The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 17, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games of Sunday, March 18

Sunday’s PiRate Rating Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Purdue Butler 5.4
Michigan St. Syracuse 8.5
North Carolina Texas A&M 5.9
Cincinnati Nevada 4.9
Auburn Clemson 1.4
Kansas St. MD-Baltimore Co. 9.8
Xavier Florida St. 3.7
West Virginia Marshall 10.2

Sunday’s TV Schedule

All times Eastern Daylight

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:10 PM 2 Purdue 10 Butler Detroit CBS
2:40 PM 3 Michigan St. 11 Syracuse Detroit CBS
5:15 PM 2 North Carolina 7 Texas A&M Charlotte CBS
6:10 PM 2 Cincinnati 7 Nevada Nashville TNT
7:10 PM 4 Auburn 5 Clemson San Diego TBS
7:45 PM 9 Kansas St. 16 MD-Baltimore Co. Charlotte TruTV
8:40 PM 1 Xavier 9 Florida St. Nashville TNT
9:40 PM 5 West Virginia 13 Marshall San Diego TBS

Bracket-Picking Criteria Results

Of the eight teams in the Sweet 16 as of Saturday night, we still have six teams alive.  Our picks went 6-2 and were within a half-second of going 8-0, as our two losses came on last-second shots in the Loyola-Tennessee and Michigan-Houston games.

For the tournament, our picks are now 32-12.

The New PiRate Ratings Bracketology Criteria have performed on par with the traditional criteria that we used for over 20 years.  We will wait until the championship before deciding if the new criteria was worth discarding the old method.

Here is a look at today’s games as the criteria applies to each of the eight contests.

Purdue vs. Butler
The big question is, “Will Isaac Haas play?” The next biggest question is, “If he plays, can he be anywhere near 100%?”

If Haas is able to give anything close to his regular contribution, Purdue is too strong for Butler. But, as we have already seen in this tournament, Virginia not having its best defender, and Tennessee not having one of its key big men available were contributing factors in losses. If Haas is not able to play, then Butler gains a major advantage in this game. The Boilermakers rely on Haas more for his offense than his defense, and it is true shooting percentage margin where Purdue is so superior in this contest. Remove Haas and his 66% TS%, and this advantage melts away somewhat.

PiRate Pick: Purdue

Michigan St. vs. Syracuse
This will be an interesting contest. The schedule strengths are identical, so we can look at the stats as if the two teams have played the same exact schedules. Michigan State has a clear true shooting percentage margin advantage and the Spartans also enjoy a modest R+T rating advantage.
The interest in this game comes from Michigan State’s issue against zone defenses. The Syracuse 2-3 matchup zone is tough to face the first time, and the Spartans had all of a day to study it and then implement a strategy against it.
It’s a different zone entirely, but Michigan State fared poorly twice against Michigan’s 1-3-1 trapping zone. Syracuse will trap out of their matchup zone as well.
On paper, Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston should thrive against zone defenses, but they did not hit from outside in one of the two games, and they turned the ball over against the traps the other. Maybe, the third time’s the charm? Or then maybe Syracuse is primed to make another surprise run to the Final Four? We’ll stick with Sparty.

PiRate Pick: Michigan St.

North Carolina vs. Texas A&M
North Carolina is almost playing at home, but Kansas just showed that having an in-state regional doesn’t guarantee two easy victories. However, the Jayhawks advanced, so the Tar Heels should get a little extra help with maybe a point or point and a half for playing so close to home as the state school where the tournament will be played.
The Tar Heels don’t need all that much extra oomph in the Big Dance. They are the defending champions, and they appear to be nearing peak performance at the right time.
Texas A&M is not going to be the weak victim. The Aggies will have the power to keep the inside game honest. A&M actually has a slightly better true shooting percentage margin than the Tar Heels, but North Carolina enjoys the R+T advantage. Down the road, North Carolina might struggle against a team that can force turnovers, but A&M isn’t one of those teams.

PiRate Pick: North Carolina

Cincinnati vs. Nevada
This game could be interesting for awhile, but Cincinnati is a bit too physical for the underdog Wolf Pack. The Bearcats’ R+T rating advantage is considerable here, and they enjoy a small true shooting percentage advantage as well. Eventually, Cinti will dominate on the glass, and this should lead to a run of several points, where the Bearcats send the Wolf Pack back to Reno, and that’s no gamble saying so.

