The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 13, 2022

Sunday Morning From The Hull

This early Sunday morning on the PiRate ship, we are hunkered down in the hull with a spreadsheet full of numbers. After New Mexico State, Arizona, and Cal St. Fullerton enjoyed late night trophy raisings in Las Vegas, we added the updated numbers to our Bracketology and narrowed the field of hopefuls down to 70 and then realized we had one more team that maybe should not have been sent to the SS NIT and one team that maybe shouldn’t be considered a lock for the Dance. So, we are sitting at 72 teams this morning. There are six teams at the bottom of the Bubble, and three of them will be happy around 6:30 PM EDT, while three will have to settle for a possible trip to the flowerless garden in the Big Apple rather than the Garden District in the Crescent City.

The six bubblers this morning (in alphabetical order) are: Rutgers, SMU, Texas A&M, Xavier, Wake Forest, and Wyoming. Let us add the last potential bid-stealer to this formula. If Richmond upsets Davidson today in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game, the Spiders will receive an automatic bid, while Davidson receives an at-large invitation. That will reduce one spot at the bottom of the Bubble. Additionally, if Texas A&M upsets Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, the Aggies will move ahead of the Last Four in, as they would be guaranteed immunity from going to Dayton early next week. That would then take a team that currently has a bye and drop them into First Four purgatory.

By 3:00 PM EDT, we will know whether Richmond secured a spot in the Field of 68 and if Texas A&M is either an automatic bid-earner or Bubble team in the last decisions to be made. One of our fine Buckaroo lasses then pointed out that the outcome of the American Athletic Conference Championship Game between Houston and Memphis could affect the resume of SMU. A Memphis win might drag the Mustangs along in the Tiger draft. Additionally, the Iowa-Purdue Big Ten Championship Game tips off after 3:00 PM EDT, and both teams’ seed line could move one spot from this game. A Purdue loss and a Tennessee win could see the Boilermakers and Vols switching spots on the seed line. Iowa could possibly jump up one spot with a win, especially if Houston loses today.

Therefore, our final Bracketology prediction will go live only once the outcomes of the last two games are known. If both games are blowouts, we will go ahead and publish the final prediction before the games end. If either game is undecided until the closing minutes, then expect our final Bracketology to go live within 10 minutes of the final horn.

Coming Monday afternoon (Eastern Time Zone), our first installment of Bracketnomics for the 2022 NCAA Tournament will post here. This will be the explanation for how to go about picking your brackets using analytics that have been back-tested for maximum accuracy. We cannot guarantee you will win your bracket-picking contests, but we have a history of many of our subscribers doing that over the two decades this page has existed. And, you cannot beat the price of this information–only the time it takes you to read it.

There is one small warning for this year: Using the criteria we rely on, there is way too much parity in this forthcoming tournament. Usually, five to eight teams have Final Four worthy resumes. As of this morning, only two teams have such wonders. That means that two teams that do not have Final Four resumes are guaranteed to make this year’s Final Four. It also means that a team like Connecticut in both 2011 and 2014 might be poised to make a run to the National Championship Game, and it is a much higher probability that a Mid-Major makes the Final Four like Loyola, Wichita State, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler, and George Mason have done in this Century and Indiana State and Penn did in 1979. If you are wondering when was the last time a team from outside of a power conference actually won the tournament, it was UNLV in 1990, 32 years ago. Gonzaga has come close twice, losing in the final game to North Carolina and to Baylor. Butler came within a final shot rolling on the rim and falling off of winning against Duke.

This shapes up to be a very exciting NCAA Tournament this year. There will be a lot of interesting story lines, so today, we are informing you that you probably feel a bit off. By Thursday morning, you just won’t be able to get up and going, and you will have to call in sick to work with a 48-hour bug, forcing you to take sick days on Thursday and Friday. Being self-employed or a member of sports media through the years, I was fortunate not to have to get Madness Fever.

Today’s Conference Tournament Schedule

All Times Eastern Daylight

12:00 PM on ESPN2: Ivy League Championship Game

Princeton vs. Yale

1:00 PM on ESPN: Southeastern Conference Championship Game

Tennessee vs. Texas A&M

1:00 PM on CBS: Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Game

Davidson vs. Richmond

3:15 PM on ESPN: Conference USA Championship Game

Houston vs. Memphis

3:30 PM on CBS: Big Ten Conference Championship Game

Iowa vs. Purdue

6:00 PM on CBS: Selection Sunday Show

March 19, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Friday, March 19, 2021

FavoriteUnderdogSpread
BaylorHartford22.0
WisconsinNorth Carolina0.3
VillanovaWinthrop8.1
PurdueNorth Texas7.4
Texas TechUtah St.2.3
ArkansasColgate8.4
FloridaVirginia Tech2.1
Ohio St.Oral Roberts16.1
IllinoisDrexel20.5
Loyola (Chi.)Georgia Tech2.7
TennesseeOregon St.7.6
Oklahoma St.Liberty8.2
San Diego St.Syracuse2.8
West VirginiaMorehead St.11.6
RutgersClemson1.9
HoustonCleveland St.17.9

March 9, 2021

Tuesday Conference Tournament Update

March 9, 2021

Bids On The Line Tonight

Colonial Athletic Association: Drexel vs. Elon

Northeast Conference: Bryant vs. Mount St. Mary’s

Horizon League: Cleveland St. vs. Oakland

Summit League: North Dakota St. vs. Oral Roberts

West Coast Conference: Gonzaga vs. BYU

America East Conference

Championship Game–Saturday, March 13, 11 AM, ESPN2

6 U Mass-Lowell at 4 Hartford

American Athletic Conference

1st Round–Thursday, March 11 @ Fort Worth, TX

8 South Florida vs. 9 Temple (winner plays 1 Wichita St. Friday)

(4 SMU plays 5 Cincinnati Friday)

7 Tulsa vs. 10 Tulane (winner plays 2 Houston Friday)

6 Central Florida vs. 11 East Carolina (winner plays 3 Memphis Friday)

Atlantic Coast Conference

First Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Greensboro, NC

12 Pittsburgh vs. 13 Miami (Fla.)

10 Duke vs. 15 Boston College

11 Notre Dame vs. 14 Wake Forest

Atlantic 10 Conference

Championship Game–Sunday, March 14, 1PM, CBS @ Dayton, OH

1 Saint Bonaventure vs. 2 Virginia Commonwealth

Big East Conference

1st Round–Wednesday 10 @ New York, NY

8 Georgetown vs. 9 Marquette (winner plays 1 Villanova Thursday)

(4 St. John’s plays 5 Seton Hall Thursday)

7 Xavier vs. 10 Butler (winner plays 2 Creighton Thursday)

6 Providence vs. 11 DePaul (winner plays 3 Connecticut Thursday)

Big Sky Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Boise, ID

8 Northern Colorado vs. 9 Sacramento St. (winner plays 1 Southern Utah Thursday)

(4 Idaho St. plays 5 Montana St. Thursday)

