The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 2, 2017

PiRate Ratings Money Line Parlays for November 2-6, 2017

The PiRate Captain had to send up the white flag after his lasses staged a successful mutiny two weeks ago. Much to his chagrin and ego, the ladies proceeded to come up with back-to-back weeks of pillaging of the Vegas vessels.

Last week, they brought in enough booty to send the SS Fortune into the black for the season. They proceeded to return a profit on the investment of a whopping 147%, missing out on going a perfect 4 for 4 by one play in overtime in the Appy State-U Mass game.  For the season, the PiRate Account is now in the black with a very modest 1% ROI.

The Captain will note that in the previous two seasons, the period from the last of October to the first of December followed the same MO–the selection results went from red numbers to black numbers and clinched a profit for the overall seasons.
Now, the lasses are lobbying to change the name of the PiRate ship to Queen Anne’s Revenge. The Captain is worried that five swollen heads on the lovely ladies could lead to a return of some booty to the Nevada books, but the ladies are overly confident that they have zeroed in using their superior female intuition.

Once again, the ladies picked the teams they thought had the best chance of winning outright but at the same time went off as small favorites, total tossups, or even slight underdogs. The Captain merely served as their accountant, putting together the best possible parlays as far as favorable odds go, thanks to his knowing which of the 2 dozen reputable books had the best overall odds.

 
The PiRate lasses selected four money line parlays, each going off at better than +120 odds, which is the unwritten rule for this weekly feature. Actually, there are just three parlays this week, as the fourth selection is a single game where the ladies believe the underdog should be favored by at least a touchdown.

Enjoy the picks, but remember, neither the ladies nor the Captain ever wager real money on the outcomes of these games. The goal here is to have fun with math.

#1 @ +155  
Must Win Must Lose
North Texas Louisiana Tech
#2 @ +144  
Must Win Must Lose
Georgia St.
Georgia Southern
Kentucky Ole Miss
#3 @ +167  
Must Win Must Lose
Navy Temple
Northwestern Nebraska
#4 @ +204  
Must Win Must Lose
Missouri Florida
UAB Rice
Tulane Cincinnati

 

 

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August 23, 2017

2017 Southeastern Conference Preview

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:54 am

The old adage goes that a southern gentleman’s three favorite professional sports leagues are, the NFC, the AFC, and the SEC.  Others see SEC football as a religion, and whoever is the head coach at Alabama, as the reigning Moses with direct communication to the Great Bear in the Sky.

For those that have not followed college football more than a few years, this league has been around for almost 85 years, but even before then, the league members were “killing it” on the gridiron.  As far back as 1904, the Crimson Tide played excellent footbal, and under Hall of Fame Coach Wallace Wade, the 1925 Alabama football team won the Southern Conference, the Rose Bowl, and finished 10-0 as the nation’s best team.

What is the top annual college football award? Easy: it’s the Heisman Trophy, named for John Heisman.  Heisman coached at two different schools that would become charter members of the SEC–Georgia Tech and Auburn.

General Robert Neyland led Tennessee from 1926 to 1952 with a couple of breaks to serve in the military.  Neyland was considered the best defensive coach in the history of the game, and one of his Volunteer teams shut out every opponent on the schedule.  Even at what is considered the bottom feeder programs of the league, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, both schools have pasts where they were not only great, they were the best in the nation.  Bear Bryant guided the 1950 Wildcats to an 11-1 season and major upset victory over number one Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.  Dan McGugin led the Commodores from 1904 to 1934, finishing with a record of 197-55-19 and winning multiple national championships at Vandy (retroactively according to recognized computer polls).  So, when you see the 14 SEC teams fighting it out week after week this year and think that they all of a sudden became the behemoths of the college football world, recall that this is not a new phenomenon.  The SEC is as storied as Major League Baseball.

2017 figures to be another great year in this league with four or five teams capable of making the Playoffs.  It is higher than an average chance that this season could see two SEC teams making the Playoffs.

Here is how the SEC Media voted in the preseason.

SEC East Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Georgia 138 1,572 6
2 Florida 96 1,526 3
3 Tennessee 3 998 0
4 South Carolina 5 897 1
5 Kentucky 0 869 0
6 Vanderbilt 1 554 1
7 Missouri 0 388 0
         
SEC West Division
# Team 1st Pl. Total Champ.
1 Alabama 225 1,683 217
2 Auburn 13 1,329 11
3 LSU 4 1,262 3
4 Arkansas 1 796 1
5 Texas A&M 0 722 0
6 Mississippi St. 0 633 0
7 Ole Miss 0 379 0

The PiRate Ratings are a tad different, but you can see there are several highly-regarded teams, as all 14 teams rate above 100.0.

Southeastern Conference
East Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Georgia 116.3 117.6 116.4 116.8
Florida 115.3 114.6 114.6 114.8
Kentucky 111.7 110.2 111.2 111.0
Tennessee 111.4 109.6 109.5 110.2
Vanderbilt 110.2 108.5 109.2 109.3
S. Carolina 106.4 106.1 105.6 106.0
Missouri 104.7 101.3 103.4 103.1
         
West Division        
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Alabama 133.4 128.6 132.4 131.5
Auburn 124.0 121.9 123.9 123.3
L S U 120.3 118.5 121.0 119.9
Arkansas 109.5 109.1 109.5 109.4
Ole Miss 107.6 106.2 106.0 106.6
Texas A&M 107.6 105.2 106.2 106.3
Mississippi St. 104.4 105.1 104.6 104.7
         
SEC Averages 113.1 111.6 112.4 112.4

And, take a look at our unscientific won-loss predictions and bowl projections.  You will notce that we believe there will be a surprise this year.

Southeastern Conference Projected Standings
East Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Georgia 6-2 10-3 Orange
Florida 6-2 8-4 Taxslayer
Kentucky 5-3 9-3 Outback
Tennessee 4-4 7-5 Belk
Vanderbilt 3-5 7-5 Music City
South Carolina 3-5 5-7  
Missouri 1-7 5-7  
       
West Division
Team Conference Overall Bowl
Auburn 7-1 12-1 PLAYOFFS
Alabama 7-1 11-1 PLAYOFFS
LSU 5-3 9-3 Citrus
Arkansas 3-5 7-5 Texas
Texas A&M 3-5 6-6 Liberty
Mississippi St. 2-6 6-6 Birmingham
Ole Miss 1-7 5-7  
       
Auburn to win SEC Championship Game

What the PiRate Ratings think at the start of this season:  Yes, you see that correctly above!  We have Alabama rated number one in the nation to begin the season, but we have Auburn picked as the SEC West Champion.  The two rivals play in Auburn this year, and our preseason belief is that Alabama will enter that game 11-0, while Auburn is 10-1.  We then show Auburn winning the game to take the West Division, while Alabama finished second with an 11-1 record, probably falling to third in the playoff seeding.

Then, we show Auburn winning the SEC Championship, earning the number two playoff seed.  You will see tomorrow that we have only one team picked to go undefeated, and that will be Ohio State (or in other words the winner of the Ohio State-Penn State game).  We previously showed you that we believe USC at 10-2 will knock off 12-0 Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

We then foresee USC sneaking into the #4 seed in the Playoffs, with Ohio State the top-seed.  Do you know what would happen if the seeding goes Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, and USC?  The rules for the playoff state that the overall number one seed must have the bowl site advantage over the number four seed.  Since the two playoff semifinal games are the Rose and Sugar Bowls, Ohio State could not possibly play USC in the Rose Bowl.  It would make for a very interesting Sugar Bowl matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions.

But, then look what the Rose Bowl would get.  How about the crazy rematch of Alabama and Auburn in the Rose Bowl?  Can you imagine the insanity of a week in the L.A. area between the fans of the two schools?  In addition, the City of Angels likes its epic productions, and this would be the Rose Bowl for the ages.  Imagine the Tournament of Roses Parade with all the crimson and white and burnt orange and navy.  Yea, Alabama versus War Eagle.  Los Angeles hasn’t seen anything like this since Cecile B. Demille last made movies–the 10 Commandments of Football become the Greatest Show on Earth!

