The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 28, 2019

PiRate Ratings Picks For August 29-September 2, 2019

Last week, the PiRate Ratings did not make any selections on the two FBS games on the schedule, but our experimental Davey19 system made its first ever pick, and it chose a good one.  The computer program chose Hawaii at +11 against Arizona, and UH not only covered the spread, they won the game outright.

So, entering official week 1 of the college season, the PiRate Ratings stay at $0, while the Davey19 program sits at +$100.

With no NFL games for another weekend, we will jump into the water and stay in the shallow end of the betting pool this week with a minimum of plays.

PiRate Ratings Picks

#1: Money Line Parlay @ +189

SMU over Arkansas St.

South Carolina over North Carolina

 

#2: Money Line Parlay @ +146

Utah over BYU

Purdue over Nevada

Colorado over Colorado St.

Rutgers over UMass

 

#3: Money Line Parlay @ +182

Pittsburgh over Virginia

N. Carolina St. over East Carolina

Missouri over Wyoming

 

#4: 13-Point Teaser @ 10-14

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Rutgers

U Mass

28.5

U Mass

Colorado

Colorado St.

0.5

Colorado

Virginia Tech

Boston College

18.5

Boston College

Florida St.

Boise St.

17.5

Boise St.

 

Davey19 Selections

Straight Selections Against the Spread

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Virginia Tech

Boston College

5.5

Boston College

Florida St.

Boise St.

5.5

Boise St.

Southern Cal

Fresno St.

13.5

Fresno St.

 

10-Point Teaser @10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Army

Rice

11.5

Army

Illinois

Akron

28

Akron

N. Carolina St.

East Carolina

6.5

North Carolina St.

 

10-Point Teaser @10-12

Favorite

Underdog

Spread

Pick

Alabama

Duke

44.5

Duke

Michigan

Middle Tennessee

45

Middle Tennessee

Georgia

Vanderbilt

30.5

Vanderbilt

 

 

 

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March 28, 2019

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament For Thursday, March 28, 2019

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Gonzaga

123.1

0.0

Florida St.

115.7

7.4

Tennessee

117.8

0.0

Purdue

117.6

0.2

Michigan

119.1

0.0

Texas Tech

118.4

0.7

Virginia

120.6

0.0

Oregon

111.2

9.4

 

Tonight’s Schedule

Team

Team

TIME (EDT)

TV

LOCATION

Florida St.

Gonzaga

7:09 PM

CBS

Anaheim

Purdue

Tennessee

7:29 PM

TBS

Louisville

Texas Tech

Michigan

9:39 PM

CBS

Anaheim

Oregon

Virginia

9:59 PM

TBS

Louisville

 

March 27, 2019

Bracketnomics 2019: Picking The Sweet 16

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:32 am

What a Sweet 16 we have!  My experience in watching the NCAA Tournament goes back to the 1964 season as UCLA went 30-0 using a small lineup with no starter over 6 foot 5.  The 16-0 run in 2 1/2 minutes made me a Bruin fan on the spot, especially because one of the catalysts was small,left-handed guard Gail Goodrich; I was also a small, left-handed guard.

On the whole, my memory now includes 56 different NCAA Tournaments.  I had a difficult time finding a Sweet 16 as strong as this one.  I had to go back to the 1970 season to find the equivalent in power teams still in the Dance.  Of course, in 1970,  there were just 25 teams invited to the Tournament, so 18 teams competed in the opening round, while another seven received express bids to the Sweet 16.

Among that talented group of 1970 teams, there were:

  1. UCLA was not supposed to win the 1970 tournament, as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and his fantastic class of 1969 graduated.  Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, and Henry Bibby gave John Wooden an incredibly talented trio to build around as he went back to his high post offense.

  2. Jacksonville had Artis Gilmore and Rex Morgan as an incredible inside-outside attack.  The Dolphins averaged close to 100 points per game and had a second starter in their lineup, Pembroke Burrows, who was over 7 feet tall.

  3. St. Bonaventure had the best player in college basketball not named Maravich in Bob Lanier.  Lanier led the Bonnies to the top of the Eastern Elite, and SBU made it to the Final Four.  However, Lanier was injured in the East Regional Final and SBU had no chance in the Final Four against Jacksonville.

  4. New Mexico State was in the top 5 all year long with future NBA stars Charlie Criss and Sam Lacey as well as hot shooting Jimmy Collins.  The Aggies were picked by many as capable of beating UCLA in the national semifinals.  Wicks and Rowe put NMSU out of their misery early in the second half.

  5. Kentucky might have had the best team in the nation in 1970 had star guard Mike Casey not have suffered season-ending injuries in a car wreck the summer before.  With Dan Issel, Mike Pratt, Tom Parker, and Larry Steele, the Wildcats might have gone 30-0 had Casey not hurt his leg.

  6. Niagara had the incomparable 5 foot 9 inch Calvin Murphy who was the total package on the hardwoods.  Murphy averaged well over 30 ppg for his career with the Purple Eagles and enjoyed a lengthy pro career.  He once scored 68 points against Syracuse.  He was a lot more than a scorer.  His defensive pressure broke down opposing teams.  He could drive quickly through defenses and pass to open teammates under the basket, and he was the best baton twirler in the college ranks.

  7. Villanova had two future NBA All-Stars in Howard Porter and Chris Ford, as well as Fran O’Hanlon, who played in the ABA.  It was Ford that tripped Lanier in the Eastern Regional Championship Game that doomed St. Bonaventure.

  8. Notre Dame had the best offensive player in the tournament in Austin Carr.  Carr was unstoppable on offense with the way officials called fouls in 1970.  He averaged over 38 points per game, but he made history in this tournament by scoring 61 points in the opening round win over Ohio U.  He hit for more than 50 in the Sweet 16 against Kentucky.

  9. Iowa set the Big Ten record for points per game in 1970, almost averaging 100 points per night.  Among their stars was Downtown Freddie Brown, who would become one of the best 6th men in NBA history.  Before he became known as “Instant Offense” off the Seattle Supersonics’ bench, he was a dynamic starter for the Hawkeyes along with John Johnson, who averaged close to 30 ppg.

14 of the 16 teams in that tournament were what I consider strong teams according to today’s statistical standards, and 14 of this year’s 16 remaining teams fit that same description.

It’s no coincidence that of the 16 teams left, the Bracketnomics correctly picked 14 of the 16.

NOTE: The data that follows may be a little different than the original Bracketnomics’ posting at the beginning of the tournament.  Stats have been altered, especially the Strengths of Schedule (SOS) for some of the teams.

If you get to re-select your brackets at this point, ignore the original predictions and use these updated stats.  The originals predictions are still our “official bracket-picks,” but in this round, there is new and improved analytics.

NOTE 2: Do not confuse the Bracketnomics’ selections with the PiRate Ratings, which may contradict these picks in a couple of games.  The PiRate Ratings are strictly mechanical with no objective reasoning applied.  Bracketnomics are more subjective based on back-tested data usable only in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Gonzaga

56.14

17.6

31.1

73.2

12.8

16.5

15.1

Florida St.

59.85

3.7

33.0

73.5

16.2

18.0

9.1

After two rounds in this tournament, Gonzaga still owns the best criteria in the field, and nothing has changed in our beliefs that they have the best chance to run the table.  The Bulldogs only potential weakness is schedule strength, but at 56%+, it is more than adequate for a national champion.  The True Shooting % Margin combined with the R+T make The Zags the much better team here.  Florida State relies on offensive rebounding and forcing turnovers, but Gonzaga is not the team that the Seminoles can exploit enough times to come up with the win.  Gonzaga gets revenge for last year’s Sweet 16.

Prediction:  Gonzaga by 10-15 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Tennessee

59.50

5.3

31.1

70.5

13.9

15.8

5.5

Purdue

60.82

3.5

34.3

74.0

13.6

16.9

11.6

Purdue hasn’t been in the Elite 8 since 2000, and they have not made it to the Final Four since 1980.  The Boilermakers have historically been unable to get scoring spurts in the Gene Keady-Matt Painter years.  They played excellent half-court offense and defense defense, but their style did not allow them to be overpowering on the boards or to gamble for steals on defense.  Like Money Ball does not work in the Major League Playoffs, possession basketball doesn’t work well in the Big Dance.  Teams need to have that spurtability, which is what the R+T rating shows, and Purdue has rarely had a great R+T rating.  That was the past; this Boilermaker squad has a very good R+T rating, and it comes from both an excellent rebounding strength combined with an adequate ability to force turnovers and not cough the ball up enough times to matter.

Tennessee is more like the old Purdue teams.  The Volunteers have excellent half-court presence on both sides of the ball, but they cannot dominate on the glass, and they do not force enough turnovers.  In this game, I look for Purdue to get numerous second chance scoring opportunities, and eventually, the Boilermakers will go for the kill shot with a scoring run that gives them the victory.

Prediction: Purdue by 6 to 11 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Michigan

59.87

8.8

24.0

75.6

12.1

15.9

4.0

Texas Tech

58.42

10.1

28.1

71.7

16.1

20.0

4.4

 

This has the chance to be a classic game that will generate headlines for a long time.  This is the closest thing to a 50-50 tossup there can be.  If you had to choose one game to go to triple overtime, this is the one I’d pick (I just gave it the kiss of death and it will be a blowout now).

With Michigan’s 1 1/2 point SOS advantage, it basically makes all the criteria dead even.  Two teams with excellent defensive efficiency should lead to the game being decided on rebounding and turnovers.  The Red Raiders are better on the offensive glass, but the Wolverines are better on the defensive glass.  Texas Tech is considerably better forcing turnovers, but Michigan is considerably better holding onto the ball.  The R+T is dead even.  The only tiny little stat where there is a difference is TS% Margin, where even with the better SOS, Michigan comes up just a tad short, but not enough to matter more than one point on the scoreboard.

I have to go to extracurricular statistics here to select a winner in this game.  Texas Tech has been more consistent with their production, while Michigan’s standard deviation of statistics has been greater.  The Wolverines have been up for five consecutive games, while Texas Tech has been on an even keel since January.  Michigan has experience from making it to the Championship Game last year, while Texas Tech made it to the Elite 8 last year, so once again this washes.  Michigan is 7-3 against ranked teams this year.  TTU is 3-2.  Maybe, this is the only stat I can use to pick a winner, and it is still a total guess.  I’ll have my eyes glued to this game.

Prediction: Michigan by 1 to 5 points, possibly in overtime

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Virginia

59.95

12.9

29.9

74.8

13.0

15.7

10.4

Oregon

55.83

4.5

29.4

71.7

15.4

18.3

4.3

Oregon coach Dana Altman deserves a ton of credit.  If you don’t think losing a 5-star McDonald’s All-American freshman phenom when you have another one on the roster  hurts, look at what happened to Bryce Drew at Vanderbilt.  Drew lost Darius Garland early in the year but still had another 5-star freshman phenom in Simi Shittu.  Vanderbilt lost their final 20 games in a row, and Drew was dismissed.  Altman lost superstar Bol Bol early in the year, and the Ducks were counted out.  Altman rallied Oregon and won the Pac-12 Tournament.  Then, they knocked out mid-major darling UC-Irvine to make it back to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years.

Virginia survived a scare against Gardner-Webb, but the Cavaliers righted the ship and stormed back to win by 15, and then the Cavs ousted Oklahoma much more easily in the Round of 32.  On the surface, some may believe that UVA is strictly a half-court possession wonder, the type that usually disappoints in the Big Dance.  This is not so.  The Cavaliers have a double-digit R+T rating, which makes them capable of benefiting from scoring spurts, like they did in 2016, when they made it to the Elite 8 and watched a second half double-digit lead against Syracuse turn into a loss when the Orangemen went on a huge scoring run.

