The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 5, 2018

Final Analytical Look at the 2018 Mid-term Elections

Pardon our brevity today, but we do have other tasks at hands on the PiRate ship.  This is our final election eve analytical look at the 2018 Mid-term Election races.

U.S. Senate

We were tempted to make one slight change today based on the final reliable polling coming from a couple of honest pollsters.  However, in these states, Early Voting has already seen large percentages of voters deciding.  We have to use the polls at the time of Early Voting, so we did not move the needle at all.

For three weeks, we have been split between 53-47 and 54-46 in favor of the Republicans in the Senate.  Our Over/Under spread would be 53 1/2.

U.S. House of Representatives

This could take up hours more than we have to explain, and if you are reading this 14 hours before the polls open on the East Coast, you only have time for a couple of paragraphs.

Based on our models of handicapping the polls based on their recent biases from the previous election, we believe that the Democrats are assured of picking up 13 seats as their floor and 34 seats as their ceiling.  They currently own 193 seats, so this bumps their minimum in the next Congress to 206 and a maximum of 227.  It takes 218 to get a majority.

We believe that there are about 26 seats remaining that are true tossup races.  Of the 26 tossups, the Democrats need to win 12 of the races to gain control.  If you factor in that the Democrats polled a little better three weeks ago when some states commenced with early voting, we tend to tilt the needle of toss-up races in their favor.  If we had to wager on an over/under number for the number of Democrats in the next Congress, we’d place that number at 219.5, since our data shows the Democrats taking control of the House by a margin of 219 to 216 or 220 to 215.

Gubernatorial Races

We must admit that we did not perform any additional data mining on the governor’s races.  We will stick with our over/under number of 26.5 in favor of the Republicans, as our data is split between 26-24 and 27-23 in favor of the GOP.


Our plea with our incredible brothers and sisters of the greatest nation in the world.

Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, please act like a good and decent human being and accept the results without resulting to violence.  Our nation received the most incredible gift from our Founding Fathers.

There is a fantastic quote attributable to Benjamin Franklin in 1787.  When Franklin was leaving Independence Hall following long hours of discussion at the Constitutional Convention, a lady asked Franklin as he left the hall whether our new nation would be a Republic or a Monarchy.

Franklin’s genius reply was, “A Republic if you can keep it.”

My fellow friends and countrymen, we are doing our worst not to keep it.  I lived through the 1968 through 1972 election cycle.  I never believed the nation could become more divided then than ever again in my lifetime.  We are approaching this four year black eye.  Let’s stop it before it can surpass those four years.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


November 1, 2018

Update To An Analytical Look at the 2018 Mid-term Elections

This update to the statistical analysis we gave two weeks ago will be shorter than the previous post given due to time constraints, but we believe it will be a little more accurate now that there are many additional points to plot on our regression boards.


Safe Seats

Dianne Feinstein (D)

Chris Murphy (D)

Tom Carper (D)

Mazie Hirano (D)

Angus King (I)
King caucuses with the Democrats.

Ben Cardin (D)

Elizabeth Warren (D)

Debbie Stabenow (D)

Amy Klobuchar (D)

Roger Wicker (R)

Deb Fischer (R)

New Mexico
Martin Heinrich (D)

New York
Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Sherrod Brown (D)

Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)

Mitt Romney (R)

Bernie Sanders (I)
Sanders caucuses with the Democrats.

Tim Kaine (D)

Maria Cantwell (D)

John Barrasso (R)

Moved from Safe to Leaning

Minnesota Special Election
Tina Smith (D) vs. Karin Housley (R) Smith +4

Smith has the advantage, but her lead has dwindled to the point where a large GOP voting turnout could flip this seat to the Republicans. Housley has proven to be a formidable campaigner and has cut a double-digit lead down to within the margin of error when our formula has been applied.

Toss-up States


Kyrsten Sinema (D)

Martha McSally (R)

Recent news of statements made by Sinema concerning her constituents has cost her almost any chance of winning this race. It is almost a safe seat for the Republicans

Bill Nelson (D)
Rick Scott (R)

This is probably the closest race in the Senate. Voter turnout on election day will decide the winner. The stats show Nelson with less than two-tenths of a percent lead. Might there be a challenge by whoever loses? In Florida, it’s a good chance.

Joe Donnelly (D)
Mike Braun (R)
Lucy Brenton (L)

This race became a lot more interesting at the end of October, as the Indiana Democratic Party released a mass mailer telling people to vote for Libertarian candidate Brenton, as a ploy to get Braun supporters to vote for Brenton and thus give Donnelly the win. Braun was once a Democrat, and he may lose just enough support to Brenton for Donnelly to win with a plurality but not a majority of the vote.

Mississippi Special Election Primary
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)
Mike Espy (D)
Chris McDaniel (R)
Toby Bartee (D)

Hyde-Smith appears to be in excellent shape to finish in first in the open primary, but she should fall short of the needed 50%+1 vote to avoid a runoff election. McDaniel is closing in on Espy for second place, but it would be a major upset if the runoff election did not pit Hyde-Smith against Espy. Hyde-Smith polls double digits ahead of Espy in the runoff, which will be held on November 27.

Josh Hawley (R)
Claire McCaskill (D)

James O’Keefe at Project Veritas is proving to be the 21st Century version of Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His undercover sleuthing looks to have proven to be a mortal wound for McCaskill, and The Show Me State is looking like a Republican pick-up. O’Keefe showed them.

Jon Tester (D)
Matt Rosendale (R)

This race has gotten even tighter since our last report. We have moved it to leaning Democrat to toss-up. Tester led this race by close to double digits just after Labor Day, but it is now well within the margin of error, and this is usually a Red state. We believe that Rosendale may have a slightly better than 50-50 chance of defeating the incumbent Tester.  With the Independent candidate dropping out of the race and endorsing Rosendale, this could give the Republican the final two or three percent he needs to defeat Tester.


New Jersey
Robert Menendez (D)
Bob Hugin (R)

Menendez should have secured this victory weeks ago, but Hugin continues to remain within striking distance. How the suburban turnout goes on Election Day will determine if this race will be decided by less than 2% either way. We still believe Menendez will squeak by, but this race has moved from leaning Democrat to Toss-up barely favoring the Democrat.

Dean Heller (R)
Jacky Rosen (D)

This is one race where we have tossed out the outlier polls on both sides. We believe these polls to be too partial and thus discount them to the point where they offer no accuracy. The remaining polls have showed a slow but steady climb in the numbers for Heller. Rosen needed to hit about 48% in the most recent reliable polls, and she has failed to do so. When the challenger cannot get to 48% in the final week of an election, the incumbent will win 90+% of the time. We believe Heller wins by as much as 6%.

North Dakota
Kevin Cramer (R)
Heidi Heitkamp (D)

Really, we should put this race into the safe Republican section, but it began as an up for grabs seat, and we will leave it here. Heitkamp had too much against her in this state. Cramer has become a star in the House of Representatives, and the House seat in North Dakota is a statewide race. In essence, Cramer has more notoriety statewide than the incumbent Heitkamp. Plus, this is a heavy Red state, so the numbers just work against Heitkamp here. Expect Cramer to approach a double-digit win.

Bob Casey (D)
Lou Barletta (R)

Casey has never seriously been threatened in this race, as Barletta’s campaign never took off in the Metropolitan areas. Barletta needed to sweep the Pittsburgh suburbs, and it looks like he is barely getting a majority in this area. Meanwhile, Philadelphia supports Casey by a large margin, and this will lead to Casey winning in a minor landslide.

Marsha Blackburn (R)
Phil Bredesen (D)

James O’Keefe strikes again! Former Nashville Mayor and Governor Bredesen was holding his own in this race in a state that went heavy for President Trump in 2016. When Project Veritas released video of the Bredesen campaign admitting that support for Justice Kavanaugh was a lie, it threw this race into safe territory for the GOP. Plus, Bredesen might have already lost a little of his female base by showing support for Kavanaugh. Blackburn has a chance to score a double-digit victory and become the first female ever to be elected to statewide office in Tennessee.