PiRate Pick: Cincinnati

Auburn vs. Clemson
This is another one of those games where one key injury makes a huge difference in one team’s statistics. Auburn just narrowly escaped a first round upset bid by Charleston, and without a dominating or even contributing big man, the Tigers just aren’t the same team they were before Anfernee McLemore was lost for the season.

Clemson is not going to just show up and win this game, and they may not win even if they produce an A+ effort. Auburn still has a tough pressure defense on the perimeter, and Clemson has a negative turnover margin, so the War Eagles should get a couple extra scoring opportunities with steals.

However, when it comes down to it, Clemson has a decidedly better true shooting percentage margin and should be able to score inside enough times to win this battle again. CU enjoys a slightly better stength of schedule, and this should be the final nail in the coffin in this game.

PiRate Pick: Clemson

Kansas St. vs. MD-Baltimore Co.
Can they do it again? Is there any way a Number 16 seed can be one of the last 16 in the field? Here’s the funny thing about this game: Kansas State is precariously on the minimum R+T margin line to be picked against anybody in the tournament. Teams that rebound as poorly as Kansas State seldom make it very far in the NCAA Tournament. There are just a handful of teams in the last 50 years that won twice in one NCAA Tournament when their rebounding margin was worse than -3.
Maryland-Baltimore County would have been our pick in this game if the Terriers had a positive rebounding margin of 1.5 or better, but UMBC also has a negative rebounding margin. The Terriers might have been our pick if they held the true shooting percentage margin advantage in this game, but Kansas State has the better numbers here as well. Throw in the fact that the Wildcats’ schedule strength is about 15 points stronger than that of UMBC, and we just cannot pull the trigger on this one and take the most incredible long shot to ever make the Sweet 16.

PiRate Pick: Kansas St.

Xavier vs. Florida St.
This game should be the second most exciting game of the day. The Seminoles match up well with the top-seeded Musketeers, and this game should remain close for at least all of the first half and a good bit of the second half. Xavier has a slightly stronger schedule strength which makes their true shooting percentage margin and R+T rating advantages enough to matter. The margin of safety in this game is rather small, almost nonexistent, so a cold shooting day by Xavier could be enough to turn this game the other way.

PiRate Pick: Xavier

West Virginia vs.Marshall
We saved the best for last. In case you didn’t know, there is more than just a Round of 32 game here. These two in-state rivals don’t get along, and it’s almost as hated as Xavier and Cincinnati. It carries over to the two coaches, as they don’t really like each other.
When there is a game like this, the smaller school almost always benefits in some way.

Marshall is a woman scorned as these teams prepare to face off in a foreign land known as San Diego. West Virginia refuses to play Marshall in basketball (and football), unless the Mountaineers get two home games for every Thundering Herd home game.
What about the game itself? This will be the most interesting game of the day. Press Virginia’s defense may not exploit much in the way Marshall attacks it. The Herd had no difficulty facing Middle Tennessee’s trapping defense, as they pasted the CUSA regular season champions both times they faced them.

Alas, there is one important rule that we always follow at the PiRate Ratings. Whenever a team in the NCAA Tournament had a negative R+T Rating, we select the other team as long as that team has a positive R+T Rating. Marshall’s R+T Rating is -4.8, while the Mountaineers have a 16.6 R+T, and that is enough to give WVU about 18 more scoring opportunities. Marshall would have to hit about 18 three-pointers to neutralize that advantage.

PiRate Pick: West Virginia

Original PiRate Ratings Bracketology Sunday Teams Picked for Sweet 16
All 8 of our original picks are still alive today.
North Carolina
West Virginia
Texas Tech
Michigan St.



March 16, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games of Friday, March 16

Friday’s PiRate Rating Spreads For NCAA Tournament Games

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Texas A&M Providence 3.8
Purdue Cal St. Fullerton 17.0
Wichita St. Marshall 9.4
Cincinnati Georgia St. 12.7
North Carolina Lipscomb 17.4
Arkansas Butler -1.2
West Virginia Murray St. 6.3
Nevada Texas 2.5
Creighton Kansas St. 2.5
Michigan St. Bucknell 12.8
Xavier Texas Southern 20.0
Auburn Charleston 11.9
Virginia MD-Baltimore Co. 20.6
TCU Syracuse 4.3
Missouri Florida St. -1.1
Clemson New Mexico St. 4.1