7 Portland St. vs. 10 Northern Arizona (winner plays 2 Eastern Washington Thursday)

6 Montana vs. 11 Idaho (winner plays 3 Weber St. Thursday)

Big Ten Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Indianapolis, IN

12 Northwestern vs. 13 Minnesota

11 Penn St. vs. 14 Nebraska

Big 12 Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Kansas City, MO

8 TCU vs. 9 Kansas St. (winner plays 1 Baylor Thursday)

(4 West Virginia plays 5 Oklahoma St. Thursday)

7 Oklahoma vs. 10 Iowa St. (winner plays 2 Kansas Thursday)

(3 Texas plays 6 Texas Tech Thursday)

Big West Conference

1st Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Las Vegas

8 Cal St. Northridge vs. 9 Long Beach St. (winner plays 1 UCSB Wednesday)

(4 Cal St. Bakersfield vs. 5 UC-Davis Wednesday)

7 Cal St. Fullerton vs. 10 Cal Poly (winner plays 2 UC-Irvine Wednesday)

(3 UC-Riverside plays 6 Hawaii Wednesday)

Colonial Athletic Association

Championship Game–Tuesday, March 9 @ James Madison (Harrisonburg, VA)

7 PM EST on CBSSN

6 Drexel vs. 8 Elon

Conference USA

1st Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Frisco, TX (Dallas Cowboys Practice Facility)

6W Rice vs. 7W Southern Miss.

6E Middle Tennessee vs. 7E Florida Intl. (MTSU wins by Default–FIU Covid Casualty)

Horizon League

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 9 @ Indianapolis, IN

7PM EST on ESPN

1 Cleveland St. vs. 3 Oakland

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

1st Round Continues, Tuesday, March 9 @ Atlantic City, NJ

8 Quinnipiac vs. 9 Rider

7 Fairfield vs. 10 Manhattan

Mid-American Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Cleveland

1 Toledo vs. 8 Ball St.

4 Kent St. vs. 5 Ohio U

2 Buffalo vs. 7 Miami (O)

3 Akron vs. 6 Bowling Green

Mideastern Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals, Thursday, March 11 @ Norfolk, VA

2S Florida A&M vs. 3N Morgan St. (winner plays 1N Coppin St. Friday)

2N Norfolk St. vs. 3S UNC-Central (winner plays 1S North Carolina A&T Friday)

Mountain West Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Las Vegas

8 Wyoming vs. 9 San Jose St. (winner plays 1 San Diego St. Thursday)

(4 Boise St. plays 5 Nevada Thursday)

7 UNLV vs. 10 Air Force (winner plays 2 Utah St. Thursday)

6 Fresno St. vs. 11 New Mexico (winner plays 3 Colorado St. Thursday)

Northeast Conference

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 11, 7PM, ESPN2

4 Mount St. Mary’s at 2 Bryant

Pac-12 Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Las Vegas

8 Arizona St. vs. 9 Washington St. (winner plays 1 Oregon Thursday)

(4 UCLA plays 5 Oregon St. Thursday)

7 Utah vs. 10 Washington (winner plays 2 USC Thursday)

6 Stanford vs. 11 California (winner plays 3 Colorado Thursday)

Patriot League

Semifinals–Wednesday, March 10

9 Loyola (MD) at 4 Army

6 Bucknell at 2 Colgate

Southeastern Conference

1st Round–Wednesday, March 10 @ Nashville, TN

12 Texas A&M vs. 13 Vanderbilt

Southland Conference

1st Round–Tuesday, March 9 @ Katy, TX (Greater Houston)

8 Southeast Louisiana vs. 9 McNeese St.

7 Incarnate Word vs. 10 Houston Baptist

Southwestern Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals–Wednesday, March 10 (& Thursday, March 11) @ Birmingham, AL

1 Prairie View vs. 8 Mississippi Valley (3/10)

4 Grambling vs. 5 Southern (3/11)

2 Jackson St. vs. 8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3/10)

3 Texas Southern vs. 6 Alcorn St. (3/11)

Summit League

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 9 @ Sioux Falls, SD

9PM EST on ESPN2

3 North Dakota St. vs. 4 Oral Roberts

West Coast Conference

Championship Game, Tuesday, March 9 @ Las Vegas

9 PM EST on ESPN

1 Gonzaga vs. 2 BYU

Western Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals–Thursday, March 11 @ Las Vegas

4 California-Baptist vs. 5 Seattle (winner plays 1 Grand Canyon Friday)

3 New Mexico St. vs. 6 UT-Rio Grande Valley (winner plays 2 Utah Valley Friday)

Automatic Qualifiers

Liberty 23-5

Winthrop 23-1

Loyola (Chi.) 24-4

Morehead St. 23-7

UNC-Greensboro 21-8

Appalachian St. 17-11

February 26, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Friday, February 26, 2021

HomeVisitorSpread
St. BonaventureGeorge Washington15.2
Saint LouisRichmond2.2
CincinnatiTulane5.3
StetsonNorth Florida4.6
Kennesaw St.Florida Gulf Coast-7.7
Northern ArizonaSouthern Utah-7.2
IdahoMontana St.-13.0
Penn St.Purdue0.3
Cal PolyUC Davis-7.1
UC IrvineUC San Diego9.8
Cal St. BakersfieldCal St. Northridge10.8
UC RiversideUCSB-2.3
HawaiiLong Beach State7.3
James MadisonDrexel1.9
MarshallNorth Texas3.5
Old DominionMiddle Tennessee9.6
UTSAUAB-3.9
Louisiana TechRice9.1
Southern MissFlorida Atlantic-0.2
SienaManhattan10.7
Saint Peter’sRider10.5
AkronBowling Green4.1
BradleyDrake-7.0
EvansvilleMissouri St.-7.2
ValparaisoIndiana St.-3.6
Loyola (Chi.)Southern Illinois21.3
Illinois St.Northern Iowa1.4
Utah St.Nevada6.8
UNLVFresno St.4.8
Central ConnecticutWagner-9.5
BryantLong Island University8.2
MerrimackSt. Francis (NY)2.8
Sacred HeartFairleigh Dickinson0.9
Texas St.UL Monroe10.1
Georgia SouthernAppalachian St.-0.9
UT ArlingtonArkansas St.2.1
TroyCoastal Carolina-5.6
Little RockLouisiana0.1
South AlabamaGeorgia St.-1.9
DenverOmaha-1.6
South Dakota St.UM Kansas City8.7
Utah ValleyUT Rio Grande Valley1.1
TarletonNew Mexico St.-6.4
SeattleGrand Canyon-6.5

Coming Later Friday: Updated Bracketology. There was considerable movement in the field of 68 since our Monday update. Teams like Duke, Michigan St., and North Carolina St. are making late pushes to sneak into the field. The first conference tournament began last night, and more tourneys will commence in the next few days, as March Madness lite begins Monday.

The PiRates will be heading down to the galley to make a big bowl of stew and start crunching the numbers that will become Bracketnomics 2021. The recipe has changed–for the Bracketnomics, not the stew.

March 28, 2020

The Greatest NCAA Tournament That Never Was–Elite 8 Saturday

We are down to the Elite 8, and after today’s East and South Regional Finals, there will be six teams left in the field.  We’re just 24 hours away from knowing which of these best teams of all time (1960-2019) will make the Final Four.

If you haven’t been following this simulation since its beginning, we took 68 of the best NCAA basketball teams between 1960 and 2019.  No school could have teams from consecutive seasons, or else this would have been the UCLA Invitational.