 

Coming tomorrow: It’s here.  The college football season kicks off Saturday, and we will commence with our regular weekly format.  This is our plan for 2017.

1. A weekly college forecast with our PiRate, Mean, and Bias ratings for all 130 FBS teams, and our spreads for the week’s games.

2. A weekly NFL forecast with the same ratings and spreads

3. A weekly Money Line Parlay edition in which we attempt to go for a third consecutive year where we make a large return on investment (just for fun, as we do not wager actual money on games).4. Returning this year on Friday afternoons: During the last three years, we have been a little too busy to devote time to the retro-football league that we enjoyed performing.  Many of you have asked about this in this time, and we are happy to announce it is coming back.

Many of you reading this may know that Sports Illustrated and Avalon Hill put out a couple of excellent and fun tabletop football games several decades ago.  The college version was called, “Bowl Bound,” and the NFL version was called, “Paydirt.”  The games are no longer made, but many football and math lovers have continued making the teams for this game.  The codes were not that hard to crack, and actually, some of the more advanced analytics experts were able to improve on these games.  What we will use for our recreations is an advanced version of this game.  The teams have updated charts to more closely match what these teams’ results.  We must admit that the originator of these games did not have access to an Internet that did not exist.  Enough information is out there to more accurately estimate a teams’ strengths and weaknesses and then to normalize it so that an average team in 1950 and an average team in 1975 should approach a mean score of 21-21 with both teams winning 50 of 100 games.

Thus, if a team is 12 points better than average in 1950, they are as strong as a team that is 12 points better than average in 1975.

This is how it will work this year.

A. We are using 14 NFL teams from the period between 1950 and 1975, using the rules and schedule of 1965.  Kickoffs will be from the 40 yard line; the goalposts will be on the goal lines and not on the end lines (shouldn’t they be called end posts now?); there will be no 10-yard penalties.  Holding and other current 10-yard penalties will be 15-yard penalties like in the “good ole days;” there will be no overtime for regular season games.

B. We are also using the 10 AFL teams from the period between 1960 and 1975, using the rules, and the schedule from the 1968 season.

C. There will be an NFL Championship Game and AFL Championship Game and then a Super Bowl between the two champions.

Here are the 24 teams that will be used for this event.

NFL East

Cleveland 1950

Dallas 1971

NY Giants 1959

Philadelphia 1960

Pittsburgh 1975

St. Louis 1975

Washington 1972

NFL West

Baltimore 1958

Chicago 1963

Detroit 1954

Green Bay 1962

Los Angeles 1967

Minnesota 1975

San Francisco 1970

AFL East

Boston 1964

Buffalo 1964

Houston 1961

Miami 1972

NY Jets 1968

AFL West

Cincinnati 1973

Denver 1973

Kansas City 1969

Oakland 1967

San Diego 1963

The games will be played using a computer-assisted play-calling system based on the tendencies of the teams in question.  For instance, Miami will have more fullback power runs inside the tackles.  Minnesota will feature more passes with the quarterback moving out of the pocket.  The NY Jets and Oakland will feature more of a vertical passing game, while Cincinnati relies more on the precursor to the West Coast Offense.  On defense, teams like the Rams will be tough to run on and trouble for quarterbacks without strong offensive lines.

The teams will play a 14-game regular season schedule with the champions of each division only making the playoffs–no wildcard teams.

March 25, 2017

PiRate Ratings Elite 8 Preview

RED-WHITE-BLUE RATINGS

Saturday, March 25
Team Team Red White Blue
Gonzaga Xavier 11 8 3
Kansas Oregon 6 3 3

 

Sunday, March 26
Team Team Red White Blue
Kentucky North Carolina 1 -2 -1
Florida South Carolina 6 7 5

 

PiRate Ratings National Championship Criteria Breakdown of the Elite 8

Gonzaga vs. Xavier

Power Conference: Xavier-Yes, Gonzaga-No    Favors Xavier

Strength of Schedule: Xavier 58.70, Gonzaga 54.02  Favors Xavier by a little

R+T Rating: Gonzaga 20.3, Xavier 14.4  Favors Gonzaga by a little

Scoring Margin: Gonzaga 22.3, Xavier 4.0  Favors Gonzaga by a good amount

FG% Differential: Gonzaga 14.5, Xavier 1.1  Favors Gonzaga by a lot

Road W-L: Gonzaga 20-0, Xavier 12-9   Favors Gonzaga by a good amount

Winning Streaks: Gonzaga 29 & 6, Xavier 7 & 6  Favors Gonzaga by a little

Expected Possessions in this Game: 69 per team  Favors neither team

Outcome: Gonzaga has everything going for it except conference strength and schedule.  If the Bulldogs had the same numbers and played in the Big East, they would have the perfect resume for a national champion.  However, there hasn’t been a national champion from outside a power conference since UNLV won in 1990, and before that, it was Texas Western in 1966.  Of course, non power conference teams have made it to the Final Four numerous times in the past decade.

Criteria Selection: GONZAGA 75  Xavier 70

 

Kansas vs. Oregon

Power Conference: Yes for Both   Favors neither team

Strength of Schedule: Kansas 58.11, Oregon 56.83  Only slightly favors Kansas

R+T Rating: Oregon 14.8,  Kansas 12.6  Only slightly favors Oregon

Scoring Margin: Oregon 13.5, Kansas 12.0  Not much difference

FG% Differential: Oregon 7.7, Kansas 7.5  A Push

Road W-L: Kansas 16-3, Oregon 15-5  This favors Kansas, but it is almost a home game for KU

Winning Streaks: Kansas 18 & 8, Oregon 17 & 8  A Push

Expected Possessions in this Game: 71  Slightly favors Kansas

Outcome: We have to include two extra criteria here.  Oregon’s stats must be slightly discounted due to the loss of Boucher, and Kansas is playing this game in their favorite venue not named Phog Allen Fieldhouse, earning about two points of home court advantage.   Otherwise, this game would be a tossup, and it still might be rather close.  However, watching what KU did to a quality Purdue team on this court Thursday night, it makes us wonder if any college team can beat Kansas in KC.  Oops!  That happened in the Big 12 Tournament, so think again–except not today.

Criteria Selection: KANSAS 83  Oregon 75

 

Florida vs. South Carolina

Power Conference: Yes for both and both in the SEC so this is a third game between these teams.  Both teams won the game on their home floor.

Strength of Schedule: Florida 59.34, South Carolina 56.23  A slight edge to the Gators

R+T Rating: Florida 11.1, South Carolina 10.4  About the same

Scoring Margin: Florida 11.9, South Carolina 8.3  A small edge to the Gators

FG% Differential: Florida 4.3, South Carolina 2.3  A small edge to the Gators

Road W-L: Florida 18-7, South Carolina 10-7, actually about the same as UF played a lot of early neutral site games in their own backyard while their gym was being refurbished

Winning Streaks: Florida 9 & 7, South Carolina 8 & 5

Expected Possessions in this Game: 71  Favors neither team

Outcome: South Carolina’s defense in their Sweet 16 game against Baylor was the best we have seen in a game this late into the Big Dance since Georgetown manhandled Kentucky in 1984, which comes on top of one of the best offensive performances in their win over Duke.  Can the Gamecocks do this to a team that is not just a conference foe, but a rather strong rival?  Florida might also be a tad fatigued coming off the overtime win over Wisconsin, but it helps that the Gators are facing a team they know about without having to look at the film for a long time.  This will be the most exciting game of this round, even more exciting than the big UK-UNC match, because this will have the feel of the 7th game of an NBA playoff series.

