -13.8
North Carolina North Carolina St. 12.2
Duke Virginia 5.0
Florida St. Miami (Fla.) 3.8
Pittsburgh Syracuse -9.6
Notre Dame Virginia Tech 4.8
Louisville Wake Forest 9.8
South Carolina Texas Tech -4.2
Florida Baylor 5.4
Texas Ole Miss 7.4
Kansas St. Georgia 7.8
Alabama Oklahoma -1.7
Iowa St. Tennessee -5.2
Vanderbilt TCU -4.9
Kansas Texas A&M 10.0
Arkansas Oklahoma St. 7.4
West Virginia Kentucky 8.8
Butler St. John’s 8.5
Creighton Georgetown 14.5
Penn St. Rutgers 9.0
Nebraska Iowa 4.7
San Jose St. Wyoming -9.7
Fresno St. Utah St. 7.6
New Mexico Colorado St. 9.4
Air Force Boise St. -13.2
UNLV San Diego St. 0.2
Arizona Utah 10.2
Arizona St. Colorado 12.1
Oregon Oregon St. 7.9
UCLA Stanford 7.5
Auburn LSU 9.5
Mississippi St. Missouri -1.0
Loyola Marymount San Diego -3.9
Pepperdine Santa Clara 1.4
Gonzaga San Francisco 20.0
BYU Pacific 12.7
Saint Mary’s Portland 23.0
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
SMU East Carolina 22.6
Houston South Florida 24.1
Wichita St. Tulsa 16.1
Temple Connecticut 7.1
Georgia Tech Clemson -6.9
Marquette Villanova -9.0
DePaul Seton Hall -5.0
Maryland Michigan St. -5.4
Indiana Purdue -13.6
USC California 17.9
Washington Washington St. 6.4

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.7 BTEN
3 Duke 120.0 ACC
4 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
5 Virginia 119.0 ACC
6 Cincinnati 117.2 AAC
7 Kansas 117.0 B12
8 Gonzaga 116.7 WCC
9 West Virginia 116.2 B12
10 North Carolina 115.9 ACC
11 Xavier 115.4 BIGE
12 Texas Tech 114.5 B12
13 Wichita St. 114.4 AAC
14 Auburn 114.0 SEC
15 Creighton 114.0 BIGE
16 Oklahoma 113.5 B12
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Tennessee 113.4 SEC
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Arizona 112.9 PAC12
21 Clemson 112.8 ACC
22 Florida St. 112.6 ACC
23 Saint Mary’s 112.5 WCC
24 Nevada 112.3 MWC
25 Florida 112.3 SEC

Note: Rhode Island from the Atlantic 10 Conference is #27, but no other A-10 team is in line for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.  Thus, the A-10 stays as a one-bid league if URI wins the automatic bid by winning the A-10 Tournament title.  If a second team should make it into serious Bubble contention, then we will commence with A-10 expanded coverage.

Also, the Mountain West Conference is in danger of being removed from this list.  While Nevada remains in the top 25 and looks like a near lock to make the NCAA Tournament with or without an automatic bid, the Wolfpack’s nearest competition, Boise State and San Diego State, have fallen back enough to be remote at-large candidates.  Should the Broncos and Aztecs fall off that Bubble, we will remove the Mountain West Conference as a Major.

PiRate Ratings by Major Conference 

Cincinnati 117.2 AAC
Wichita St. 114.4 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.9 AAC
UCF 104.4 AAC
Temple 104.2 AAC
Tulsa 101.8 AAC
Tulane 100.7 AAC
Connecticut 100.6 AAC
Memphis 99.9 AAC
East Carolina 90.8 AAC
South Florida 89.7 AAC
Duke 120.0 ACC
Virginia 119.0 ACC
North Carolina 115.9 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.6 ACC
Miami FL 111.8 ACC
Notre Dame 111.6 ACC
Louisville 111.3 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.8 ACC
North Carolina St. 106.7 ACC
Boston College 105.6 ACC
Wake Forest 105.0 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.9 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.2 ACC
Kansas 117.0 B12
West Virginia 116.2 B12
Texas Tech 114.5 B12
Oklahoma 113.5 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Kansas St. 110.7 B12
Baylor 110.4 B12
Texas 110.2 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.6 B12
Iowa St. 104.7 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.4 BIGE
Creighton 114.0 BIGE
Butler 110.9 BIGE
Seton Hall 110.9 BIGE
Marquette 109.7 BIGE
Providence 108.2 BIGE
St. John’s 105.9 BIGE
Georgetown 103.0 BIGE
DePaul 102.9 BIGE
Purdue 121.7 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.3 BTEN
Maryland 110.4 BTEN
Penn St. 108.6 BTEN
Northwestern 107.0 BTEN
Nebraska 106.5 BTEN
Minnesota 106.5 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.7 BTEN
Iowa 105.3 BTEN
Indiana 105.1 BTEN
Illinois 104.3 BTEN
Rutgers 102.6 BTEN
Nevada 112.3 MWC
Boise St. 109.0 MWC
San Diego St. 108.3 MWC
UNLV 105.5 MWC
Fresno St. 105.3 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
Colorado St. 96.5 MWC
Air Force 92.8 MWC
San Jose St. 89.7 MWC
Arizona 112.9 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.3 PAC12
USC 109.6 PAC12
UCLA 107.8 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.2 PAC12
Stanford 103.8 PAC12
Washington 103.1 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 99.7 PAC12
California 95.2 PAC12
Auburn 114.0 SEC
Tennessee 113.4 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 111.4 SEC
Arkansas 111.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.0 SEC
Missouri 109.9 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
LSU 108.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.8 SEC
Georgia 106.4 SEC
Mississippi 106.3 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.9 SEC
Vanderbilt 104.7 SEC
Gonzaga 116.7 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.5 WCC
BYU 107.7 WCC
San Diego 101.2 WCC
San Francisco 99.7 WCC
Pacific 98.5 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.3 WCC
Portland 92.5 WCC
Santa Clara 92.3 WCC
Pepperdine 90.7 WCC

PiRate Ratings Take on the Current 68

Beginning next week, we hope to commence with our 2018 March Madness Bracket Gurus report.  We have received the go ahead from 11 of our 12 gurus saying they will be ready to send us their selections on Monday or Tuesday each week for the rest of the season.  We have not been able to establish contact with Guru #12 this year, so we are in the market for a 12th Guru.  We have feelers sent out to a couple of reputable bracketologists hoping to get back to a dozen.

Until then, here is our personal take on 68 teams.