This game looks like the most lopsided in this round.  Virginia has the advantage across the board, and Oregon has not beaten a team this good all year.  The Ducks only played one ranked team in the regular season.  Think of Bol Bol as twice the player Tacko Fall is for Central Florida.  That’s why  Oregon should be happy they made the Sweet 16.

Prediction: Virginia by 12-17 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Michigan St.

61.11

14.0

33.8

74.1

16.4

12.7

12.3

LSU

58.71

3.4

36.5

69.8

15.2

17.6

9.4

The fact that four SEC teams made the Sweet 16, and LSU won the conference championship shows that the Tigers are good enough to keep playing into April, even with acting coach Tony Benford taking over for Will Wade.

On the other side, Michigan State is almost perfect when you look at the resume of a Final Four team.  The Spartans do not force turnovers like most Final Four teams in the past, and they are vulnerable to a team that can pressure them into turnovers.

LSU has the personnel to force MSU out of their normal offense and negate any potential rebounding advantage Sparty has.  This game still looks favorable to Michigan State due to a great difference in True Shooting Percentage Margin.  LSU might not get enough open looks and second chance points to match the inside scoring of Nick Ward and Xavier Tillman combined with the three-point shooting of Cassius Winston.

Prediction: Michigan State by 4 to 9 points

 

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

North Carolina

62.05

5.4

34.8

77.7

14.6

16.5

18.9

Auburn

59.91

1.9

32.2

67.8

14.6

21.8

2.7

 

This game should be played at a tempo of 75 possessions per team.  Auburn was the best up-tempo team in the SEC this year, but North Carolina was the best up-tempo team in the ACC.

Can Auburn force North Carolina, namely point guard Coby White to make enough mistakes to keep this game close?  White has been prone to force the issue a bit at times, but in the games against the best pressure man-to-man teams, he did not make enough mistakes to cost Carolina the win, and in several games, his deft handling of the ball was the reason the Tar Heels won.

North Carolina remains the second best team in the tournament according to Bracketnomics, and this game has the potential to get out of hand.  The Tar Heels have a huge advantage on the offensive glass, and this should be the deciding factor.  UNC will score on several consecutive possessions at some point in this game and take a commanding lead that forces Auburn to panic on offense and commit some mistakes of their own.

Prediction: North Carolina by 10-15 points

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Duke

62.61

9.8

35.5

71.0

14.7

17.0

12.1

Virginia Tech

58.20

8.5

29.0

72.9

15.3

19.1

6.1

 

Virginia Tech’s home court advantage in a game with Duke was three points and change, but let’s round it back to 3.  They beat Duke in Blacksburg by five points.  Duke didn’t have Zion Williamson.  Is Zion worth three points more for Duke than his backup?  Of course, he is; he’s worth a lot more than three extra points in Duke’s overall production.

Duke has an exploitable liability, and Central Florida exposed it.  Buzz Williams will do everything to try to force the Blue Devils to beat his squad by not being weak in their perimeter shooting.  UCF had two big guys inside that could force Duke to shoot from the perimeter.  Virginia Tech has one big guy, Kerry Blackshear, who probably cannot stop the Duke inside game.

In my opinion, there are a couple teams that can force Duke to have a better than average perimeter shooting night to beat them, but Virginia Tech is not one of them.

Prediction: Duke by 8 to 13 points

Team

SOS

TS Marg

OReb%

DReb%

TOV%

DTOV%

R+T

Kentucky

60.44

9.8

36.6

74.7

15.8

16.0

16.2

Houston

55.45

8.3

34.2

74.8

14.0

15.8

14.6

This game could be very interesting in a different way than the Michigan and Texas Tech game.  You get contrasting styles in this contest, and there are many variables, some of which favor the underdog Cougars in this cat fight.

There is a giant variable here, one that is enough to take this game from a relatively safe victory for Kentucky to a toss-up.  Star forward P.J. Washington might play in this game, and he might not be healthy enough.  Even if he plays, he cannot possibly be all that effective.  What bothers me is that he went from a protective boot to a cast, which means the injury was worse than first thought.  He’s going to one of the top foot specialists in the nation, and I think the goal here is to make sure Washington is ready for the NBA Draft.

If Washington does not play in this game, it becomes one where Houston has a 40-45% chance of winning.  If Washington plays sparingly, Kentucky’s chances increase by another 5-10%.  If miraculously Washington can play near full strength for 25 minutes, then the Big Blue win this game going away.

I will select this game based on the assumption that Washington will play but at much less than full strength.  Reid Travis is ready to have a big game for Kentucky now that he is basically 100% at full strength following his injury, and I look for John Calipari to direct his team to play intelligently and take advantage of their muscle advantage.

Prediction: Kentucky but 5-10 points

 

 

 

 

 

March 5, 2019

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Today’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home

Rating

HCA

Visitor

Rating

Spread

Butler

107.5

3.0

Xavier

106.2

4.3

Duke

124.7

2.5

Wake Forest

98.6

28.6

Michigan St.

120.5

3.0

Nebraska

109.7

13.8

Florida St.

114.4

3.0

Virginia Tech

115.7

1.7

Ohio

98.6

2.5

Buffalo

115.1

-14.0

Akron

103.2

2.0

Bowling Green

104.7

0.5

Eastern Michigan

100.9

2.5

Ball St.

103.1

0.3

Binghamton

89.3

2.0

Albany

93.0

-1.7

Hartford

99.0

2.5

Stony Brook

100.0

1.5

New Hampshire

84.8

2.5

Maine

88.4

-1.1

Texas A&M

105.8

3.0

South Carolina

105.4

3.4

Central Michigan

103.2

3.0

Northern Illinois

101.1

5.1

Toledo

108.5

3.0

Western Michigan

94.8

16.7

Saint Joseph’s

98.6

3.0

Rhode Island

100.9

0.7

Miami (O)

102.6

2.5

Kent St.

101.7

3.4

Hampton

98.6

2.5

Longwood

93.0

8.1

Charleston Southern

99.5

2.0

USC Upstate

87.5

14.0

Presbyterian

98.3

2.0

UNC Asheville

85.7

14.6

Lafayette

92.5

2.5

Holy Cross

95.6

-0.6

Boston U

96.1

2.5

Loyola (MD)

94.2

4.4

George Mason

101.4

3.0

Virginia Commonwealth

110.4

-6.0

Boston College

104.7

3.0

North Carolina

121.2

-13.5

Vermont

105.2

3.0

UMass Lowell

94.9

13.3

Minnesota

109.6

3.0

Purdue

117.6

-5.0

Abilene Christian

100.7

3.0

Stephen F Austin

91.6

12.1

Green Bay

97.4

3.0

Illinois Chicago

97.8

2.6

Wright St.

102.7

3.0

IUPUI

98.3

7.4

Miami (Fla)

106.3

3.0

Pittsburgh

104.8

4.5

Tennessee

118.7

3.0

Mississippi St.

113.6

8.1

Ole Miss

110.3

3.0

Kentucky

117.9

-4.6

Oklahoma

110.9

3.0

Kansas

115.1

-1.2

Alabama

108.3

3.0

Auburn

114.7

-3.4

Wichita St.

104.6

3.0

East Carolina

94.0

13.6

Colorado St.

99.5

3.0

Utah St.

110.9

-8.4

Air Force

95.9

2.5

Nevada

113.8

-15.4

 

Conference Tournament Updates

Atlantic Sun 

Quarterfinal Results

1 Lipscomb

86

8 Kennesaw St.

71

2 Liberty

72

7 Jacksonville

58

3 North Florida

76

6 North Alabama

66

5 NJIT

83

4 Florida GC

78

 

Semifinals–Thursday, March 7

Seed

Home

Seed

Visitor

1

Lipscomb (24-6)

5

NJIT (21-11)

2

Liberty (26-6)

3

North Florida (16-16)

 

Big South

First Round–Tuesday, March 5 (at Higher Seeded Teams)

Seed

Home Team

Seed

Visitors

7

Presbyterian (17-14)

10

UNC-Asheville (4-26)

6

Charleston Southern (15-14)

11

USC Upstate (6-25)

8

Hampton (14-15)

9

Longwood (15-16)

 

Horizon League (Motor City Madness)

Quarterfinals–Tuesday, March 5 & Wednesday, March 6 (at Higher Seed)

Seed

Home Team

Seed

Visitors

1 (Tue)

Wright St. (19-12)

8

IUPUI (16-15)

4 (Tue)

Green Bay (16-15)

5

Illinois-Chicago (16-15)

3 (Wed)

Oakland (15-16)

6

Youngstown St. (12-19)

2 (Wed)

Northern Kentucky (23-8)

7

Detroit (11-19)

 

Patriot League

First Round–Tuesday, March 5

Seed

Home

Visitors

8

Boston U (14-17)

9

Loyola (MD) (11-20)

7

Lafayette (10-19)

10

Holy Cross (15-16)

Coming Later Today: Updated Bracketology

March 24, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Games of Sat-Sun, March 24-25

Elite 8 Round

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Kansas St. Loyola-IL -0.1
Michigan Florida St. 3.0
Villanova Texas Tech 6.9
Kansas Duke -4.1

Elite 8 TV Schedule

Saturday, Mar 24, 2018
Time (EDT) Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
6:09 PM 9 Kansas St. 11 Loyola (Chi.) Atlanta TBS
8:49 PM 3 Michigan 9 Florida St. Los Angeles TBS
         
Sunday, Mar 25, 2018
Time (EDT) Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
2:20 PM 1 Villanova 3 Texas Tech Boston CBS
5:05 PM 1 Kansas 2 Duke Omaha CBS

Elite 8 Criteria Preview

Cinderella still remains in this tournament, even when there are just eight teams remaining.  Actually, there are two Cinderellas remaining, and one of them is now guaranteed to make the Final Four, as the two face off in Atlanta this evening.

The ninth-seeded Kansas State Wildcats keep defying the odds of 50+ years of past NCAA Tournament results.  Teams with terrible rebounding margins (Kansas State’s is -3.17 and with an R+T Rating [(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T,  where R is rebounding margin, S is steals per game, and T is turnover margin] just barely above zero just don’t dance this far into the marathon.

Loyola is bucking the trend only minimally.  While they participate in one of the top 12 conferences, thus a Power Conference, the Ramblers’ overall strength of schedule is below the par of Final Four teams.  Even past Final Four Cinderellas like Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, and George Mason had higher strengths of schedule, and former Missouri Valley Conference Final Four member Wichita State had a considerably higher strength of schedule when the Shockers made the national semifinals.

Florida State has tried on that slipper, but it is a tight fit.  The Seminoles are also a ninth seed, but it looks like the ACC teams were seeded a spot or two low this year.  The Seminoles have a brief history in the Final Four, getting to the title game, where they gave one of the best teams ever a real shock in the final, before losing to UCLA by five.  That was a Bruin team that outscored its opponents by a record 30+ points per game.

The Sunday schedule looks sane compared to the Saturday schedule.  Of the four teams playing on Sunday, the PiRate Rating Criteria correctly predicted three of the four to make it this far, and who knows what might have happened had Purdue’s Isaac Haas been able to play–it could have been a perfect four for four.