The games were simulated by actually playing the college made version of Statis-Pro Basketball, a game made by Avalon Hill and Sports Illustrated between the 1970’s and 1980’s.  Our Captain solved the codes for that game and applied them to college.

Here are the results for the East and South Region Championships.

 

EAST REGION

 

Wolf Pack Dominates On Boards/Towe Magnificent

 

1974 North Carolina St.

75

2019 Virginia

64

In it’s first three games in this tournament, Virginia had been able to limit turnovers and force the opponent into bad shots.  In the Elite 8, the Cavaliers committed just seven turnovers, but they could not prevent North Carolina State from getting open shots.  Thanks to point guard Monte Towe’s excellent passing, the Wolf Pack shooters were open more often than a normal UVa opponent.

Towe dished out 10 assists in the game, five in both halves.  Towe also contributed 22  points, hitting all eight of his foul shots in the second half when North Carolina State increased their lead from five to 11 points.

Boxscore

North Carolina St.

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Tom Burleson

C

8

13

0

0

4

6

4

6

10

0

0

3

2

2

20

Tim Stoddard

F

2

5

0

0

2

3

1

7

8

1

0

1

1

2

6

David Thompson

F

5

11

1

3

6

8

3

7

10

2

1

2

2

2

17

Mo Rivers

G

2

7

1

4

1

2

0

3

3

1

1

0

2

3

6

Monte Towe

G

5

12

4

9

8

9

0

1

1

10

2

0

3

0

22

Phil Spence

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

0

0

1

0

1

2

Greg Hawkins

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

3

0

0

0

1

0

0

Steve Nuce

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

2

Mark Moeller

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

Team

3

Totals

24

52

6

16

21

28

9

30

39

14

4

7

11

13

75

 

 

 

Virginia

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Mamadi Diakete

C

1

3

0

0

0

0

2

2

4

0

0

1

0

5

2

De’Andre Hunter

F

2

7

0

3

3

4

1

4

5

1

0

0

2

4

7

Ty Jerome

F

5

12

2

6

3

4

0

4

4

6

1

0

2

5

15

Kyle Guy

G

6

14

3

8

3

3

0

4

4

2

0

0

1

4

18

Kihei Clark

G

2

5

1

2

0

0

0

1

1

3

1

0

1

3

5

Braxton Key

5

9

1

2

1

2

1

4

5

0

1

0

1

2

12

Jack Salt

2

5

0

0

1

2

0

3

3

1

0

0

0

2

5

Jay Huff

0

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Team

2

Totals

23

57

7

22

11

15

4

22

28

13

3

1

7

26

64

Player of the Game

Monte Towe

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

N. C. State

34

41

75

Virginia

31

33

64

 

 

WEST REGION

 

Brunson and Bridges Bring Back The Wildcats

 

2018 Villanova

75

1970 UCLA

69

 

Trailing by six points eight minutes into the final half, Villanova’s Jalen Brunson and Michael Bridges scored a combined 19 points to bring the Wildcats back into the lead at 68-67 with less than two minutes remaining.  Foul shooting and multiple missed three point shots sent the Bruins back to Westwood.

 

Boxscore

Villanova

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Omari Spellman

C

0

2

0

1

0

0

2

4

6

0

0

1

1

5

0

Eric Paschall

F

2

5

1

3

6

6

1

5

6

0

0

2

0

2

11

Michael Bridges

F

7

12

3

5

5

5

1

7

8

0

0

0

2

1

22

Phil Booth

G

2

4

2

3

4

6

0

2

2

3

1

1

2

2

10

Jalen Brunson

G

7

17

3

5

6

8

0

1

1

6

2

0

2

3

23

Donte DiVincenzo

2

6

1

4

2

3

0

2

2

3

1

0

3

1

7

Collin Gillespie

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1

0

0

1

2

Team

3

Totals

21

50

10

21

23

28

4

22

29

12

5

4

10

15

75

 

 

 

UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Steve Patterson

C

5

11

0

0

2

2

2

7

9

1

0

1

2

4

12

Sidney Wicks

F

7

15

0

2

3

5

4

8

12

3

1

2

5

4

17

Curtis Rowe

F

6

12

1

3

2

3

2

8

10

1

2

0

2

4

15

John Vallely

G

4

8

2

6

3

4

0

2

2

5

1

0

3

3

13

Henry Bibby

G

4

10

2

7

2

2

1

1

2

2

1

0

2

4

12

John Ecker

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

Jon Chapman

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

Bill Seibert

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

Team

3

Totals

26

56

5

18

12

16

9

26

38

12

5

3

15

26

69

Player of the Game

Jalen Brunson

 

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

Villanova

40

35

75

UCLA

41

28

69

 

Coming Tomorrow: The Midwest and West Region Finals

 

Midwest Region Championship: 1968 UCLA vs. 1968 Houston

West Region Championship: 1972 UCLA vs. 1982 North Carolina

 

March 27, 2020

The Greatest NCAA Tournament That Never Was–The Sweet 16 Friday

After last night’s games, we are down to just 12 teams left, and before tonight’s action ends, we will have the Elite 8.  Then, by the end of  the weekend, we’ll be down to the Final Four.

Tonight’s Sweet 16 action involves games in the Midwest and West Regions.

MIDWEST REGION

 

Jabbar Destroys Duke

 

1968 UCLA

83

2015 Duke

57

 

The number one seed in the Midwest Region has reached the Region Finals with relative ease.  The 1968 UCLA Bruins quickly dispatched 2015 Duke with a 19-4 run to begin the game.

UCLA took a 20-point lead at 34-14 after back to back baskets by Kenny Heitz and Mike Lynn.  Once down by 20 points, Duke never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

By the time the UCLA reserves entered the game for good, the Bruins led 74-42.  Duke ended the game on a 15-9 run.

 

UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

C

14

23

0

0

3

5

7

9

16

1

1

5

3

1

31

Mike Lynn

F

3

6

0

0

4

6

1

4

5

3

3

0

1

3

10

Lynn Shackleford

F

2

5

0

2

2

2

1

5

6

2

2

1

2

3

6

Lucius Allen

G

3

8

2

5

5

6

0

2

2

4

3

0

3

1

13

Mike Warren

G

4

7

2

4

2

2

0

3

3

3

1

0

4

2

12

Jim Nielsen

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kenny Heitz

2

5

1

3

1

2

0

1

1

2

2

0

1

1

6

Bill Sweek

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Neville Saner

1

3

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

1

0

2

2

Gene Sutherland

1

2

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

3

Team

3

Totals

30

61

6

17

17

23

11

26

40

16

12

7

15

13

83

 

 

 

Duke

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Jahlil Okafor

C

3

9

0

0

0

1

1

4

5

1

1

0

2

4

6

Justise Winslow

F

4

11

2

5

4

5

1

2

3

0

0

1

6

4

14

Quinn Cook

F

3

8

1

5

3

5

1

3

4

2

1

0

3

3

10

Matt Jones

G

5

10

3

6

0

0

0

5

5

1

2

0

4

4

13

Tyus Jones

G

4

12

1

4

3

4

0

3

3

5

2

0

3

2

12

Grayson Allen

1

2

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

0

3

1

2

Amile Jefferson

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

0

1

2

0

Marshall Plumlee

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

3

0

0

0

1

1

0

Nick Pagliuca

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Team

3

Totals

20

52

7

20

10

15

6

21

30

9

6

1

23

21

57

Player of the Game

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

UCLA

50

33

83

Duke

33

24

57

 

 

Cougars Survive Incredible 3 OT Game–Hayes Is Magnificent

 

1968 Houston

122

3 OT

1976 Indiana

121

Elvin Hayes played 52 out of a possible 55 minutes, leading the 1968 Cougars to an incredible triple overtime win to advance to the Elite 8 against an historic rival for a shot at the Final Four on Sunday.