America East–1: Vermont 7-0/17-5

AAC–4: Cincinnati 7-0/18-2, Wichita St. 6-2/16-4, Houston 5-2/15-4, SMU 4-4/14-7

Atlantic 10–1: Rhode Island 8-0/16-3

ACC–8: Virginia 8-0/19-1, Duke 6-2/18-2, North Carolina 5-3/16-5, Clemson 5-3/16-4, Louisville 5-2/15-5, Miami (Fla.) 4-3/15-4, Florida St. 4-4/15-5, Notre Dame 3-4/13-7

Atlantic Sun–1: Florida Gulf Coast 6-0/15-8

Big 12–7: Kansas 6-2/16-4, Oklahoma 5-3/15-4, West Virginia 5-3/16-4, Texas Tech 5-3/16-4, Kansas St. 5-3/15-5, TCU 3-5/15-5, Texas 4-4/13-7

Big East–7: Villanova 6-1/19-1, Xavier 7-2/19-3, Creighton 6-3/16-5, Seton Hall 4-3/15-5, Butler 4-4/14-7, Providence 5-3/14-7, Marquette 4-4/13-7

Big Sky–1: Montana 8-0/15-5

Big South–1: Radford 7-2/14-8

Big Ten–4: Purdue 9-0/20-2, Michigan St. 6-2/18-3, Ohio St. 9-1/18-5, Michigan 6-4/17-6

Big West–1: Hawaii 4-1/13-5

Colonial–1: Northeastern 7-2/14-7

Conference USA–1: Middle Tennessee 7-1/15-5

Horizon–1: Northern Kentucky 7-1/14-6

Ivy–1: Penn 3-0/12-6

MAAC–1: Canisius 7-1/13-8

MAC–1: Buffalo 7-0/15-5

MEAC–1: Bethune-Cookman 5-0/11-9

Missouri Valley–1: Loyola (Chi.) 7-2/17-4

Mountain West–2: Nevada 7-1/18-4, Boise St. 7-2/17-4

Northeast–1: Wagner 6-2/13-6

Ohio Valley–1: Belmont 8-1/16-6

Pac-12–3: Arizona 7-1/17-4, Arizona St. 3-5/15-5, USC 7-2/16-6

Patriot–1: Bucknell 8-1/14-8

SEC–8: Auburn 6-1/18-2, Tennessee 5-3/14-5, Florida 6-2/14-6, Kentucky 5-3/15-5, Alabama 5-3/13-7, Arkansas 4-4/14-6, Missouri 3-4/13-7, Texas A&M 2-6/13-7

Southern–1: East Tennessee 8-0/17-4

Southland–1: Stephen F. Austin 5-2/16-4

SWAC–1: Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7-0/7-14

Summit–1: South Dakota 6-1/18-5

Sun Belt–1: Louisiana-LaFayette 8-0/18-3

West Coast–2: Saint Mary’s 9-0/20-2, Gonzaga 8-1/18-4

WAC–1: New Mexico St. 5-0/17-3

Last 4 In (headed to Dayton in a First 4 Game)

Notre Dame vs. Boise St.

Kansas St. vs. USC

#16 Seeds headed to Dayton in a First 4 Game

Wagner vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Penn vs. Radford

5 Double Digit Mid-Major Seeds No Single Digit Seed Wants to Play 

New Mexico St.

Middle Tennessee or Western Kentucky


East Tennessee St.



5 Final Four Dark Horses (lower than 4 seed)


Wichita St.

Saint Mary’s



The Bubble On the Outside Looking In

69 Syracuse

70 Georgia

71 Washington

72 Western Kentucky (or Middle Tennessee if WKU wins automatic bid)

73 Baylor

74 Maryland

75 North Carolina St.

76 Oklahoma St.




January 12, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 13-14, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 1:20 pm

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads of Major Conference Games

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Tulane Connecticut 3.8
Temple Memphis 10.2
South Florida Cincinnati -22.9
Tulsa Wichita St. -11.6
Duke Wake Forest 17.3
Florida St. Syracuse 7.6
Pittsburgh Georgia Tech -2.8
Clemson Miami (Fla.) 4.4
Louisville Virginia Tech 3.9
Notre Dame North Carolina 0.5
Kansas Kansas St. 12.0
Oklahoma TCU 5.6
Texas Tech West Virginia 4.8
Iowa St. Baylor -4.1
Oklahoma St. Texas 0.0
Seton Hall Georgetown 11.6
Xavier Creighton 2.2
St. John’s Villanova -12.5
Michigan St. Michigan 10.2
Minnesota Purdue -8.3
Wyoming Colorado St. 8.2
San Jose St. Air Force 0.8
Fresno St. New Mexico 5.9
Nevada Utah St. 14.6
Boise St. San Diego St. 3.3
Arizona Oregon 8.9
Washington St. California 5.6
Arizona St. Oregon St. 15.3
Washington Stanford 4.5
UCLA Colorado 10.5
Ole Miss Florida -5.0
Georgia South Carolina 4.9
Mississippi St. Auburn -3.3
Vanderbilt Kentucky -4.1
Tennessee Texas A&M 4.7
Arkansas Missouri 4.9
LSU Alabama 3.8
Pepperdine Saint Mary’s -17.3
San Francisco Gonzaga -13.5
Santa Clara BYU -10.4
San Diego Loyola Marymount 11.2
Portland Pacific -2.5
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
East Carolina Houston -17.2
Virginia North Carolina St. 14.7
Indiana Northwestern 0.6
Rutgers Ohio St. -6.0
USC Utah 5.6

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.1 BIGE
2 Purdue 120.0 BTEN
3 Duke 119.7 ACC
4 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
5 Kansas 117.6 B12
6 Virginia 117.5 ACC
7 Gonzaga 117.2 WCC
8 Texas Tech 116.9 B12
9 North Carolina 116.2 ACC
10 Cincinnati 116.0 AAC
11 Wichita St. 116.0 AAC
12 West Virginia 115.6 B12
13 Creighton 115.0 BIGE
14 Oklahoma 114.8 B12
15 Xavier 113.7 BIGE
16 Tennessee 113.2 SEC
17 Arizona 113.2 PAC12
18 Arizona St. 113.2 PAC12
19 Clemson 112.9 ACC
20 Notre Dame 112.7 ACC
21 TCU 112.7 B12
22 Florida 112.7 SEC
23 Florida St. 112.5 ACC
24 Auburn 112.4 SEC
25 Michigan 112.1 BTEN