Today’s NCAA Tournament Schedule

Friday, Mar 16, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:15 PM 7 Texas A&M 10 Providence Charlotte CBS
12:40 PM 2 Purdue 15 Cal St. Fullerton Detroit truTV
1:30 PM 4 Wichita St. 13 Marshall San Diego TNT
2:00 PM 2 Cincinnati 15 Georgia St. Nashville TBS
2:45 PM 2 North Carolina 15 Lipscomb Charlotte CBS
3:10 PM 7 Arkansas 10 Butler Detroit truTV
4:00 PM 5 West Virginia 12 Murray St. San Diego TNT
4:30 PM 7 Nevada 10 Texas Nashville TBS
6:50 PM 8 Creighton 9 Kansas St. Charlotte TNT
7:10 PM 3 Michigan St. 14 Bucknell Detroit CBS
7:20 PM 1 Xavier 16 Texas Southern Nashville TBS
7:27 PM 4 Auburn 13 Charleston San Diego truTV
9:20 PM 1 Virginia 16 MD-Baltimore Co. Charlotte TNT
9:40 PM 6 TCU 11 Syracuse Detroit CBS
9:50 PM 8 Missouri 9 Florida St. Nashville TBS
9:57 PM 5 Clemson 12 New Mexico St. San Diego truTV

Saturday’s Schedule

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018
TIME Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
12:10 PM 1 Villanova 9 Alabama Pittsburgh CBS
2:40 PM 2 Duke 7 Rhode Island Pittsburgh CBS
5:15 PM 5 Kentucky 13 Buffalo Boise, ID CBS
6:10 PM 3 Tennessee 11 Loyola (Chi.) Dallas TNT
7:10 PM 1 Kansas 8 Seton Hall Wichita, KS TBS
7:45 PM 4 Gonzaga 5 Ohio St. Boise, ID CBS
8:40 PM 3 North Texas 6 Florida Dallas TNT
9:40 PM 3 Michigan 6 Houston Wichita, KS TBS

Bracket Results To Date: 15-5

Today’s Criteria Bracket Picks

Virginia over Maryland-Baltimore Co.

Creighton over Kansas St.

Texas over Nevada

Cincinnati over Georgia St.

Xavier over Texas Southern

Missouri over Florida St.

Texas A&M over Providence

North Carolina over Lipscomb

West Virginia over Murray St.

Wichita St. over Marshall

Butler over Arkansas

Purdue over Cal. St. Fullerton

Clemson over New Mexico St.

Auburn over College of Charleston

Syracuse over TCU

Michigan St. over Bucknell




February 23, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 23-25, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:36 am

Note: In case you haven’t heard, Yahoo Sports has released information concerning the FBI’s probe of college basketball, naming names and teams.  Go to Yahoo Sports to read the article.

The article casts a shadow over the impending March Madness and whether players and even teams may be declared ineligible or run the risk of having the entire Final Four vacated if four implicated teams make the semifinals.

Until there is definite news on who will and will not be allowed to participate in the NCAA Tournament, the PiRate Ratings will continue to rate the teams as if nothing has affected the tournament.  Our Bracket Gurus report that runs on Monday afternoons will continue to include all teams that are eligible of this moment.  Our ratings will remain the same until players are removed from rosters.


In the PiRate Rating’s world, we have made a bit of a change this week.  The Mountain West Conference has reverted back to a one bid league for now as Boise State has fallen back in the Bubble race.  At the same time, St. Bonaventure has now moved into the projected field, giving the Atlantic 10 Conference multiple projected bids.  Thus, we have added the A-10 to our ratings list of power conferences and removed the MWC and returned it to mid-major.

We have retained Nevada and Boise State in the ratings of top mid-majors.

Also note that the first postseason conference tournament bracket has been decided.  The Atlantic Sun Conference begins tournament action Monday night, and you can see the bracket for this game at the conclusion of the spreads and ratings.

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads for Power Conferences and top Mid-Majors