Ted Cruz (R)
Beto O’Rourke (D)

Cruz is polliing above 50% in all major polls, so this race can be put into the safe Republican seat category. O’Rourke played Russian Roulette with his stance on guns, and he was the unlucky participant.

Late note: Project Veritas struck again Thursday night when they released information showing O’Rourke campaign staffers admitting to illegally using campaign funds to supply the Honduran Caravan.  It should be the final nail in the candidate’s coffin.

West Virginia
Joe Manchin (D)
Patrick Morrisey (R)

Because of the limited number of polls that meet our criteria for limited bias, this race may be the hardest one for us to analyze. Manchin was once above 50% in many polls and is now below 50% in all the reliable polls. Incumbents need to stay above 48% at this point in the race in hopes to receive 2% more from the undecideds. Manchin’s average polling numbers at the end of October place him at 46-47%. Morrisey has about 43%, which means an abnormally high 10% of West Virginia’s likely voters are still undecided (or the polling data is flawed). Our statistical analysis shows that Manchin enters November with a 3% lead and with as much as 8% of likely voters still undecided. At 47.5 to 44.5, Manchin needs 2.5% of the remaining 8% to win. Incumbents tend to lose about 2/3 of the undecided vote in the final week of the election. Thus, we favor Manchin at 50.17% to 49.83% for Morrisey, in other words a very close race.

Tammy Baldwin (D)
Leah Vukmir (R)

Baldwin is consistently polling between 52 and 55% in the polls with about 3-4% undecided votes. She should win by close to double-digits if not slightly over.

As of November 2, Our Prediction for the US Senate is:

Republicans 54
Democrats 46

This would be a pickup of three seats for the GOP. This would be the largest mid-term Senate gain for the President’s Party since 1962 when the Democrats gained four seats in the Mid-term with President John F. Kennedy in office. No Republican President has ever seen his party gain three seats in the Senate in a mid-term election, and George W. Bush, is the only other Republican president to see his party gain in the Senate mid-term election. In 2002, the GOP gained one seat.


The House of Representatives
This is the most interesting and the most difficult thing the PiRate Ratings have ever tried to analyze, be it sports, stock investments, or even when the first snow will fall in our base city. We have to admit that three of us stayed awake until past 3 AM pouring over notes and coming to different conclusions. One of us calculated a 27-seat gain for the Democrats, meaning they would own the majority at 220-215. One of us calculated that the Republicans would squeak by with a 219-216 majority and a loss of 16 seats. The third person totally screwed up his math and kept coming up with different numbers and had 436 votes until he realized at 3:15 AM that he had counted the 25th District of California twice. He came up with 220-215 majority for the GOP.
What does this mean? Be prepared to stay up all night next Tuesday into Wednesday morning, because there are a lot of toss-up races in the State of California, and polls don’t close there until maybe past your normal bedtime on the East Coast. We might not even know which party controls the House on Wednesday morning. What a big win for the news networks if this happens!

Current House Numbers
Republicans 235
Democrats 193
Vacancies 7

As of November 2, Our prediction for the House is.
Republicans 218
Democrats 217
The Democrats gain 24 total seats.

At the present time, there are 33 Republican Governors, 16 Democratic Governors, and One Independent Governor (Bill Walker of Alaska) that was once a Republican but who cut a deal with the former Democratic candidate to end his campaign and team up with him as his lieutenant governor. Walker supports the Democratic nominee Marc Begich.
There are 14 states that do not hold a Gubernatorial election this year, and it so happens that these 14 states consist of seven Republican and seven Democratic Governors. So, we begin with a 7-7 tie.

Safe for the Republicans: 12 (Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming)

Safe for the Democrats: 7 (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island)

Subtotal: Republicans 19 Democrats 14

Leaning Republican: 4 (Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire)

Leaning Democratic: 4 (Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico)

Subtotal: Republicans 23 Democrats 18

Toss-up States: 9

Ned Lamont (D)
Bob Stefanowski (R)

Lamont has a slight lead and looks to have about a 75% chance of winning

Andrew Gillum (D)
Ron DeSantis (R)

Gillum was close to the 50% threshold until it became news that he is under investigation by the FBI for a corruption issue. His rating stopped at 48 and has dropped a percent or two. DeSantis now has the advantage, and more registered Republicans have voted early than registered Democrats. This looks like it is trending to DeSantis.

Fred Hubbell (D)
Kim Reynolds (R)
Hubbell has a small lead that is within the margin of error, but he must be considered the favorite to win. We give Hubbell a 55% chance of winning.

Laura Kelly (D)
Kris Kobach (R)
Greg Orman (I)

Orman has been polling close to double digits, and he will take away enough votes to decide this election. Kobach is likely to win because Orman will take away enough of Kelly’s support.

Steve Sisolak (D)
Adam Laxalt (R)
Ryan Bundy (I)

This is an interesting race with news that can be considered beneficial to both sides. Laxalt had the lead in early October. Even with the Independent Bundy siphoning off some of his support, he appeared to be close to moving this race into the leaning Republican column. Early voting in crucial counties trended toward the Republicans scoring victories in both the Senate and Governor’s races. However, Heller does not have an Independent running in the Senate race. How much of the early voting Republican votes has gone to Bundy?

Then, an eleventh hour negative editorial by members of Laxalt’s family was published in print media and reported on in electronic media, where the family members claim that Laxalt is not a Nevadan but actually an Eastern elitist. Sisolak will pick up some votes here, and this race will go down to the wire.

Richard Cordray (D)
Mike DeWine (R)

How about a flat-footed tie in a race? This one looks like a 50-50 race with just a week to go until the election. Early voting started in Ohio more than three weeks ago, and the turnout has been rather heavy, about 55% higher than the 2014 Mid-term election. If we had to bet, we’d give Cordray the very slightest edge, because the incumbent DeWine has not reached 48%, which is a vital number to us when looking at incumbents with one week to go in the race.

Kate Brown (D)
Knute Buehler (R)

Brown doesn’t have the 48% minimum as the incumbent, but in this case, her opponent continues to lose a tiny bit of ground. Oregon is usually a Blue State, so we will give the edge to Brown.

South Dakota
Billie Sutton (D)
Kristi Noem (R)

Noem had more name recognition as a member of the House, while Sutton is a state senator. Noem has the advantage here as this is a Red state. Our prediction here is that Noem wins by 4-6%.

Tony Evers (D)
Scott Walker (R)

Here is a race where the trend line is the strongest factor. Even though the incumbent Walker is one percent below the 48% threshold, his opponent is losing ground by a statistically-relevant number. Evers, a lifelong educator and three-time state public school superintendant was pushing 50% before negative ads hit the airwaves in the Badger State. Walker has since reached 47%, while Evers has fallen under 46%, and the trend line this late in the race tilts this one in favor of Walker.

As of November 2, Our prediction for the Governors’ races are:

Republicans 26
Democrats 23
1 race totally too close to call.

March 1, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 1, 2018

Conference Tournament Action From Last Night

Big Ten Conference Tournament
First Round–February 28
Iowa 96 Illinois 87
Rutgers 65 Minnesota 54

Updated Big Ten Bracket

Second Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Maryland #9 Wisconsin Big Ten
2:15 PM #5 Michigan Iowa Big Ten
6:30 PM #7 Penn St. #10 Northwestern Big Ten
8:45 PM #6 Indiana Rutgers Big Ten
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Michigan St. Mary or Wisc Big Ten
2:15 PM #4 Nebraska Michigan or Iowa Big Ten
6:30 PM #2 Ohio St. PSU or N’Western Big Ten
8:45 PM #3 Purdue Indiana or Rutgers Big Ten
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM MSU/Mary/Wisc Neb/Mich/Iowa CBS
4:30 PM OSU/Purd/NW Purd/Ind/Rutg CBS
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS


Northeast Conference Tournament
First Round–February 28
Wagner 73 Central Connecticut 61
Robert Morris 60 Mount St. Mary’s 56
Fairleigh-Dickinson 84 St. Francis (Pa) 75
Long Island 73 St. Francis (Bkn) 50

Updated Northeast Conference Bracket

Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM #1 Wagner #7 Robert Morris ESPN3
2:00 PM #4 Long Island #6 Fairleigh-Dickinson ESPN3
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2


Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
First Round–February 28
Tennessee Tech 60 SIU-Edwardsville 51
Eastern Illinois 73 Tennessee St. 71

Updated Ohio Valley Conference Bracket

Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 Jacksonville St. Tennessee Tech OVC
9:00 PM #3 Austin Peay Eastern Illinois OVC
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Murray St. Jax. St. or Tenn Tech ESPNU
9:30 PM #2 Belmont APSU or E. Illinois ESPNU
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2


Other Conference Tournaments in Action Today

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Florida Gulf Coast #5 North Florida ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 Lipscomb #3 Jacksonville ESPN3


Big South Conference Tournament
Championship Game at Higher Seed
Quarterfinals and Semfinals at #1 Seed UNC-Asheville
All Times EST
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #2 Radford #10 Longwood ESPN3
3:30 PM #3 Winthrop #6 Gardner-Webb ESPN3
7:00 PM #1 UNC-Asheville #8 Charleston Southern ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 Campbell #5 Liberty ESPN3


Patriot League Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Bucknell #8 Loyola (MD) Stadium
7:00 PM #4 Lehigh #5 Boston U Stadium
7:00 PM #2 Colgate #7 Lafayette Stadium
7:00 PM #3 Navy #6 Holy Cross Stadium


Conference Tournaments Beginning Today

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Albany, NY
All Times EST
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #8 Monmouth #9 St. Peter’s ESPN3
7:30 PM #7 Quinnipiac #10 Siena ESPN3
10:00 PM #6 Fairfield #11 Marist ESPN3
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Rider Monmouth or St. Peter’s ESPN3
9:30 PM #2 Canisius Quinn. or Siena ESPN3
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #3 Niagara Fair. or Marist ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 Iona #5 Manhattan ESPN3
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Rider/Monm/St. P Iona or Manhattan ESPN3
9:30 PM Can/Quinn/Siena Niag/Fair/Marist ESPN3
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

While Rider and Canisius tied for the regular season conference championship, there are two other teams to watch closely in this tournament.  Iona has the best offense in the league, and in a tournament, sometimes the team that plays loose and can fill it up from outside will get a large lead against the other team that begins tight and cannot hit their perimeter shots.  Iona is the two-time defending tournament champion, and until the Gaels lose, they are our favorite to win it again, even as the four-seed.

The other team to watch from back of the pack is Fairfield, the hottest team in the league entering the tournament.  The Stags match up quite well with Niagara, who they would face in the quarterfinal round if they win tonight.


Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
St. Louis (Arch Madness)
All Times CST
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 Evansville #9 Northern Iowa ESPN3
8:30 PM #7 Missouri St. #10 Valparaiso ESPN3
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Loyola (Chi.) Evansville or UNI ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 Drake #5 Bradley ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 Southern Illinois MSU or Valpo ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Illinois St. #6 Indiana St. ESPN3
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM Loyola/Evans/UNI Drake or Bradley CBSSN
5:00 PM SIU/MSU/Valpo Ill St. or Ind St. CBSSN
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

Without Wichita State playing bully on the rest of the league, it was thought that the Valley would be a wide open race this year with a host of teams competing for the regular season and tournament championships.  However, Loyola (Chi.), with five players averaging double figure scoring, has been nearly unstoppable in conference play this year.  The Ramblers have only been to a single NCAA Tournament since their heydays of the 1960’s,   Loyola enters Arch Madness on a 14 for 15 winning streak.

If any other team wins this tournament, it will be a major upset and will produce a 15-seed or worse.  Loyola could be a 13-seed as the Tournament Champions.

There is one team from way back in the pack that has the potential to sneak into the semifinals.  Northern Iowa is the number 9 seed.  If they beat Evansville tonight, they might be the team that can match up best with Loyola, who they would face tomorrow.  If they were to eliminate the Goliath, then there isn’t another team in the field any better than the Panthers.


March 10, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Friday, March 10, 2017

Bubble Update

Iowa, Illinois, and Utah clinched bids yesterday, but it’s to the junior prom rather than the senior prom.  The trio are NIT-bound.  USC lost a close one to rival UCLA last night, but we believe the Trojans are rather safe for now.

Some interesting upsets has made it a nerve-wracking day for a few teams that thought they were on the good side of the Bubble.  Let’s take a look at those teams that received Bubble invitations Thursday.

A. TCU–The Horned Frogs pulled the big upset over Kansas, although the Jayhawks were missing a key player due to suspension.  Kansas will remain a #1 seed, but they could move down to the fourth top-seed.  Meanwhile, Jamie Dixon is looking like a genius, taking a program that has been down for a long time and bringing it to the precipice of NCAA Tournament membership.  A Frog win today over Iowa State would give TCU 20 wins with a better than average schedule strength.  It would be mighty impressive on a resume, and the Committee would probably move that piece of paper up into the “accepted pile.”

B. Kansas State–The surprises kept coming in Kansas City, as the Wildcats knocked off Baylor in the nightcap of the Big 12 Quarterfinals.  At this point, K-State may have done enough to earn a bid, so this is probably the end of the line for Illinois State, and it could put a Friday Bubble loser in jeopardy.

C. Indiana demolished Iowa yesterday, and the Hoosiers looked more like the team they were suppose to be this year.  If IU drops Wisconsin today, the Hoosier will have a chance to make the field.  However, the Committee does not seem to favor the Big Ten this year, and it would be difficult to substantiate Indiana making the field if they do not advance to the Championship Game.  Purdue may be fortunate to become a 4-seed, and with Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, and Michigan State all expected to make the field, an eighth Big Ten team would have to be very impressive in the next couple of days in order to make the field.  The interesting plot line here is that IU can win this tournament if they continue to play like they did yesterday, and then it would almost be a given that the Big Ten sent eight teams.  That would definitely burst a Bubble down the line.

D. Xavier had played itself down to the Bubble prior to Big East Tournament play, but the Musketeers moved back to the safe zone with their win over Butler Thursday.  XU will get a bid even if Creighton tops them tonight.

Bubblelicious Games on Friday

If your favorite team is still in that gray area,  and another upset or two makes the Committee order more ice cream, it could be a nervous 48 hours if your team loses today.  Here are the teams that should consider today must win games, even if some Bracketologists consider these teams to be in the field.  The key is that our 13 Bracketology Gurus are not unanimous in their beliefs that these teams are safe even with a loss today.

A. Vanderbilt:  The Commodores made it three for three over Texas A&M, and they bombed away from the perimeter to bury the Aggies with a second half barrage of threes.  Vandy must now do the same thing to the highly-ranked Florida Gators today to become a safe Bubble team.  A loss would leave the Commodores at 18-15, and that would give VU two negatives.  No 15-loss team has ever received and at-large bid, and almost all at-large teams have won four more games than they have lost.  19-15 improves Vandy’s chances by leaps and bounds over 18-15.

B. Houston: The Cougars still need more than one win to have any chance to make the Field.  They must beat UConn today, and then they will need an upset of Cincinnati tomorrow to even move into serious consideration.  Of course, that means Cinti must win their game against Tulsa.

C. Rhode Island is in the same boat with Houston.  Not only must the Rams take out St. Bonaventure today to have a shot at the Dance, they also must upset Dayton tomorrow and thus need Dayton to beat Davidson to set up that game.

D. TCU will move into the Field with a win over Iowa State today.  Of course, it will be a probationary invitation, because they could then be leapfrogged if a team like Indiana or Alabama should win an automatic bid.

E. Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers will become an official Bubbler today if they beat Wisconsin.

F. All four SEC games today have Bubble Implications.  We already told you about Vanderbilt.  Georgia has a chance to make some noise if the Bulldogs can find a way to upset Kentucky.  UGA came close to sweeping the Wildcats in the regular season only to lose two heartbreakers.  If UK wants to win this tournament, they will waltz through with three double-digit wins, but if the players are already thinking about the NBA Draft and don’t want to jeopardize their chances by giving their all and risking injury, then any team left in the field can beat the Wildcats.