PiRate Ratings By Major Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 116.0 AAC
Wichita St. 116.0 AAC
SMU 110.2 AAC
Houston 110.0 AAC
UCF 105.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
Tulsa 101.4 AAC
Tulane 101.3 AAC
Connecticut 100.5 AAC
Memphis 98.6 AAC
South Florida 90.1 AAC
East Carolina 89.8 AAC
Duke 119.7 ACC
Virginia 117.5 ACC
North Carolina 116.2 ACC
Clemson 112.9 ACC
Notre Dame 112.7 ACC
Florida St. 112.5 ACC
Miami FL 112.0 ACC
Louisville 110.5 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.1 ACC
Syracuse 108.4 ACC
North Carolina St. 106.8 ACC
Wake Forest 105.4 ACC
Boston College 105.4 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.5 ACC
Kansas 117.6 B12
Texas Tech 116.9 B12
West Virginia 115.6 B12
Oklahoma 114.8 B12
TCU 112.7 B12
Baylor 110.9 B12
Texas 110.8 B12
Kansas St. 108.6 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.8 B12
Iowa St. 103.8 B12
Villanova 121.1 BIGE
Creighton 115.0 BIGE
Xavier 113.7 BIGE
Seton Hall 112.0 BIGE
Butler 110.3 BIGE
Marquette 110.0 BIGE
Providence 106.8 BIGE
St. John’s 105.6 BIGE
Georgetown 103.9 BIGE
DePaul 103.6 BIGE
Purdue 120.0 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Michigan 112.1 BTEN
Ohio St. 112.1 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.8 BTEN
Minnesota 108.2 BTEN
Northwestern 107.6 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.9 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.4 BTEN
Indiana 104.7 BTEN
Nebraska 104.7 BTEN
Rutgers 103.1 BTEN
Nevada 111.8 MWC
San Diego St. 109.1 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
UNLV 105.9 MWC
Fresno St. 104.3 MWC
Wyoming 101.9 MWC
New Mexico 101.4 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
Colorado St. 96.7 MWC
Air Force 92.1 MWC
San Jose St. 89.9 MWC
Arizona 113.2 PAC12
Arizona St. 113.2 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
USC 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 106.6 PAC12
Washington 102.7 PAC12
Colorado 102.2 PAC12
Stanford 101.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 101.4 PAC12
Washington St. 99.0 PAC12
California 96.4 PAC12
Tennessee 113.2 SEC
Florida 112.7 SEC
Auburn 112.4 SEC
Texas A&M 112.0 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Arkansas 111.8 SEC
Missouri 110.4 SEC
LSU 108.6 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
Georgia 107.0 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.6 SEC
South Carolina 105.1 SEC
Vanderbilt 104.9 SEC
Mississippi 104.2 SEC
Gonzaga 117.2 WCC
Saint Mary’s 111.3 WCC
BYU 106.5 WCC
San Diego 102.6 WCC
San Francisco 100.7 WCC
Pacific 97.0 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.4 WCC
Santa Clara 92.6 WCC
Portland 91.5 WCC
Pepperdine 91.0 WCC

10 Mid-Major Teams That Have The Talent And Coaching To Make The Sweet 16
(listed alphabetically)

East Tennessee St.
Current Won-Loss Records– 4-0/13-4
Head Coach–Steve Forbes
Family Tree–Bruce Pearl & Gregg Marshall

With the Buccaneers’ win over UNC-Greensboro last night, ETSU remains in a 1st place tie with Furman in the SoCon. ETSU stayed close in their NCAA Tournament game with Florida last year, and this year’s team is a bit better. The Bucs came close to pulling off the upset win at #10 Xavier earlier this season, and they didn’t get embarrassed against Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Bucs have won 11 of their last 12 with an average scoring margin of 81-64. ETSU plays at Furman next Thursday night.

Middle Tennessee St.
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-4
Head Coach–Kermit Davis, Jr.
Family Tree–Bob Boyd & Tim Floyd

It should come as no surprise to most basketball fans, especially those in the Big Ten, that the Blue Raiders are a force to be reckoned with. MTSU has won back-to-back second round NCAA Tournament games over Michigan State and Minnesota, before falling in the Round of 32 to strong teams. The Blue Raiders have at times this year played like a top 20 team. In December, they swept Florida Gulf Coast in a rare, back-to-back home and home series; then they won at neighborhood SEC rival Vanderbilt; then they blew Ole Miss off the floor in a home game; before losing close to Auburn in Birmingham in a game where they made a furious comeback to have a chance to win. Then, in Hawaii, they lost close games to USC and Miami. Star forward Nick King has five double-doubles so far, while Giddy Potts is the glue that keeps this team together. His defensive pressure can take opponents out of their offensive game plans.

Next week, MTSU plays on the road at the two toughest venues outside of their own Murphy Athletic Center. On Thursday night, the Blue Raiders visit Marshall, and on Saturday, they face off against chief rival Western Kentucky. If MTSU splits those two games, then they should secure another CUSA regular season title.

Missouri St.
Conference–Missouri Valley
Current Won-Loss Records–3-2/13-5
Head Coach–Paul Lusk
Family Tree–Gene Keady & Matt Painter

With Wichita State moving up to the American Athletic Conference, Missouri State becomes one of multiple contenders for the top spot in the Valley. Under Coach Paul Lusk, a former Purdue assistant, MSU has become a defensive force, especially inside, where the Bears have the best frontcourt in the league, led by top big man Alize Johnson. Johnson currently averages 15.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. This team can go eight deep with talented depth, and when their supporting cast is knocking down threes, this team can compete against anybody. MSU has a key game coming up at Drake a week from tomorrow. The winner of that game should be looking down at the rest of the league in the standings into February.

New Mexico St.
Conference–Western Athletic
Current Won-Loss Records–2-0/14-3
Head Coach–Chris Jans
Family Tree–Gregg Marshall

The Aggies might be strong enough to make a Cinderella run into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and even consider themselves a possible Final Four contender. If you think this is impossible, it actually would not be a first in Las Cruces. NMSU has been in the Final Four, and it was no fluke back in 1970 when then coach Lou Henson guided the Aggies to a number three ranking in the polls.

This NMSU team has already made a name for itself with wins over Illinois in a not-so-neutral site game in Chicago and against Miami of Florida in Hawaii. After besting conference rival Grand Canyon by 11 last night, NMSU could run the table in the WAC this year and enter the NCAA Tournament as high as an 11th seed.

The Aggies are undersized and need to rely on pressure man-to-man defense with the occasional full-court press, but they play taller than they are and usually win the rebounding war, where they have a plus 8.7 margin presently.

Northern Kentucky
Current Won-Loss Records–4-1/11-6
Head Coach–John Brannen
Family Tree–John Kresse & Anthony Grant

Until losing at home to Wright State last night, NKU looked like an almost sure thing to return to the NCAA Tournament this year after making their first appearance last year.

The Norse return the three stars that kept the team in the game against Kentucky in the Second Round last year, and it figures that NKU could win a second and even third round game this year, but they have to get there first. With Wright State looking like they could soon make this list, who knows if they will get another shot?

Old Dominion
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–3-1/12-4
Head Coach–Jeff Jones
Family Tree–Terry Holland

With an ACC championship at Virginia and four Colonial Athletic championships at American, Jeff Jones knows how to win. Old Dominion is one of four talented contenders for the CUSA crown, and most likely just one CUSA will get an invitation. So, it figures that ODU has about a 25% chance of going dancing this year. If they do get there, the Monarchs have the talent to stay around awhile.

ODU wins with its defense, where the Monarchs hold opponents to under 40% shooting from the field and then have a 5.6 rebounding margin and 3.9 turnover margin. At +9.5 in the hustle points, the opponent must shoot lights out or force ODU to shoot around 35% or worse to beat the Monarchs. Keep an eye on 6-10 post man Trey Porter, who appears to be on the cusp of breaking out into a star. In the last 5 games, he has averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 62% from the field.

If you are a fan of seeing a great offense go up against a great defense, you may want to tune into tomorrow’s ODU-Marshall game to see how the Monarchs’ defend the D’Antoni seven-second offense.

Rhode Island
Conference–Atlantic 10
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-3
Head Coach–Dan Hurley
Family Tree–Bob Wenzel (student of former Duke coach Bill Foster)

Before Rams’ fans get on our case that URI should be considered a Major and not Mid-Major team, and that they should move up into an at-large proability, we actually agree with you. And, if the Rams continue to win and make it obvious that they are a definite at-large team, we will move the A-10 up into the Major Conference grouping and rank the teams in this league like we are doing for the Mountain West and West Coast Conferences.