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Rhode Island Dayton 13.8
Indiana Ohio St. 3.0
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Tulane -6.5
SMU Wichita St. -3.7
VCU St. Bonaventure -2.6
Duquesne Davidson -7.1
Fordham LaSalle -3.8
George Mason Massachusetts 2.0
Richmond St. Joseph’s -0.3
St. Louis George Washington 6.8
Virginia Tech Louisville 3.8
Miami (Fla.) Boston College 8.8
Clemson Georgia Tech 14.2
Wake Forest Notre Dame -2.8
Pittsburgh Virginia -21.1
Duke Syracuse 15.8
TCU Baylor 4.8
Texas Oklahoma St. 6.3
Texas Tech Kansas 2.1
West Virginia Iowa St. 14.9
Oklahoma Kansas St. 4.9
DePaul Marquette -3.2
Georgetown Providence 1.2
St. John’s Seton Hall -1.4
Creighton Villanova -6.0
Maryland Michigan 1.7
Utah USC 1.9
California Washington -5.2
Stanford Washington St. 10.6
Oregon St. Arizona St. -4.2
Oregon Arizona -1.5
Ole Miss Tennessee -5.8
Georgia LSU 2.2
Mississippi St. South Carolina 6.4
Vanderbilt Texas A&M -1.9
Alabama Arkansas 2.4
Kentucky Missouri 5.3
Florida Auburn 0.1
Loyola Marymount Pacific -1.4
Saint Mary’s Santa Clara 21.6
BYU Gonzaga -5.0
Pepperdine Portland 1.1
San Francisco San Diego 2.3
Austin Peay Murray St. -6.0
Buffalo Ohio 11.3
East Tennessee St. Wofford 9.3
Loyola (Chi.) Illinois St. 11.7
Middle Tennessee UAB 9.6
New Mexico St. UMKC 17.0
South Alabama Louisiana-Lafayette -9.6
Stony Brook Vermont -9.5
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Cincinnati Tulsa 19.1
Temple Central Florida 4.7
Houston East Carolina 23.8
Connecticut Memphis 2.0
North Carolina St. Florida St. 0.5
Wisconsin Michigan St. -9.5
Rutgers Illinois -0.1
Purdue Minnesota 18.5
Nebraska Penn St. -0.2
Iowa Northwestern 1.6
Nevada Colorado St. 20.6
Colorado UCLA -3.2

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.7 BIGE
2 Duke 120.5 ACC
3 Purdue 119.6 BTEN
4 Virginia 119.4 ACC
5 Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 118.0 AAC
7 North Carolina 116.7 ACC
8 Kansas 116.7 B12
9 West Virginia 115.8 B12
10 Gonzaga 115.4 WCC
11 Texas Tech 115.3 B12
12 Xavier 115.1 BIGE
13 Auburn 115.1 SEC
14 Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
15 Tennessee 113.6 SEC
16 Ohio St. 113.5 BTEN
17 TCU 112.9 B12
18 Clemson 112.9 ACC
19 Butler 112.8 BIGE
20 Arizona 112.8 PAC12
21 Michigan 112.7 BTEN
22 Creighton 112.2 BIGE
23 Kentucky 112.2 SEC
24 Nevada 112.1 MWC
25 Florida St. 112.0 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Rhode Island 111.1 A10
Davidson 108.6 A10
St. Bonaventure 107.4 A10
VCU 101.3 A10
St. Louis 100.8 A10
Dayton 100.8 A10
St. Joseph’s 100.5 A10
LaSalle 99.8 A10
Duquesne 98.0 A10
George Washington 97.5 A10
Massachusetts 97.3 A10
Richmond 97.2 A10
George Mason 96.3 A10
Fordham 93.0 A10
Cincinnati 118.0 AAC
Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
Houston 111.8 AAC
SMU 107.5 AAC
Temple 105.4 AAC
UCF 104.2 AAC
Tulsa 102.4 AAC
Memphis 100.3 AAC
Tulane 99.5 AAC
Connecticut 99.3 AAC
East Carolina 91.5 AAC
South Florida 90.0 AAC
Duke 120.5 ACC
Virginia 119.4 ACC
North Carolina 116.7 ACC
Clemson 112.9 ACC
Florida St. 112.0 ACC
Virginia Tech 111.4 ACC
Notre Dame 111.1 ACC
Louisville 111.1 ACC
Miami FL 110.8 ACC
North Carolina St. 109.0 ACC
Syracuse 108.7 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.3 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.2 ACC
Pittsburgh 95.3 ACC
Kansas 116.7 B12
West Virginia 115.8 B12
Texas Tech 115.3 B12
TCU 112.9 B12
Baylor 111.1 B12
Oklahoma 111.0 B12
Texas 110.3 B12
Kansas St. 109.6 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.5 B12
Iowa St. 104.9 B12
Villanova 121.7 BIGE
Xavier 115.1 BIGE
Butler 112.8 BIGE
Creighton 112.2 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.3 BIGE
Marquette 109.6 BIGE
Providence 106.9 BIGE
St. John’s 106.9 BIGE
Georgetown 104.6 BIGE
DePaul 103.4 BIGE
Purdue 119.6 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.5 BTEN
Michigan 112.7 BTEN
Penn St. 111.5 BTEN
Maryland 110.9 BTEN
Nebraska 107.8 BTEN
Indiana 107.0 BTEN
Wisconsin 106.4 BTEN
Northwestern 106.4 BTEN
Iowa 105.0 BTEN
Minnesota 104.6 BTEN
Illinois 104.4 BTEN
Rutgers 101.3 BTEN
Arizona 112.8 PAC12
Arizona St. 110.7 PAC12
USC 109.4 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 107.8 PAC12
Stanford 104.4 PAC12
Washington 103.5 PAC12
Oregon St. 103.0 PAC12
Colorado 102.0 PAC12
Washington St. 97.3 PAC12
California 94.8 PAC12
Auburn 115.1 SEC
Tennessee 113.6 SEC
Kentucky 112.2 SEC
Florida 111.7 SEC
Texas A&M 111.2 SEC
Arkansas 111.0 SEC
Missouri 110.4 SEC
Alabama 109.9 SEC
Mississippi St. 108.8 SEC
LSU 107.8 SEC
Georgia 106.5 SEC
South Carolina 105.9 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.8 SEC
Mississippi 104.8 SEC
Gonzaga 115.4 WCC
Saint Mary’s 111.5 WCC
BYU 106.4 WCC
San Diego 101.0 WCC
San Francisco 100.3 WCC
Pacific 98.6 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.2 WCC
Santa Clara 92.9 WCC
Portland 92.9 WCC
Pepperdine 91.0 WCC