Hayes scored 49 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, connecting on 21-35 from the field and 7-11 at the foul line.   Forward Theodis Lee and guard Don “Duck” Chaney combined for 47 points backing up the Big E.

Indiana appeared to have the game won in the first overtime.  A basket and made foul shot by Bobby Wilkerson, followed by a three-pointer by Tom Abernathy gave the Hoosiers a 102-95 lead with 1:08 remaining.  In the final 68 seconds, Houston forced three turnovers on the Hoosiers.  Hayes hit two baskets, and a three-pointer by George Reynolds tied the game with 12 seconds remaining.   A desperation shot by Quinn Buckner at the buzzer was off target.

In the second overtime, Indiana led 111-108 and had the ball with 12 seconds to go.  Wilkerson went to the foul line with a chance to put IU up by five and missed both foul shot attempts.  Kenny Spain rebounded the ball for Houston and found Chaney open for the tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

In the third overtime, it was Houston’s turn to take the lead and watch Indiana mount a comeback.  With a 120-113 lead, the Hoosiers sent Cougar players to the foul line.  Hayes, Lee, and Chaney combined for 2-6 in the final Houston’s final three possessions.  Indiana crept back with a three-pointer by Wayne Radford and baskets by Scott May and Kent Benson to cut the Houston lead to 122-120.  After the Cougars turned the ball over, Hayed fouled Benson as Benson tried to tie the game up.  Benson hit the first shot and missed the second.  Lee rebounded and threw the outlet pass to Chaney to end the game.

Houston now faces a familiar opponent.  In reality in 1968, the Cougars beat the Bruins at the Astrodome in the Game of the Century, but UCLA blew the Cougars off the floor in the Final Four.  Very few people since realize that Reynolds did not play for Houston in the NCAA Tournament.  He has been eligible in this tournament.

Boxscore

Houston

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Elvin Hayes

C

21

35

0

0

7

11

6

12

18

2

1

4

4

3

49

Ken Spain

F

5

11

0

0

2

4

5

10

15

1

2

3

2

5

12

Theodis Lee

F

11

24

1

5

3

6

3

7

10

3

0

1

2

4

26

Don Chaney

G

7

17

3

8

4

7

2

6

8

8

3

0

5

3

21

George Reynolds

G

4

9

2

5

4

5

0

5

5

6

2

0

4

3

14

Tom Gribben

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

Vern Lewis

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

1

3

0

Carlos Bell

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

Niemer Hamood

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Team

4

Totals

48

97

6

18

20

33

16

41

61

22

9

8

18

27

122

 

 

 

Indiana

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Kent Benson

C

10

18

0

0

4

5

2

9

11

2

0

2

2

4

24

Scott May

F

10

21

3

7

6

7

1

7

8

5

2

0

4

4

29

Tom Abernathy

F

8

14

5

11

2

2

2

5

7

2

0

1

3

2

23

Bobby Wilkerson

G

4

13

1

5

4

6

1

7

8

4

1

2

5

5

13

Quinn Buckner

G

4

9

1

3

3

4

1

3

4

6

3

0

3

4

12

Wayne Radford

3

7

1

2

2

3

0

1

1

2

0

0

1

3

9

Jim Wisman

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

2

0

Rich Valavicius

2

3

2

3

0

0

1

2

3

0

1

0

0

3

6

Jim Crews

1

2

1

2

2

2

0

2

2

1

1

0

1

2

5

Mark Haymore

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

Jim Roberson

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Team

5

Totals

42

90

14

34

23

29

8

37

50

23

8

5

19

31

121

Player of the Game

Elvin Hayes

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

OT

OT

OT

Final

Houston

45

44

13

9

11

122

Indiana

41

48

13

9

10

121

WEST REGION

 

Undermined Miners Scare Bracket’s Overall Top Seed But Fall Short

 

The 1972 UCLA Bruins began the game looking like they would advance to the Elite 8 with very  little trouble.  Leading 39-20, UCLA went cold, while Texas Western ran their fast break and scored 12 straight points to cut the lead to 39-32.  After Jamaal Wilkes hit a three-pointer, TW scored the final seven points of the half to cut the lead to three points.

Texas Western actually took the lead briefly in the second half when Orsten Artis hit a jumper to put the Miners of 59-58.  UCLA held a slim 68-66 lead when the Bruins went on a 12-2 run to take an 80-68 lead.  TW couldn’t cut the lead under 10 points until the final possession.

 

Boxscore

UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Bill Walton

C

9

17

0

0

6

10

5

11

16

5

1

3

2

4

24

Jamaal Wilkes

F

7

14

3

7

2

2

3

8

11

0

0

1

1

2

19

Larry Farmer

F

2

5

1

2

0

0

1

4

5

1

1

0

2

3

5

Greg Lee

G

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

2

0

0

3

3

2

Henry Bibby

G

8

16

3

7

4

4

0

3

3

6

2

0

5

2

23

Tommy Curtis

4

9

2

5

1

2

0

1

1

3

1

0

4

2

11

Larry Hollyfield

2

6

1

3

0

0

0

4

4

0

0

0

2

4

5

Swen Nater

2

3

0

0

1

2

2

3

5

0

0

0

0

3

5

Team

4

Totals

35

72

10

24

14

20

11

36

51

17

5

4

19

23

94

 

 

 

Texas Western

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Nevil Shed

C

1

5

0

0

0

0

1

4

5

0

0

0

0

5

2

David Lattin

F

7

15

0

0

2

3

3

11

14

1

1

0

1

1

16

Harry Flournoy

F

4

7

0

0

0

0

2

7

9

2

1

1

2

4

8

Orsten Artis

G

5

14

3

9

3

4

0

2

2

4

3

0

3

3

16

Bobby Joe Hill

G

7

17

4

10

5

7

0

1

1

3

2

0

4

2

23

Willie Cager

4

8

1

2

5

6

1

3

4

1

1

0

1

2

14

Willie Worsley

1

5

1

4

3

5

0

0

0

3

2

0

2

1

6

Team

3

Totals

29

71

9

25

18

25

7

28

38

14

10

1

13

18

85

Player of the Game

Bill Walton

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

UCLA

42

52

94

Texas Western

39

46

85

 

 

Jordan Puts Tar Heels On His Back–Carolina Going To Elite 8

 

1982 North Carolina

83

1960 Ohio St.

72

 

The 1982 North Carolina Tar Heels needed someone to step up.  Trailing 61-52 midway in the second half, Michael Jordan took matters into his own hands connecting on 6-7 from the field after making just one of his first seven shots.  Three of those six made shots were three-pointers, and he added four foul shots.  His 19 points in the final 10 minutes brought Carolina back fro the brink.  Jordan’s three-pointer with the Buckeyes leading 68-66, gave the Tar Heels their first lead of the game.  Once Ohio State was forced to foul at the end, North Carolina hit seven of eight foul shots.  Ohio State could not connect from behind the arc in crunch time, as UNC pulled away in the last two minutes to win by 11.