Nevertheless, Texas Tech is no slouch.  The Red Raiders play a difficult style of ball that is tough to match up against.  Coach Chris Beard takes from his past mentors, having been an assistant to Coach Bob Knight and Coach Tom Penders.  The Red Raiders play intelligently, and while they don’t run up and down the floor, they find ways to get open shots and to keep the opponent from getting too many on their side of the floor.

Villanova looks to be just as strong as the 2016 team that won the tournament.  The Wildcats have defeated teams playing different styles of ball, and they appear to be the most prepared to face whatever comes their way.  Looking at the criteria stats, there are three teams that we consider “complete teams,” in that they enjoy positive rebounding margins, turnover margins, average scoring margins, and they average more than 6 steals per game while giving up less than 6 steals per game.  Villanova is one of those three teams, and the Wildcats look to be the most complete of the three.

The Duke-Kansas match is the only one that the seed line got correct.  It is the only Elite 8 game that the PiRate Criteria also got correct.  The winner of this game will be crowned as the favorite to win it all, but if Villanova is there, it will set up a fantastic semifinal match, where the other side of the bracket will be overlooked.

Here are the Criteria Stats for the eight teams

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Duke Y 29-7 84-69 9.72 21.2 60.69
Florida St. Y 23-11 81-73 4.42 10.3 59.07
Kansas Y 30-7 81-71 8.26 5.3 61.50
Kansas St. Y 25-11 71-67 3.54 0.7 59.38
Loyola (Chi.) Y 31-5 72-62 9.80 6.8 51.89
Michigan Y 31-7 75-63 5.93 9.8 59.74
Texas Tech Y 27-9 75-65 5.13 14.5 60.35
Villanova Y 33-4 87-71 10.44 12.3 60.56

 

Here are the Detailed Criteria Matchups for the teams

Kansas St.  vs.  Loyola of Chicago

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Kansas St. Y 25-11 71-67 3.54 0.7 59.38
Loyola (Chi.) Y 31-5 72-62 9.80 6.8 51.89
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Kansas St. -3.17 7.94 5.75 2.78 56.4 52.9
Loyola (Chi.) 1.67 6.50 6.53 0.75 60.2 50.4

This is an interesting game, because history shows Kansas St. with criteria like this should come around as often as Halley’s Comet, while Loyola has a criteria that looks more like a Sweet 16 at best team.

Looking at the head-to-head stats, Loyola is superior in more of the key stats, but Kansas State has the big schedule strength advantage.  The outcome of this game will come down to whether the Wildcats can force the Ramblers into turnovers that they have not been committing so far in the Dance.  Loyola is playing confidently, and they have not been affected by the bright lights.  Assistant Coach Sister Jean may be the reason for that.

We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but our criteria will not allow us to pick a team with an R+T Rating barely above 0.  Kansas State cannot continue to get out-rebounded by large amounts (double digits against Kentucky) and rely on steals and three-point shots to win.  It might work two or three times, but asking to make the Final Four without being able to rebound or really shoot well is asking way too much.   They have a puncher’s chance to win this game and become the weakest rebounding team in Final Four history, but we are going to favor the team that is closer to complete.

PiRate Pick: LOYOLA of CHICAGO

 

Michigan vs.  Florida St.

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Michigan Y 31-7 75-63 5.93 9.8 59.74
Florida St. Y 23-11 81-73 4.42 10.3 59.07
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Michigan 0.58 6.29 4.11 3.63 57.0 51.0
Florida St. 2.71 6.91 5.82 1.26 56.4 52.0

This looks like a complete toss-up game according to the statistics.  Both teams have favorable scoring margins, although Michigan’s is a bit better.  Both teams have decent true shooting percentage margins, R+T ratings, and Strengths of Schedule.  Florida State has the rebounding edge, but Michigan gets the turnover margin edge.

There is one secondary edge that the Wolverines have that the Seminoles lack.  The Maize and Blue have won 12 games in a row, and in that time, their rebounding has made a major leap forward.

PiRate Pick: MICHIGAN

 

Villanova vs. Texas Tech

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Villanova Y 33-4 87-71 10.44 12.3 60.56
Texas Tech Y 27-9 75-65 5.13 14.5 60.35
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Villanova 2.70 6.62 4.81 2.38 62.5 52.1
Texas Tech 4.11 7.19 5.94 2.67 55.8 50.7

Texas Tech has done an admirable job to get this far, and they will not go down without a fight, but their opponent has the criteria look of a Final Four team.  In fact, of the eight remaining teams, Villanova’s criteria best fits that of a Final Four team.

The Wildcats may eventually meet a team that is too strong on the boards for them to dominate on the scoreboard, but Texas Tech is most likely not that team.  The Red Raiders might win the rebounding numbers by a little, but we don’t think they can clean the glass, which is what it is going to take to stop VU.

PiRate Pick: VILLANOVA

 

Kansas  vs.  Duke

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Kansas Y 30-7 81-71 8.26 5.3 61.50
Duke Y 29-7 84-69 9.72 21.2 60.69
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Kansas 0.05 6.59 5.51 1.38 59.7 51.4
Duke 8.80 7.39 5.69 -0.39 58.8 49.1

What looks like the game of the Elite 8 Round may be exactly what has been advertised.  This should be an interesting game, because both teams have small Achilles’ Heels that a genius coaching staff and highly-skilled players can exploit.  Both teams have genius coaching staffs and highly-skilled players.

The glaring difference in this game is that Kansas’s liability is Duke’s biggest asset, whereas Duke’s liability is only a minor asset for KU.

PiRate Pick: DUKE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 22, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Games of Thursday, March 22

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Nevada Loyola (IL) 2.7
Michigan Texas A&M 2.5
Kentucky Kansas St. 4.4
Gonzaga Florida St. 5.0

Thursday Night’s TV Schedule

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
7:07 PM 7 Nevada 11 Loyola (Chi.) Atlanta CBS
7:37 PM 3 Michigan 7 Texas A&M Los Angeles TBS
9:37 PM 5 Kentucky 9 Kansas St. Atlanta CBS
10:07 PM 4 Gonzaga 9 Florida St. Los Angeles TBS

We’ve All Busted

What a year to debut a new bracket-picking trial!  How can we tell if this criteria has any credibility when nobody in the world can show any formula or any human picking ability that would have worked in the first two rounds.

Tonight, there will be no one-seeds or two-seeds playing.  Michigan is the only three-seed playing tonight.  Instead, we will see a seven, two nines, and an 11-seed in action.  Then, on Saturday either Nevada or Loyola will be playing for a spot in the Final Four.

Things will get a tad less crazy tomorrow night when two ones and two twos play, but in only one case is a Sweet 16 game going to have the two teams the seeding process believed should be there.

All is not lost.  We still have three of our four predicted Final Four teams alive, including the team we believe would win the National Championship.

Here is a look at the PiRate Ratings 2018 Criteria for the Sweet 16.

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Clemson Y 25-9 74-66 6.68 7.9 59.83
Duke Y 28-7 85-69 10.11 21.7 60.69
Florida St. Y 22-11 81-74 4.18 10.6 58.79
Gonzaga Y 32-4 84-68 9.37 22.6 53.89
Kansas Y 29-7 81-71 8.34 5.4 61.30
Kansas St. Y 24-11 72-67 3.69 0.9 59.08
Kentucky Y 26-10 77-71 5.38 12.3 60.66
Loyola (Chi.) Y 30-5 72-62 9.82 6.7 51.44
Michigan Y 30-7 74-63 5.43 10.0 59.52
Nevada Y 29-7 83-73 5.97 6.4 55.05
Purdue Y 30-6 81-65 11.43 10.5 59.31
Syracuse Y 22-13 67-64 1.55 11.3 58.92
Texas A&M Y 22-12 75-70 4.73 12.9 61.02
Texas Tech Y 26-9 75-65 5.15 14.5 59.89
Villanova Y 32-4 88-76 10.18 13.1 60.33
West Virginia Y 26-10 80-69 0.66 16.9 60.59

Immediately, we can see one very consistent pattern here.  All of the Sweet 16 teams come from what we call the “Power Conferences.”  A Power Conference is one in which the overall league RPI is one of the top 12.  The Missouri Valley, Mountain West, and West Coast Conferences rank in the top 12, so really, there are no completely surprise teams.  We just failed to hit on these regular season champions of these leagues.  We may have to add a caveat in the future that when the regular season champion of one of these leagues makes the tournament to watch out for them as an underdog, because in most cases, they have been seeded incorrectly.

Loyola, Nevada, and Gonzaga did not look like they were fluke wins in the two rounds.  Loyola’s defense and intelligent half-court offense looked a lot like Butler during their back-to-back runs to the Final Four.  Gonzaga should be no surprise by now.  They are to this generation what UNLV and Marquette were to the 1970’s.  Nevada should have been no surprise, as we have only lauded Coach Eric Musselman as the best men’s basketball coach since about December of 2016.  How he orchestrated a couple of wins this past weekend with a six-man roster is incredible, and he did it against Cincinnati with multiple players in early foul trouble.  We hear that he is on the radar for other jobs that could bring him quite a jump in salary, but we believe that he is more likely to return to the NBA before taking another college position.

Looking at the data above, 15 of the 16 teams look like they belong in the Sweet 16.  Kansas State is the lone outlier, but look at how they got here from the previous round.  They became the first team ever to face a 16-seed in the Round of 32, and the Wildcats almost didn’t beat UMBC.

We have delayed this report where we preview all eight games in the Sweet 16, as we feverishly try to discover if certain injured players will be able to contribute in any way.  Tops on that list is Purdue’s Isaac Haas.  Who says that sports cannot expand the minds of our youth today?  The entire Purdue University Engineering department, professors and students, have been hard at work trying to create an NCAA-approved sleeve to protect Hass’s shattered elbow, and they have a deadline fast approaching.  It isn’t exactly finding a way to bring home Apollo 13, but it’s still an honorable task that could help dozens of Millenials develop some confidence and resume-building gold.

Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt could conceivably play a few minutes here and there tonight against Kansas St., but it is more likely that he will be held out in order to possibly contribute a little more if the Wildcats make it to the Elite 8.

Then, there is Nevada.  How does a team get outrebounded by 15 boards, force just seven turnovers, and make just six, 3-pointers and win a Round of 32 game?  How does this same team get behind by 22 points, see three players on a roster of just six get in early foul trouble, and still come from behind to beat a top 10 team?

Maybe Mariah Musselman is just as powerful as Sister Jean.  Of course, one of these two will see the magic come to an end tonight.  This will be a game that looks more like a chess match between two geniuses than a racehorse up and down affair.  It should be tense for 40 minutes.

Out in Los Angeles, the Michigan-Texas A&M game is intriguing.  Michigan’s new inside presence on both sides of the floor has made the Wolverines better able to face the power teams, while their outside game is still strong.  Can the Aggies use a little superior quickness in this game to lead to a repeat performance of their Round of 32 dismantling of the Tar Heels?  Michigan’s defense will be a tad more difficult to solve than North Carolina’s, and this game should be exciting to the final few possessions.

On paper, the final game of the night looks like a potential mismatch, but in this wacky season, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the underdog wins.

It’s time to preview all eight Sweet 16 games.  We will talk more about Friday’s games on Friday morning.

Nevada vs. Loyola (Chi.)

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Nevada Y 29-7 83-73 5.97 6.4 55.05
Loyola (Chi.) Y 30-5 72-62 9.82 6.7 51.44
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Nevada -0.64 6.11 4.42 3.08 58.4 52.4
Loyola (Chi.) 1.49 6.51 6.43 0.94 60.2 50.4

Loyola does not force turnovers, but the Ramblers also do not commit many.  While being a decent rebounding team, they do not control the boards, which is Nevada’s Kryptonite.  So, neither team will really exploit the other’s weakness.This is an excellent chess game according to the criteria results.  Nevada needs to force turnovers or at least commit very few to be successful.  They beat Cincinnati by committing just two turnovers in the entire game in Nashville!