PiRate Ratings For Key Mid-Majors

Nevada 112.1 MWC
Boise St. 108.8 MWC
Middle Tennessee 108.6 CUSA
Louisiana Lafayette 108.5 SBC
Loyola (Chi.) 108.3 MVC
Western Kentucky 107.3 CUSA
New Mexico St. 107.2 WAC
Murray St. 106.4 OVC

Conference Tournament Bracket

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
Quarterfinals–February 26
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Florida Gulf Coast #8 USC Upstate ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 NJIT #5 North Florida ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 Lipscomb #7 Stetson ESPN3
7:00 PM #3 Jacksonville #6 Kennesaw St. ESPN3
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Lipsc./Stetson Jville/Kenn ESPN3
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
3:00 PM Higher Remaining Seed Lower Remaining Seed ESPN







March 13, 2016

NCAA Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament Selection Sunday Update #1

The finish line is in site.  Our bracket geniuses have been working through the wee hours of the night, losing an hour of work time due to Daylight Savings Time, and breaking teams down to core parts.


As of this morning, with five games left to be played, the 32 Gurus agree on 64 of the 68 teams.  The Bubble has been reduced to 8 teams fighting for four slots.


We will release our final bracketology later this afternoon following the end of the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, where Memphis will force 32 Bracket Gurus to quickly re-adjust their brackets if the Tigers knock off Connecticut to earn an automatic bid.  Because our guys say UConn is already in the tournament, a Memphis win will bump one of the Bubble teams out of the dance.


Here is today’s schedule

Time Network Conference Team vs. Team
12:30 PM CBS Atlantic 10 VCU vs. St. Joe’s
1:00 PM ESPN-2 Sun Belt UALR vs. UL-Monroe
1:00 PM ESPN SEC Texas A&M vs. Kentucky
3:15 PM ESPN American Connecticut vs. Memphis
3:30 PM CBS Big Ten Michigan St. vs. Purdue


Here is The Bubble in order of best to worst.  Thus, for now, the top four are in the tournament and headed to Dayton, while the bottom four are your #1 seeds in the NIT.  As only the Memphis outcome can affect this Bubble, South Carolina and Michigan are the teams worried the most, because one of the two will be squeezed out if Memphis wins.  The bottom four can do nothing now to work their way into the field if our Gurus are on target.

  1. Wichita St.
  2. Saint Bonaventure
  3. Michigan
  4. South Carolina
  5. Saint Mary’s
  6. San Diego St.
  7. Syracuse
  8. Vanderbilt

The final predicted field will be released as soon as we can tabulate the 32 Gurus’ selections following the Memphis-Connecticut game.



December 31, 2015

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Picks for January 2, 2016

Welcome to year two of the experimental PiRate College Basketball Ratings.  In year one, our three ratings performed remarkably well with the Red and White ratings hitting around 77% accuracy and the Blue rating coming in at 72%.


Because of time constraints, we will be issuing picks of games played on Saturdays from the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Southeastern conferences, plus some additional key games involving other teams highly-ranked.  For instance, this week, we will include the Butler-Xavier game, which just might be the game of the week.