G. Ole Miss has 20 wins, and a win today over Arkansas, followed by a possible win tomorrow over Florida (if UF beat Vandy), could move the Rebels into contention for a bid.

H. Alabama is the forgotton team in the SEC Tournament.  The Crimson Tide have the potential to play with any league member when they take smart shots.  Coach Avery Johnson knows how to prepare his team to compete, and it all comes down to FG% for the Tide.  Until somebody beats the Crimson, they cannot be overlooked–even if they are.  If the Tide beats South Carolina today and then gets a semifinal game with Kentucky tomorrow, a win over the Wildcats would have to make ‘Bama a serious contender.

I. The three Mid-Major Players: Middle Tennessee, Nevada, and Texas-Arlington are still alive in the at-large race, but the way the trio is playing, they will really have to lay an egg to lose in their conference tournaments.  MTSU faces the one team that beat them in conference play today, and we expect the Blue Raiders to punish UTEP with a blowout win.

Nevada faces a somewhat tougher task facing Fresno State, and if the men from Reno win, they are no guarantee in the Championship against either Colorado State or San Diego State.  In fact, the way the Aztecs played yesterday, they looked similar to all their past teams that advanced into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.  This is possibly the best tournament to watch tonight if you are a basketball junkie from another league.

UT-Arlington is the least likely of the three in this group to get an at-large bid if they fail to win their conference tournament, but they do own the one victory over Saint Mary’s other than the three Gonzaga pinned on the Gaels.  There isn’t a lot to add to their schedule strength, so UTA really needs to win the Sun Belt title.

Friday’s Schedule

Conference Tournament Schedule–All Times Eastern Standard
American Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 27-4 vs. 9 East Carolina 15-17 12:00 PM ESPN2
4 Central Florida 20-10 vs. 5 Memphis 19-12 2:00 PM ESPN2
2 Cincinnati 27-4 vs. 7 Tulsa 15-16 7:00 PM ESPNU
3 Houston 21-9 vs. 6 Connecticut 15-16 9:00 PM ESPNU
Atlantic Coast Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Carolina 27-6 vs. 5 Duke 25-8 7:00 PM ESPN
2 Florida St. 25-7 vs. 3 Notre Dame 24-8 9:00 PM ESPN
Atlantic 10 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Dayton 24-6 vs. 9 Davidson 16-14 12:00 PM NBCSN
4 Rhode Island 21-9 vs. 5 St. Bonaventure 20-11 2:30 PM NBCSN
2 VCU 24-7 vs. 7 George Mason 20-12 6:00 PM NBCSN
3 Richmond 19-11 vs. 6 George Washington 19-13 8:30 PM NBCSN
Big 12 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 TCU 19-14 vs. 4 Iowa St. 21-10 7:00 PM ESPN2
2 West Virginia 25-7 vs. 6 Kansas St. 20-12 9:00 PM ESPN2
Big East Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Villanova 29-3 vs. 5 Seton Hall 21-10 6:30 PM FS1
7 Xavier 21-12 vs. 6 Creighton 24-8 9:00 PM FS1
Big Sky Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Dakota 20-9 vs. 4 Idaho 18-12 8:35 PM Big Sky
2 Eastern Washington 22-10 vs. 3 Weber St. 18-12 11:05 PM Big Sky
Big Ten Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Purdue 25-6 vs. 8 Michigan 21-11 12:00 PM ESPN
4 Minnesota 23-8 vs. 5 Michigan St. 19-13 2:20 PM ESPN
2 Wisconsin 23-8 vs. 10 Indiana 18-14 6:30 PM BTN
3 Maryland 24-7 vs. 6 Northwestern 22-10 8:50 PM BTN
Big West Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
2 UC-Davis 20-12 vs. 3 Cal St. Fullerton 17-13 9:30 PM ESPN3
1 UC-Irvine 20-13 vs. 4 Long Beach St. 15-18 12:00 AM ESPN3
Conference USA
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Middle Tennessee 28-4 vs. 4 UTEP 15-16 12:30 PM CBSSN
2 Louisiana Tech 23-9 vs. 6 Marshall 19-14 3:00 PM CBSSN
Mid-American Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Akron 25-7 vs. 4 Ball St. 21-11 5:30 PM CBSSN
2 Ohio U 20-10 vs. 6 Kent St. 20-13 8:00 PM CBSSN
Mideastern Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UNC-Central 23-8 vs. 5 Md.–Eastern Shore 13-19 6:00 PM ESPN3
2 Norfolk St. 16-15 vs. 11 Howard 10-23 8:00 PM ESPN3
Mountain West Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Nevada 26-6 vs. 4 Fresno St. 20-11 10:00 PM CBSSN
2 Colorado St. 22-10 vs. 6 San Diego St. 20-13 12:30 AM CBSSN
Pac-12 Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Oregon 28-4 vs. 5 California 21-11 9:00 PM P12 Net.
2 Arizona 28-4 vs. 3 UCLA 29-3 11:30 PM ESPN
Southeastern Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 26-5 vs. 8 Georgia 19-13 1:00 PM SECN
4 South Carolina 22-9 vs. 5 Alabama 18-13 3:20 PM SECN
2 Florida 24-7 vs. 7 Vanderbilt 18-14 7:00 PM SECN
3 Arkansas 23-8 vs. 6 Ole Miss 20-12 9:20 PM SECN
Southland Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 New Orleans 18-11 vs. 5 Sam Houston St. 21-12 6:00 PM ESPN3
2 Texas A&M-CC 19-10 vs. 3 Stephen F. Austin 18-13 8:30 PM ESPN3
Southwestern Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Texas Southern 21-11 vs. 5 Grambling 16-16 3:30 PM None
2 Alcorn St. * 17-13 vs. 3 Southern 15-17 9:30 PM None
*Alcorn St. is ineligible for postseason play due to low APR scores.
If the Braves win the tourney, Texas Sou. wins the bid.
Sun Belt Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UT-Arlington 24-7 vs. 8 Coastal Carolina 16-16 1:30 PM ESPN3
4 Texas St. 18-12 vs. 12 Louisiana-Monroe 9-23 3:00 PM ESPN3
2 Georgia St. 19-11 vs. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette 21-11 6:00 PM ESPN3
3 Georgia Southern 18-13 vs. 6 Troy 19-14 8:30 PM ESPN3
Western Athletic Conference
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Cal St. Bakersfield 21-8 vs. 4 Utah Valley 15-15 9:00 PM ESPN3
2 New Mexico St. 26-5 vs. 3 Missouri-KC 17-15 11:30 PM ESPN3

NOTE: We are getting several inquiries about our Red-White-Blue ratings and why we do not post them for every game.  The computing of these ratings are quite laborious; it takes upwards of 7 to 8 minutes to do just one game, and even with five or six people retrieving the stats, it limits us to once per week and just the Power Conference games.  We are not issuing any this weekend, as we are spending all our extra time getting this information for the teams that have clinched bids and finished regular season play.

We will issue picks for all NCAA Tournament games, commencing with the First Four at Dayton.  We hope to have the First Four previews on this site by Monday Night Eastern Daylight Time.  


February 13, 2017

The Pirate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Report For February 13, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:27 am

Sunday Excitement

Before we get started with today’s Bracketology Gurus report, we ask you which TV game this weekend became the most exciting one of all.  We hear some of you voting for the Virginia Tech-Virginia game Sunday, the Gonzaga-St. Mary’s game and Kansas-Texas Tech game Saturday, and a smattering of votes for games in leagues that some of you like over others, maybe the ACC or Big Ten.

If you found us for the first time today, you must know that we have esoteric tastes on the PiRate ship.  Our founder contacted this writer around 5PM Sunday to tell us that we had just missed the best game of the weekend, and probably 99.9% of the college basketball fandom didn’t even know the game he watched was televised.