Dan Hurley is not getting all the publicity that his little brother has been getting at Arizona State, but the older of the two brothers is doing a smashup job at Rhode Island.
The Rams’ three losses have come to Nevada in Reno, Virginia in Brooklyn, and Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They have wins against Seton Hall, Providence, and Florida Gulf Coast, and they get a chance to pick up another key win tomorrow when they host St. Bonaventure.

URI came close to making the Sweet 16 last year, beating Creighton before losing a heartbreaker to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament.

St. Bonaventure
Conference–Atlantic 10
Current Won-Loss Records–2-2/12-4
Head Coach–Mark Schmidt
Family Tree–Bruce Parkhill and Skip Prosser

The Bonnies have been close to making the Big Dance the last two years, coming up a game or two short. This may be their best team since 1978. With wins over over Maryland and Syracuse, St. Bonaventure has already shown that big time teams do not intimidate this group. A couple of senior leaders, Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams, make a great one-two punch for the Bonnies, as the two combine to average 35.5 points per game. Earlier this season against UMass, the two combined for 60 points and 9 of 16 from behind the arc. If a dance opponent or two catches the pair this hot, SBU can get to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Of course, they still must earn their way into the dance, and losing back-to-back road games against Dayton and St. Joe’s damaged their at-large chances.

Their game with Rhode Island tomorrow morning is a real test to see if they are tournament worthy.

Conference–America East
Current Won-Loss Records–2-0/12-5
Head Coach–John Becker
Family Tree–Mike Lonergan (who was a Gary Williams disciple)

Vermont has become the Villanova of the America East Conference. The Catamounts were overwhelming favorites to win the league this year after returning most of the team that won the league last year and led Purdue for a bit in their NCAA Tournament loss to the Boilermakers.

VU’s most impressive game this year was its opener at Kentucky, where the Catamounts made a furious comeback before falling by four points. Expect the Catamounts to extend their current five-game winning streak well into double digits, and it would not surprise us if VU wins out from here to enter the NCAA Tournament at 29-5.

Forward Anthony Lamb has averaged 22.5 points per game since New Year’s Day, and if guard Ernie Duncan can become more consistent, the Catamounts can make it to the Sweet 16.

Western Kentucky
Conference–Conference USA
Current Won-Loss Records–4-0/12-5
Head Coach–Rick Stansbury
Family Tree–Lake Kelly and Richard Williams

It should be no surprise to long-time basketball fans that Western Kentucky has a team capable of becoming a Sweet 16 entrant in the NCAA Tournament. The Hilltoppers have been there before multiple times, even earning a Final Four berth in 1971, where WKU fell in overtime to Villanova.

This Hilltopper team is not going to remind the old-timers of the Clem Haskins or Jim McDaniel days. However, if you saw this team play in the Battle for Atlantis, they narrowly lost to top-ranked Villanova and then bested Purdue and SMU.
More importantly, WKU went on the road this past week and topped two of the three rivals they must defeat to win the CUSA Championship. The Hilltoppers beat Marshall 112-87 and Old Dominion 75-68, which leaves them currently tied for first with their arch-rival, Middle Tennessee.

In other years, CUSA might qualify two teams for the NCAA Tournament coming from the four teams that on any given night, could knock off a Big Ten or SEC opponent. However, unless one team runs the table in the regular season and then finished runner-up in the CUSA Tournament, it isn’t likely that the league will get an at-large bid.
WKU wins games because they have an incredible number of accurate shooters who know how to get open. All 5 starters average double figure scoring, and Coach Stansbury has a trio of competent rebounders and a duo of great playmakers.

Saturday, January 20, and Thursday, March 1 are the dates when WKU and Middle face off. The first game will be in Bowling Green, so WKU should be a slight favorite.





January 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for January 6-7, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:02 am

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads (multi-bid leagues only)

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut East Carolina 14.7
Memphis Tulsa -0.9
Clemson Louisville 6.7
Virginia Tech Pittsburgh 15.1
Virginia North Carolina 4.3
Syracuse Notre Dame 0.2
Boston College Wake Forest 3.1
North Carolina St. Duke -11.4
Baylor Texas 2.8
Texas Tech Kansas St. 10.1
Oklahoma St. Iowa St. 8.0
West Virginia Oklahoma 4.4
TCU Kansas -1.3
Providence Xavier -4.7
Georgetown Creighton -5.9
St. John’s DePaul 7.6
Butler Seton Hall 2.2
Villanova Marquette 14.6
Michigan Illinois 9.7
Purdue Nebraska 18.2
Minnesota Indiana 11.4
Air Force Nevada -15.5
Colorado St. Fresno St. -4.5
Wyoming Boise St. -2.4
New Mexico San Jose St. 11.3
UNLV Utah St. 9.7
Colorado Arizona -8.3
Washington St. Washington -0.1
California UCLA -6.6
Georgia Alabama 0.7
Missouri Florida 2.6
Texas A&M LSU 8.6
Ole Miss Mississippi St. 1.3
Auburn Arkansas 1.6
South Carolina Vanderbilt 2.5
Tennessee Kentucky 4.1
Pepperdine San Francisco -3.7
Loyola Marymount Gonzaga -17.2
Pacific BYU -6.0
Santa Clara Portland 4.4
Saint Mary’s San Diego 13.9
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Central Florida Temple 1.5
Wichita St. South Florida 27.0
Cincinnati SMU 6.6
Miami (Fla.) Florida St. 0.5
Ohio St. Michigan St. -6.7
Maryland Iowa 8.2
Utah Arizona St. -2.4
Stanford USC -5.0

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
2 Duke 119.1 ACC
3 Villanova 119.0 BIGE
4 Purdue 118.2 BTEN
5 Kansas 116.7 B12
6 Gonzaga 115.4 WCC
7 Texas Tech 114.8 B12
8 Virginia 114.7 ACC
9 North Carolina 114.4 ACC
10 Oklahoma 114.0 B12
11 Xavier 113.9 BIGE
12 West Virginia 113.9 B12
13 Wichita St. 113.8 AAC
14 Arizona 113.5 P12
15 Arkansas 112.9 SEC
16 Cincinnati 112.8 AAC
17 Arizona St. 112.8 P12
18 Creighton 112.7 BIGE
19 Notre Dame 112.1 ACC
20 TCU 111.9 B12
21 Florida St. 111.9 ACC
22 Seton Hall 111.5 BIGE
23 Saint Mary’s 111.3 WCC
24 Clemson 111.2 ACC
25 Florida 111.2 SEC

PiRate Ratings By Conference (multi-bid conferences only)