Our college basketball ratings are not fluid like our football ratings.  We have to recalculate them every game as if it is a brand new rating, so to calculate every game in Division 1, we would have to recalculate upwards of 350 teams a day, and that my friends is just not possible for the small staff we have here.


Here is a brief explanation of how we calculate these ratings.

RED: Our Red Rating uses an algorithm based solely on basketball’s “Four Factors,” popularized by basketball metric genius Dean Oliver.  The Four Factors are: effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, rebounding percentage, and free throw rates.  Oliver stated that the outcomes of games are decided by the offensive and defensive rates of these four factors with shooting counting for 40%, turnovers 25%, rebounding 20%, and free throw rates 15%.  We have tweaked his formulas just a tad, especially the philosophy of how to count free throw rates, and we have also separated turnovers into two sub-categories: steals and all others.  We then used the great back-testing tool to find an algorithm that made a “best fit” for the data into actual point spreads.


WHITE: Our White Rating uses all the data from the Red Rating and then adds a “least squares” approach to fit the teams into an order of best to worst.  Because we do not plan on rating all 351 D1 teams, we only perform this for the five conferences previously mentioned plus any other teams in our weekly report.   For instance, this week, we rated the 65 teams in the ACC, B12, B10, P12, and SEC plus the 3 extra teams that we have included in this report, ranking them from #1 Kansas to #68 Boston College  We then take the Red Rating and adjust it up or down by a formula based on how much higher or lower each team is in our least squares rating.


BLUE: This is another statistics’- based formula relying a lot more on scoring margins and strength of schedule.  The Four Factors do not come into play in this rating.  Who you beat or lost to, and by how much is the base for this rating, but we break it down into a unique manner.  Some teams will win games by large margins when they are superior but may not be as superior overall as other teams that win more consistently buy by smaller margins.  For instance, let’s take three conference teams in a good league: Team A, Team B, and Team C.  A is the best of the three and will eventually win the conference title, while C is a rebuilding team that will finish last in the league.  B will finish in 4th place in this mythical 12-team league.  A is good enough to sweep both B and C, while B will sweep C.  You would normally expect A to beat C by more points than B beats C, but B may be that sort of team that runs the score up on teams like C, while A wins by fewer points.  If A beats C by 12 points, while B beats C by 24 points, you might get the impression that B is better than A.  This Blue rating does not automatically believe that to be the case.


One drawback with these formulas is that it cannot account for injuries or other personnel changes.  That is why it is still experimental.  We will not remove the experimental tag until we have a way to account for injuries.  For instance, earlier today, Xavier lost its star point guard Edmund Sumner to an injury that required his removal from the arena by a stretcher.  It is undetermined when he can return to action, and in his absence, XU goes from a Final Four contender to possibly an NIT participant if he is lost for the season.  However, in the Butler game for Saturday, his absence will not be factored into the ratings.


Okay, now that we have either confused you or put you to sleep, here are our opening ratings for Saturday, January 2, 2016.  Yes, get used to “2016.”  If it’s 2016, there will be a little national election, and we will supply our metric analysis to this pennant race as well.


Games Schedule for: Saturday, January 2, 2016      
Home Visitor Red White Blue
Clemson Florida St. -3 -4 -7
North Carolina Georgia Tech 16 12 16
Virginia Tech North Carolina St. -1 1 -2
Miami (Fla.) Syracuse 12 13 11
Boston College Duke -14 -16 -15
Virginia Notre Dame 10 10 9
Kansas St. West Virginia -4 -1 -1
Texas Tech Texas 4 7 3
Oklahoma St. TCU 6 8 7
Kansas Baylor 13 11 10
Oklahoma Iowa St. 10 7 8
Michigan Penn St. 12 10 14
Minnesota Michigan St. -11 -12 -16
Nebraska Indiana -7 -5 -3
Purdue Iowa 7 7 4
Northwestern Maryland -1 -1 -3
Auburn Tennessee 1 -1 4
Texas A&M Arkansas 10 9 12
Kentucky Ole Miss 12 14 9
Florida Georgia 9 8 4
Vanderbilt LSU 11 13 10
South Carolina Memphis 9 8 4
Xavier Butler 5 4 2

Computer Simulations–Simper Bowl IX & Today’s College Playoffs

We are combining our own computer simulation championship game from our annual project with the actual College Football Playoff games today into one entity.