The Captain told us that we should have watched the Vermont-Maryland-Baltimore County game yesterday.  He tuned in to see if how this Catamount team compared to former coach Tom Brennan’s last team in the Green Mountain State.  That team upset Syracuse in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Captain was very impressed with both teams yesterday and became an instant admirer of UMBC’s little sparkplug, K.J. Maura.  The 5 foot 8 inch and 140 pound Maura was overlooked by all major college teams and had to go the junior college route to make it to the low-major Terriers.  Yesterday, Maura was all over the gym, leading UMBC to an almost incredible comeback after trailing by 18 points in the second half.  The Terriers cut the Vermont lead down to two points with less than 30 seconds to go, and after a steal of an inbound pass, they had plenty of time to set up a final shot, but panic set in leading to an off-balance shot, when Maura was one pass away ready to force the action.  Still, UMBC had a chance to send the game into overtime with 2.1 seconds left on the clock.  A deflected inbound pass found Maura with the ball at halfcourt with the final second on the clock quickly ticking down to goose eggs.  Maura threw up a 46 1/2 foot prayer that was almost answered TWICE!  The ball kicked off the front of the rim and then bounced straight up about 13 feet up from the floor.  In what seemed like 5 seconds to the fans, gravity finally sent the ball toward Earth as the red light illuminated the board like a diner billboard advertising the daily special.  It looked like the pumpkin might drop in the basket, but it fell behind the backboard, giving the win to the Catamounts.

When we tell you avid basketball fans to give the low major and mid major conferences a chance, we really mean it.  Some of the most exciting games are in these mass media ignored leagues.  The Mother Ship will hype these leagues during Championship Week, but you should watch some of these league’s games now when the teams are fighting for spots in the standings, where as opposed to the big conferences, many of the lower leagues value the standings by awarding home games to the superior seeds.

Oh, and the Vermont-UMBC game had the great John Feinstein as the color commentator.  His Schtick reminds our founder of Vin Scully doing a basketball game–great stories with great commentary.



27 days from today, we will know the magic 68 teams that can still win the national championship.  27 days out, our Bracketology Gurus have come to a consensus on 53 of the expected 68 that will receive invitations to the Dance.  15 teams could not receive 100% of the Guru vote.  We will call all the teams that received votes but did not receive a unanimous consensus as our Bubble for the week.  The 15-highest vote-receiving Bubble teams are in the Field of 68 for now, while the rest of the Bubble teams are basically NIT teams for now.

Once again, the Gurus come within one vote of agreeing that 22 conferences will send just one representative to the NCAA Tournament, with the lone dissenter believing that the Missouri Valley Champion runner-up will be a #1 seed in the NIT.  We will go with 22 one-bid leagues and include two Valley teams in the Dance.


America East: Vermont 13-0/23-5

Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast 9-2/20-7

Big Sky: Weber St. 10-2/15-8

Big South: UNC-Asheville 12-2/20-7

Big West: UC-Davis 8-2/16-9

Colonial: UNC-Wilmington 11-3/22-5

Conference USA: Middle Tennessee 12-1/22-4

Horizon: Valparaiso 11-2/21-5

Ivy: Princeton 8-0/15-6

Metro Atlantic: Monmouth 13-2/21-5

Mid-American: Akron 11-1/21-4

Mideastern Athletic: UNC-Central 9-1/18-6

Mountain West: Boise St. 9-3/16-7

Northeast: Mount St. Mary’s 12-2/14-13

Ohio Valley: Belmont 12-1/18-5

Patriot: Bucknell 11-2/19-7

Southern: Furman 11-2/18-8

Southland: New Orleans 10-3/15-9

Southwestern Athletic: Texas Southern 10-1/14-10

Summit: North Dakota St. 9-3/17-8

Sun Belt: Arkansas St. 9-3/18-7

Western Athletic: Cal State Bakersfield 8-1/17-7


The Bubble

Math can be a funny thing sometimes if you are a math geek.  While 15 teams made this week’s PiRate Bracketology Gurus Bubble List, a few of them actually finished with a better seed than a few of the teams that were consensus picks.  The reason for this is that a couple of the teams that did not receive consensus selection were seeded considerably higher than some of the consensus teams in a three or four of the dozen Guru’s lists.  We expect that in the next few weeks, this will work itself out, and there will be a consensus Bubble in early March.

In order, here is this week’s Bubble.  The top 15 in this Bubble make the Dance this week, while number 16 starts the group of first teams out.

  1. Virginia Commonwealth 10-2/20-5
  2. Miami (Fla.) 6-6/16-8
  3. Michigan St. 7-5/15-10
  4. Michigan 6-6/16-9
  5. TCU 6-6/17-8
  6. California 9-4/18-7
  7. Syracuse 8-5/16-10
  8. Minnesota 6-6/18-7
  9. MVC #2 (Illinois St. for now  13-1/21-5)
  10. Kansas St. 5-7/16-9
  11. Oklahoma St. 5-7/16-9
  12. Georgia Tech 6-6/15-10
  13. Seton Hall 5-7/15-9
  14. Marquette 6-7/15-10
  15. Arkansas 7-5/18-7
  16. Wake Forest 6-7/15-10
  17. USC 8-5/21-5
  18. Indiana 5-8/15-11
  19. Tennessee 6-6/14-11
  20. Rhode Island 8-4/16-8
  21. Auburn 5-7/16-9
  22. Pittsburgh 3-9/14-11
  23. Clemson 3-9/13-11
  24. Providence 5-8/15-11
  25. Utah 8-5/17-8
  26. Richmond 9-3/15-9
  27. Texas Tech 4-8/16-9
  28. Alabama 7-5/14-10
  29. Houston 9-4/18-7
  30. Ole Miss 6-6/15-10

As you can see, the Bubble has a lot of teams that really should not even be part of the conversation, but this is one of those seasons where 25 teams are really good and the next 55 teams are rather mediocre.  The law of averages would have us believe that one of these mediocre teams will enter the Field of 68 with 12 or more losses and then advance to the Elite 8 and maybe even steal a spot in the Final Four.  Kansas 27-11 (1988), Villanova 25-10 (1985), and North Carolina State 26-10 (1983) from the past even won the whole thing with a lot more losses than the top teams that fell by the wayside those three seasons.

Here is the seed list for all 68 teams

Teams in CAPS represent selected Conference Champion of One Bid League

1–Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor

2–North Carolina, Florida St., Louisville, Oregon

3–Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Kentucky

4–Duke, West Virginia, Butler, UCLA

5–Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Purdue

6–SMU, Creighton, Maryland, South Carolina

7–Dayton, Xavier, Northwestern, St. Mary’s

8–Iowa St., VCU, Miami (Fla.), Michigan St.

9–Virginia Tech, TCU, Michigan, California

10–Syracuse, Minnesota, Wichita St., Kansas St.

11–Oklahoma St., Illinois St., MIDDLE TENNESSEE, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall







First Four in Dayton

16-Weber St. vs. Mount St. Mary’s

16-Cal-Davis vs. UNC-Central

12-Marquette vs. Arkansas

11-Georgia Tech vs. Seton Hall


Last Four Byes

Illinois St.

Oklahoma St.

Kansas St.



First Four Out

Wake Forest





Next Four Out

Rhode Island




Coming Mid-week: We take our next look at the top teams that we consider to be real title contenders and apply our 4 Factors Data and PiRate Ratings Criteria to see which teams have staying power.  Does Gonzaga have what it takes to give Mark Few his first Final Four appearance, or are the Bulldogs headed for an early stumble?  Can Kentucky meld into a real team of character rather than 7 youthful characters and make a run to the title?  Could this be Coach K’s final season in Durham, and could he repeat the performance of John Wooden and go out on top?  Or, is there another team lurking behind the current contenders that may not be getting its due?  Find the answers, or at least our version of the answers, in our next report.  Time permitting, it will be published Wednesday late afternoon (Eastern Time).