Criteria Selection: FLORIDA 67  South Carolina 64

 

Kentucky vs. North Carolina

Power Conference: Yes for both  Before the tourney started, the ACC might have gotten a little extra over the SEC, but with 3 of the Elite 8 from the SEC, it almost makes us think about the opposite

Strength of Schedule: North Carolina 59.00, Kentucky 58.63   A Push

R+T Rating: North Carolina 31.0,  Kentucky 17.1  UNC has the best R+T in NCAA basketball, but Kentucky’s is rather high as well, and in the course of this game, it will not give the Tar Heels a lot of advantage

Scoring Margin: North Carolina 14.7, Kentucky 13.8  Not enough difference to matter

FG% Differential: North Carolina 5.6,  Kentucky 5.2  A Push

Road W-L: Kentucky 17-3, North Carolina 14-7,  A slight edge to the Wildcats

Winning Streaks: Kentucky 14 & 7, North Carolina 13 & 7, While this looks like another push, Kentucky’s 14-game winning streak is ongoing, and there is a definite difference in the Wildcats’ performance in this streak, while Carolina played its best basketball in November and December

Expected Possessions in this Game: 74,  which favors Kentucky just like it did in December

Outcome: We selected Kentucky to run the table and win the National Championship before the NCAA Tournament started, and nothing has changed our beliefs that the Wildcats are the best team in the nation when they want to play up to their potential.  It can be difficult to motivate a stable full of future NBA Lottery picks, but Coach John Calipari is a master psychologist with an ability to coerce through his many talks with his players.  When any of the starters and a couple reserves can go off and score 25 points in a game, it is hard to prepare in advance.  Stop Monk, and someone else has a career night.

Criteria Selection: KENTUCKY 85  North Carolina 73

March 23, 2017

PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics 505 Sweet 16 Criteria Reveal

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:00 am

If you get to start anew with your brackets in whatever pool you are playing in as a participant, we have updated our PiRate Ratings Criteria for the Sweet 16.
If you played along with us, you should have 10 teams left in your Sweet 16, having 26 of the 32 first round winners. If you are in a league where you get one point for each winner that goes from 64 to 32, and two points for every correct Sweet 16 team, then you should be sitting pretty with 46 points. Hopefully, we will help you score some 3-point winners the next two nights, whether you must stick with your original picks, or you get to start over with the 16 remaining teams.

To understand our methods if you don’t already know, refer to this primer: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/bracketnomics-505-the-advanced-level-course-in-bracket-selection/

Here is a breakdown of each game for the next two nights, followed by an update at how the Elite 8 and Final Four look using our criteria.

Oregon vs. Michigan
Power Conference: Both teams

Strength of Schedule: Very slight edge to Michigan, but not enough to matter much

R+T Rating: Large edge to Oregon, as the Ducks’ R+T is 14.7 to the Wolverines’ 3.2. This means that on average, Oregon will have an opportunity through superior rebounding, ball-steals, and overall turnover differential to outscore Michigan by 11.5 points. There is a caveat, as the Ducks are missing a key component in Chris Boucher.
Ability to Win Away from Home: Oregon 14-5/Michigan 11-8. The Ducks have a decent advantage here, but not enough to move this game to the win column.

Winning Streak(s): The Ducks won 17 games in a row at one point this season and eight in a row another time, while Michigan had two, five-game winning streaks. Once again, Oregon has the advantage here, but we cannot annoint the Ducks winners just yet. Not having Boucher removes a lot of these advantages three rounds into the Big Dance.

Since the strengths of schedule are similar, the following stats can be used at face value.
Scoring Margin: Michigan = 8.9, Oregon = 13.8, Ducks look better here
FG% Differential: Michigan = 1.9, Oregon = 7.8, Ducks look much better here, as UM fails to qualify
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 68

This is a tough game to figure out, because Boucher’s absence makes Oregon less than what the stats say. Still, the Ducks come out as the superior team based on how we use the criteria. In our original picks, we had Louisville knocking Oregon out of the tournament in this round, but the Cardinals were sent packing last weekend.

PiRate Criteria Pick: OREGON

 

Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
Power Conference: West Virginia is, Gonzaga is not. A slight edge to the Mountaineers

Strength of Schedule: WVU 55.55. Gonzaga 54.02, a slight edge to the Mountaineers

R+T Rating: WVU 19.1, Gonzaga 21.2, a push when SOS is applied

Ability to Win Away from Home: WVU 11-6, Gonzaga 19-0, even with SOS factored into the equation, Gonzaga has the advantage here.

Winning Streak(s): WVU 8 & 4, Gonzaga 29 & 5, Gonzaga enjoys a small advantage

We must handicap these stats with Gonzaga playing in a weaker conference and a slightly weaker schedule
Scoring Margin: WVU 15.3, Gonzaga 22.8, a push
FG% Differential: WVU 3.4, Gonzaga 14.5
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 71

This is where we see another #1 seed going down. Gonzaga’s main Achilles Heel is their conference, where the WCC has two other quality teams. Of course, teams like Butler, George Mason, VCU, and Wichita State have advanced to the Final Four, but the percentages say that these are exceptions and not the norm. When you are trying to win a contest by going with the percentages, you go with the norm unless you have a major reason not to do so. When looking at the obvious way this game will deviate from the norm, it comes from the vaunted WVU full-court press, something that Gonzaga has not faced from a quality team this year. It is our belief that GU will commit very few turnovers against the press and even capitalize with a couple of easy baskets, making it look like to the casual fan that the press is not working. However, we believe it will take the Bulldogs out of their offense just enough to cause them to rush and make poor shot selections, and it will also begin to wear their bigger, bulkier players down in the second half. A fatigued team is only a shell of itself, and once GU is fatigued, WVU will pull away and win this game.

PiRate Criteria Pick: WEST VIRGINIA

Kansas vs. Purdue
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: KU 58.11, PU 55.83, a decided advantage for the Jayhawks

R+T Rating: KU 12.3, PU 15.5, a credible advantage for the Boilermakers

Ability to Win Away from Home: KU 16-3, PU 12-5, a tiny advantage for KU

Winning Streak(s): KU 18 & 8, PU 7 & 6, KU has the advantage, but this isn’t overwhelming since PU has two 6+ streaks, and that is all we are looking for in this criterion

Since the strengths of schedule favor KU enough to matter, we must handicap the following stats.
Scoring Margin: KU 11.4, PU 12.6, with the handicap, KU has a minor advantage here
FG% Differential: KU 7.3, PU 6.4, a slight edge to the Jayhawks
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 72 which will favor KU in the 2nd half

In previous years where Purdue was very good, we would call for Kansas to easily win this game because in the past, Purdue did not own good R+T numbers. In fact, they were downright awful. However, this year is very different up in West Lafayatte, where Purdue has an R+T number strong enough to reach the Final Four. Unfortunately, Kansas has the criteria strong enough to win the National Championship, and thus we must go with the team that is only a tad better in this game. A Boilermaker win would not be a surprise at all, but we must go with the percentages.

PiRate Criteria Pick: KANSAS (but this should be an outstanding game)

Arizona vs. Xavier
Power Conference: Both (in recent years, we would discount the Pac-12 some, but not this year. Three league teams made the Sweet 16.

Strength of Schedule: Arizona 58.17, Xavier 58.70, a wash

R+T Rating: Arizona 18.0, Xavier 15.2, the Wildcats with an ever so slight advantage that is not enough to mean much

Ability to Win Away from Home: Arizona 17-3, Xavier 11-9, this is a big advantage for ‘Zona

Winning Streak(s): Arizona 15 & 6, Xavier 7 & 6, Another tiny advantage to the Wildcats

Since the strengths of schedule are almost identical, the following stats can be used at face value.
Scoring Margin: Arizona 11.0, Xavier 4.1, the Wildcats have a major advantage here, as XU’s scoring margin is well beneath the threshold of a Final Four contender.
FG% Differential: Arizona 6.0, Xavier 0.9, another big edge for Arizona
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 67

This one appears to be headed to a double-digit win for the higher-seeded team. Add on to the criteria the fact that Xavier has not been the same since Edmund Sumner was lost for the year at the end of January, and this game looks like a potential breeze for Arizona.
PiRate Criteria Pick: ARIZONA (by double digits)

 

North Carolina vs. Butler
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: UNC 59.00, BU 59.04, a total push

R+T Rating: UNC 31.1, BU 9.5, do we really need to go on after this criterion shows the Tar Heels with a chance on average to score 20 more points on rebounds, steals, and turnovers?