Simper Bowl IX

This year, we decided to expand our own computer college playoff to 24 teams just like in the Football Championship Series.  The prior rounds have been played, and you can search for the results on this site.  The Championship Game today pits #3 seed Oklahoma against #16 seed Ole Miss.

Oklahoma received a first round bye as the #3 seed.  The Sooners defeated Michigan 47-28 in the Sweet 16; Ohio State 26-20 in the Elite 8; and Stanford 31-20 in the Semifinal Round.

Ole Miss had to play in the opening round as the #16 seed.  The Rebels defeated Houston 39-24 in that round to advance to the Sweet 16.  Then, Ole Miss defeated top-ranked Clemson 35-20 in the Sweet 16; North Carolina 27-16 in the Elite 8; and Michigan State 27-17 in the Semifinals.


Here are the championship results.

Simper Bowl IX 1 2 3 4 F FD Rush Pass Total
#3 Oklahoma 10 6 7 7 30 22 166 252 418
#16 Ole Miss 13 7 0 14 34 27 249 302 551

Congratulations to the Ole Miss Rebels, winner of Simper Bowl IX.


The College Football Playoffs 2015-16–The Real Larry Culpepper Playoffs

This is what you have been waiting for.  Yesterday, we input all the stats and schedule strengths for the four teams in today’s playoffs.  We even included the recent suspensions of Clemson players in the loss of talent.


We then simulated both games 100 times coming up with the number of wins, the average score, the standard deviations of the games, and the outlier scores in both directions.


Orange Bowl

Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL

Time: 4:00 PM Eastern Time

TV: ESPN, Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, and Holly Rowe

Radio: ESPN, Bill Rosinksi, David Norrie, Joe Schad

Teams: Clemson (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (11-1)

100 Sims

Clemson wins: 39

Oklahoma wins: 61

Average Score: Oklahoma 30.7  Clemson 22.1

Standard Deviation: 8.6

Outlier A: Oklahoma 51  Clemson  16

Outlier B: Clemson 37  Oklahoma 14


Cotton Bowl

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Time: 8:00 PM Eastern Time

TV: ESPN, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox, and Tom Rinaldi

Radio: ESPN, Brad Sham, Danny Kannell, and Ian Fitzsimmons

Teams: Alabama (12-1) vs. Michigan St. (12-1)

100 Sims

Alabama wins: 53

Michigan St. wins: 47

Average Score: Alabama 20.5  Michigan St. 18.8

Standard Deviation: 5.7

Outlier A: Alabama 31  Michigan St. 6

Outlier B: Michigan St. 27  Alabama 16

December 26, 2015

PiRate Ratings Computer Simulated College Playoffs–Semifinal Round

The Semifinal Round of the 2015-16 PiRate Ratings Computer Simulated Playoffs have been played, and the Final Four has now been whittled down to two.


In case you are wondering why Michigan St., Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Stanford are the Final Four teams, this season’s simulation used the Football Championship Series format of 24 teams.  Michigan St. defeated Baylor and Iowa to make it to the semifinals.  Ole Miss defeated Houston, Clemson, and North Carolina, as the Rebels were the #16 seed and had to win a play-in game to make it to the Sweet 16.  Oklahoma defeated Michigan and Ohio St., while Stanford got here by knocking off Florida St. and Alabama.


Here are the Final Four Semifinal Results.

Semifinal Round 1 2 3 4 F FD Rush Pass Total
#16 Ole Miss 3 14 7 3 27 18 129 268 397
#5 Michigan St. 0 7 10 0 17 17 161 158 327
#3 Oklahoma 0 3 21 7 31 22 154 247 401
#7 Stanford 7 6 0 7 20 17 169 158 327

This sets up Simper Bowl IX at Arlington, Texas, next week.  16th-seed Ole Miss will play 3rd-seed Oklahoma.


Fear not ye of computer simulation tremors.  Next week, we will run our annual 100 sims on the playoff games–the real ones where that sugar-addicted dude Larry Culpepper will be lurking around somewhere.



December 19, 2015

PiRate Ratings Computer Simulated College Playoffs–Quarterfinal Round

The first two rounds of the Computer Simulated NCAA Playoffs have been previously posted here.  Today’s Quarterfinal Round featured three teams from the Big Ten, two from the SEC, and one each from the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12.

If you have not been following our 2015-16 tournament, we are using the same 24-team format currently in use by the Football Championship Division.  Here are the contests for the football version of the Elite 8.