February 10, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For February 11-12, 2017

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, February 11, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Wake Forest North Carolina St. 12 10 11
Pittsburgh Syracuse -1 -2 2
Duke Clemson 10 12 10
Louisville Miami 14 11 13
Georgia Tech Boston College 9 6 7
Notre Dame Florida St. 1 4 1
West Virginia Kansas St. 12 12 5
Baylor TCU 9 10 13
Texas Tech Kansas -4 -2 -4
Oklahoma St. Texas 15 12 11
Iowa St. Oklahoma 12 12 11
St. John’s Seton Hall 1 -1 -2
Georgetown Marquette 1 2 7
DePaul Creighton -13 -11 -15
Xavier Villanova -1 -2 1
Providence Butler -1 -1 -2
Rutgers Minnesota -5 -3 -7
Illinois Penn St. 4 5 7
Maryland Ohio St. 8 6 6
Michigan St. Iowa 6 8 11
Utah Washington 14 13 15
Arizona St. Stanford 2 2 -3
Arizona California 8 8 7
USC Oregon -4 -5 -7
Florida Texas A&M 16 17 12
Alabama Kentucky -8 -4 -5
Missouri Vanderbilt -4 -3 -7
Tennessee Georgia 7 7 7
Ole Miss Auburn 4 4 7
Mississippi St. South Carolina -5 -3 -5
LSU Arkansas -4 -4 -1
St. Mary’s Gonzaga -8 -1 -1


Games Scheduled for: Sunday, February 12, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Virginia Tech Virginia -6 -7 -9
SMU Cincinnati 5 3 3
Indiana Michigan 4 4 8
Wisconsin Northwestern 8 9 14
UCLA Oregon St. 28 26 20
Colorado Washington St. 13 14 11

PiRate Ratings Top 25

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Villanova
  3. Kansas
  4. Virginia
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Louisville
  7. North Carolina
  8. West Virginia
  9. Baylor
  10. Florida St.
  11. Cincinnati
  12. Florida
  13. Kentucky
  14. St. Mary’s
  15. Duke
  16. Purdue
  17. SMU
  18. UCLA
  19. Wichita St.
  20. Creighton
  21. Arizona
  22. Maryland
  23. Oregon
  24. Butler
  25. Dayton


  1. Virginia
  2. Louisville
  3. North Carolina
  4. Florida St.
  5. Duke
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Wake Forest
  8. Clemson
  9. Syracuse
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Miami
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. North Carolina St.
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Boston College

Big 12

  1. Kansas
  2. West Virginia
  3. Baylor
  4. Oklahoma St.
  5. Iowa St.
  6. Kansas St.
  7. TCU
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Creighton
  3. Butler
  4. Dayton
  5. Xavier
  6. Marquette
  7. Seton Hall
  8. Georgetown
  9. Providence
  10. DePaul

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Maryland
  4. Northwestern
  5. Minnesota
  6. Michigan
  7. Indiana
  8. Michigan St.
  9. Ohio St.
  10. Iowa
  11. Illinois
  12. Penn St.
  13. Nebraska
  14. Rutgers


  1. UCLA
  2. Arizona
  3. Oregon
  4. USC
  5. Utah
  6. California
  7. Colorado
  8. Stanford
  9. Arizona St.
  10. Washington
  11. Washington St.
  12. Oregon St.


  1. Florida
  2. Kentucky
  3. South Carolina
  4. Tennessee
  5. Georgia
  6. Arkansas
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. Auburn
  9. Alabama
  10. Ole Miss
  11. Texas A&M
  12. Mississippi St.
  13. LSU
  14. Missouri

A Great Weekend For Watching Hoops on TV

The Following Games are listed in order of the most exciting and important and not in order of tip-off time

All times given are Eastern Standard


St. Mary’s vs. Gonzaga  8:15 PM on ESPN

Xavier vs. Villanova  2:30 PM on Fox

Notre Dame vs. Florida St. 6:00 PM on ESPN

USC vs. Oregon  10:30 PM on Pac-12 Network

Alabama vs. Kentucky  1:00 PM on CBS

Texas Tech vs. Kansas  2:00 PM on ESPN

Princeton vs. Columbia  6:00 PM  For those that have purchased Ivy League Live Sports Access:



SMU vs. Cincinnati  4:00 PM on ESPN

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia  6:30 PM on ESPNU

Indiana vs. Michigan  1:00 PM on CBS

Wisconsin vs. Northwestern  6:30 PM on Big Ten Network


February 3, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For February 4-5, 2017


Games Scheduled for: Saturday, February 4, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Syracuse Virginia -7 -6 -9
Duke Pittsburgh 15 16 12
Boston College Louisville -15 -13 -15
North Carolina St. Miami (Fla.) -1 -1 1
Wake Forest Georgia Tech 11 12 11
North Carolina Notre Dame 9 8 9
Georgetown Seton Hall 3 3 7
DePaul Marquette -10 -8 -9
Creighton Xavier 6 5 5
Villanova St. John’s 17 19 19
Maryland Purdue -2 -3 1
Penn St. Rutgers 8 6 8
Illinois Minnesota -2 1 -1
Michigan Ohio St. 7 8 2
TCU Texas 8 6 5
Kansas Iowa St. 11 10 10
Baylor Kansas St. 9 9 14
West Virginia Oklahoma St. 11 13 7
Texas Tech Oklahoma 7 9 7
Oregon Arizona 2 4 5
Stanford Utah -3 -3 -2
Oregon St. Arizona St. -6 -2 -1
Washington St. USC -7 -8 -5
Washington UCLA -11 -10 -6
South Carolina Georgia 8 6 6
Vanderbilt Ole Miss 6 6 8
Mississippi St. Tennessee -4 -1 -6
Missouri Arkansas -6 -4 -3
Florida Kentucky 1 4 1
Alabama Auburn 6 7 9
LSU Texas A&M -3 -2 -6
Cincinnati Connecticut 14 14 14
Tulsa SMU -6 -6 -6
Gonzaga Santa Clara 27 20 23
San Diego Saint Mary’s -15 -16 -16


Games Scheduled for: Sunday, February 5, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Florida St. Clemson 8 6 8
Wisconsin Indiana 9 7 4
Iowa Nebraska 7 6 3
California Colorado 5 6 8

PiRate Ratings Top 25

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Villanova
  3. Louisville
  4. West Virginia
  5. Kansas
  6. Kentucky
  7. North Carolina
  8. Virginia
  9. Duke
  10. Florida
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Baylor
  13. Arizona
  14. Purdue
  15. UCLA
  16. Cincinnati
  17. Florida St.
  18. Oregon
  19. Creighton
  20. St. Mary’s
  21. Notre Dame
  22. SMU
  23. Butler
  24. South Carolina
  25. Wichita St.


  1. Louisville
  2. North Carolina
  3. Virginia
  4. Duke
  5. Florida St.
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Clemson
  8. Wake Forest
  9. Virgnia Tech
  10. Miami
  11. Syracuse
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. North Carolina St.
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Boston College

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Creighton
  3. Butler
  4. Xavier
  5. Marquette
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Georgetown
  8. Providence
  9. St. John’s
  10. DePaul

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Maryland
  4. Northwestern
  5. Michigan St.
  6. Michigan
  7. Minnesota
  8. Indiana
  9. Ohio St.
  10. Iowa
  11. Illinois
  12. Penn St.
  13. Nebraska
  14. Rutgers

Big 12

  1. West Virginia
  2. Kansas
  3. Baylor
  4. Oklahoma St.
  5. Iowa St.
  6. Kansas St.
  7. TCU
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas


  1. Arizona
  2. UCLA
  3. Oregon
  4. Utah
  5. USC
  6. California
  7. Colorado
  8. Stanford
  9. Arizona St.
  10. Washington
  11. Washington St.
  12. Oregon St.


  1. Kentucky
  2. Florida
  3. South Carolina
  4. Arkansas
  5. Tennessee
  6. Georgia
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. Alabama
  9. Auburn
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Ole Miss
  12. Mississippi St.
  13. LSU
  14. Missouri

Games You Will Want to Watch 

All Times Eastern Standard


Maryland vs. Purdue 12:00 PM on ESPN

Creighton vs. Xavier 3:00 PM on Fox

North Dakota St. vs. South Dakota 3:00 PM on ESPN3

Oregon vs. Arizona 4:00 PM on ESPN

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame 6:00 PM on ESPN

Harvard vs. Princeton 7:00 PM on ESPN3

Wichita St. vs. Illinois St. 8:00 PM on ESPN2

Florida vs. Kentucky 8:15 PM on ESPN


Wisconsin vs. Indiana 1:00 PM on CBS

The Groundhog may have seen his shadow to forecast 6 more weeks of winter, but cheer up.  Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training in 10 days.