Team PiRate Conf.
Wichita St. 113.8 AAC
Cincinnati 112.8 AAC
SMU 110.2 AAC
Houston 108.8 AAC
Temple 105.4 AAC
UCF 103.4 AAC
Tulsa 102.1 AAC
Tulane 101.2 AAC
Connecticut 100.5 AAC
Memphis 97.7 AAC
South Florida 90.8 AAC
East Carolina 89.8 AAC
Duke 119.1 ACC
Virginia 114.7 ACC
North Carolina 114.4 ACC
Notre Dame 112.1 ACC
Florida St. 111.9 ACC
Clemson 111.2 ACC
Miami FL 109.9 ACC
Virginia Tech 108.9 ACC
Louisville 108.5 ACC
Syracuse 108.3 ACC
Wake Forest 106.3 ACC
Boston College 105.4 ACC
North Carolina St. 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 100.1 ACC
Pittsburgh 97.3 ACC
Kansas 116.7 B12
Texas Tech 114.8 B12
Oklahoma 114.0 B12
West Virginia 113.9 B12
TCU 111.9 B12
Baylor 109.5 B12
Texas 109.2 B12
Kansas St. 108.2 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.1 B12
Iowa St. 103.1 B12
Villanova 119.0 BIGE
Xavier 113.9 BIGE
Creighton 112.7 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.5 BIGE
Butler 109.7 BIGE
Marquette 108.4 BIGE
St. John’s 106.1 BIGE
Providence 105.7 BIGE
Georgetown 103.3 BIGE
DePaul 102.0 BIGE
Michigan St. 119.3 BTEN
Purdue 118.2 BTEN
Michigan 110.3 BTEN
Maryland 109.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 109.1 BTEN
Minnesota 108.9 BTEN
Penn St. 108.0 BTEN
Northwestern 106.3 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.2 BTEN
Iowa 105.2 BTEN
Illinois 104.6 BTEN
Nebraska 104.0 BTEN
Indiana 101.5 BTEN
Rutgers 100.8 BTEN
Nevada 110.9 MWC
Boise St. 107.4 MWC
San Diego St. 107.2 MWC
UNLV 106.9 MWC
Fresno St. 104.6 MWC
Wyoming 101.5 MWC
Utah St. 100.7 MWC
New Mexico 99.6 MWC
Colorado St. 96.6 MWC
Air Force 92.4 MWC
San Jose St. 91.8 MWC
Arizona 113.5 P12
Arizona St. 112.8 P12
USC 108.8 P12
Oregon 107.7 P12
UCLA 107.3 P12
Utah 106.4 P12
Washington 102.3 P12
Colorado 101.2 P12
Stanford 100.8 P12
Oregon St. 100.6 P12
Washington St. 99.8 P12
California 97.7 P12
Arkansas 112.9 SEC
Florida 111.2 SEC
Tennessee 111.0 SEC
Auburn 111.0 SEC
Kentucky 110.9 SEC
Texas A&M 110.8 SEC
Missouri 109.8 SEC
Alabama 107.9 SEC
LSU 106.2 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.3 SEC
Georgia 105.1 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.1 SEC
Mississippi 104.1 SEC
South Carolina 104.1 SEC
Gonzaga 115.4 WCC
Saint Mary’s 111.3 WCC
BYU 105.9 WCC
San Diego 101.4 WCC
San Francisco 99.7 WCC
Pacific 96.9 WCC
Loyola Marymount 95.2 WCC
Santa Clara 94.0 WCC
Pepperdine 93.0 WCC
Portland 92.6 WCC

This Week’s Estimate of Who’s In The Big Dance

Note–This is not our Bracketology Gurus report.  We expect that our gurus will begin sending us this data by the first of February.  Until then, this is our best guess as to who would be in the field if it began today.

America East

Vermont 1-0/10-5


Cincinnati 2-0/13-2

Wichita St. 2-0/12-2

SMU 2-1/12-4

Atlantic 10

Rhode Island 2-0/10-3

Atlantic Coast

Duke 1-1/13-1

North Carolina 1-1/12-3

Virginia  2-0/13-1

Miami (Fla.) 1-1/12-2

Clemson 2-0/13-1

Florida St. 1-1/12-2

Notre Dame 2-0/12-3

Louisville 1-0/11-3

Syracuse 1-1/12-3

Atlantic Sun

Florida Gulf Coast 0-0/9-8

Big 12

West Virginia 2-0/13-1

Oklahoma 2-0/12-1

Kansas 1-1/11-3

TCU 1-1/13-1

Texas Tech 2-0/13-1

Texas 1-1/10-4

Baylor 0-2/10-4

Big East

Xavier 3-0/15-1

Seton Hall 2-0/13-2

Villanova 1-1/13-1

Creighton 2-1/12-3

Butler 2-1/12-4

Big Sky

Montana 3-0/10-5

Big South

Radford 2-0/9-6

Big Ten

Michigan St. 3-0/15-1

Purdue 3-0/14-2

Ohio St. 3-0/12-4

Michigan 2-1/13-3

Minnesota 2-1/13-3

Maryland 2-2/13-4

Big West

UC-Davis 1-0/10-5


Charleston 2-0/11-3

Conference USA

Middle Tennessee 2-0/10-4


Northern Kentucky 2-0/9-5


Pennsylvania 0-0/9-5

Metro Atlantic

Canisius 2-0/8-7


Central Michigan 1-0/12-2

Mideastern Athletic

UNC-Central 1-0/7-8

Missouri Valley

Missouri St. 3-0/13-3

Mountain West

Nevada 3-0/14-3

Boise St. 3-0/13-2


Robert Morris 3-0/9-7

Ohio Valley

Belmont 3-0/11-5


Arizona 2-0/12-3

Arizona St. 0-2/12-2

UCLA 2-1/11-4

USC 2-1/11-5


Navy 1-1/10-5


Kentucky 2-0/12-2

Florida 2-0/10-4

Auburn 1-0/13-1

Texas A&M 0-2/11-3

Arkansas 1-1/11-3

Missouri 1-0/11-3

Mississippi St. 1-0/13-1


UNC-Greensboro 1-0/10-4


Stephen F. Austin 1-1/12-3

Southwestern Athletic

Jackson St. 2-0/5-10


South Dakota 2-0/14-4

Sun Belt

Louisiana-Lafayette 3-0/13-3

West Coast

Gonzaga 3-0/13-3

Saint Mary’s 3-0/14-2

Western Athletic

New Mexico St. 0-0/12-3







December 29, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads For December 30-31, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:56 am
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut Wichita St. -10.0
Houston Temple 8.6
North Carolina Wake Forest 14.0
Duke Florida St. 10.6
Virginia Boston College 16.2
Notre Dame Georgia Tech 16.5
Pittsburgh Miami (Fla.) -11.8
Clemson N. C. State 8.5
TCU Oklahoma 1.4
Xavier DePaul 16.1
Butler Villanova -7.9
Marquette Georgetown 8.3
Nevada New Mexico 15.7
San Diego St. Utah St. 10.1
UNLV Boise St. 4.0
Arizona Arizona St. 2.5
Stanford California 7.1
Arkansas Tennessee 5.2
Florida Vanderbilt 9.1
Alabama Texas A&M -4.1
BYU Saint Mary’s 0.2
Gonzaga Santa Clara 25.2
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Tulane Tulsa 2.0
Cincinnati Memphis 20.1
East Carolina Central Florida -10.9
SMU South Florida 22.3
Syracuse Virginia Tech 0.1
Creighton Providence 10.2
Seton Hall St. John’s 8.1
Oregon St. Utah -4.0
UCLA Washington 9.0
USC Washington St. 14.1
Oregon Colorado 11.4
Kentucky Georgia 9.8
Ole Miss South Carolina 2.0



December 27, 2017

PiRate Ratings–College Basketball Issue 1 2017-18

Normally, we do not commence with our basketball coverage until after New Year’s Day, but this year all 351 Division 1 teams have reached the 10-game plateau before the turn of the year.  It takes our PiRate Ratings 10 games into everybody’s schedule before the average statistics calm down enough to make our ratings worth a grain of salt.