Looking at true shooting percentage margin and schedule strength, once again, these two factors cancel out each other.

It comes down to which team can handle a little adversity early in the second half and then make maybe one run.  Think of a classic horse race, where you have a bunch of horses that come from just off the pace and have one run in them.  Which horse will get the perfect trip and be in position to cross the line first?

We admit that we have no sure statistic to look at and say that our choice is solid.  Nevada surely cannot keep playing a rotation of six players and not suffer fatigue.  Loyola cannot expect to keep winning without being able to score a bevy of cheap baskets as the competition gets tougher by the round.

We are going to go with the PiRate Ratings chalk in this one, since we have no other data to rely on to make this pick.  The PiRate Ratings favors the Wolf Pack by 2.7 points, so our pick is: NEVADA

 

Michigan vs. Texas A&M

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Michigan Y 30-7 74-63 5.43 10.0 59.52
Texas A&M Y 22-12 75-70 4.73 12.9 61.02
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Michigan 0.73 6.14 4.11 3.54 56.5 51.1
Texas A&M 6.56 5.50 6.35 -2.65 53.9 49.2

We could almost copy and paste the information from the prior game into this section and just change the names.  Once again, we have a team (Michigan) that is excellent in turnover margin against a top-flight schedule, but that has at times been exploited on the boards, while Texas A&M dominates on the glass but suffers in turnover margin against a slightly stronger schedule.  The teams are about equal in true shooting percentage margin, with the exception that the Wolverine’s advantage tilts a little more toward superior offense, while the Aggies’ advantage tilts a little more toward superior defense.

We are going to make an unscientific assumption about this game, so please feel free to consider it a load of hooey.  We have looked through our mother of pearl shells and think we foresee a tense start of this game, where the team that can get in trouble with turnover margin will be a bit tight, and the Aggies will either turn the ball over a bit too much in the first half or play not to make mistakes and then shoot much lower than their normal percentage, even missing some close-in shots that they hardly ever miss.

Thus,  our wacky belief is that Michigan will get the early lead and then fight the rest of the night to keep it, once A&M starts to lose the tension.  We’ll go with Coach John Beilein to guide the Maize and Blue back to another Elite 8 appearance.  Our Pick: MICHIGAN

 

Kentucky vs. Kansas St.

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Kentucky Y 26-10 77-71 5.38 12.3 60.66
Kansas St. Y 24-11 72-67 3.69 0.9 59.08
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Kentucky 5.06 5.64 5.56 -1.08 55.7 50.3
Kansas St. -3.00 7.86 5.77 2.71 56.7 53.0

This actually isn’t the most important Kentucky-Kansas State game in the schools’ histories.  These two Wildcats faced off 67 years ago, minus five days, for the 1951 National Championship on the campus of the University of Minnesota.  Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky squad won his third national title in four years, but it was a close game until late.

Back to the present time.  This game looks on the surface to be rather one-sided.  Kentucky, even without Jarred Vanderbilt, looks a bit too strong for Kansas State.

Hey, did you notice that this makes three out of three games, where one team has the superior rebounding edge, and the other has an equally superior turnover edge?  The difference in this game and the other two is that Kansas State’s advantages are almost nil.  Their R+T Rating is just barely positive, and in our past years relying on R+T, we cannot remember any team with a rating as low as 0.9 ever making the Elite 8.  Because Kentucky’s R+T Rating is 12.3, Coach John Calipari’s Cats will be expected to receive about 11 more cheap scoring opportunities.  When you factor in that Kentucky also has a minor true shooting percentage margin edge, this leads us to forecast a double-digit Kentucky win tonight.  Our pick: KENTUCKY 

 

Gonzaga vs. Florida St.

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Gonzaga Y 32-4 84-68 9.37 22.6 53.89
Florida St. Y 22-11 81-74 4.18 10.6 58.79
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Gonzaga 8.75 6.36 5.06 0.97 59.8 50.4
Florida St. 2.85 6.88 5.85 1.30 56.5 52.3

The underdog Seminoles look to have a fighting chance in this game due to their superior schedule strength.  Florida State does not have a serious exploitable flaw.  They just don’t have a major statistic that is a decisive asset.

Gonzaga has an incredible R+T rating that many Final Four teams in the past have possessed.  Their almost 10% true shooting percentage is also Final Fourish, as is their 16-point average margin of victory.  Teams seldom win by an average margin this high that cannot go on major runs at the right time.  It just isn’t easy to slowly pull away by a point here and there until the lead is past 15 points.  The number one event that usually leads a team deep into tournament play is the ability to have a big spurt at the right time, and Gonzaga is clearly the team that can do this tonight.

The way we see this game is that FSU will take an early lead in the first half, and then Gonzaga will go on its first of three or four scoring runs to grab the lead and then extend the lead to five or six by halftime.  Then, the Bulldogs will make their patented big run in the second half to put the game out of reach.  The Seminoles may make a valiant effort in the final minutes, but it will be too little, too late.  Our Pick: GONZAGA

 

Friday’s Games

Kansas vs. Clemson

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Kansas Y 29-7 81-71 8.34 5.4 61.30
Clemson Y 25-9 74-66 6.68 7.9 59.83
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Kansas 0.08 6.67 5.50 1.44 59.8 51.4
Clemson 2.44 5.65 5.74 -0.06 56.7 50.1

Most casual fans will look at this game and immediately dismiss it as a Jayhawk blowout win.  This is far from being the probable case.  This is a Kansas team with exploitable weaknesses not typical for a Bill Self production.  KU has an exceptional offense, but their defense is prone to lapses.  In a game where the action is fierce on the glass, the Jayhawks do not bring their usual centaurs to the fight.  Rebounding is a liability with this club.  KU doesn’t make up for this weakness with an exceptional turnover margin, but they do pick up a good number of steals that lead to fast break points.

Clemson and championships go hand-in-hand, just not in basketball.  This group of Tigers competed admirably in the ACC race this year, and they have an experienced backcourt.  While CU has an issue with turnovers, this liability will most likely not be used to KU’s advantage.  Clemson can rebound with competence, and the Tigers know how to stop their opponents from scoring just long enough to put a game away.

Only because of experience and a slightly more difficult schedule do we stick with the logical team in this one, but it will not be an easy victory, and it will almost assuredly be their last one of the season.  Our pick: KANSAS

Villanova vs. West Virginia

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Villanova Y 32-4 88-76 10.18 13.1 60.33
West Virginia Y 26-10 80-69 0.66 16.9 60.59
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Villanova 2.86 6.67 4.67 2.72 62.4 52.2
West Virginia 3.61 8.08 5.53 5.17 54.5 53.9

Finally, we get a game where the rebounding and turnover issue does not matter as much as in the other games.  Right away, that should tell you which way we think this game will go.  Press Virginia needs to score points off steals and stop the other team from scoring against the press by either forcing them to throw the ball away or by using up so much clock that they must shoot a low-percentage shot.

Villanova is built for press-breaking and scoring easy baskets once the press is broken.  We believe Coach Bob Huggins might have to call the press off if VU scores too many times on crips.

West Virginia just cannot win a finesse game against this team.  Villanova enjoys a commanding true shooting percentage margin advantage in this game, and we have seen WVU players throw up their share of bricks.  This game should eventually get out of hand, as the team that won the title two years ago makes it look like they could return to the Final Four this year.  Our pick: VILLANOVA

Duke vs. Syracuse

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Duke Y 28-7 85-69 10.11 21.7 60.69
Syracuse Y 22-13 67-64 1.55 11.3 58.92
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Duke 9.20 7.37 5.77 -0.66 59.0 48.9
Syracuse 3.69 7.08 6.11 0.50 51.8 50.2

If you are a Baby Boomer, you know doubt know that the campy TV version of Batman is the only real, legitimate production.  Those movies just capitalized on the great reputation of Adam West of blessed memory.

There was a double episode where Batman faced the Joker, where the going was tough, because the Joker created his own utility belt.  He hand sneezing powder in there.  He had hand-shocking buzzers in there.  He had a bevy of evil tricks to combat the Caped Crusaders.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?  The villainous Blue Devils have their own utility belt.  It is called the 2-3 zone, and early in its employment, it is beating the original one created by Bruce Wayne, aka Jim Boeheim.

The element of surprise disappears for the Cinderella Orangemen Friday.  The Duke Blue Devils know how to attack Syracuse’s defense, and they know how to employ their own utility belt 2-3 zone that for now is proving to be superior to Batman’s, er Syracuse’s.

Here’s the rub.  Duke can penetrate and score inside against Syracuse, something that Arizona State, TCU, and Michigan State could not do.  The Blue Devils have excellent perimeter shooters, and Syracuse will not be able to pack their defense in the paint.  Duke will get open three-pointers and also be able to initiate enough penetration to the point where the Orangemen will either have to give up easy 10-12 foot shots or challenge and become overly vulnerable to a very athletic and very big front line.

On the other side of the ball, Duke’s new 2-3 zone is much more athletic than the Syracuse zone.  At times, Duke makes this look more like a 3-2 drop zone, and we have seen the back line move up into an almost 4-1 look while still protecting the basket.

If you have been reading this site this year, then you know that we are sticking with the Blue Devils to cut down the nets in San Antonio.  The PiRate criteria says this game is a mismatch, and there is nothing we see that makes us think there is a reason not to expect a win by 15-20 points for Coach K’s Army.  Our pick: DUKE

Purdue vs. Texas Tech

Team Power W-L Scr TS% Diff R+T SOS
Purdue Y 30-6 81-65 11.43 10.5 59.31
Texas Tech Y 26-9 75-65 5.15 14.5 59.89
             
Team Reb Stl Opp Stl TO TS% Def TS%
Purdue 2.64 5.72 5.14 1.53 60.8 49.4
Texas Tech 4.11 7.26 5.97 2.57 55.8 50.6

This game would be an easy one to forecast if Isaac Haas were available and at least 80% of his usual self.  Purdue finally had the talent and playing style to make it to the Final Four, but losing Haas’s top-quality offensive efficiency really hurts the Boilermakers.

Texas Tech is a solid but not spectacular team. The Red Raiders are not the same team they were prior to Zach Smith’s injury.  TTU was 14-1 when Smith was lost for almost eight weeks.  They went 8-6 without him, and they only went 2-2 to close out the regular season once he returned nowhere near as effective as he had been.

Smith began to resemble his old self in the Stephen F. Austin game, and maybe he is coming back into form, where he can supplement his team by coming off the bench.  It is hard to recover that quickly from a broken foot, so it’s uncertain how many minutes he can play and stay effective.

At least Smith can play, which is more than we can say about Haas.  Purdue played courageously in their win over Butler.  Freshman giant Matt Haarms, took over for Haas at center, but there was a huge drop in talent between 7 foot 2 inch giants.  Haarms connected on just one shot from the field and seemed a bit stiff trying to play defense in the paint or pulling down rebounds.  It took a monumental outside shooting effort for the Boilermakers to win.

Texas Tech is a bigger force to beat without a principle weapon.  The Red Raiders will neutralize Purdue’s outside game with four competent perimeter defenders that will keep man-to-man pressure outside.