 

Boxscore

North Carolina

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Sam Perkins

C

6

11

0

0

5

6

2

5

7

2

0

1

3

3

17

James Worthy

F

7

12

0

0

3

4

2

5

7

3

1

2

1

3

17

Matt Doherty

F

2

5

2

4

5

6

0

3

3

1

0

0

1

2

11

Michael Jordan

G

7

13

3

7

6

8

1

4

5

3

2

0

3

2

23

Jimmy Black

G

3

7

1

3

3

4

0

2

2

5

1

0

2

3

10

Jim Braddock

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

1

0

1

2

0

Chris Brust

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

2

3

0

0

0

1

2

2

Buzz Peterson

1

2

1

2

0

0

0

1

1

2

1

0

1

0

3

Warren Martin

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

1

0

1

0

Team

3

Totals

27

53

7

16

22

28

6

24

33

17

6

4

13

18

83

 

 

 

Ohio St.

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Jerry Lucas

C

9

16

1

2

5

6

3

8

11

3

0

2

2

3

24

Joe Roberts

F

3

8

0

0

1

2

1

3

4

1

0

0

3

4

7

John Havlicek

F

7

14

2

5

4

5

2

7

9

4

3

0

1

4

20

Larry Siegfried

G

4

11

2

6

3

4

0

2

2

3

1

0

3

2

13

Mel Nowell

G

2

5

1

3

1

2

1

1

2

2

1

0

3

3

6

Dick Furry

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

2

Richie Hoyt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

Bob Knight

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

Team

3

Totals

26

56

6

16

14

19

7

22

32

13

5

2

15

20

72

Player of the Game

Michael Jordan

 

Coming Tomorrow: The East and South Regional Finals

East: 1974 North Carolina St. vs. 2019 Virginia

South: 1970 UCLA vs. 2018 Villanova

March 26, 2020

The Greatest NCAA Tournament That Never Was–The Sweet 16 Thursday

We are down to 16 teams in our greatest teams between 1960 and 2019. Let’s get right to the results for the Sweet 16 Games in the East and South Regions.  The Midwest and West Regions play on Friday.

 

EAST REGION

 

Wolf Pack Pull Away In Second Half

 

1974 North Carolina St.

82

1978 Kentucky

70

After a close first half, the 1974 North Carolina State Wolf Pack pulled away from the 1978 Kentucky Wildcats with a 14-5 run over four minutes that increased a two-point lead to 11.

David Thompson scored 9 of his 21 points during this run, and additionally, in this four-minute segment of the game, he forced Mike Phillips to foul him twice, and he stole the ball away from Rick Robey.

Kentucky led for most of the first half, after the Wildcats started the game connecting on seven of their first 11 shots from the field.  N.C. State turned up the defensive pressure and finished the half on a 10-3 run to take a one-point lead at the half.

After an opening seven minutes of the second half that saw the lead change hands five times, the Wolf Pack went on their run to take command of the game, and they cruised to victory.

 

Boxscore

North Carolina St.

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Tom Burleson

C

8

14

0

0

5

8

3

12

15

1

0

2

2

3

21

Tim Stoddard

F

3

7

0

0

2

2

1

6

7

0

1

1

1

4

8

David Thompson

F

8

17

2

6

3

4

4

4

8

2

1

0

3

3

21

Mo Rivers

G

4

8

2

4

1

2

0

2

2

4

2

0

3

3

11

Monte Towe

G

5

12

3

7

4

4

0

1

1

5

2

0

4

3

17

Phil Spence

2

4

0

0

0

0

2

4

6

0

0

0

1

3

4

Greg Hawkins

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

0

0

1

2

0

Team

3

Totals

30

62

7

17

15

20

10

30

43

13

6

3

15

21

82

Kentucky

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Rick Robey

C

7

15

0

0

2

4

1

4

5

0

0

0

4

2

16

Mike Phillips

F

3

7

0

0

1

2

2

7

9

0

0

1

1

4

7

Jack Givens

F

5

13

2

7

5

7

1

3

4

2

1

0

3

2

17

Truman Claytor

G

1

4

1

3

2

2

1

2

3

1

2

0

2

3

5

Kyle Macy

G

3

8

2

6

6

6

0

1

1

4

1

0

2

2

14

James Lee

2

5

0

0

1

2

1

3

4

0

0

0

1

2

5

Jay Shidler

2

4

2

4

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

1

1

6

LaVon Williams

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

1

1

0

0

2

0

Team

3

Totals

23

57

7

20

17

23

6

23

32

10

5

1

14

18

70

Player of the Game

Tom Burleson

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

N.C. State

38

44

82

Kentucky

37

33

70

 

 

Cavaliers’ Defense Shuts Down Hot Shooting Hoosiers

 

2019 Virginia

67

1987 Indiana

60

 

After blistering the nets in their first two NCAA Tournament games, the 1987 Indiana Hoosiers could not solve 2019 Virginia’s Pack Line Defense and shot just 35.3% from the field and 28.6% from behind the arc.

Indiana’s poor shooting night began immediately, as the Hoosiers missed on their first six attempts from the field.  They were only down 8-2 when Rick Callaway made IU’s first basket.

By the time the Hoosiers connected on their next basket, a three-pointer by Steve Alford, they trailed 12-5.

Virginia maintained the lead for the remainder of the game, never leading by less than six points.  The Cavaliers enjoyed an eight-point halftime lead, and they extended the lead to as much as 14 points in the second half at 48-34.

Indiana mounted its only charge of the game with a 13-6 run to cut the lead to 54-47, but UVa extended the lead back to 10 on a three-pointer by Kyle Guy.

Down the stretch, Virginia hit all six of their foul shots when Indiana players sent them to the line.

 

Boxscore

Virginia

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Mamadi Diakete

C

6

11

0

0

2

3

3

4

7

1

0

3

2

2

14

De’Andre Hunter

F

3

8

1

3

0

0

1

5

6

2

0

0

1

4

7

Guy Jerome

F

4

11

1

3

2

2

0

3

3

2

1

1

2

4

11

Kyle Guy

G

5

13

2

5

3

4

0

2

2

3

1

0

1

3

15

Kihei Clark

G

2

4

1

2

5

5

0

3

3

3

2

0

0

2

10

Braxton Key

2

4

0

1

4

5

1

5

6

1

0

0

1

3

8

Jack Salt

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

4

4

0

0

2

0

2

2

Jay Huff

0

2

0

2

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

1

1

0

Team

2

Totals

23

55

5

16

16

19

5

27

34

12

4

6

8

21

67

 

 

 

Indiana

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Dean Garrett

C

4

9

0

0

2

4

1

7

8

1

0

2

1

3

10

Daryl Thomas

F

4

10

0

0

4

4

3

4

7

2

0

1

2

2

12

Rick Callaway

F

3

10

0

0

2

3

2

5

7

2

2

1

4

3

8

Keith Smart

G

3

10

2

7

5

5

0

6

6

1

0

0

1

3

13

Steve Alford

G

3

9

2

6

7

7

0

3

3

2

1

0

3

2

15

Steve Eyl

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

4

5

0

0

0

0

2

2

Joe Hillman

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

1

0

0

Kreigh Smith

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

Team

1

Totals

18

51

4

14

20

23

7

29

37

10

3

4

12

17

60

Player of the Game

Kyle Guy

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

Virginia

31

36

67

Indiana

23

37

60

 

SOUTH REGION

 

’70 Bruins Too Strong For ’64 Bruins

 

1970 UCLA

104

1964 UCLA

93

The 1970 UCLA Bruins are beginning to look like a Final Four contender after winning their third consecutive game by double digits in Simulated March Madness.  In their three tournament wins, their average margin of victory has been 19 points per game.