Ability to Win Away from Home: UNC 13-7, BU 12-5, pretty much even here

Winning Streak(s): UNC 13 & 7, BU 12 & 5, another push

Since the strengths of schedule are identical, the following stats can be used at face value.
Scoring Margin: UNC 14.8, BU 7.8, Give the Heels a little more advantage here
FG% Differential: UNC 5.5, BU 3.7, more props for the Heels
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 70 (Butler will want to slow the pace, but they will have to play catchup)

Pirate Criteria Pick: NORTH CAROLINA

Baylor vs. South Carolina
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: BU 59.40, USC 56.23, the Bears have a little advantage here

R+T Rating: BU 19.3, USC 10.4, Baylor with decent advantage in this one

Ability to Win Away from Home: BU 12-5, USC 11-7, another tilt to the Bears

Winning Streak(s): BU 15 & 5, USC 8 & 5, BU with yet another advantage

Since the strengths of schedule favors Baylor, the following stats must be handicapped a little
Scoring Margin: BU 10.1, USC 7.9, the criteria keeps tilting green
FG% Differential: BU 7.2, USC 1.9, this continues the trend
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 67, Baylor will conrol the pace.

PiRate Criteria Pick: BAYLOR

 

Kentucky vs. UCLA
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: UK 58.63, UCLA 54.00, a nice advantage for the Wildcats, but UCLA still meets the minimum number for Final Four consideration, and remember UCLA won at Kentucky earlier this season

R+T Rating: UK 17.2, UCLA 10.9

Ability to Win Away from Home: UK 16-3, UCLA 14-3, nothing to learn here

Winning Streak(s): UK 13 & 7, UCLA 13 & 10, not much here either

We must handicap the following stats in UK’s favor fde to the strengths of schedule
Scoring Margin: UK 13.9, UCLA 15.0, basically a wash
FG% Differential: UK 5.4, UCLA 10.2, The Bruins pick up a big advantage here with Championship-caliber differential
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 74, expect the most up-tempo game of the Sweet 16, and it could even top 75.

Face it: this is the game that is going to make this round. The winner most likely plays North Carolina in the Elite 8, making for a fantastic 48-hours in Memphis, where they could move these games to the Liberty Bowl and still not have enough seats for the fans that want to get in. Think of this game like the second Ali-Frazier fight. Or, if you are a Bruin fan over the age of 55, be forewarned and remember that Houston beat your Bruins in the 1967-68 regular season before meeting up with the worst ever whipping by a number one team in the history of the game.

PiRate Criteria Pick: KENTUCKY — Until the Wildcats are knocked out of the tournament, they have the best resume when comparing it to past National Champions.

 

Florida vs. Wisconsin
Power Conference: Both

Strength of Schedule: Fla 59.34, UW 54.79, The Gators have a decided advantage

R+T Rating: Fla 3.3, UW 3.3 This is a dirty wash, as neither team can expect to be a Championship team with these R+T ratings.

Ability to Win Away from Home: Fla 17-7, UW 12-7, Florida played a lot of neutral site games near home when their arena was not ready following remodeling. This becomes a wash

Winning Streak(s): Fla. 9 & 7, UW 9 & 8, a wash

Since the strengths of schedule favor the Gators, the following stats must be handicapped in UF’s favor. Scoring Margin: UF 6.2, UW 9.2, a wash
FG% Differential: UF 4.6, UW 4.2, a small edge for the Gators
Estimated Possessions per team in this game: 69 We look for the Badgers to slow the tempo a little

When Florida isn’t playing Vanderbilt, they look like Final Four contenders. Actually, two of the three losses to the Commodores came after the Gators lost John Egbunu for the season due to injury, and UF went from 23-5 to 24-8 after that loss. This discounts the Gators’ results enough to make up for the schedule strength favor. In other words, this is a game where you flip a coin. We do not use the Four Factors in this criteria selection process, but if we were to use them for this game, it would just add a bunch of balance, as the teams would come out dead even. We must select somebody to go on and lose to Baylor Sunday, and just because they have a little more recent NCAA Tournament success, we will go with the Badgers.

PiRate Criteria Pick: WISCONSIN –but this is really a tie

Elite 8 to Final Four
Baylor over Wisconsin
Arizona over West Virginia
Kentucky over North Carolina
Kansas over Oregon

Semifinals
Baylor over Arizona
Kentucky over Kansas

Championship
Kentucky over Baylor

Note: When we first revealed the criteria for all 68 teams in the dance, we listed the top 10 teams with the best matching criteria to past champions. The top 6 teams in this list, and 8 of the 10 made the Sweet 16. Here is that top 10 again.
1. Kentucky
2. North Carolina
3. Baylor
4. Arizona
5. West Virginia
6. Gonzaga
7. Louisville
8. Villanova
9. Kansas
10. Purdue

 

March 22, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Ratings for Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament Games

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:33 pm

Sweet 16

Thursday, March 23
Team Team Red White Blue
Oregon Michigan -1 -1 -1
Gonzaga West Virginia 4 2 9
Kansas Purdue 4 4 1
Arizona Xavier 4 4 4

 

Friday, March 24
Team Team Red White Blue
North Carolina Butler 6 6 12
Baylor South Carolina 3 5 7
Kentucky UCLA 2 -1 1
Florida Wisconsin 5 4 -2

 

TV Schedule

Region Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
Thursday, March 23
Midwest 7:09 PM CBS Oregon vs. Michigan
West 7:39 PM TBS Gonzaga vs. West Virginia
Midwest 9:39 PM CBS Kansas vs. Purdue
West 10:09 PM TBS Arizona vs. Xavier
Friday, March 24
South 7:09 PM CBS North Carolina vs. Butler
East 7:29 PM TBS Baylor vs. South Carolina
South 9:39 PM CBS Kentucky vs. UCLA
East 9:59 PM TBS Florida vs. Wisconsin
           
Saturday, March 25
Midwest TBA TBA Oregon/Michigan vs. Kansas/Purdue
West TBA TBA Gonzaga/WVU vs. Arizona/Xavier
           
Sunday, March 26
South TBA TBA UNC/Butler vs. Kentucky/UCLA
East TBA TBA Baylor/S Car vs. Florida/Wisconsin

 

 

 

March 18, 2017

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

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

Sunday, March 18, 2017

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

TV Schedule

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

Morning & Afternoon: Swallow Return to Capistrano

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

 

 

March 16, 2017

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

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 11:39 am

NCAA Tournament–Friday, March 17, 2017

Team Team Red White Blue
Michigan Oklahoma St. -1 3 1
Baylor New Mexico St. 11 12 13
Arkansas Seton Hall 2 1 -1
Oregon Iona 11 12 10
Louisville Jacksonville St. 18 18 17
SMU USC 8 8 4
North Carolina Texas Southern 22 20 19
Creighton Rhode Island 4 1 2
Kansas UC-Davis 22 19 18
Dayton Wichita St. -7 -5 -1
Duke Troy 15 16 14
Cincinnati Kansas St. 2 5 2
Miami (Fla.) Michigan St. 1 2 -2
Kentucky Northern Kentucky 19 18 13
South Carolina Marquette 1 -1 1
UCLA Kent St. 16 14 10

 

TV Schedule

Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
12:15 PM CBS Michigan vs. Oklahoma St.
12:40 PM truTV Baylor vs. New Mexico St.
1:30 PM TNT Arkansas vs. Seton Hall
2:00 PM TBS Oregon vs. Iona
2:45 PM CBS Louisville vs. Jacksonville St.
3:10 PM truTV SMU vs. USC
4:00 PM TNT North Carolina vs. Texas Southern
4:30 PM TBS Creighton vs. Rhode Island
6:50 PM TNT Kansas vs. UC-Davis
7:10 PM CBS Dayton vs. Wichita St.
7:20 PM TBS Duke vs. Troy
7:27 PM truTV Cincinnati vs. Kansas St.
9:20 PM TNT Miami (Fla.) vs. Michigan St.
9:40 PM CBS Kentucky vs. Northern Kentucky
9:50 PM TBS South Carolina vs. Marquette
9:57 PM truTV UCLA vs. Kent St.