There may be one more win inside the Boilermaker Express, even if they have one less engine on the track.  Texas Tech doesn’t really have the fantastic inside presence to exploit Purdue’s loss of Haas, and Haarms just might come up with a better performance Friday night after having the first start jitters melted away.  He is going to play 30 minutes in this game, and he just might surprise some folks.  We think this game is a complete toss-up.  Our Pick: PURDUE

The NIT

The National Invitation Tournament used to be on equal footing with the NCAA Tournament.  There were some years where the NIT champion was decisively better than the NCAA Tournament champion.

Alas, those days are gone.  However, the NIT has proven to have a new usefulness.  Many experimental rules have been experimented with in this tournament, and this year, it has produced excellent results with rules that we believe should be implemented next year.

  1. The NIT is using four, 10-minute quarters rather than two, 20-minute halves.  This is not the first time that college basketball used quarters instead of halves.  It was tried in the 1950s.  We think that playing quarters and with the change in foul rules, it allows defenses to play more aggressively, knowing that they get a clean slate at the end of the first and third quarters.  Also, it doubles the amount of last possessions in the game, which leads to two more buzzer-beater opportunities, something great for the fans.
  2. The shot clock does not reset to 30 seconds on an offensive rebound.  It reset to just 20 seconds, which means teams cannot just throw the ball back to the outside and slowly run the offense again.  They must try to put the ball back up and score without resetting their offense.  This should lead in theory to about three or four more possessions in the game.

We here on the PiRate ship believe that fans do not want to pay exorbitant ticket prices to see dribbling exhibitions.  Action involves passing and moving, and anything that reduces dribbling can only be good for the game.  We’d like to see the closely guarded dribbling rule re-instated, where a player cannot dribble for five seconds while being guarded man-to-man without advancing toward the goal.  If this rule returned, it would force ball hogs to give up the ball within four seconds, and it would lead to more passing and more movement.  It might push average possessions back up to 75+ per game like it was when college basketball was its most exciting in the period between 1965 and 1975.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 23, 2017

2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Preview

The folks around the Atlantic Coast Conference have a decent case to support in the statement that their league, and not the Southeastern Conference, is the supreme college football conference in the land.  Clemson bested Alabama in the National Championship Game.  The ACC went 4-1 against the SEC in bowl games, and the ACC won 10 of 14 games overall against the SEC in 2016.  Five ACC teams finished the season in the top 25.

The 2017 season begins with the SEC just a tiny hair above the ACC in PiRate Ratings averages.  Early games between Alabama and Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech, and Clemson and Auburn will go a long way in determining conference supremacy, and season ending games between Florida and Florida St. Georgia and Georgia Tech, and Louisville and Kentucky will seal the deal if one conference dominates the other.

This league has a little more depth this year.  It may be tougher for any team to go undefeated, as the team with the best quarterback, Louisville with Lamar Jackson, has an average at best defense.  Florida State has the next best quarterback in Deondre Francois, and the Seminoles have a nice stable of running backs.  However, there are some questions at wide receiver, and there could be depth issues in the offensive line.  Clemson still has the overall best combination of offensive and defensive lines, but the defending national champions must replace Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, and Mike Williams on the attack side.  Figure CU to average about 10-14 fewer points per game.

While the top three in the Atlantic Division have exceptional talent but with some questions, the other four teams could all be better than last year, especially North Carolina State and Syracuse.

The Coastal Division race should be quite interesting.  Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and even Duke could challenge for the divisional flag.  The league could be just balanced enough so that no ACC team earns a Playoff bid.

Here is how the ACC Media voted in the preseason:

ACC Atlantic Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Florida St. 121 1,108 118
2 Clemson 37 1,007 35
3 Louisville 9 843 7
4 North Carolina St. 0 658 0
5 Wake Forest 0 415 0
6 Syracuse 0 362 0
7 Boston College 0 283 0
         
ACC Coastal Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Miami (Fla) 103 1,065 3
2 Virginia Tech 40 932 3
3 Georgia Tech 9 708 0
4 Pittsburgh 7 673 0
5 North Carolina 4 606 0
6 Duke 4 473 1
7 Virginia 0 219 0

The PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings still show Clemson to be slightly better than Florida State in the initial ratings of the season.  However, the margin is razor thin, and we expect a lot of shuffling early in the season due to heavy schedules.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Clemson 128.4 124.6 127.5 126.8
Florida St. 126.8 124.8 126.1 125.9
Louisville 116.6 115.7 117.0 116.4
N. Carolina St. 115.2 114.5 114.9 114.9
Syracuse 110.3 108.1 109.3 109.2
Wake Forest 102.7 102.2 102.0 102.3
Boston College 102.0 102.9 101.5 102.1
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Miami 118.6 116.2 117.7 117.5
Virginia Tech 116.6 116.2 117.0 116.6
Georgia Tech 113.2 110.5 111.3 111.7
N. Carolina 109.9 108.4 108.3 108.9
Pittsburgh 108.8 108.8 108.0 108.5
Duke 106.3 105.1 104.9 105.4
Virginia 98.7 98.8 99.7 99.1
         
ACC Averages 112.4 111.2 111.8 111.8

Here are our unscientific won-loss predictions and bowl projections for the league.

Atlantic Coast Conference Projected Standings
Atlantic Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Florida St. 7-1 11-2 Peach
Clemson 6-2 10-2 Orange
Louisville 6-2 9-3 Belk
North Carolina St. 5-3 8-4 Sun
Syracuse 3-5 6-6 [Heart of Dallas]
Boston College 1-7 4-8  
Wake Forest 1-7 3-9  
       
Coastal Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Miami (Fla) 6-2 10-3 Music City
Virginia Tech 6-2 10-2 Camping World
Georgia Tech 5-3 8-4 Independence
North Carolina 3-5 7-5 Military
Duke 3-5 6-6 Quick Lane
Pittsburgh 3-5 5-7  
Virginia 1-7 3-9  
Florida St. to win the ACC Championship Game
Notre Dame predicted to take ACC’s bid to the Pinstripe Bowl
Syracuse’s bid to Heart of Dallas Bowl is an at-large bid

Notre Dame qualifies for any ACC Bowl other than the Orange Bowl, if the Irish are within one win of the next available ACC team.  For instance, if Notre Dame goes 8-4, the Irish can leapfrog any 9-3 ACC team in an ACC Bowl.

Notre Dame can also qualify for the Orange Bowl as the replacement for the Big Ten or SEC team.

Later today: We will preview the Southeastern Conference in the afternoon (Eastern Time).  Can a West Division team dethrone Alabama?  Can any team from the West challenge for the SEC Championship?  Can more than one SEC team make this season’s playoffs?  Check back later today.

Coming Tomorrow: It is game week!  There are only five total games involving FBS teams, but it is real, and it counts.  So, we will debut our 2017 PiRate College Football Forecast.  We will show you all 130 teams ranked predictively and retrodictively, give you the spreads for the five games, and give you all of our bowl projections.

There will be no Money Line Parlay suggestions this week with so few games, but when we debut this feature next week, look for it on Friday morning.

 

September 12, 2016

College Football Ratings & Spreads For September 15-17, 2016

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 2:03 pm

The Best Schedule in a September Saturday in Years

This will be a week for college football fanatics to arrange their schedules to be glued to your viewing devices.  Forget mowing that lawn; the groceries can be shopped for Friday after work.  Tell your spouses that their honey-do list for this Saturday must be postponed, and let them know that the buckaroos at the PiRate Ratings have ordered you to do research this week.

This week’s schedule of games might even be better on the whole than rivalry weeks at the end of the season.  Let’s look at some of the great offerings, and by great, we don’t necessarily mean top 10 teams facing off against each other.  There are even great games among the bottom 30 teams.

Actually, the festivities commence Thursday night, when Houston visits Cincinnati.  This is somewhat of a trap game for the Cougars.  It is their first road game, and it comes against a solid but not spectacular conference foe.  Cincinnati began the season with a lackluster victory over a cream puff, and then won at Purdue last week.  The Bearcats are just talented enough to play their best game of the season and upset Houston.  It should be a great game with a good deal of scoring.

 

On Friday night, in what looks like a possible blowout, Rice hosts Baylor.  At one time, when both teams were Southwest Conference members, this was a huge rivalry game, not unlike Texas and Arkansas.  Baylor has won the last seven times these teams have faced off, with the last Owl win coming in the old SWC days in 1992.  Baylor put up 70 points on Rice last year in Waco, and even thought the Bears are several touchdowns stronger, this game might be interesting for awhile.

 

Now to Saturday, when the fun continues in bunches.

12 Noon Eastern Time

ABC: Florida State at Louisville

Don’t be surprised if the home team Cardinals pull the upset here.  Coach Bobby Petrino has built an offense at UL that could end the season averaging north of 50 points per game.  The defense is not Top 5 tough like other teams, but we are not sure that Florida State’s defense is ready to win it a championship either.  In a shootout, the better gunman usually wins, and Louisville has the better sharpshooter.  This one could be a 45-41 affair, and it is a 50-50 game in our opinion.  The PiRate Ratings are 100% in agreement with the winner.  See below.

Big Ten Network: Temple at Penn State

Coach James Franklin has felt that seat start to warm up in not so Happy Valley.  Losing to rival Pitt is not great, but losing for a second season to Temple could add some gas to that flame under the seat.  Temple imploded against Army, and then the Owls could not stop the option.  They righted the ship last week, and Penn State better play mistake-free ball and not give TU any gift points.

12:30 PM

ACC Network: Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech

Why is this game so important?  Both teams need this game to stay in the bowl chase this early in the season.  Georgia Tech pulled out a last-second win against Boston College in Dublin, Ireland, in week one.  The Yellow Jackets looked much better this past weekend, but they only played FCS Mercer.  This week, they face a coach that earned his job by stopping the read option, and Coach Derek Mason of Vanderbilt probably knows how to stop the spread option like his Stanford defenses did against Marcus Mariota’s Oregon offense.

The problem is that Vanderbilt’s offense is as weak as Boston College’s offense, and the Commodores may have trouble reaching 14 points in this game.  A 17-14 game would not be a shocker, although we believe that both teams will improve on the attack side after two so-so performances.  We believe the game could be won by less than a touchdown, with Tech having a 60% chance and Vanderbilt a 40% chance of winning.

3:30 PM

Big  Ten Network: Colorado at Michigan

Could it be that Coach Mike MacIntyre has turned the Buffalo program around?  After blowing out rival Colorado State at Invesco Field in week one, CU toyed with Idaho State in week two.  Sure, these are not quality opponents, but in recent years, CU might have gone 1-1 against these teams.

Playing at the Big House against a tough group of Wolverines is probably too much for the Buffs to take on, but it could be a very interesting game if CU does not turn the ball over.

 

WatchESPN App: South Florida at Syracuse

This will be an interesting contest with a team in Syracuse that might throw 50-60 passes and run off 100 scrimmage plays in a game before the season ends, and a South Florida team that plays the Stanford-Michigan smashmouth offense.  USF might be the one team that can derail Houston if the two meet in the AAC Championship Game, and the Bulls just might be a dark horse contender for the New Year’s 6 Bowl.  However, Coach Dino Babers has the ‘Cuse playing well above their level of 2015, and The Orangemen could just as easily end USF’s hopes for playing on January 2.

 

ABC: Oregon at Nebraska

Call this game a playoff eliminator.  The loser can win out and still miss the playoffs, while the winner stays alive with the hope that a 13-0 season will get them to Atlanta or Glendale, AZ.  Coach Mike Riley certainly knows Oregon well, having coached at Oregon State so long, but then Mark Helfrich knows a lot about what Riley’s teams do.  So, it should come down to which team executes its game plan better.  The Huskers can be an extra touchdown better in Lincoln than on a neutral field, and Oregon has not been a giant killer on the road in recent years.