Even though the 1964 team forced 24 turnovers, the 1970 doubled the 1964 team in rebounding, and blocked 10 of the smaller 1964 team’s shots.

A hot start by their top guards, Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich, allowed the 1964 team to keep the game close throughout the first half.  The 1970 team grabbed the lead six minutes into the game on back-to-back shots by Sidney Wicks and John Vallely.

The 1964 team tied the game at 29-29 on a steal by Keith Erickson, and a pass to Goodrich, who then passed across to Jack Hirsch for the basket.  The 1970 then took the lead for good on a basket by Curtis Rowe and then a basket and a foul shot by Henry Bibby.

 

Boxscore

1970 UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Steve Patterson

C

6

12

0

0

1

2

3

6

9

1

0

2

4

3

13

Sidney Wicks

F

8

15

0

0

6

7

6

13

19

3

1

5

3

4

22

Curtis Rowe

F

9

16

2

3

8

8

4

11

15

2

2

3

3

4

28

John Vallely

G

6

13

3

7

4

7

0

5

5

4

0

0

6

3

19

Henry Bibby

G

5

9

2

4

5

6

0

3

3

4

2

0

4

3

17

John Ecker

0

0

0

0

1

2

1

2

3

0

0

0

2

4

1

Jon Chapman

1

2

0

1

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

1

4

2

Bill Seibert

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

0

0

1

1

2

Team

4

Totals

36

68

7

15

25

32

14

42

60

17

5

10

24

26

104

 

 

 

1964 UCLA

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Fred Slaughter

C

4

10

0

0

1

3

1

3

4

2

2

0

2

5

9

Keith Erickson

F

4

13

1

5

2

3

2

4

6

3

4

0

1

4

11

Jack Hirsch

F

5

12

1

4

3

4

2

2

4

1

1

0

0

5

14

Walt Hazzard

G

8

16

4

9

5

7

1

2

3

3

2

0

2

3

25

Gail Goodrich

G

9

20

5

12

6

9

0

3

3

4

3

0

3

3

29

Kenny Washington

2

4

0

0

0

2

1

5

6

1

2

1

0

4

4

Doug McIntosh

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

1

1

1

0

0

0

2

1

Kim Stewart

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

Team

3

Totals

32

77

11

30

18

29

7

20

30

15

14

1

8

29

93

Player of the Game

Sidney Wicks

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

1970 UCLA

54

50

104

1964 UCLA

37

56

93

 

 

Big Comeback Sends Villanova To The Elite 8

 

2018 Villanova

78

1992 Duke

72

 

The Duke Blue Devils looked invincible for 24 minutes of their Sweet 16 game against Villanova.  Duke led by as much as 16 points in the first half, before going to the dressing room up by nine at the break.

The Blue Devils increased their halftime lead from nine to 15 to start the second half, and with 16 minutes remaining, they led 48-33.  At that point, the Wildcats began to make their move.  A three-pointer by Jalen Brunson, and then a putback basket by Eric Paschall cut the lead to 48-38.

Trailing 59-50, The Wildcats then held Duke scoreless for almost four minutes, while they scored nine straight points to tie the game at 59-59.  The game remained close until the final moments, when with Villanova nursing a four-point lead, Duke fouled multiple times, while VU connected on 8 of 8 to extend the lead to 78-69.  A Bobby Hurley three-pointer on Duke’s final possession made the game look a little closer.

 

Boxscore

Villanova

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Omari Spellman

C

6

12

2

5

0

0

2

4

6

3

1

2

2

3

14

Eric Paschall

F

2

7

1

3

3

4

2

5

7

1

2

2

1

4

8

Michael Bridges

F

3

7

2

4

4

6

0

4

4

1

0

0

3

2

12

Phil Booth

G

3

7

1

2

6

6

0

2

2

3

1

0

2

2

13

Jalen Brunson

G

8

14

3

6

4

5

0

3

3

4

0

0

4

3

23

Donte DiVincenzo

2

5

2

5

0

0

1

4

5

2

0

0

2

2

6

Collin Gillespie

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

1

1

1

1

3

0

Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

2

Team

2

Totals

25

54

11

25

17

21

5

25

32

15

5

5

15

20

78

 

 

 

Duke

Start

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Christian Laettner

C

5

11

1

3

4

6

1

7

8

1

0

2

3

4

15

Brian Davis

F

2

6

0

1

0

0

2

3

5

2

1

0

1

2

4

Grant Hill

F

6

13

0

0

5

6

2

3

5

3

0

2

2

1

17

Thomas Hill

G

3

7

1

3

3

4

1

5

6

2

2

0

3

5

10

Bobby Hurley

G

5

12

3

7

4

4

0

1

1

3

2

0

3

2

17

Antonio Lang

2

3

0

0

0

0

1

4

5

1

0

1

2

2

4

Cherokee Parks

2

4

0

0

1

2

2

2

4

0

0

0

2

2

5

Marty Clark

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

Team

3

Totals

25

57

5

15

17

22

9

25

37

13

5

5

16

19

72

Player of the Game

Jalen Brunson

 

Score By Halves

Team

1

2

Final

Villanova

29

49

78

Duke

38

34

72

Four more Sweet 16 Games Will Be Revealed Friday.

 

 

 

March 12, 2020

The Greatest NCAA Basketball Tournament That Never Was

No, not 2020, but the National Champions Since 1960 with the 24 best non-champions

 

You are looking live at a website, your 2020 basketball simulation network.   During the 1981 and 1994 Major League Baseball seasons, simulated games replaced the real ones. In 1982, The Greatest Baseball Game Never Played featured all-stars from National League History playing all-stars from American League History.

 

This website will hold a simulated NCAA Basketball Tournament featuring 68 of the greatest teams between 1960 and 2019. We would have added the top team this year, the Kansas Jayhawks, but they didn’t rate as highly as other non-Tournament Champions.

 

How did we choose the 68 teams? We simulated our own Selection Committee. Okay, we quickly looked at the top ranked teams according to Simple Rating System and took the 26 best non-champions from this list. The remaining 42 teams are national champions. We did not choose any team that won the National Championship in consecutive seasons, so it eliminated Four UCLA teams and one team from Cincinnati and Duke.