We have made a couple of changes this season.  First, our Red, White, and Blue ratings have been sent to the scrap pile.  They were just minor variations in the algorithm of the stats we use to determine power ratings.  Instead, beginning this season, we have put all three algorithms together into one conglomerate rating, simply “The PiRate Rating.”

We have been in contact with most of our Bracketology Gurus from last year, and we hope to have this function up and running soon.  We are still efforting to contact two of our past contributors, and we hope they will soon return to the ship.  As some of our loyal followers remember last season, our Gurus were 100% accurate, 68 for 68, in picking the NCAA Tournament teams on the morning of Selection Sunday.  As far as we can tell, no national bracketologist matched this feat.

The lineup this year is for a bracketology composite to be released on Monday or Tuesday (depends on when all our Gurus get their data to us), and for a preview of the weekend games of the top conferences to be issued on Friday afternoons.  Unfortunately, since we are not automated, we cannot release selections for all 351 teams nor for weekday games.  We will limit our selections to Saturday and Sunday conference games and games between NCAA contenders of the power leagues.  We will also release our ratings of the power conferences.  For those that want more information on mid-major and low-major conferences, we will periodically report on these conference races, beginning with our first one today.

The PiRate Ratings Top 25 for December 27, 2017

A rating of 100 is the national average.  115 or above is a final four caliber team.

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.4 BE
2 Duke 120.0 ACC
3 Michigan St. 119.8 B10
4 Purdue 119.7 B10
5 Kansas 119.4 B12
6 Virginia 117.4 ACC
7 North Carolina 116.8 ACC
8 Xavier 115.9 BE
9 Texas A&M 115.9 SEC
10 West Virginia 115.8 B12
11 Wichita St. 115.4 AAC
12 Gonzaga 115.2 WCC
13 Arizona St. 115.0 P12
14 Texas Tech 115.0 B12
15 Cincinnati 114.9 AAC
16 Oklahoma 114.7 B12
17 Arkansas 114.6 SEC
18 Arizona 114.5 P12
19 Creighton 114.1 BE
20 Florida St. 113.4 ACC
21 Tennessee 113.4 SEC
22 Miami FL 113.2 ACC
23 Seton Hall 113.1 BE
24 TCU 113.1 B12
25 Clemson 112.8 ACC

Rankings By Top Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Wichita St. 115.4 AAC
Cincinnati 114.9 AAC
SMU 112.0 AAC
Houston 110.6 AAC
Temple 106.7 AAC
UCF 104.5 AAC
Tulsa 102.2 AAC
Connecticut 101.3 AAC
Tulane 100.6 AAC
Memphis 99.0 AAC
South Florida 92.9 AAC
East Carolina 91.7 AAC
Duke 120.0 ACC
Virginia 117.4 ACC
North Carolina 116.8 ACC
Florida St. 113.4 ACC
Miami FL 113.2 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Virginia Tech 112.6 ACC
Notre Dame 112.5 ACC
Louisville 111.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.2 ACC
North Carolina St. 107.4 ACC
Wake Forest 105.8 ACC
Boston College 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 100.6 ACC
Pittsburgh 98.4 ACC
Michigan St. 119.8 B10
Purdue 119.7 B10
Michigan 111.9 B10
Maryland 111.8 B10
Minnesota 110.5 B10
Ohio St. 110.1 B10
Penn St. 109.5 B10
Northwestern 108.4 B10
Wisconsin 106.7 B10
Iowa 106.4 B10
Illinois 106.3 B10
Indiana 104.6 B10
Rutgers 104.4 B10
Nebraska 104.2 B10
Kansas 119.4 B12
West Virginia 115.8 B12
Texas Tech 115.0 B12
Oklahoma 114.7 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Baylor 112.1 B12
Texas 111.6 B12
Kansas St. 109.3 B12
Oklahoma St. 109.0 B12
Iowa St. 105.1 B12
Villanova 121.4 BE
Xavier 115.9 BE
Creighton 114.1 BE
Seton Hall 113.1 BE
Butler 110.3 BE
St. John’s 108.8 BE
Marquette 108.4 BE
Providence 106.3 BE
Georgetown 103.4 BE
DePaul 103.0 BE
Nevada 112.3 MWC
San Diego St. 109.0 MWC
UNLV 108.9 MWC
Boise St. 107.6 MWC
Fresno St. 106.3 MWC
Utah St. 101.3 MWC
Wyoming 101.0 MWC
New Mexico 99.4 MWC
Colorado St. 96.5 MWC
Air Force 92.7 MWC
San Jose St. 92.4 MWC
Arizona St. 115.0 P12
Arizona 114.5 P12
USC 110.4 P12
Oregon 109.8 P12
UCLA 107.9 P12
Utah 107.4 P12
Colorado 102.3 P12
Stanford 101.7 P12
Washington 101.7 P12
Oregon St. 100.4 P12
Washington St. 100.4 P12
California 97.6 P12
Texas A&M 115.9 SEC
Arkansas 114.6 SEC
Tennessee 113.4 SEC
Kentucky 111.8 SEC
Florida 111.4 SEC
Auburn 111.0 SEC
Missouri 110.0 SEC
Alabama 108.3 SEC
South Carolina 106.9 SEC
Vanderbilt 106.2 SEC
Georgia 106.1 SEC
LSU 106.0 SEC
Mississippi St. 105.8 SEC
Mississippi 105.3 SEC
Gonzaga 115.2 WCC
Saint Mary’s 110.9 WCC
BYU 107.2 WCC
San Diego 102.5 WCC
San Francisco 100.4 WCC
Pacific 97.0 WCC
Loyola Marymount 96.7 WCC
Santa Clara 93.8 WCC
Portland 93.1 WCC
Pepperdine 92.3 WCC

A Look at the 22, One Bid Leagues

America East
Albany has the best record at 11-3, and one of their three losses was by just two points against Louisville, while Vermont at 8-5 has played a slightly tougher schedule and has narrow misses at Kentucky, Marquette, and St. Bonaventure. Vermont ran the table in the AmEast last year, and the Catamounts are the team to beat.

Atlantic Sun
Florida Gulf Coast (7-7) was supposed to be the class of the A-Sun this year with a team similar to their great past squads under former coach Andy Enfield. However, they look like the third best team as conference play begins. Lipscomb (9-4) swept rival and perennial NCAA Tournament team Belmont in a home and home series, and they stayed close with a ranked Tennessee team. NJIT (7-6) appears to be the other team capable of winning the conference race. Of course, this league could easily see a middle of the pack team win the conference tournament. The tournament is played on campus, so the top seed will have home court advantage throughout. Lipscomb is currently 5-0 at home, so this is something to keep an eye on for the next several weeks.