 

CBS Sports Network: San Diego State at Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois is off to its worst start in years at 0-2, while SDSU is 2-0.  Why would we call this a game worth watching?  First, NIU’s first two games were road games, and the Huskies have a 31-2 home record in the last six years.  They won’t bend or break at Huskie Stadium.

Rocky Long may have the best team he’s ever coached in his career this season.  San Diego State has a decent chance of running the table in the regular season for the first time since 1969, when Dennis Shaw ran the Air Coryell offense to perfection.  The Aztecs have a couple of roadblock road games with trips to Dekalb this week and then to South Alabama in two weeks.  If they can get through these games unscathed, then you can add another prime contender with Houston, South Florida, Boise State, and maybe another MAC team for the NY6 Bowl bid.

 

CBS: Alabama at Ole Miss

Ole Miss is the one team that doesn’t back down to the Crimson Tide.  The Rebels have beaten ‘Bama in back-to-back years.  When has a team beaten Alabama three years in a row, when the Tide was not going through a rough patch where they did not stay in the Top 10?  It’s never been done when Alabama finished in the Top 10 all three seasons.  The closest was the 1967-68-69 seasons when Tennessee beat the Tide, but in 1969, Alabama had declined and would finish 6-5.

Ole Miss blew an excellent opportunity to make this a game between two Top 10 teams, when turnovers cost them a big lead against Florida State.  We believe the Rebels can play a mistake-free game this week and still lose by up to three touchdowns.  If a rebuilding reloading Tide team can go into Oxford and win big, we could be looking at another dynasty in Tuscaloosa like the Crimson fans saw in the early 1960’s and most of the 1970’s.

7:00 PM

ESPN: Texas A&M at Auburn

This one can be called the hot seat avoidance game.  The losing coach is going to begin to be in a bit of trouble.  How do we rate Auburn’s close loss to Clemson at Jordan-Hare Stadium, after Troy went to CU and lost by the same amount of points?  Auburn handled Arkansas State with ease, but ASU lost at home to Toledo in week one.  This becomes a put up or shut up game for War Eagle Nation.

Texas A&M has a quality win over UCLA, plus a no extra knowledge learned win over a very weak Prairie View team.  This is the Aggies’ first road game, and it comes in a tough place to win, but they won by a field goal the last time they came here.  We expect a hard-fought, close game.

 

ESPN2: Mississippi State at LSU

The loser will be 0-1 in the SEC and 1-2 overall, and they can look forward to hoping for an Outback Bowl bid at the max.  If the winner has maroon jerseys, then there will be less smiles in the LSU coaching office come Sunday Morning.  Les Miles is on the hottest of hot seats at the present time, and a home loss to a team that lost to South Alabama might be enough to make his dismissal inevitable.

Then, there is the health of star back Leonard Fournette, who missed the Jacksonville State game Saturday night.  Fournette is expected back in practice tomorrow, but he still suffers from the effects of the ankle injury.  And, there is the little matter of who will start at quarterback for the Tigers.  Former Purdue starter Danny Etling started 6 of 8 for 100 yards after replacing ineffective Brandon Harris in the second quarter.  However, he was 0 of 6 in the second half.

 

ESPN3: Navy at Tulane

How in the world could we select this game as one that could be a must watch affair?  Okay, first we did say this was a week for football fanatics, so give us a tad bit of slack here.  This actually should be a very interesting and fun game to watch, so consider giving it a few minutes time early in the evening.

Tulane’s first-year coach Willie Fritz came from Georgia Southern.  This Green Wave squad was not expected to do much in year one, as Fritz began the process of turning a former Pro-style offense into his unique form of multiple option offense, similar but different from the Navy/Georgia Tech style of spread option or inverted wishbone.  In week one, TU went to Wake Forest and held their own in a defensive struggle.  The Green Wave almost pulled off the upset, and after Wake knocked off Duke last week, this loss in Winston-Salem looks better than it did on opening night.  TU then handled Southern with ease, this time doing it with a breakout true freshman quarterback in Johnathan Brantley, who ran the option like a seasoned veteran.

Besides having two option teams going at each other, this is an American Athletic Conference game and an intra-division one to boot.  It should be a fun retro match that resembles the Oklahoma-Texas games of the early 1970s.

 

7:30 PM

NBC: Michigan State at Notre Dame

Neither team has looked as good as expected to this point, although Michigan State has only played one game, and the Spartans have had an extra week to prepare.  You know the old adage, that a team improves the most between its first and second game, and having two weeks to improve should make Sparty a live road ‘dog.

If you are around 60 years of age or older, you know how great this rivalry has been.  You saw the 1966 game that ended in a 10-10 tie, where both teams finished the season at 9-0-1.  Expect the score to pass 20 total points sometime in the second quarter.

Fox Sports: Ohio State at Oklahoma

Now this is how top teams should schedule!  If there were automatic NCAA Playoff bids to each of the Power 5 Conference Champions with three at-large bids to be awarded, then you would see more games like this instead of Big U vs. Northwest Southeastern Tech.

An Oklahoma loss means the Sooners can only expect a Sugar Bowl bid if they win the Big 12 Conference.  An Ohio State win in Norman could be enough to move the Buckeyes up to Number One in the nation, even if Alabama wins at Ole Miss.  Ohio State has started its first two games slowly, and a repeat at Memorial Stadium could be impossible to rally to victory if they get down by double-digits.

The key in this one is how much Oklahoma’s pass defense has improved since week one.  If J. T. Barrett can exploit the OU secondary for a deep pass for a touchdown, the Buckeyes’ running game might be able to get untracked and put up 250 yards on the Sooners.

We expect a game with more than 70 points scored, and wouldn’t this be an excellent night for a handful of overtimes?

8:00 PM

ABC: USC at Stanford

USC faces two separate extra troubles this week.  First, the home Cardinal had an extra week to prepare after besting a decent Kansas State team in week one.  Second, Stanford knows what Alabama did to the Trojans on a neutral field.  They know that to be given serious credibility, they cannot beat USC by a field goal or touchdown and get it.  They have to win this one by double digits to get any respect.

USC is not chopped liver.  The Trojans have played in the Rose Bowl in a season in which the national champ embarrassed them.  Look back at 1966, when USC lost to Notre Dame 51-0, yet made it to the Rose Bowl.

If truth be told, the Trojans are not 46 points weaker than Alabama.  If they played again, they might only lose by 24-28 points.  Stanford better be on guard, because the Trojans seek the same respect that Stanford believes they must earn.  Expect a good game on the Farm Saturday night.

10:30 PM

ESPN: Texas at California

This one is all about the Longhorns venturing out of the Lone Star State.  Cal is rebuilding and will be lucky to win five games this year, while Texas is trying to return to greatness.  The Longhorns have holes in their defense, and Cal has an offense capable of scoring a lot of points.  The key is how well the Texas offense will fare on foreign soil, even against a very porous defense.  If you wake up Sunday morning and see that Coach Charlie Strong’s team hung half a hundred on the Bears, then UT could easily be 4-0 when the Red River Shootout takes place in Dallas.  A win there, and it would be quite possible to see a path to 12-0 for the ‘Horns.

 

Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings

 

PiRate Ratings
# Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 Alabama 131.9 124.3 131.9 129.4
2 Tennessee 124.8 120.1 124.8 123.2
3 LSU 124.6 118.7 123.7 122.3
4 Oklahoma 122.7 119.5 122.5 121.6
5 Louisville 123.4 117.2 123.6 121.4
6 Michigan 121.6 119.7 122.2 121.2
7 Ohio St. 120.1 119.9 121.7 120.6
8 Florida St. 122.9 115.6 121.8 120.1
9 Clemson 121.9 113.6 120.4 118.6
10 Washington 121.1 113.3 121.2 118.5
11 Stanford 120.5 113.1 119.4 117.7
12 Oklahoma St. 114.9 116.4 114.7 115.3
13 Auburn 115.7 113.9 115.8 115.1
14 North Carolina 117.1 110.4 116.8 114.8
15 Iowa 115.9 112.8 115.6 114.8
16 Notre Dame 116.4 112.4 115.3 114.7
17 Texas 113.7 116.7 113.7 114.7
18 Miami 117.5 109.5 116.8 114.6
19 Pittsburgh 116.3 111.3 115.4 114.3
20 Houston 113.9 111.8 115.9 113.9
21 Florida 112.9 116.6 111.1 113.5
22 Wisconsin 113.9 111.5 114.7 113.4
23 Mississippi St. 114.1 111.6 113.3 113.0
24 USC 115.2 111.0 112.5 112.9
25 TCU 111.7 113.6 111.5 112.3
26 Oregon 112.8 111.7 111.8 112.1
27 Texas A&M 112.4 111.7 112.2 112.1
28 Georgia 111.3 111.4 111.2 111.3
29 Michigan St. 111.9 111.2 109.9 111.0
30 Virginia Tech 111.0 110.6 111.3 111.0
31 Arkansas 113.1 108.2 110.4 110.6
32 UCLA 110.9 110.5 110.4 110.6
33 Baylor 110.3 110.0 111.4 110.6
34 Ole Miss 113.1 106.7 111.7 110.5
35 Nebraska 111.5 107.9 111.8 110.4
36 South Florida 110.1 107.6 111.5 109.7
37 Arizona St. 109.3 109.6 108.3 109.1
38 Boise St. 107.7 109.1 110.0 108.9
39 Colorado 110.3 105.6 110.8 108.9
40 BYU 110.8 103.5 110.3 108.2
41 Utah 111.0 104.9 108.6 108.2
42 Penn St. 107.6 109.5 106.0 107.7
43 Georgia Tech 108.2 104.5 107.6 106.8
44 West Virginia 107.0 106.4 106.6 106.7
45 North Carolina St. 106.7 104.2 106.0 105.6
46 Washington St. 106.5 103.4 106.3 105.4
47 San Diego St. 105.2 101.9 107.6 104.9
48 Kansas St. 103.9 107.2 103.5 104.9
49 Texas Tech 105.8 103.4 103.6 104.3
50 Western Michigan 104.2 102.4 106.1 104.2
51 Minnesota 104.9 102.9 104.6 104.1
52 Vanderbilt 105.8 101.5 104.3 103.9
53 Northwestern 106.2 100.7 104.6 103.8
54 Boston College 104.3 103.3 103.8 103.8
55 Cincinnati 103.1 103.9 104.0 103.7
56 Central Michigan 102.2 105.0 103.4 103.5
57 Missouri 103.8 103.0 103.6 103.5
58 Arizona 104.6 102.2 103.6 103.5
59 Indiana 101.6 106.1 101.2 103.0
60 Maryland 102.4 106.0 100.2 102.9
61 Toledo 103.0 101.4 103.9 102.8
62 Air Force 100.6 101.0 101.1 100.9
63 Syracuse 102.9 99.0 100.5 100.8
64 Wake Forest 101.7 99.4 100.8 100.7
65 South Carolina 101.1 100.0 100.6 100.6
66 Tulsa 99.5 101.8 100.2 100.5
67 Appalachian St. 99.8 99.2 102.5 100.5
68 Western Kentucky 101.4 96.6 102.8 100.3
69 Memphis 102.3 97.4 100.4 100.1
70 Temple 99.5 99.1 100.2 99.6
71 Virginia 100.7 97.6 100.0 99.4
72 California 103.8 93.9 100.6 99.4
73 Duke 99.2 100.3 97.5 99.0
74 Navy 99.0 98.7 98.5 98.8
75 Illinois 99.8 96.3 98.7 98.3
76 Rutgers 98.2 95.2 96.3 96.6
77 Connecticut 97.2 95.1 97.4 96.6
78 Purdue 97.6 95.2 96.6 96.5
79 Oregon St. 98.3 93.5 95.7 95.8
80 East Carolina 94.9 97.1 95.3 95.8
81 Kentucky 95.4 97.7 93.7 95.6
82 Southern Mississippi 95.2 94.5 96.2 95.3
83 Marshall 93.2 97.6 95.0 95.3
84 Northern Illinois 94.0 95.6 94.7 94.8
85 Georgia Southern 93.8 93.5 96.3 94.6
86 Iowa St. 95.2 94.6 93.8 94.5
87 Utah St. 93.3 96.3 92.6 94.1
88 New Mexico 92.0 95.5 93.1 93.6
89 Middle Tennessee 92.2 94.1 92.5 92.9
90 Army 88.7 96.9 92.0 92.5
91 Nevada 91.1 94.1 92.1 92.5
92 Ohio 89.2 97.8 90.2 92.4
93 SMU 92.5 91.7 91.8 92.0
94 UNLV 90.5 94.8 90.6 92.0
95 Bowling Green 92.0 90.2 91.6 91.3
96 Arkansas St. 89.6 91.4 91.4 90.8
97 Louisiana Tech 89.5 91.9 90.7 90.7
98 San Jose St. 89.6 90.0 90.1 89.9
99 Troy 86.9 92.5 88.8 89.4
100 Kansas 86.4 94.7 83.9 88.4
101 Central Florida 87.2 89.6 87.2 88.0
102 Old Dominion 85.6 88.8 86.0 86.8
103 Colorado St. 85.7 88.4 86.2 86.8
104 Florida Atlantic 85.0 88.1 86.9 86.7
105 Tulane 85.3 88.6 85.5 86.5
106 Ball St. 85.5 87.5 86.4 86.5
107 Akron 83.2 89.6 84.6 85.8
108 Rice 81.9 90.1 81.9 84.6
109 Kent St. 83.9 85.6 84.1 84.6
110 Wyoming 83.7 83.4 83.9 83.7
111 Miami (O) 83.0 84.2 83.9 83.7
112 South Alabama 80.5 87.9 81.9 83.4
113 Florida International 80.6 87.4 81.4 83.1
114 Fresno St. 81.6 85.9 81.3 82.9
115 Massachusetts 79.1 87.2 80.5 82.3
116 Buffalo 78.3 87.6 79.7 81.9
117 UTSA 78.3 86.5 80.6 81.8
118 Georgia St. 78.7 84.1 80.2 81.0
119 Eastern Michigan 78.2 83.4 79.1 80.2
120 Idaho 77.6 83.7 79.0 80.1
121 UL-Lafayette 75.3 84.1 77.2 78.9
122 UTEP 76.3 80.7 77.8 78.3
123 New Mexico St. 74.9 77.8 76.1 76.3
124 Hawaii 76.8 75.6 75.7 76.0
125 North Texas 74.8 77.2 74.8 75.6
126 Charlotte 72.2 79.4 73.3 75.0
127 Texas St. 72.1 73.2 73.3 72.9
128 UL-Monroe 67.6 73.0 68.0 69.5