 

 

 

March 14, 2017

PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics 505 Bracket Reveal & First Four Preview

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 9:57 am

For those that just want to see our Red-White-Blue Ratings for the First Four, here they are.

Team Team Red White Blue
New Orleans Mount St. Mary’s 3 -1 1
Wake Forest Kansas St. 1 1 1
UNC-Central UC-Davis 4 3 6
Providence USC 1 1 1

Now, for the rest of you:

Welcome one and all to our annually most viewed edition of the PiRate Ratings.  We have been working diligently for the past 42 hours getting this edition of March Madness Bracketnomics ready for you.

If you are new to this site today, there is something you need to do, and even if you are not, you should take this advice.  Open another window and bring up our primer from yesterday where we explain how we have come up with the numbers that we will show you today.  The link to the primer is:

https://piratings.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/bracketnomics-505-the-advanced-level-course-in-bracket-selection/

Before we begin picking winners in our bracket based on the PiRate Criteria, let us give you another little bit of advice in selecting your own brackets.

  1. Do not select a lot of early upsets.  Realize that nobody ever has picked a perfect bracket.  The chances are so slim that nobody may ever pick one!  The key to winning bracket contests where you must choose all the games at the beginning and do not get to select new winners after every round is to pick the National Champion, the Final Four, and the Elite 8 teams.  Realize that in about 95% of the cases, the Final Four teams come from one, two, three, or four seeds.  There will frequently be a seed lower than 4, but good luck trying to pick one.  What you will most likely do is remove one of the favorites to get there, so select very few upsets early.
  2. In the last 60+ years, only 2 times was the national champion a team from outside a major conference, and it has not happened since 1990.  So, go heavy on the best teams in the power conferences–Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC.  No Pac-12 team has won the title since Arizona beat Kentucky in 1997, so you might discount the Pac-12 a little.  No Big Ten team has won the title since Michigan State in 2000, so you might also want to discount the Big Ten a little.
  3. The most likely spots for upsets early come from 10-11-12 seed lines for good reason.  The top lower and mid-major teams usually end up on one of these seed lines, and in actuality, some of these teams would beat their higher-seed opponent 7 times out of 10.  In other words, these upsets are not really upsets.  They are incorrect seedings by the Committee.

Okay, we will leave the rest of that strategy up to you.  Let’s get to the Bracketnomics Facts for 2017

 

Who Has The Statistical Criteria That Looks Like A Final Four Team

This is an unusual year.  There are no teams closely similar to the Connecticut women’s team.  There is no obvious best team like in some years out of the past.  On the other hand, there are an inordinate amount of teams this year that look like they would have trouble winning the NIT 10 years ago.  There is parity by virtue of mediocrity.  The way the game is played in 2017, and with the 30-second shot clock, the game has become harder to isolate on just two or three teams and call them the heavy favorites to make the Final Four.

Let’s eliminate some teams so that what we have left is a much easier group to compare.

A. First, let’s forget the chance that a low-major or mid-major conference team will make the Final Four this year.  This does not include Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, or Wichita State, who we consider to be above mid-major.

B. Next, let’s take out any team that played a schedule too soft to prepare them for the top echelon of opponents.  From what’s left after (A), that will remove Wichita State and UCLA.

C. Next, let’s dump any team with a single-digit R+T rating after the Sweet 16 round.  Any single digit team in the Elite 8 gets knocked out, unless their opponent also has a single digit rating.  From this list of teams still in contention after (A) and (B), we now dump: South Carolina, Butler, Wake Forest, Arkansas, Minnesota, Michigan State, USC, Northwestern, Michigan, Notre Dame, Maryland, Marquette, Kansas State, Providence, Iowa State, Creighton, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech.

D. Let’s remove any teams that are missing key players and might be able to get to the Sweet 16 without these players, but they are most likely to bow out at this point when the competition is too strong.  Say good bye to Xavier and Oregon.  For now, Creighton and Florida stay in because they played a significant number of games without their key players.

Now we have a much more manageable list of Final Four and Elite 8 Contenders, down to just 21 teams.

But, we are not finished eliminating teams.  What about teams that have not played all that well away from home?  We can eliminate the 22-9 team that went 17-0 at home and 5-9 away from home, because these teams are not going to all of a sudden beat the nation’s finest teams away from their home floor, at least not 4 consecutive times.

Let’s now say bye bye to Florida State, Miami (Fla.), and Seton Hall, lowering the number to 19.

And, then there is the essential thing of having enough consistency to win four games in a row against quality competition.  We cannot keep any teams that did not sustain at least one long winning streak or two extended winning streaks.  Only West Virginia fails to meet this criterion from the remaining group, lowering our list to 18.

Now,  let’s look at how the remaining 18 teams rate in the criteria that matter.

Scoring Margin

There is a reason both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s are still in this list.  They are serious contenders this year.  Gonzaga has the highest scoring margin and Saint Mary’s has the third highest among the 17 remaining teams.  From the list of 17, there are a couple teams that do not meet the 8 point minimum to be considered as a strong Final Four contender.  There are teams that make the Final Four with less than 8 point scoring margins, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and we are looking for angles that increase our percentage chance of hitting on Final Four teams.  It’s the end of the line here for Oklahoma State.

 

Field Goal Percentage Differential

Eventually, in order to get to the Final Four, a team is going to have to be superior when it comes to shooting and defending the shot, because eventually, being able to dominate the glass or force a lot of turnovers will not work against teams that can also rebound and force turnovers.  We are looking only for a difference of 5% or more to stay in the hunt for Final Four contention.  We must say adieu to three more teams that cannot meet this standard–Florida, Duke, and Wisconsin.  Now we have 14 teams on our list of Final Four contenders.

 

Rebound Margin

Remember that R+T rating is much more important than any of its components (Rebounding, Turnovers, and Steals), but for Final Four consideration, well over 90% of the past Final Four teams had positive rebound margin.  In what may help vindicate our selections to this point, all 14 teams remaining have positive rebounding margin.

 

Okay, Already, Who Is Left?

The following teams have resumes that could get them to the Final Four.  In alphabetical order, they are: Arizona, Baylor, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Purdue, Saint Mary’s, SMU, Villanova, Virginia, and West Virginia.  If our criteria is worth anything these years, we expect the Final Four to come from this list of teams.  But, we need to do better.  You cannot select 14 teams to make the Final Four or even Elite 8.

 

What we need to do now is look at each game as it is played.  It won’t help us to go with the 4 best resumes if these teams cannot all make the Final Four because they will play each other prior to that round.

Here is how we see the First Four games according to PiRate Criteria.  Note that our criteria and our Red-White-Blue Ratings have no real correlation, so the teams we predict to win may not be the same as the teams our criteria says will win.

First Four

New Orleans over Mount St. Mary’s

UNC-Central over UC-Davis

USC over Providence

Kansas St. over Wake Forest

Most brackets allow you to miss here without penalty and start in earnest at 64 teams, but we don’t go for that.

Round of 64

You will not see us picking many upsets in this round.  Remember the important factoid we revealed at the beginning: you win your bracket contests by getting your teams into the Elite 8, Final 4, and National Championship.  If you pick a lot of upsets, you are liable to have very few teams left by the Elite 8.

Villanova over New Orleans (Mount St. Mary’s)

Wisconsin over Virginia Tech

Virginia over UNC-Wilmington (upset possible, but we’ll take the Cavs)

Florida over East Tennessee (like a home game for the Gators)

SMU over USC in a rematch (also over Providence) near tossup vs. USC close to 50-50

Baylor over New Mexico St.

South Carolina over Marquette in close one that will be like home game for Gamecocks.

Duke over Troy

Gonzaga over South Dakota St.