Big Sky
Portland State (10-3) is the cream of the class as the year ends, but this league has some talented teams, and the Vikings will not run the table and easily earn the lone NCAA bid. Challenges will come from Idaho (8-4), Northern Colorado (9-5), Weber State (7-5), and Montana (7-5). Portland State averages over 90 points per game and led Duke at the half earlier this year. They have an outstanding pair of tall guard in Deontae North and Bryce Canda, and this is a team that could be a #13 seed that can beat a #4 seed in the Round of 64.

Big South
The conference race starts with three teams appearing to be above the rest of the league, but this looks like a bit of a down year in the Big South. Liberty (9-4) has a win at Wake Forest, but they also lost at home to Mercer. The Flames have the best defense in the league, led by Bradley transfer Scottie James at power forward. Winthrop (6-5) has the superior offense in the league, thrice exceeding 100 points so far. However, all three of those centennial-topping games came against non-Division I teams. Against a decent team like Auburn, the Eagles gave up 119 points and lost by 34. UNC-Asheville (7-6) has underachieved in November and December, but with three quality starters in Macio Teague, Ahmad Thomas, and Kevin Vannatta, the Bulldogs can still put it together and win the league again.

Big West
UCSB (10-3) has the highest power rating so far, but the three co-favorites to win the conference are just behind and not by much. UC-Davis (8-5), Cal State Fullerton (7-4), and UC-Irvine (5-10) will be there in March. UC-Irvine’s poor record is a bit misleading, as the Anteaters have played a gruesome schedule that includes losses to South Dakota State, Kansas State, Arizona State, UCLA, Nevada, and Saint Mary’s, all who could be in the NCAA Tournament.

Towson (10-3) has the best overall record, but their 10 wins have come against nobody special. Charleston (9-3) is in a similar boat with no significant wins. Northeastern (7-5), Hofstra (7-5), and William & Mary (7-4) play much better on their home floors than when away from home, and this group of five teams should contend for top honors. William & Mary may be the team with the potential to improve the most in the next two months and emerge as the favorite. With just a little defensive improvement, the Tribe could be scary in an opening round game.

Conference USA
We will have to monitor this league a bit closer, because there is a small possibility that this league could move up into the multiple bid leagues. Middle Tennessee (8-4) is trying to emerge as the Gonzaga of the South. The Blue Raiders have won back-to-back opening round NCAA Tournament games over Big Ten teams the last two seasons, and they beat Vanderbilt and Ole Miss so far. Their four losses have been to teams that should be in the NCAA Tournament (Belmont, Auburn, USC, and Miami), and they nearly beat USC and Miami in Honolulu. Five other teams could contend with the heavily favored Blue Raiders, and that is where CUSA could eventually get a second team in the Dance. Old Dominion (9-3) has an excellent controlled offense and quality defense, the type that can win conference tournaments in March. Western Kentucky (8-5) has the talent to pull off three conference tournament wins. The Hilltoppers beat Purdue and SMU and lost a narrow game to Villanova, so they will be tough in conference play. Louisiana Tech (9-4), UAB (9-4), and Marshall (9-4) all have stellar offensive games, and in this league, any of this trio could get hot in March and win the conference tournament. If MTSU wins the regular season title with only one or two losses and then loses in the CUSA Tournament Championship Game, the league could get that second bid. For now, we leave this as a one-bid league.

Northern Kentucky (7-5) was supposed to win this conference with ease this year after earning its first ever NCAA Tournament bid last year. Oakland (8-5) and Wright State (8-5) look like serious challengers this year. Oakland can score 100 points or give up 100 points on a random night, while Wright State can hold an opponent under 50 points or struggle to score 50 points on a random night. Neither team is complete enough to win a game in the Round of 64.

Now that there is a four-team post-season tournament in this league, determining the upper division is more important than ever. This year, it looks rather easy to determine which four teams will make the tournament, as there is quite a division between number four and number five. Penn (8-4), Princeton (7-7), Yale (6-8), and Harvard (5-7) should be the top four in some order or another. Princeton has the best win, besting USC in Los Angeles.

Metro Atlantic
This looks like an off year for Monmouth (4-8). The Hawks could not pull off any signature wins in the pre-conference schedule, and it leaves Iona (6-6) as the only team capable of winning an opening round game in the NCAA Tournament. If any other MAAC team wins the automatic bid, chances are high they will play an early game in Dayton.

This is possibly the most balanced league this year, but then this isn’t anything new. The MAC has several good but not great teams. As many as eight teams have the talent to win the conference tournament, but chances are rather strong that whoever that team is, they will make a quick departure in the Big Dance, losing by a modest amount to their favored opponent. Central Michigan (10-2) has no special wins with a seven point loss at Michigan being their top resume opponent. Eastern Michigan (8-3) can score points quickly in their up-tempo offense, but the Eagles lack the defense to become scary. Ball State (8-4) has a seven-game winning streak, which includes the best win in the league, a win at Notre Dame, and the Cardinals need to be watched a little closer to see if this may develop into something impressive. Other teams to watch include Buffalo (7-5), Ohio (6-5), Toledo (7-5), Western Michigan (7-5), and Kent State (6-6). You can pick one of these eight teams out of a hat and have as good a chance at predicting the NCAA recipient with the same accuracy as the top prognosticators.

Mideastern Athletic
This league has been known to produce some surprise upset winners in the past, including a 15-seed knocking off a 2-seed. Even though no MEAC teams have impressive pre-conference records, the top members are competitive and tend to improve in February and March as they gain confidence from a lot of league wins. Keep an eye on UNC-Central (5-8). While the Eagles have no signature wins, they have lost some close games to good teams. If UNCC doesn’t win the conference, then it will most likely go to either North Carolina A&T (7-7) or Morgan State (4-7).

Missouri Valley
Don’t be confused by the Valley becoming a one-bid league. You may not have realized that Wichita State no longer is a member. The Shockers moved to the American Athletic Conference, leaving the MVC without a major power. Thus, the winner at Arch Madness in St. Louis will get the one bid available to this league. As of now, Missouri State (11-3) and Loyola (Chi.) (10-3) look like the class of the league. The two teams squared off at MSU to begin conference play, and the Bears pulled off a narrow home victory. Other teams to keep an eye on include Bradley (10-3), new member Valparaiso (9-4), and Northern Iowa (8-4).

This looks like a First Four Game league with the winner going to Dayton. As of this writing, seven of the league’s ten members are bunched rather closely, although not as much so as the MAC. St. Francis (Pa.) (6-5) has the most impressive resume to date, but the Red Flash have very little to show. They played toe-to-toe on the road against Saint Mary’s for 14 minutes, before they fell far behind early in the second half. They stayed within a few points at Louisville for 17 minutes and even went on a 24-10 run in the second half, but they still lost by double digits. But, they also trailed Duke by 30 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. So, this is still a team that nobody will fear, even in the opening round in Dayton. Wagner (7-4) and Robert Morris (6-7) look like the top two contenders, but the talent in this league is not strong enough to say that these three are surely the best three in the league. It will take 5 or 6 conference games before the true contenders are known.