New England 24  Atlanta 20

Use this at your own expense–we do not gamble.  Some experts are going heavy on the UNDER the last 36 hours, and computer sims say it is a sharp selection, but still we won’t wager a penny.

January 27, 2017

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview For January 28-29, 2017

PiRate Ratings Spreads for January 28-29, 2017

Games Scheduled for: Saturday, January 28, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Georgia Tech Notre Dame -4 -8 -3
Pittsburgh Clemson -2 -1 2
Syracuse Florida St. -4 -4 -5
Miami North Carolina -7 -7 -7
Wake Forest Duke -2 -4 -1
West Virginia Texas A&M 19 19 8
Oklahoma Florida -4 -6 -7
Texas Tech LSU 14 16 12
Tennessee Kansas St. 1 -1 5
Oklahoma St. Arkansas 8 5 7
Georgia Texas 6 6 6
Vanderbilt Iowa St. -3 -4 4
TCU Auburn 10 12 13
Ole Miss Baylor -10 -10 -10
Kentucky Kansas 9 8 8
Marquette Providence 10 9 8
Creighton DePaul 14 16 14
Butler Georgetown 11 11 7
Rutgers * Wisconsin -13 -17 -11
Minnesota Maryland 5 5 6
Penn St. Illinois 3 2 -1
Iowa Ohio St. 1 2 -1
Utah Oregon St. 22 22 21
Colorado Oregon -7 -9 -10
Alabama Mississippi St. 7 6 8
Missouri South Carolina -12 -12 -12
Pepperdine Gonzaga -27 -26 -19
Santa Clara St. Mary’s -9 -12 -13

* Rutgers-Wisconsin game to be played at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan

Games Scheduled for: Sunday, January 29, 2017
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Villanova Virginia 5 6 5
St. John’s Xavier -5 -8 -7
Louisville North Carolina St. 18 17 18
Virginia Tech Boston College 13 15 10
Michigan St. Michigan 2 3 9
Nebraska Purdue -9 -10 -4
Northwestern Indiana 5 1 -1
Arizona St. Washington St. 10 12 8
California Stanford 8 11 7
Cincinnati South Florida 26 28 28

What a week!  So, who is number one now?  Unless they suffer a monumental upset loss tomorrow, Gonzaga will assume the top spot in the polls, but are the Bulldogs really the best team in college basketball?

To answer that question yourself, ask yourself, “Would I take Gonzaga over X in a neutral site game in the NCAA Tournament?  Now, plug all the other top teams in the “X” spot in that question.

If you find yourself saying that a couple of schools would beat the Bulldogs, does that mean Gonzaga is not number one?  Not so fast my friends.  Maybe two of the other top 10 teams might be the “X’s” in your mind that can beat Gonzaga, while the Zags would beat the other eight.  However, which team among that group of ten would do any better?  Maybe both of the teams you figured to beat Gonzaga might only beat seven of the other top ten.  This is the 21st Century, and the John Wooden UCLA dynasty is nowhere to be found.  From 1964 to 1975, except for 1966, you might have been able to say that UCLA could beat all the other top teams with very little argument.  The Bruins were to men’s basketball what Connecticut is to women’s basketball now.

So, yes indeed.  As of this writing, Gonzaga is the legitimate number one team in the nation.  That does not mean that they are a lock for the Final Four, but in our opinion Mark Few has his best team, and the Bulldogs have the potential to make it to Phoenix.  It has been done before.  UNLV, Marquette, UNC-Charlotte, Pennsylvania, Virginia Commonwealth, and Butler were all very powerful teams from non-power leagues when they first made Final Four appearances.  Gonzaga is much like UNLV and Marquette from the 1970’s.  They have been very good for a long time, and they have beaten many power teams, but they have yet to win the big games.  UNLV made the Final Four in 1977 and again in 1987 before breaking through in 1990 to win the title.  Marquette had an undefeated regular season and lost before the Final Four.  They had the second best team in 1976 but had to play the best team (Indiana) in the Mid-east Regional.  Finally, with Al McGuire’s weakest team during his dynasty in the won-loss ledger, his only seven-loss team since he turned the then Warriors into a power, MU won the 1977 title.

Gonzaga cannot be overlooked.  They might not get to the promised land this year, but then again, this could be their year.  There is no top ten team at this point that doesn’t have some weakness.  Gonzaga has the talent to exploit any weakness this year, something Few has not had in the past.


This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25 

Using an algorithm based on the Four Factors

  1. Gonzaga
  2. North Carolina
  3. West Virginia
  4. Baylor
  5. Louisville
  6. Villanova
  7. Kentucky
  8. Kansas
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Arizona
  11. Virginia
  12. Butler
  13. Oregon
  14. Purdue
  15. UCLA
  16. Cincinnati
  17. Florida St.
  18. Creighton
  19. Notre Dame
  20. South Carolina
  21. SMU
  22. Saint Mary’s
  23. Kansas St.
  24. Duke
  25. Florida

Power Conferences


  1. North Carolina
  2. Louisville
  3. Virginia
  4. Florida St.
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Duke
  7. Wake Forest
  8. Clemson
  9. Miami 
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Syracuse
  12. North Carolina St.
  13. Georgia Tech
  14. Pittsburgh
  15. Boston College

Big East

  1. Villanova
  2. Butler
  3. Creighton
  4. Marquette
  5. Xavier
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Georgetown
  8. Providence
  9. St. John’s
  10. DePaul

Big Ten

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Purdue
  3. Northwestern
  4. Michigan
  5. Indiana
  6. Minnesota
  7. Maryland
  8. Michigan St.
  9. Ohio St.
  10. Illinois 
  11. Penn St.
  12. Iowa
  13. Nebraska
  14. Rutgers

Big 12

  1. West Virgina
  2. Baylor
  3. Kansas
  4. Kansas St.
  5. Iowa St.
  6. TCU
  7. Oklahoma St.
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Texas


  1. Arizona
  2. Oregon
  3. UCLA
  4. USC
  5. Utah
  6. California
  7. Colorado
  8. Stanford
  9. Arizona St.
  10. Washington
  11. Washington St.
  12. Oregon St.


  1. Kentucky
  2. South Carolina
  3. Florida
  4. Arkansas
  5. Tennessee
  6. Georgia
  7. Alabama
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Vanderbilt
  10. Mississippi St.
  11. Auburn
  12. Ole Miss
  13. LSU
  14. Missouri

Other Conferences Top Teams

Competing for NCAA Tournament bids (automatic or at-large depending on league)

Atlantic 10

  1. Dayton
  2. Virginia Commonwealth
  3. Rhode Island

America East

  1. Vermont
  2. New Hamsphire
  3. Albany

American Athletic

  1. Cincinnati
  2. SMU
  3. Houston

Atlantic Sun

  1. Florida Gulf Coast
  2. Lipscomb
  3. North Florida

Big Sky

  1. Weber St.
  2. Eastern Washington

Big South

  1. Winthrop
  2. UNC-Asheville

Big West

  1. UC-Irvine
  2. UC-Davis
  3. Long Beach St.


  1. UNC-Wilmington
  2. College of Charleston

Conference USA

  1. Middle Tennessee
  2. Louisiana Tech


  1. Valparaiso
  2. Oakland


  1. Princeton
  2. Yale
  3. Harvard

Metro Atlantic

  1. Monmouth
  2. Iona
  3. Canisius
  4. St. Peter’s


  1. Akron
  2. Eastern Michigan
  3. Ohio U

Mideastern Athletic

  1. Morgan St.
  2. Norfolk St.
  3. UM-Eastern Shore
  4. Hampton

Missouri Valley

  1. Wichita St.
  2. Illinois St.

Mountain West

  1. Nevada
  2. San Diego St.
  3. Boise St.


  1. Mount St. Mary’s
  2. Fairleigh-Dickinson
  3. Wagner

Ohio Valley

  1. Belmont
  2. Murray St.


  1. Bucknell
  2. Lehigh

Sun Belt

  1. UT-Arlington
  2. Arkansas St.


  1. Chattanooga
  2. East Tennessee
  3. UNC-Greensboro


  1. New Orleans
  2. Sam Houston St.


  1. North Dakota St.
  2. Fort Wayne
  3. South Dakota
  4. Denver

Southwestern Athletic

  1. Texas Southern
  2. Prairie View
  3. Southern U

Western Athletic

  1. New Mexico St.
  2. Cal State Bakersfield

Grand Canyon is not eligible but would be number 2

West Coast

  1. Gonzaga
  2. Saint Mary’s
  3. BYU


March 23, 2016

NCAA Sweet 16 Preview

PiRate Ratings For Thursday and Friday

Higher Seed Lower Seed Red White Blue
Villanova Miami 3 3 2
Oklahoma Texas A&M 2 2 -3
Kansas Maryland 7 3 11
Oregon Duke 1 -1 5
Virginia Iowa St. 2 3 3
Notre Dame Wisconsin 1 1 -2
Syracuse Gonzaga -3 -2 -2
North Carolina Indiana 5 4 9