Northwestern over Vanderbilt (close game)

Notre Dame over Princeton

West Virginia over Bucknell (not this year for Bison as Mountaineers are too physical)

Maryland over Xavier (Chris Mack becomes an early candidate for other big openings)

Florida State over Florida Gulf Coast (FGCU not as strong as their Sweet 16 team)

Saint Mary’s over VCU (Will Wade comes free for promotion to power conference team)

Arizona over North Dakota

Kansas over UNC-Central (UC-Davis)

Miami over Michigan State (MSU one and done two years in a row)

Iowa State over Nevada (but this one should be nip and tuck)

Purdue over Vermont (Boilermakers finally have the right type of resume to advance)

Creighton over Rhode Island (freeing up Dan Hurley if a big school wants him)

Oregon over Iona (loss of Chris Boucher does not hurt yet)

Oklahoma State over Michigan (This upset we will pick.  Cowboys have better criteria resume)

Louisville over Jacksonville State (UL almost has a home game in Indy)

North Carolina over Texas Southern

Seton Hall over Arkansas (should be physical and close)

Minnesota over Middle Tennessee (Blue Raiders are the Vegas favorite, but Gophers can exploit interior defense)

Butler over Winthrop (we would not be shocked if Butler has to rally to win this one)

Cincinnati over Kansas State (Wake Forest)

UCLA over Kent State

Wichita St. over Dayton (Will Archie Miller be the next NC State coach?)

Kentucky over Northern Kentucky (Norse would be happy with a lead at under 16 timeout in 1st half)

 

Round of 32

Villanova over Wisconsin

Virginia over Florida (should be very close, maybe overtime)

Baylor over SMU (this one should be a great game–Tim Jankovich in play at Illinois)

Duke over South Carolina (We don’t see Frank Martin leaving the Palmetto State unless he has 4 million reasons)

Gonzaga over Northwestern (Cinderella season ends here–no Cubs repeat in the Windy City)

West Virginia over Notre Dame (Irish wear down in the second half)

Florida State over Maryland

Arizona over Saint Mary’s (expect a hard-fought game but Gaels are outmanned)

Kansas over Miami (closer than expected)

Purdue over Iowa State (Boilermakers look impressive to this point)

Oregon over Creighton (Boucher’s absence felt but not enough for Ducks to lose)

Louisville over Oklahoma St. (Brad Underwood vs. Rick Pitino–Brilliant!)

North Carolina over Seton Hall

Butler over Minnesota (Should be a great game)

Cincinnati over UCLA (Bruins numbers padded by substandard overall schedule–not strong enough inside)

Kentucky over Wichita State (because Wildcat players appear to be on a mission and if so are the class of the field)

 

Sweet 16 to Elite 8

Villanova over Virginia (Cavs do not have enough offense to win at this point)

Baylor over Duke (Our big upset pick in this round, because Duke has holes Bears can exploit)

West Virginia over Gonzaga (Sorry Bulldog fans, WVU style of play is not what you want to face)

Arizona over Florida State (We expect Wildcats to win big in this one)

Kansas over Purdue (KU will have to play lights out to put Boilermakers away)

Louisville over Oregon (Boucher’s absence is too much to overcome in this round

North Carolina over Butler (If Heels are rolling at this point, then next round is actual title game)

Kentucky over Cincinnati (Should be ultra-physical and highly emotional game)

 

Elite 8 to Final Four

Unfortunately, at this point the top two teams in the field will meet

Baylor over Villanova (no repeat for Wildcats but a great game)

Arizona over West Virginia (Mountaineers run out of gas at this point)

Louisville over Kansas (Cards win a sloppy game)

Kentucky over North Carolina (This should have been the National Championship Game)

 

Final Four Semifinals

Baylor over Arizona (tough to go against a team playing in its home state)

Kentucky over Louisville (how much will this ticket cost)

 

National Championship

Kentucky over Baylor

 

The Kentucky criteria best matches that of past national champions.  Add to the fact that they have the most talent and a coach that can use the right psychology to motivate these future millionaires to play like their draft status is to be determined in this tournament, and we believe the Wildcats will cut the nets in Arizona.

 

Here is how the 14 top Pirate Criteria teams rank overall

  1. Kentucky
  2. North Carolina
  3. Baylor
  4. Arizona
  5. West Virginia
  6. Gonzaga
  7. Louisville
  8. Villanova
  9. Kansas
  10. Purdue
  11. Duke
  12. Cincinnati
  13. Saint Mary’s
  14. SMU

 

TV Schedule For First Four in Dayton

Day Time (EDT) Network Team vs. Team
Tuesday, March 14 6:40 PM truTV New Orleans vs. Mount St. Mary’s
Tuesday, March 14 9:10 PM truTV Wake Forest vs. Kansas St.
Wednesday, March 15 6:40 PM truTV UC-Davis vs. UNC-Central
Wednesday, March 15 9:10 PM truTV USC vs. Providence

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2017

Conference Tournament Update–Saturday, March 11, 2017

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:16 am

Joining The Field

You might be thinking, “Wait, there were no conference championship games Friday, so how could there be an addition to the automatic bid list?”

It is a technicality issue.  In the SWAC, Alcorn State is ineligible for postseason play, but they were eligible for the conference tournament.  The Braves have made it to the Championship Game of the SWAC Tournament, but they cannot receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.  Their opponent tonight is Texas Southern, the regular season SWAC champion.  The rules in the SWAC state that if the conference tournament champion is ineligible for the postseason, the regular season champion gets the automatic bid.  Thus, Texas Southern is in the Dance no matter what happens tonight in the conference championship game.

We rarely issue opinions on matters like this, but this one seems obvious.  The conference championship game is now meaningless, and leagues like the SWAC struggle to fill seats in tournament games if they do not put them on the home courts of the higher seeds.  This league does not include all their members in the conference tournament, yet they included an ineligible team.  It seems obvious that the SWAC should have kept Alcorn State out of the conference tournament and allowed Arkansas-Pine Bluff (one of two teams left out) to participate.  That at least would make the Championship Game mean something.

Today’s Schedule

All times Eastern Standard 

America East Conference Tournament Championship — Vermont Hosts
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Vermont 28-5 vs. 3 Albany 21-12 11:00 AM ESPN2

Vermont has a perfect America East record this year, now at 16-0, as they prepare to host Albany.  The last time these two teams met, Albany took a seven-point first half lead in Burlington, before the Catamounts clawed back into the lead in the second half.  The game was still close with less than four minutes remaining before a big closing run by VU produced a 12-point victory.  David Nichols kept Albany in that game with his three-point shooting, and if the Great Danes are to pull off the upset, they will need to be hot from behind the arc.  Vermont should win its 21st consecutive game and become a feisty lower-seed foe for a second round biggie.

 

American Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals–Hartford,CT
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 SMU 28-4 vs. 4 Central Florida 21-10 3:00 PM ESPN2
2 Cincinnati 28-4 vs. 6 Connecticut 16-16 5:00 PM ESPN2

One might think that SMU and Cincinnati have this tournament semifinals all wrapped up and will face off tomorrow in a rubber game to decide the conference tournament title winner.  Think again.  Central Florida and Connecticut are worthy competitors, and both teams have the ability to pull off upsets.

Cincinnati destroyed UConn both times they played, but the Huskies have a knack for becoming a different team in conference tournament play.  They looked like they were poised for a repeat performance after smashing a good Houston team and ending the Couagars’ hopes of an at-large bid.

Central Florida presents incredible matchup problems with 7-6 behemoth Tacko Fall able to alter gameplans all by himself.  UCF has won six consecutive games, and Coach Johnny Dawkins knows how to use Fall to suck defenders in so that his prime long-range shooters, Matt Williams, B J Taylor, and Nick Banyard, can get open looks.  UCF hit 14 three-pointers in their decimation of Memphis.

 

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship–Brooklyn
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
5 Duke 26-8 vs. 3 Notre Dame 25-8 9:00 PM ESPN

Neither team was picked by most of the ACC media experts to make it to the championship game of this tournament.  Duke dropped Louisville and North Carolina to make it here, while Notre Dame took care of business against Virginia and Florida St.  Both teams are safely in the NCAA Tournament, so the two are playing for pride and a chance to move up one seed line in the Dance.  Duke won at Notre Dame in their only meeting this year, and this win occurred during Coach K’s absence with Jeff Capel guiding the team.  The Blue Devils had a hot streak in that game, hitting over 50% from the field and an amazing 23 of 24 at the foul line.