Ratings By Conference

American Athletic Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
South Florida 110.1 107.6 111.5 109.7
Cincinnati 103.1 103.9 104.0 103.7
Temple 99.5 99.1 100.2 99.6
Connecticut 97.2 95.1 97.4 96.6
East Carolina 94.9 97.1 95.3 95.8
Central Florida 87.2 89.6 87.2 88.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Houston 113.9 111.8 115.9 113.9
Tulsa 99.5 101.8 100.2 100.5
Memphis 102.3 97.4 100.4 100.1
Navy 99.0 98.7 98.5 98.8
SMU 92.5 91.7 91.8 92.0
Tulane 85.3 88.6 85.5 86.5
         
AAC Averages 98.7 98.6 99.0 98.8
         
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisville 123.4 117.2 123.6 121.4
Florida St. 122.9 115.6 121.8 120.1
Clemson 121.9 113.6 120.4 118.6
North Carolina St. 106.7 104.2 106.0 105.6
Boston College 104.3 103.3 103.8 103.8
Syracuse 102.9 99.0 100.5 100.8
Wake Forest 101.7 99.4 100.8 100.7
         
Coastal Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
North Carolina 117.1 110.4 116.8 114.8
Miami 117.5 109.5 116.8 114.6
Pittsburgh 116.3 111.3 115.4 114.3
Virginia Tech 111.0 110.6 111.3 111.0
Georgia Tech 108.2 104.5 107.6 106.8
Virginia 100.7 97.6 100.0 99.4
Duke 99.2 100.3 97.5 99.0
         
ACC Averages 111.0 106.9 110.2 109.4
         
Big 12 Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Oklahoma 122.7 119.5 122.5 121.6
Oklahoma St. 114.9 116.4 114.7 115.3
Texas 113.7 116.7 113.7 114.7
TCU 111.7 113.6 111.5 112.3
Baylor 110.3 110.0 111.4 110.6
West Virginia 107.0 106.4 106.6 106.7
Kansas St. 103.9 107.2 103.5 104.9
Texas Tech 105.8 103.4 103.6 104.3
Iowa St. 95.2 94.6 93.8 94.5
Kansas 86.4 94.7 83.9 88.4
         
Big 12 Averages 107.2 108.3 106.5 107.3
         
Big Ten Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Michigan 121.6 119.7 122.2 121.2
Ohio St. 120.1 119.9 121.7 120.6
Michigan St. 111.9 111.2 109.9 111.0
Penn St. 107.6 109.5 106.0 107.7
Indiana 101.6 106.1 101.2 103.0
Maryland 102.4 106.0 100.2 102.9
Rutgers 98.2 95.2 96.3 96.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Iowa 115.9 112.8 115.6 114.8
Wisconsin 113.9 111.5 114.7 113.4
Nebraska 111.5 107.9 111.8 110.4
Minnesota 104.9 102.9 104.6 104.1
Northwestern 106.2 100.7 104.6 103.8
Illinois 99.8 96.3 98.7 98.3
Purdue 97.6 95.2 96.6 96.5
         
Big Ten Averages 108.1 106.8 107.4 107.4
         
Conference USA
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Kentucky 101.4 96.6 102.8 100.3
Marshall 93.2 97.6 95.0 95.3
Middle Tennessee 92.2 94.1 92.5 92.9
Old Dominion 85.6 88.8 86.0 86.8
Florida Atlantic 85.0 88.1 86.9 86.7
Florida International 80.6 87.4 81.4 83.1
Charlotte 72.2 79.4 73.3 75.0
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Southern Mississippi 95.2 94.5 96.2 95.3
Louisiana Tech 89.5 91.9 90.7 90.7
Rice 81.9 90.1 81.9 84.6
UTSA 78.3 86.5 80.6 81.8
UTEP 76.3 80.7 77.8 78.3
North Texas 74.8 77.2 74.8 75.6
         
CUSA Averages 85.1 88.7 86.2 86.7
         
FBS Independents
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Notre Dame 116.4 112.4 115.3 114.7
BYU 110.8 103.5 110.3 108.2
Army 88.7 96.9 92.0 92.5
Massachusetts 79.1 87.2 80.5 82.3
         
Independents Averages 98.8 100.0 99.5 99.4
         
Mid-American Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Ohio 89.2 97.8 90.2 92.4
Bowling Green 92.0 90.2 91.6 91.3
Akron 83.2 89.6 84.6 85.8
Kent St. 83.9 85.6 84.1 84.6
Miami (O) 83.0 84.2 83.9 83.7
Buffalo 78.3 87.6 79.7 81.9
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Western Michigan 104.2 102.4 106.1 104.2
Central Michigan 102.2 105.0 103.4 103.5
Toledo 103.0 101.4 103.9 102.8
Northern Illinois 94.0 95.6 94.7 94.8
Ball St. 85.5 87.5 86.4 86.5
Eastern Michigan 78.2 83.4 79.1 80.2
         
MAC Averages 89.7 92.5 90.6 91.0
         
Mountain West Conference
Mountain Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Boise St. 107.7 109.1 110.0 108.9
Air Force 100.6 101.0 101.1 100.9
Utah St. 93.3 96.3 92.6 94.1
New Mexico 92.0 95.5 93.1 93.6
Colorado St. 85.7 88.4 86.2 86.8
Wyoming 83.7 83.4 83.9 83.7
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
San Diego St. 105.2 101.9 107.6 104.9
Nevada 91.1 94.1 92.1 92.5
UNLV 90.5 94.8 90.6 92.0
San Jose St. 89.6 90.0 90.1 89.9
Fresno St. 81.6 85.9 81.3 82.9
Hawaii 76.8 75.6 75.7 76.0
         
MWC Averages 91.5 93.0 92.0 92.2
         
Pac-12 Conference
North Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Washington 121.1 113.3 121.2 118.5
Stanford 120.5 113.1 119.4 117.7
Oregon 112.8 111.7 111.8 112.1
Washington St. 106.5 103.4 106.3 105.4
California 103.8 93.9 100.6 99.4
Oregon St. 98.3 93.5 95.7 95.8
         
South Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
USC 115.2 111.0 112.5 112.9
UCLA 110.9 110.5 110.4 110.6
Arizona St. 109.3 109.6 108.3 109.1
Colorado 110.3 105.6 110.8 108.9
Utah 111.0 104.9 108.6 108.2
Arizona 104.6 102.2 103.6 103.5
         
Pac-12 Averages 110.4 106.1 109.1 108.5
         
Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Tennessee 124.8 120.1 124.8 123.2
Florida 112.9 116.6 111.1 113.5
Georgia 111.3 111.4 111.2 111.3
Vanderbilt 105.8 101.5 104.3 103.9
Missouri 103.8 103.0 103.6 103.5
South Carolina 101.1 100.0 100.6 100.6
Kentucky 95.4 97.7 93.7 95.6
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 131.9 124.3 131.9 129.4
LSU 124.6 118.7 123.7 122.3
Auburn 115.7 113.9 115.8 115.1
Mississippi St. 114.1 111.6 113.3 113.0
Texas A&M 112.4 111.7 112.2 112.1
Arkansas 113.1 108.2 110.4 110.6
Ole Miss 113.1 106.7 111.7 110.5
         
SEC Averages 112.9 110.4 112.0 111.8
         
Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 99.8 99.2 102.5 100.5
Georgia Southern 93.8 93.5 96.3 94.6
Arkansas St. 89.6 91.4 91.4 90.8
Troy 86.9 92.5 88.8 89.4
South Alabama 80.5 87.9 81.9 83.4
Georgia St. 78.7 84.1 80.2 81.0
Idaho 77.6 83.7 79.0 80.1
UL-Lafayette 75.3 84.1 77.2 78.9
New Mexico St. 74.9 77.8 76.1 76.3
Texas St. 72.1 73.2 73.3 72.9
UL-Monroe 67.6 73.0 68.0 69.5
         
Sun Belt Averages 81.5 85.5 83.2 83.4

 