Ohio Valley
The OVC looks to be an improved league in 2018, but they still have a long way to go before it threatens to be a two-bid league. Perennial favorite Belmont (8-5) has been hot and cold so far, beating Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, and Western Kentucky, and narrowly losing to Providence and unbeaten TCU, but they also were swept by neighborhood rival Lipscomb in their annual home and home series. Former dominant league member Murray State (8-3) is on the rise once again, and the Racers have a balanced offense, capable of scoring inside and from behind the arc. Jacksonville State (9-4) is an up and comer, and the led deep into the second half at Mississippi State and missed on two good looks in the final 5 seconds in a one point loss at Oregon State.

Navy (9-4) and Army (7-4) have the two best records in the league in the preseason, but Bucknell (6-7) appears to be the class of the league like usual. The Bison began 0-4 with a tough three-game stretch that saw them play at Arkansas, North Carolina, and Maryland in the same week, losing close games in the latter two. Bucknell actually led the Terps by 15 at the half. This will be a team that could give a favorite fits in a Round of 64 NCAA Tournament game.

This league is better than most national media give it credit. In fact, there are four teams this year that have the talent to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, and maybe one team has Sweet 16 potential. That team is East Tennessee State (8-4). The Buccaneers lost by just two at Xavier and led at Kentucky by 10 points in the first half, so they have the potential to pull off an upset in the Dance. Furman (9-4), UNC-Greensboro (9-4), and Mercer (6-6) look to be the other top contenders.

Stephen F. Austin (11-2) has become the Kansas of this league, and any talk of picking a league champion starts here. The Lumberjacks’ two losses came by slim margins on the road against SEC teams, while they also won at LSU. SFA’s top rivals this year include Abilene Christian (8-5), Lamar (8-5), and Central Arkansas (6-7).

Southwestern Athletic
This is the league that always puts its conference champion in Dayton for an opening round game. It is continually the last-place team in power ratings every year, and this year is no different. How weak is the SWAC? Consider that five teams (Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Mississippi Valley St., Texas Southern, and Arkanas-Pine Bluff are a combined 0-65! Yes, the best record among this quintet is ASU’s 0-12 record. Yet, it would not be surprising if one of these teams eventually wins the conference tournament and gets an automatic bid with 20 losses. Texas Southern (0-13) actually possesses the best PiRate Rating as of today. The best records in the pre-season belong to Grambling (4-8) and Alcorn State (4-9). While Alcorn’s four wins came against non-Division I teams, at least Grambling owns a win over Georgia Tech.

Like CUSA, this league is close to moving into potential two-bid status. That’s because South Dakota (12-4) is on the cusp of contending for an at-large bid. The Coyotes have come the closest to knocking off unbeaten TCU, losing by just 5 (it was a 1-point game in the final minute). Two of their other three losses came against Duke and UCLA on the road, and they were very competitive in both contests. Rival South Dakota State (11-5) won at Ole Miss and defeated Iowa on a neutral floor, and they dropped close games to Colorado and Wichita State. Fort Wayne (9-6) is one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation, but if they ever get their act together for three consecutive games, the Mastodons could earn the automatic bid. For the second year in a row, FW clobbered Indiana, winning by 20 at Assembly Hall. They led at Kentucky until just before halftime. But, you never know what Mastodon team will show up.

Sun Belt
Most people think of this as a football conference, but the SBC is a tough mid-major basketball league as well. While there is no chance that more than one team will make it to the NCAA Tournament this year, there are three quality teams that have the talent to make it to the Round of 32. Louisiana-Lafayette (10-3) is one of the most exciting teams to watch. The Ragin’ Cajuns can press the action on both ends of the floor, and they can pound it inside with a couple of talented forwards in Bryce Washington and JaKeenan Grant. Georgia Southern (9-4), Texas-Arlington (9-4), and Georgia State (9-4) look to be the top contenders. All four of these conference foes are talented enough to win in the Round of 64. Keep an eye on UTA’s multi-talented big man Kevin Hervey. He can score inside and outside like a mini-LeBron.

Western Athletic
There are two WAC teams that nobody will want to face in a Round of 64 game, and chances are high that one of the dynamic duo will make the Dance. New Mexico State (11-3) sneaked into the Championship game of the Hawaii Diamondhead Classic after beating previously undefeated Miami. It took a deep three by USC’s Bennie Boatwright to keep the Aggies from winning the tournament. NMSU also owns an impressive double-digit win over Illinois. This is Grand Canyon’s (9-4) first year as an eligible NCAA Tournament team and former NBA great Dan Majerle has a team made up of tough competitors. GCU goes 10-deep without much drop in talent, and this team plays together with no real star. If not for some weak shooting nights, the Antelopes would be the overwhelming favorite, but for now, they remain a co-favorite.

By our count, that leaves 46 bids to be doled out to the remaining 10 conferences. We think as of today that the West Coast, Mountain West and Atlantic 10 conferences will receive just two bids. That will then leave 40 bids for the top seven leagues, or an average of 5.7 teams per power conference.

Predictions for Saturday-Sunday power conference games coming Friday afternoon



November 16, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for November 16-18, 2017

After a winning week with a modest 35% return on our investment, the PiRate Rating Money Line Parlays are just a fraction below break even for the season.  We are submitting three selections this week, with the odds being a tad lower in hopes that at least two of these three will win and put us back in the black for the season.  There are numerous trap games this week, so we chose to lay off about 35 of these games that could have been used to produce parlays in the +180 to +235 range.  The problem is that in just about every case, we were split on one of the games in the possible parlay.  For instance, the Western Kentucky-Middle Tennessee game found us divided at 3 to 3.  Either way, we could have used this parlay to produce a nice fat odds in our favor, but none of us are steadfast in our belief in the team we believe will win.  You can put a ditto on Wake Forest and North Carolina St.  We were 3-3 on that game too.

What you do receive this week are three parlays in which we were 6-0 on all but one game, and 5-1 on the other (NW-Duke).

Here are our 3 selections for the week.  REMEMBER: we issue these selections only for entertainment purposes and NEVER wager real currency on these picks.  We advise you follow our lead.  If you are a professional “player” and will play regardless, please use these selections as only one source for your investing ideas.

#1 @ +136  
Must Win Must Lose
Georgia Tech Duke
West Virginia Texas
******************** ********************
#2 @ +165  
Must Win Must Lose
Northwestern Minnesota
South Alabama Georgia Southern
Missouri Vanderbilt
********************  ********************
#3 @ +122  
Must Win Must Lose
Utah St. Hawaii
Old Dominion Rice
Idaho Coastal Carolina

March 18, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:02 pm

Sunday, March 18, 2017

Team Team Red White Blue
Louisville Michigan 4 3 6
Kentucky Wichita St. 1 1 8
Kansas Michigan St. 11 8 1
North Carolina Arkansas 14 10 8
Oregon Rhode Island 7 6 4
Baylor USC 17 9 8
Duke South Carolina 6 6 5
UCLA Cincinnati 1 1 -1

TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:10 PM CBS Louisville vs. Michigan
2:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Wichita St.
5:15 PM CBS Kansas vs. Michigan St.
6:10 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Arkansas
7:10 PM TBS Oregon vs. Rhode Island
7:45 PM truTV Baylor vs. USC
8:40 PM TNT Duke vs. South Carolina
9:40 PM TBS UCLA vs. Cincinnati

Morning & Afternoon: Swallow Return to Capistrano

Spring Equinox: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:29 AM EDT



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