To those of you that read our annual bracket-picking story last week, you have our sincere apologies.  Never before has our top-rated team lost in its first game in the NCAA Tournament, but Middle Tennessee shocked us for the second time in NCAA Tournament history.  The first time, our founder had two tickets to the 1982 Mideast Regional, and once Kentucky disposed of little Middle Tennessee, he had a solid offer for $850 for each ticket two days later when Kentucky faced Louisville for the first time in a quarter century.  Those tickets became worthless when Middle upset Kentucky.

So, what’s left to say after Michigan State was sent packing?  There isn’t anything to say other than let’s get over it and proceed with our current update.

Because the entire world’s bracket has been busted after the first weekend, most places allow the fan to start anew with the Sweet 16 bracket.  If you still have faith in our system, and we do, since most of the 16 surviving teams fit the criteria, we will show you how we see it from here.

First, let us point out that no surprise teams remain in the tournament.  All 16 teams are consistent top programs, and only Gonzaga fails to come from a Power Conference.  Gonzaga today is what UNLV was 25 years ago and Davidson was 50 years ago.  The Bulldogs should eventually make it to the Final Four.


Here are the PiRate Criteria Stats for the remaining 16 teams.

Team PPG Def Marg. FGM RbM TOM R+T WLRd SOS OPos  DPos Pos/G
Villanova 77.5 63.6 13.9 7.3 1.9 2.7 10.0 16-4 58.54 2450 2440 67.9
Miami 75.4 66.7 8.7 5.2 2.4 0.8 9.3 12-6 58.22 2257 2268 66.5
Oklahoma 80.6 70.7 9.9 5.3 2.2 -0.1 6.8 13-6 58.74 2448 2451 72.0
Texas A&M 76.8 66.1 10.7 4.8 4.5 2.3 15.5 11-7 55.70 2506 2500 69.5
Kansas 82.0 67.9 14.1 10.0 5.3 0.7 14.2 15-4 60.22 2548 2550 70.8
Maryland 76.1 66.3 9.7 8.3 3.1 -1.7 7.3 11-7 56.77 2367 2350 67.4
Oregon 78.9 68.5 10.4 4.6 3.4 2.8 14.7 12-6 60.01 2514 2513 69.8
Duke 79.7 70.2 9.5 1.9 -0.3 2.4 6.5 10-7 58.97 2341 2346 67.0
Virginia 70.9 59.5 11.3 7.2 3.8 2.4 13.5 13-7 60.05 2151 2146 61.4
Iowa St. 82.1 74.7 7.4 6.8 -0.2 0.9 4.2 9-9 58.96 2451 2468 72.3
Notre Dame 75.6 70.5 5.1 4.8 2.5 -0.5 7.8 9-9 57.25 2218 2228 65.4
Wisconsin 68.1 63.9 4.3 -0.1 3.0 1.1 10.8 9-7 58.14 2187 2198 64.5
Syracuse 70.4 64.8 5.5 2.2 -0.7 1.2 3.4 8-9 56.21 2233 2236 65.7
Gonzaga 79.4 65.6 13.8 8.9 7.5 -1.0 16.9 17-3 52.35 2392 2404 68.5
North Carolina 81.8 69.3 12.5 6.8 8.3 2.2 22.4 15-5 57.74 2558 2531 70.7
Indiana 82.5 69.0 13.5 6.3 6.9 -0.4 16.8 10-7 53.79 2351 2354 69.2

Here are the 4-Factors Numbers for the remaining 16 teams

Villanova 55.1 46.3 28.4 28.7 16.4 20.4 21.9 17.0
Miami 54.0 47.7 30.2 29.2 16.4 17.5 25.2 17.7
Oklahoma 54.7 46.7 30.6 30.1 17.9 17.7 20.6 16.2
Texas A&M 51.6 47.1 34.9 29.2 17.4 20.8 22.0 17.9
Kansas 56.7 45.0 32.7 28.3 17.7 18.7 22.6 21.9
Maryland 55.7 46.2 29.8 29.7 19.0 16.6 23.6 16.8
Oregon 52.6 48.2 34.5 30.6 16.4 20.3 24.6 18.2
Duke 53.8 49.1 33.8 34.8 14.0 17.5 25.8 15.8
Virginia 54.8 48.3 30.2 25.4 15.1 19.1 20.8 18.8
Iowa St. 57.1 49.5 26.7 30.2 15.7 16.9 15.7 15.0
Notre Dame 54.1 49.2 33.0 31.5 15.3 14.5 21.4 17.2
Wisconsin 48.6 48.2 33.0 27.6 16.9 18.5 23.2 19.6
Syracuse 50.7 46.8 33.3 35.0 18.5 20.3 21.0 16.7
Gonzaga 55.4 44.7 32.3 25.6 16.8 15.2 22.3 17.2
North Carolina 52.0 47.2 39.9 29.9 15.4 18.6 20.8 17.9
Indiana 58.9 49.4 37.1 28.8 19.7 19.1 20.5 16.7

Sweet 16 Schedule

Thursday, March 23, 2016, Sweet 16 Games
Time (EDT) Network Seed Team Seed Team
7:10 PM CBS 2 Villanova 3 Miami
7:37 PM TBS 2 Oklahoma 3 Texas A&M
9:40 PM CBS 1 Kansas 5 Maryland
10:07 PM TBS 1 Oregon 4 Duke
Friday, March 24, 2016, Sweet 16 Games
Time (EDT) Network Seed Team Seed Team
7:10 PM CBS 1 Virginia 4 Iowa St.
7:27 PM TBS 6 Notre Dame 7 Wisconsin
9:40 PM CBS 10 Syracuse 11 Gonzaga
9:57 PM TBS 1 North Carolina 5 Indiana


Here is our updated bracket for the remainder of the tournament.  This uses our PiRate Criteria and is not the same thing as the PiRate Red-White-Blue Ratings above.

Sweet 16

Villanova over Miami

Texas A&M over Oklahoma

Kansas over Maryland

Oregon over Duke

Virginia over Iowa St.

Wisconsin over Notre Dame

Gonzaga over Syracuse

North Carolina over Indiana


Elite 8

Texas A&M over Villanova

Kansas over Oregon

Virginia over Wisconsin

North Carolina over Gonzaga



Kansas over Texas A&M

North Carolina over Virginia



Kansas over North Carolina

March 18, 2016

NCAA 3rd Round Picks–Saturday, March 19, 2016

Higher Seed Lower Seed Red White Blue
Miami Wichita St. -1 2 -3
Duke Yale 4 6 11
Kentucky Indiana 2 1 3
Iowa St. UALR 6 6 8
Virginia Butler 7 6 9
Kansas Connecticut 7 4 15
Utah Gonzaga -2 -1 -1
North Carolina Providence 10 8 22


Saturday Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Higher Seed Lower Seed
12:10 PM CBS Miami (Fla.) Wichita St.
2:40 PM CBS Duke Yale
5:15 PM CBS Kentucky Indiana
6:10 PM TNT Iowa St. UALR
7:10 PM TBS Virginia Butler
7:45 PM CBS Kansas Connecticut
8:40 PM TNT Utah Gonzaga
9:40 PM TBS North Carolina Providence


Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at