 

How are we going to simulate these games? Actually, these games will not be simulated. They will be played on a tabletop board strategy game. In the 1960’s through the 1980’s, Avalon Hill and Sports Illustrated featured a professional basketball game called, “Statis-Pro Basketball.” The PiRate Captain cracked the code used to rate the players in all the basketball statistics–shooting, getting open for shots, drawing and committing fouls, passing, rebounding, committing turnovers, blocking shots, stealing the ball, defense against shots, and how many minutes players could play before having fatigue.

 

The Captain made some improvements and did thorough research to determine the pace of play his favorite college teams played in certain seasons. Over the course of a couple years, The Captain refined his game until he felt good with the product he had. He made hundreds of teams from the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, and played games by establishing game plans based on what the particular team’s coach might have planned.

 

Then, in 1986-1987, when the three-point shot and shot clock were both instituted in college basketball across the board for all teams, he began to estimate how teams in years before the three-point shot might have been able to score from behind the arc. Based on knowing who the top outside shooters were on these great teams and looking at available video, he was able to estimate the percentage and frequency with which these pre-three-point shot teams could use. FWIW, players like Pistol Pete Maravich, Rick Mount, Jerry West, Austin Carr, and Larry Bird would have made their teams considerably better had the three-point shot been in place when they played college ball.

 

How are we seeding the teams? There won’t be any 14-19 conference tournament champions from low-major conferences. So, the seedings will be true — 1 to 68. The bottom eight teams will all be #16 seeds and forced to play opening round games in Dayton for the privilege of playing the top four teams in the last 60 years!

 

We will debut the field of 68 on Sunday to help you have something to read and look forward to when there will be no real Selection Sunday.

 

Then, we will commence playing on Tuesday Night with the first two play-in games. Hopefully, you will be entertained enough. Maybe, when you see some teams before your time, you will read more about them from the past and discover new enlightenment.

PiRate Ratings Contingency Plans For College Basketball

Hello to all college basketball fans.  This is a little premature, but it is starting to become apparent that the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament might be postponed or cancelled.

 

It is our personal belief that the tournament should be re-scheduled for summer, maybe July, and then create a tournament where all 353 teams will be involved so that all fans can return to the game.  Have the bottom 194 teams play on the higher-rated home court to get from 353 to 256 teams and then play the next four rounds on the higher seeded teams’ home courts.  This will get the field down to the Sweet 16, and then the final four rounds could be played as the Sweet 16 was planned earlier this year.

If the tournament is postponed and not played in March, we are going to host our own March Madness of 68 of the best teams in modern college basketball history.  We will take all the great teams between 1960 and 2019 and pick our own 68-team bracket and then play the games with stats and post them here.

We have a college basketball strategy board game available (created by our captain), and he already has made cards for the great teams between 1960 and 1990.  He has the codes for rating the players and can even estimate the three-point shooting percentages for teams that played prior to 1987.

Included in this tournament would be all the great UCLA teams of the 1960’s and 1970’s, multiple Indiana, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina teams, and even a couple of greats that did not win the title, like UNLV in 1991, Houston in 1968, and Indiana in 1975.

So, if you don’t have real games to watch next week, come here for the next best thing.  John Wooden and Dean Smith are ready to come out of the old basketball court in rural Iowa to coach again!

March 16, 2019

Bracketnomics 2019

How We Select Our Bracket

Welcome to PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics 2019.

This tutorial will help you earn your Bachelor of Madness Degree. Just remember that  it is not be a BS degree; it is a BM degree, so you may want to think twice before telling others you received it from PiRate U.

Most universities have some type of history that potential enrollees can examine before deciding to matriculate. That’s to make the school look worthy of consideration (and receive financial patronage). Our PiRate School of Bracketnomics has been a bit up and down throughout our history. When we first debuted as an online course, our selections and predictions put us into Ivy League/Cal Tech/MIT league. We isolated some key points from back-tested data that worked. Some of the early pointers that helped us pick brackets were things that would appear obvious to most people–scoring margin, rebounding margin, field goal percentage margin, turnover margin, schedule strength, and the ability to win away from one’s home court.

Our big breakthrough that helped us devise our first advanced metric came about when CBS’s Clark Kellogg mentioned that teams with “spurtability” tended to do best in the NCAA Tournament. What is spurtability? It is exactly what it sounds like, the ability for a team to go on a scoring spurt.

In the 1964 Final Four, tiny UCLA with no starter over 6 foot 5, went on an 11-0 scoring spurt to put away Kansas State in the semifinals, and then the following evening, put a much taller and favored Duke team away with an incredible 16-0 spurt in 2 1/2 minutes just before halftime.

How did a much smaller UCLA team put a taller, favored Duke team away with that 16-0 run? It didn’t happen because the Bruins scored baskets on eight half-court possessions, while Duke missed shots on eight half-court possessions. No, it happened because UCLA pressed Duke out of the gym that night, forcing 29 turnovers, many by steals, and then scoring easy fast-break points.

Similarly, the 1968 UCLA team put away North Carolina in the Championship Game with a couple of smaller spurts. It wasn’t the press that did the trick this time. This North Carolina team could handle the ball and break the press, and this UCLA team did not rely as much on forcing turnovers to beat opponents. With the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the middle, Coach Wooden relied on muscle and speed to destroy the enemy. On this night, North Carolina tried to slow the game down by using the four-corners offense, but the plan was no more successful than 28 other opponents’ plans against the Bruins.

It was a different dominating statistic that gave the Bruins the edge that night. North Carolina rarely received a second chance to score when they missed a shot, and UCLA had numerous put back baskets on offensive rebounds. The Bruins dominated on the glass with an almost 2 to 1 rebounding advantage, and their transition game was still the best in the business with Lucius Allen running the point on the fast break.

Our captain perused all the boxscores of past NCAA Tournament games. He read microfilms of archived newspaper reports of games over the course of 30 years of NCAA Tournaments, and he combined the eyewitness reports with the statistics of the teams to locate the factors that predicted which teams were more likely to enjoy a big scoring spurt. He discovered that half-court offenses and half-court defenses that led to one team connecting on a very high percentage of shots while the other team missed a high percentage of shots seldom led to these spurts by themselves and very rarely allowed a team to win six, or even just four NCAA Tournament games.

It was rare for Team A to hit eight out of 10 shots, while Team B hit only one out of ten shot, leading to a 16-2 run. So, what caused the great spurtabilities of the teams? The Captain discovered that in a large majority of the cases where a team went on a big scoring run in the NCAA Tournament, it was due to these factors:
1. Dominating rebounding at both ends of the court
2. Forcing turnovers (especially steals)
3. Getting easy fast break baskets or forcing the opponent to foul to stop the fast break

From this point, the Captain devised what has come to be the most important factor in picking NCAA Tournament winners. He called it “The R+T Rating.” After trial and error using different data points, the Captain created a formula that doubled rebounding margin, added turnover margin, and then gave additional weight to steals and the prevention of steals. The result was an approximation for how many extra scoring chances (and predicted points) a team might be expected to receive versus the average college team. If Team A had an R+T rating of 20, and Team B had an R+T rating of 10, then Team A would be expected to have the ability to score an average of 10 extra points against Team B just from these extra scoring opportunities. Team B could still win if they were a lot more accurate on their shots, thus neutralizing Team A’s spurtability advantage.