 

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Semifinals–Pittsburgh (Duquense)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
9 Davidson 17-14 vs. 4 Rhode Island 22-9 1:00 PM CBSSN
2 VCU 25-7 vs. 3 Richmond 20-11 3:30 PM CBSSN

Nervous fans of teams on the Bubble will be watching this league the next two days.  With top-seed Dayton dismissed by Davidson, there are three teams left in this quartet that can burst some bubbles elsewhere.  Rhode Island may have already played itself in to the NCAA Tournament, but Richmond and Davidson must win the automatic bid.  This tournament should be must watch this afternoon if your team still needs some help.

 

Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship–Kansas City
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
4 Iowa St. 22-10 vs. 2 West Virginia 26-7 6:00 PM ESPN

They hit just 26.7% of their shots, and their press was not very effective yesterday, but West Virginia found a way to beat Kansas State, doing so by dominating on the glass.  Now, the Mountaineers go for the Big 12 Title against an Iowa State team that did not fare well against WVU in two previous tries.

In both games, the Cyclones wore out with fatigue from facing full-court pressure.  WVU went on big runs both times to win by double digits.  ISU might have more fatigue problems tonight, since this is their third game in three days.  The Mountaineers seemed to look a little tired as well last night, but Coach Huggins provided the adrenaline needed to get over the hump.

 

Big East Conference Tournament Championship–New York City
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Villanova 30-3 vs. 6 Creighton 25-8 5:30 PM Fox

Villanova already knows they will be a #1 seed as they attempt to defend their National Championship, but the Wildcats can secure the overall top-seed with a win over the Blue Jays this afternoon.  Both teams were down a key player when they met most recently, but VU has its key player back now in power forward Darryl Reynolds.  Reynolds has been pulling down the tough rebounds in his three games back, and the Wildcats once again have the look of a Final Four team.

 

Big Sky Conference Tournament Championship–Reno, NV
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 North Dakota 21-9 vs. 3 Weber St. 19-12 8:30 PM ESPNU

North Dakota swept the season series with Weber State, including the big win back in February that put the Fighting Hawks in control of the Big Sky race.  UND won with their incredible guard tandem of Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall, and WSU will have to come up with an incredible defensive gameplan to keep UND out of the Big Dance.  The Hawks are hoping a convincing win can help them avoid a layover in Dayton.

 

Big Ten Conference Tournament Semifinals–Washington, DC
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
8 Michigan 22-11 vs. 4 Minnesota 24-8 1:00 PM CBS
2 Wisconsin 24-8 vs. 6 Northwestern 23-10 3:30 PM CBS

The four teams remaining will not hurt anybody else’s Bubble chances, as they will all receive Dance invitations, but there is still drama remaining in this tournament.  Michigan survived a travel nightmare just to get to this tournament.  Northwestern has never been a factor in this tournament and has not won a Big Ten title of any kind.  Meanwhile, it would make for a terrific championship game tomorrow if neighboring rivals Minnesota and Wisconsin played for the trophy.  It also would give the Big Ten a chance to move a team into the 4-seed line.

 

Big West Conference Tournament Championship–Anaheim
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UC-Irvine 21-13 vs. 2 UC-Davis 21-12 11:30 PM ESPN2

The top two seeds split their two regular season meetings, but UC-Irvine thoroughly embarrassed UC-Davis when they met in Irvine last week with the regular season title on the line.  The Anteaters opened the game with a 22-3 lead, and the Aggies never threatened the rest of the way.  UCI connected on 14 treys in that game.

 

Conference USA Tournament Championship–Birmingham, AL
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Middle Tennessee 29-4 vs. 6 Marshall 20-14 8:30 PM CBSSN

This game might be the most exciting one of the entire day, and the fact that Middle Tennessee might already have done enough to lock up an at-large bid will not take anything away from the excitement this game promises.  Expect the shot clock to play very little factor in this game, as both teams like to push the tempo.

If you like to follow the Houston Rockets with James Harden, Lou Williams, and Eric Gordon playing like thoroughbred race horses, then Marshall is the team for you.  There is a good reason why the Thundering Herd plays like the Rockets, as they are coached by Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s brother.  The Thundering Herd run up and down the floor like UNLV from the 1970’s, but they have one huge Achilles’ Heel.  They cannot rebound very well.  Middle Tennessee is an average rebounding team, but the Blue Raiders swept Marshall in the regular season thanks to spreading the wealth around.  In their most recent game against the Herd, MTSU placed six players in double figures, while a seventh had nine points in a 97-86 win.  Get your popcorn and soda ready for this one, as it will give you two hours of pure viewing pleasure.

 

Ivy League Tournament Semifinals–Philadelphia
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Princeton 21-6 vs. 4 Penn 13-14 1:30 PM ESPNU
2 Harvard 18-9 vs. 3 Yale 17-10 4:00 PM ESPNU

We aren’t going to hide our joy over this tournament finally becoming a reality.  The Ivy League plays quality fundamental basketball.  If you play or coach at a lower level and must use sound principles and intelligence for your team to win, this is the league for you to watch.

Princeton aced the field this year with a perfect 14-0 league mark, and if the Tigers knock off rival Penn tonight and then win tomorrow, they should be a 13-seed in the Tournament with a somewhat decent chance to knock off the right type of 4-seed (not West Virginia or Cincinnati).  Having legendary rivals Harvard and Yale play in the second game just makes this inaugural affair perfect.

Harvard took Princeton to the wire in both games, but the Tigers handled the Bulldogs rather easily.  Few fans are giving Penn much chance in this tournament, but they are getting to host this thing at the Palestra, which should give the Quakers about 5-6 points in home court advantage.

 

Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship–Cleveland
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Akron 26-7 vs. 6 Kent St. 21-13 7:30 PM ESPN2

A February swoon cost Akron any chance of qualifying as an at-large team should they not win the MAC automatic bid.  Included in that fall was a three-point loss at home to Kent State, as the Golden Flashes put an end to the Zips’ 30-game home winning streak.  Akron recovered to win at Kent State last week, so this should be an interesting rematch and close to a 50-50 tossup.

 

Mideast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Norfolk, VA (Norfolk St.)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UNC-Central 24-8 vs. 2 Norfolk St. 17-15 1:00 PM ESPN2

UNC-Central has remained unnoticed among the nation’s basketball fans outside of the MEAC, but the Eagles have gone 15-2 in their last 17 games and fared rather well in its road games against the power conference teams.  Should UNCC win and then be forced to head to Dayton, the Eagles would most likely emerge victorious and advance, but a win today coupled with an upset somewhere else could be all that it takes to keep Central out of Dayton.  If Norfolk State pulls off the upset, they can send their laundry to Dayton on the next express out of Norfolk.  It does help that the Spartans get to play this game on their home floor.

 

Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas (UNLV)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Nevada 27-6 vs. 2 Colorado St. 28-6 6:00 PM CBS

These two teams squared off last Saturday in Reno with the top seed in this tournament on the line.  Nevada won by 13, controlling the tempo and going on a big 20-3 run in the middle of the game.  Nevada is a team without a glaring weakness, albeit not on the same page with Kentucky and Oregon.  The Wolf Pack have a lineup similar to SMU in that all five starters can play in the wing positions and can post up inside.  It reminds us a lot of Louisville during Denny Crum’s time when he had big-time stars like Junior Bridgman, Darrel Griffith, Jim Price, and Ron Thomas.

Colorado State plays a muscle power game and tries to grind opponents down.  The Rams rely on senior guard Gian Clavell to score points, and when his shots are off, CSU can struggle to score.  In the Rams’ favor tonight is the fact that they just played Nevada a week ago and know what they are going to face, as there has not been time to tweak the gameplans all that much.