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference
# League PiRate Mean Bias Average
1 SEC 112.9 110.4 112.0 111.8
2 ACC 111.0 106.9 110.2 109.4
3 Pac-12 110.4 106.1 109.1 108.5
4 Big Ten 108.1 106.8 107.4 107.4
5 Big 12 107.2 108.3 106.5 107.3
6 Independents 98.8 100.0 99.5 99.4
7 AAC 98.7 98.6 99.0 98.8
8 MWC 91.5 93.0 92.0 92.2
9 MAC 89.7 92.5 90.6 91.0
10 CUSA 85.1 88.7 86.2 86.7
11 Sun Belt 81.5 85.5 83.2 83.4

 

 

PiRate Retrodictive
# Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio St.
3 Florida St.
4 Clemson
5 Tennessee
6 Michigan
7 Wisconsin
8 Washington
9 Houston
10 Stanford
11 Arkansas
12 Louisville
13 Texas A&M
14 Oklahoma
15 Iowa
16 Texas
17 Baylor
18 LSU
19 Utah
20 Georgia
21 Florida
22 Michigan St.
23 Ole Miss
24 Oregon
25 Nebraska
26 Notre Dame
27 Pittsburgh
28 Miami (Fla.)
29 Arizona St.
30 North Carolina
31 USC
32 Boise St.
33 West Virginia
34 TCU
35 Auburn
36 San Diego St.
37 UCLA
38 Toledo
39 Western Michigan
40 Navy
41 BYU
42 South Florida
43 Colorado
44 Georgia Tech
45 Western Kentucky
46 Oklahoma St.
47 Appalachian St.
48 Georgia Southern
49 Minnesota
50 Cincinnati
51 Mississippi St.
52 Virginia Tech
53 California
54 Penn St.
55 Texas Tech
56 Central Michigan
57 Indiana
58 East Carolina
59 Southern Miss.
60 Memphis
61 Wake Forest
62 Marshall
63 Air Force
64 North Carolina St.
65 Maryland
66 Army
67 Missouri
68 Kansas St.
69 South Carolina
70 Tulsa
71 Washington St.
72 Arizona
73 Louisiana Tech
74 Temple
75 Duke
76 Northwestern
77 Vanderbilt
78 Boston College
79 Illinois
80 South Alabama
81 Bowling Green
82 Syracuse
83 Utah St.
84 Akron
85 Ohio
86 Rutgers
87 Colorado St.
88 Arkansas St.
89 Troy
90 Connecticut
91 MTSU
92 Kentucky
93 Texas St.
94 Purdue
95 SMU
96 Nevada
97 San Jose St.
98 UTEP
99 Oregon St.
100 Wyoming
101 Idaho
102 Virginia
103 Ball St.
104 Iowa St.
105 Central Florida
106 Northern Illinois
107 Fresno St.
108 New Mexico
109 Florida Atlantic
110 UNLV
111 UL-Lafayette
112 Tulane
113 New Mexico St.
114 Kansas
115 Old Dominion
116 Rice
117 Georgia St.
118 Massachusetts
119 UTSA
120 Charlotte
121 Hawaii
122 UL-Monroe
123 Florida Int’l.
124 North Texas
125 Buffalo
126 Eastern Michigan
127 Miami (O)
128 Kent St.

 

This Week’s Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias
Thursday, September 15      
Cincinnati Houston -7.8 -4.9 -8.9
         
Friday, September 16      
Rice Baylor -26.4 -17.9 -27.5
Utah St. Arkansas St. 7.2 8.4 4.7
UTSA Arizona St. -28.5 -20.6 -25.2
         
Saturday, September 17      
Appalachian St. Miami (Fla.) -14.7 -7.3 -11.3
Louisville Florida St. 3.5 4.6 4.8
Penn St. Temple 10.1 12.4 7.8
Rutgers New Mexico 9.2 2.7 5.2
Tennessee Ohio 38.6 25.3 37.6
Memphis Kansas 18.9 5.7 19.5
TCU Iowa St. 19.5 22.0 20.7
Wisconsin Georgia St. 38.2 30.4 37.5
Bowling Green Middle Tennessee 2.3 -1.4 1.6
Marshall Akron 13.0 11.0 13.4
Georgia Tech Vanderbilt 5.4 6.0 6.3
Connecticut Virginia -0.5 0.5 0.4
Washington St. Idaho 31.4 22.2 29.8
Kansas St. Florida Atlantic 21.9 22.1 19.6
Central Michigan UNLV 14.7 13.2 15.8
Toledo Fresno St. 24.4 18.5 25.6
Massachusetts Florida Int’l. 1.0 2.3 1.6
Miami (O) Western Kentucky -16.4 -10.4 -16.9
Michigan Colorado 14.3 17.1 14.4
Syracuse South Florida -4.2 -5.6 -8.0
Virginia Tech Boston College 9.7 10.3 10.5
Nebraska Oregon 1.7 -0.8 3.0
Northern Illinois San Diego St. -8.2 -3.0 -9.9
Oklahoma St. Pittsburgh 1.6 8.1 2.3
Ole Miss Alabama -15.8 -14.6 -17.2
Kentucky New Mexico St. 23.5 22.9 20.6
South Carolina East Carolina 8.7 5.4 7.8
Illinois Western Michigan -1.4 -3.1 -4.4
Charlotte Eastern Michigan -4.0 -2.0 -3.8
North Carolina St. Old Dominion 23.6 17.9 22.5
Georgia Southern UL-Monroe 28.7 23.0 30.8
Auburn Texas A&M 6.3 5.2 6.6
LSU Mississippi St. 13.5 10.1 13.4
Southern Miss. Troy 10.8 4.5 9.9
Texas Tech Louisiana Tech 19.3 14.5 15.9
UTEP Army -9.4 -13.2 -11.2
Central Florida Maryland -12.2 -13.4 -10.0
Tulane Navy -11.2 -7.6 -10.5
UL-Lafayette South Alabama -3.2 -1.8 -2.7
Florida North Texas 41.1 42.4 39.3
Notre Dame Michigan St. 7.5 4.2 8.4
Arkansas Texas St. 44.0 38.0 40.1
Missouri Georgia -4.5 -5.4 -4.6
Oklahoma Ohio St. 5.6 2.6 3.8
Northwestern Duke 9.5 2.9 9.6
Stanford USC 8.3 5.1 9.9
Nevada Buffalo 16.3 10.0 15.9
BYU UCLA 2.9 -4.0 2.9
California Texas -6.9 -19.8 -10.1
San Jose St. Utah -18.9 -12.4 -16.0
Arizona Hawaii 31.3 30.1 31.4

 

FBS versus FCS Teams–PiRate Estimated Spread

FBS vs. FCS Week 3  
Home Visitor PiRate
Clemson South Carolina St. 47
Iowa North Dakota St. 19
Tulsa N. C. A&T 25
Ball St. Eastern Kentucky 15
Kent St. Monmouth 11
North Carolina James Madison 26
Colorado St. Northern Colorado 21
Wyoming UC-Davis 11
Oregon St. Idaho St. 25
Wake Forest Delaware 23
SMU Liberty 11
Washington Portland St. 42

 

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2015

Selections Against The Spread: October 22-26, 2015

Okay folks.  Let’s not get carried away.  We welcome your comments here, and especially to our sister site at http://www.piratings.webs.com.  Yes, we know that a certain part of this weekly edition has been destroying the books in theory, theory being if you actually used these picks.

We will not name names, since you guys probably don’t want your name being called out, but we will post here a couple of the comments to our sister site.

From a small city in Georgia: “If you would have played your Money Line picks the last three weeks, you would be rich today.”

 

From Vancouver, BC: “Do you know what your profit margin would have been this week if you wagered that mythical $100 on each of your four parlays?  That $400 would have won you almost $900.

 

From Henderson, NV: “Your money line selections have been killing it.  You should just do Money Line parlays.  I am going to wager on your selections next week.”

 

From Ada, OK: “Do you realize how well you did with those parlays?  You don’t know jackxxxx about the baseball dude.”

 

From Glenarm IL: “You nailed the parlay picks this week.”

 

We get about 40-50 comments a week, and usually they are not as flattering as these.  We read them all and usually get a laugh, because we perpetually remind you to NEVER, EVER, EVER use these fun-only selections to wager real money.  Just because we are having an incredibly hot streak with our money line selections, it does not mean they will continue.  We could easily go 0-4 with the picks we are going to issue today.

 

You have been warned, especially the gentleman in Henderson, NV, who supposedly is going to wager real money this week against our warnings.

Since you guys and gals like these money line parlays with better than even money odds, that’s all we’re going to submit this week.  We have made four selections again, each with a return that will give you more in winnings than you would invest if it were real.

 

Money Line Parlay 4 Teams at 7-5   $242 payout on $100
Favorite Underdog   Must Win
East Carolina Temple   East Carolina
Alabama Tennessee   Alabama
North Carolina Virginia   North Carolina
Southern Miss. Charlotte   Southern Miss.

 

Money Line Parlay 6 Teams at 13-5   $355 Payout on $100
Favorite Underdog   Must Win
Toledo Massachusetts   Toledo
Michigan St. Indiana   Michigan St.
Rice Army   Rice
Cincinnati Connecticut   Cincinnati
Mississippi St. Kentucky   Mississippi St.
Florida St. Georgia Tech   Florida St.

 

Money Line Parlay 3 Teams at 9-5   $277 payout on $100
Favorite Underdog   Must Win
St. Louis Cleveland   St. Louis
New England N. Y. Jets   New England
Carolina Philadelphia   Carolina

 

Money Line Parlay 2 Teams at 6-5   $218 payout on $100
Favorite Underdog   Must Win
Buffalo Jacksonville   Buffalo
Miami Houston   Miami

 

 

December 31, 2014

PiRate Ratings FBS Playoffs Computer Simulation–Simper Bowl VIII

We apologize for not having this post published when it was supposed to come out.  Major computer issues with substantial losses of data forced us to run an end around play to get back online.

Today, we are combining our annual Simper Bowl computer simulated playoffs (not like the actual playoffs–read prior postings under this category for a complete explanation) with the 100 simulations run for both actual Playoff games.

First, let’s start with our Simper Bowl Results.

In Simper Bowl VIII, #3-seed TCU squared off against #5-seed Baylor in our version of our 12-team playoff.  The game was played in Arlington, TX, and due to the proximity of both clubs, no home-field advantage was added, as we felt that both teams would have an equal amount of fans, and TCU was not all that much closer to the stadium to earn any extra advantage.

AND YOUR 2014 SIMPER BOWL VIII CHAMPION IS……………………

TCU!  Congratulations to the Horned Frogs, the team the computer simulator judged to be the best team in the nation.

Final Score: TCU 38  Baylor 26

STATS

First Downs: TC 27  BA 20

Rushing: TC 45-203  BA 23-67

Passing: TC 226  BA 291

Passes: TC 20-32-0  BA 28-51-1

Play-Yds: TC 77-429  BA 74-358

After 1st Qtr.: TCU 10  Baylor 6

Half: TCU 17  Baylor 16

After 3rd Qtr.: TCU 31  Baylor 19

********************************************

100 Sims of Actual Rose and Sugar Bowls

We simulated both Playoff games 100 times.  Here are the results.

Rose Bowl

#2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida St.

Outright Wins: Florida St. 57  Oregon 43

Average Score: Florida St. 24.9  Oregon 22.5

Outlier A: Florida St. 40  Oregon 22

Outlier B: Oregon 45  Florida St. 20

Sugar Bowl

#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio St.

Outright Wins: Alabama 89  Ohio St. 11

Average Score: Alabama 32.6  Ohio St. 21.7

Outlier A: Alabama 44  Ohio St. 13

Outlier B: Ohio St. 29  Alabama 23

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