Immediately, in the first year publishing this data online, the PiRates successfully picked Florida to win its first national championship, and the Gators came through with a surprise title. In all six of their tournament wins in 2006, they enjoyed spurts that broke close games open. In their big upset win over top-seeded Villanova, the Gators’ pressure man-to-man defense made it difficult for the Villanova perimeter to get an open look, and when the Wildcats drove by into the lane, Joakim Noah and Al Horford were there waiting to stop the offense. The two Gator big men totally controlled the boards that afternoon, and Florida advanced with a couple of spurts that put the game safely in the win column.

Early on in the history of our Bracketnomics, our success continued and brought us a tiny bit of national notoriety. A little success swelled the heads of all the PiRates. We became too big for our tiny ship. We began to try to perfect our system by adding additional information. We thought for a few years that teams that relied on the three-point shot were at a disadvantage against teams that pounded the ball inside, because so many of the tournament games were held in giant stadiums, even domes, and it affected depth perception and made it hard to aim on outside shots. There was a time when we discounted teams that won games by shooting a lot of foul shots, because the officials did not call as many fouls in the tournament.

The success of the PiRate Ratings Bracketnomics led to some mainstream media sources linking to us, and we saw our readership increase by large multiples, especially between the second week of March and the first week of April. And, then what happened? After correctly picking the national champion during Bracket Picking day for three consecutive years; and after picking tiny George Mason to contend for a Final Four spot when Jim Larranaga guided the Patriots to the Final Four; and after picking Duke, Connecticut, and Kentucky to win and hit on another three in a row, the bottom fell out.

Just like the Dosage Index for the Kentucky Derby, the criteria began to lose its effectiveness. Too many basketball equivalents of Strike The Gold and Real Quiet began winning when the profile predicted they had little or no chance. While R+T ratings still remained effective, other criteria not used by us began to be more predictive of reality.

The better three-point shooting teams started to win more and more. Watching the Golden State Warriors dominate the NBA and then seeing how almost every NBA team tried to copy them in some way, it became apparent that advanced metrics were changing the game, just like Sabermetrics changed the way general managers built their baseball teams. The name of the game became three-point shooting and very high percentage two-point shooting. Defenses that forced opponents to take lower percentage two-point shots became the new basis for determining effectiveness.

There was one other change that greatly affected the college game. When the shot clock moved from 35 to 30 seconds, it appeared on the surface that it would minimally affect the game by maybe two or three possessions per game. This was not the case. Defenses discovered that they could pressure the offense more and more in hopes that they would force a turnover or force the offense to escape the pressure to find a good shot. Many times, the pressure defense led to a hurried shot by the offense. Thus, teams that were patient all of a sudden saw their shooting percentages fall when good pressure defenses forced too many hurried shots. There was also the case where a defense that could keep the ball out of the close two-point range and force three-point shots to be taken a few feet farther back, could stop the patient offenses. What was the solution to these defenses? It was the return of Up-tempo basketball. Offenses began to try to hurry up their tempo to beat these gambling defenses or to get the preferred close in two-pointer or open looks an inch behind the line three-point line before defenses could organize. The newer up-tempo style of play brought back basketball from 40 years ago.

Once again, the teams that can get up and down the court in a hurry and do so without becoming sloppy in execution have begun to dominate the game. The patient offenses and non-pressuring defenses have found out that it is really hard to win consistently when the opponent is now finding a way to score 10 more points per game due to their new style of play.

On the other end of the spectrum, teams began to play more like the high schools in the Midwest. Players not equipped for the running and pressure defense games began to concentrate on playing incredible help defense, cramming the paint with defenders to stop dribble penetration. While some teams did this with man-to-man defense, otherwise known as the Pack-Line defense, some teams also accomplished this with zone defenses. Either way, the goal was to prevent easy inside shots while not gambling for steals or pressuring opponents into mistakes. Usually these teams paired this style of defense with a patient offense that valued each possession like gold and when they took a shot, two or more players retreated to stop any opponent transition. A lot of teams have done quite well during the regular season, but they have not been the best at winning four tournament games and getting to the Final Four. Loyola of Chicago beat the odds last year playing this way. Butler made it to the Championship Game twice with a semi-patient offense and non-gambling defense.

What did we do at the PiRate Ratings to combat our decline in effectiveness? The PiRates stripped our criteria down back to the basics. We felt like we were missing the obvious. In 2019, here are the Big Three stats that matter most when the NCAA Tournament begins play.

1. True Shooting Percentage Margin

2. R+T Rating

3. Schedule Strength

These three basic principles make up an overwhelming majority of how we will select our brackets when we release them Monday evening.

1. True Shooting Percentage Margin: this is the difference between a team’s offensive true shooting percentage and defensive true shooting percentage. For college basketball, true shooting percentage is:   (100*Pts)/[2*(fga+{.475*fta})].

2. R+T Rating: We hope most of you reading this today have some familiarity with our R+T Rating.

The formula for R+T is: (R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp. S) + T
where, R = rebounding margin; S = Steals per game; and T= Turnover margin

3. Schedule Strength: It is obvious that a team could compile some very lofty True Shooting Percentages and R+T ratings playing the weakest 30 teams in the nation, while another team could compile some really awful stats playing the top 30 teams in the nation.

Don’t let these stats look intimidating. We would never force you, our patron, that we love so much to have to figure the offensive and defensive percentages for 68 teams. Do you know how long it takes to go to 68 different official athletic sites to get this information? We sure do! We will calculate this information for you and show you the stats for all 68 teams.

The first two data points must be weighted with the strength of schedule, and there is the rub. How much do we adjust the data from True Shooting Percentage Margin and R+T Rating to factor in schedule strength? We think we have the answer. Based on the fact that a certain schedule strength number has held consistent as the floor among past Final Four teams, we believe we know the cut-off points that will allow us to interpolate the winners of each round.

Obviously, it is not an exact science, but hey, nobody has ever picked a perfect bracket, and we hear that the chances of doing so are less than one person winning both the Power Ball and Mega Millions jackpots in the same week, while being struck two times by lightning on the way to collect from both the lottery offices.

The PiRates will reveal our entire bracket selections Monday evening.   And, after each round, we will then post an updated bracket selection for those people that play in contests where you can pick the winners round-by-round. Our goal is to try to pick the four Final Four participants and National Champion, so those of you in contests where you receive points for your accuracy, with more points awarded for each succeeding round, might have a somewhat unfair advantage over others in your pool.

We hope you return to this site after 7PM EDT on Monday night, March 18, to see what we believe will be an exciting and informative Bracketnomics 2019 exam. Yes, you too can earn your BM degree!

And, don’t forget to check our site out Sunday as our Bracket Gurus attempt to continue a history of incredible accuracy predicting the 68 teams to be selected for the NCAA Tournament.

We will publish one or two updates Sunday.  The first will be on this site before 10:00 AM EDT.  The final one will be published after all Sunday games but the Big Ten Tournament go final, or later if there is a chance this game will affect the bracket.

There will be an additional late Saturday night bracket update to include new automatic bid winners.

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