 

Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Oregon 29-4 vs. 2 Arizona 29-4 11:00 PM ESPN

Our Red-White-Blue Ratings that we will not publish today actually indicate that this game is a true tossup.  In fact, two of the ratings show the spread at 0!  The top two seeds met just once in the regular season, and Oregon used a 36-9 run in the first half to put the game away quickly.  The Ducks have the top home court advantage in America, so the 27-point margin of victory can be tossed out the window, and you can give the Wildcats a little more incentive to seek revenge tonight.  However, we think the Ducks have the better roster, and that gives Oregon the slight edge.

 

Southeastern Conference Tournament Semifinals–Nashville
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Kentucky 27-5 vs. 5 Alabama 19-13 1:00 PM ESPN
7 Vanderbilt 19-14 vs. 3 Arkansas 24-8 3:20 PM ESPN

Vanderbilt played its way into the NCAA Tournament with its third win over Florida.  The Commodores should be able to avoid a First Four game in Dayton as well.

Alabama has the potential to give Kentucky all it can handle.  Had the Tide hit their free throws in their one contest against the Wildcats, they could have won their regular season game in Tuscaloosa.  This is Nashville, and the last time we checked, Nashville was about halfway between these two schools’ campuses, but it will look more like Rupp Arena this afternoon as the Music City is crawling with Royal Blue clothed tourists up and down Broadway and in Hatty B’s Hot Chicken.

Arkansas and Vanderbilt played two close games this year, with the visiting team winning both times.  Since the Commodores won at Bud Walton, Arkansas has been a different team.  The Razorbacks have won seven of eight games, including a road victory over South Carolina.

 

Southland Conference Tournament Championship–Katy, TX (Greater Houston area)
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 New Orleans 19-11 vs. 2 Texas A&M-CC 20-10 9:30 PM ESPN2

Disclaimer: We cannot preview this game in an impartial manner.  We will not withhold the secret that we are rooting like crazy for Coach Willis Wilson to guide TAMCCU to the Big Dance.  A finer man in the coaching business does not exist, and Wilson has not been given the accolades that should have been afforded to him.  The Rice alum coached at his alma mater for 18 years, taking the Owls to the near edge of NCAA qualification only to come up a tad short, having to make do with the NIT.  Trying to win at Rice is extremely tough, as the high-academic standards and having to be the number two team in the city of Houston did not help the Owls recruit players to Main Street, where on a sunny day, more folks turn out to the zoo across the street than come to the Rice basketball games.

Wilson has built up the TAMCCU program to the point where the Islanders have made consecutive trips to the CIT, as Stephen F. Austin dominated the league under former coach Brad Underwood.  Tonight, the Islanders have their best shot at making the Dance, where they have been just once before, back in 2007.

New Orleans also has a nice story that needs to be told.  The basketball program shut down after the 2009-2010 season and stayed dark for two seasons before re-emerging as one of the final two teams to play as an independent (Cal State Bakersfield is the other).  The Privateers have had a somewhat storied history with a bevy of excellent coaches working in the Crescent City (Ron Greene, Butch van Breda Kolff, Bennie Dees, Tim Floyd, and Buzz Williams).  They have made it to four NCAA Tournaments, albeit none in the last 20 years, and they actually have won Dance win over BYU in 1987.  There will be emotions running wild on both sides tonight, so check this game out if only for a little bit of your time.

 

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Houston
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Texas Southern 22-11 vs. 2 Alcorn St. * 18-13 6:30 PM ESPNU
* Alcorn St. is ineligible for the postseason. Texas Southern earns automatic bid win or lose tonight.

We have already spoken about this game and the fact that it does not matter if TSU wins or loses, since they already own the automatic bid.  However, it will help the Tigers to win this game, because we believe they will definitely avoid Dayton with a win tonight, and they could be punished and sent to Dayton if they lose.

The game should be entertaining and nip and tuck, as TSU had difficulty beating Alcorn twice this year, once by a bucket, and once in overtime.  Unfortunately, the one player that might have made a difference for the Tigers against a power conference team, muscular forward and former SWAC POY Derrick Griffin, decided to leave school to prepare for the pro draft–not the NBA, but the NFL, where he stands a good chance of being drafted as a mighty big receiver target.

 

Sun Belt Conference Tournament Semifinals–New Orleans
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 UT-Arlington 25-7 vs. 4 Texas St. 19-12 12:30 PM ESPN3
2 Georgia St. 20-11 vs. 6 Troy 20-14 3:00 PM ESPN3

There are some Bracketologists that believe UT-Arlington will have done enough to get an at-large bid if they beat Texas State this afternoon and lose tomorrow, but 12 of our 13 Bracketology Gurus beg to differ.  The Mavericks are the team to beat in this tourney, but the other three teams don’t fear UTA.  In fact, Texas State and Troy both know they can beat the top seed, as they did so convincingly during the regular season.  Still, UTA is a team that defeated Saint Mary’s and had a double-digit lead at Arkansas before the Razorbacks nipped them in the final minute.  If the Mavericks win the automatic bid, it would not surprise us at all if they move up to a 12-seed, the one seed that has become the seed of upsets.

 

Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship–Las Vegas
Seed Team W-L vs. Seed Team W-L Time TV
1 Cal St. Bakersfield 22-8 vs. 2 New Mexico St. 27-5 11:00 PM ESPNU

When we think of Bakersfield, we think of the “Bakersfield Sound” that produced stars like Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Jean Shepard.  Our founder also thinks of some great Bakersfield Dodgers baseball teams in the Class A California League that produced future Dodgers stars like Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, Doug Rau, Eric Karros, Pedro and Ramon Martinez, John Wetteland, and Mike Piazza.

Others might think of all the farmland in and around the area or the giant arch just off Highway 99.  Basketball does not come to mind when one thinks of Bakersfield.  Yet, the Roadrunners, under former Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes, are just one win away from making their second consecutive trip to the Big Dance.

It will be no cakewalk tonight for the top-seeded Roadrunners.  Their opponent is a formidable foe, and New Mexico State might even be considered the favorite in this game.  The teams match up favorably well, and this looks like a championship game where if they played a best of seven series, it would go seven games.

CSUB has one big disadvantage tonight.  The Roadrunners were forced to play an extra half last night, when Utah Valley took them to 4 overtimes.  The Roadrunners shot less than 30% from the field, gave up an astronomical 68 rebounds to Utah Valley, and they still won, because they forced the Wolverines into committing 28 turnovers and stole the ball 11 times.

 

PiRate Ratings Bracketology Gurus Update for Saturday AM

  1. Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga
  2. Kentucky, Oregon, Duke, Arizona
  3. Baylor, Louisville, West Virginia, Florida St.
  4. UCLA, Notre Dame, Butler, Minnesota
  5. Florida, Cincinnati, Iowa St., SMU
  6. Virginia, Purdue, Wisconsin, Creighton
  7. Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Michigan, Wichita St.
  8. Virginia Tech, Miami, Northwestern, VCU
  9. Arkansas, South Carolina, Dayton, Oklahoma St.
  10. Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Michigan St., Seton Hall
  11. Providence, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Wake Forest, USC
  12. UT-Arlington, UNC-Wilmington, Nevada, Kansas St., Syracuse
  13. Vermont, Princeton, Akron, Bucknell
  14. East Tennessee St., Florida Gulf Coast, New Mexico St., Winthrop
  15. Iona, Texas Southern, Northern Kentucky, UC-Irvine
  16. South Dakota St., UNC-Central, Jacksonville St., Texas A&M CC, North Dakota, Mount St. Mary’s

Last Four Byes

Seton Hall

Providence

Vanderbilt

Xavier

Last Four In–Headed to Dayton

Wake Forest vs. USC

Kansas St. vs. Syracuse

First Four Out

Rhode Island–can jump into the field with a win Saturday

Illinois State

California

Alabama–we jumped the Tide up here, because they are the only team still playing with a chance to move up.  All others in this spot have no chance to make the field and have no games left to play (Illinois, Iowa, Houston, TCU, Georgia, Indiana)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

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