Quarterfinal Round   1 2 3 4 F FD Rush Pass Total
#16 Ole Miss at 10 14 0 3 27 24 163 242 405
#8 North Carolina   7 6 3 0 16 17 145 189 334
#7 Stanford at 7 0 3 7 17 12 130 169 299
#2 Alabama   3 3 7 0 13 17 202 116 318
#6 Ohio St. at 0 3 14 3 20 20 221 106 327
#3 Oklahoma   5 7 14 0 26 22 137 303 440
#5 Michigan St. at 3 3 7 10 23 19 129 222 351
#4 Iowa   0 14 0 7 21 16 172 133 305

The Final Four is now set.  In next week’s semifinal round, it will be:

#16 Ole Miss vs. #5 Michigan St. at the Orange Bowl

#7 Stanford vs. #3 Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl

December 14, 2015

College Football Preview–Bowls & Playoffs Edition

Filed under: College Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 6:01 pm

If you are looking for the complete bowl and playoff schedule including starting times, TV networks, and power rating spreads, then you have come to the right place.

The PiRate Ratings have suspended the rankings and ratings since only two teams played last week and very minimally changed the ratings.

Here is a complete bowl schedule

Bowl City Day Date Time Network Team Team
Cure Orlando, Fl Sat D19 12:00 PM CBSSN San Jose St. * Georgia St.
New Mexico Albuquerque, NM Sat D19 2:00 PM ESPN New Mexico Arizona *
Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV Sat D19 3:30 PM ABC Utah BYU
Camellia Montgomery, AL Sat D19 5:30 PM ESPN Ohio Appalachian St.
New Orleans New Orleans, LA Sat D19 9:00 PM ESPN Louisiana Tech Arkansas St.
Miami Beach Miami, FL Mon D21 2:30 PM ESPN South Florida W. Kentucky
Idaho Potato Boise, ID Tue D22 3:30 PM ESPN Akron Utah St.
Boca Raton Boca Raton, FL Tue D22 7:00 PM ESPN Temple Toledo
Poinsettia San Diego, CA Wed D23 4:30 PM ESPN Boise St. N. Illinois
GoDaddy Mobile, AL Wed D23 8:00 PM ESPN Bowling Green Ga. Southern
Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas Thu D24 12:00 PM ESPN Middle Tenn. Western Mich.
Hawaii Honolulu, HI Thu D24 8:00 PM ESPN Cincinnati San Diego St.
St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, FL Sat D26 11:00 AM ESPN Connecticut Marshall
Sun El Paso, TX Sat D26 2:00 PM CBS Miami Washington St.
Heart of Dallas Dallas, TX Sat D26 2:20 PM ESPN Washington * Southern Miss.
Pinstripe Bronx, NY Sat D26 3:30 PM ABC Duke Indiana
Independence Shreveport, LA Sat D26 5:45 PM ESPN Tulsa * Virginia Tech
Foster Farms Santa Clara, CA Sat D26 9:15 PM ESPN Nebraska UCLA
Military Annapolis, MD Mon D28 2:30 PM ESPN Pittsburgh Navy
Quick Lane Detroit, MI Mon D28 5:00 PM ESPN2 Central Mich. * Minnesota
Armed Forces Ft. Worth, TX Tue D29 2:00 PM ESPN California * Air Force
Russell Athl. Orlando, Fl Tue D29 5:30 PM ESPN North Carolina Baylor
Arizona Tucson, AZ Tue D29 7:30 PM  ***** Colorado St. * Nevada
Texas Houston, TX Tue D29 9:00 PM ESPN Texas Tech LSU
Birmingham Birmingham, AL Wed D30 12:00 PM ESPN Memphis Auburn
Belk Charlotte, NC Wed D30 3:30 PM ESPN N. Carolina St. Mississippi St.
Music City Nashville, TN Wed D30 7:00 PM ESPN Louisville Texas A&M
Holiday San Diego, CA Wed D30 10:30 PM ESPN Wisconsin USC
Peach Atlanta, GA Thu D31 12:00 PM ESPN Florida St. Houston
Orange Miami, FL Thu D31 4:00 PM ESPN Clemson Oklahoma
Cotton Arlington, TX Thu D31 8:00 PM ESPN Alabama Michigan St.
Ouback Tampa, FL Fri J1 12:00 PM ESPN2 Northwestern Tennessee
Citrus Orlando, Fl Fri J1 1:00 PM ABC Michigan Florida
Fiesta Glendale, AZ Fri J1 1:00 PM ESPN Ohio St. Notre Dame
Rose Pasadena, CA Fri J1 5:00 PM ESPN Iowa Stanford
Sugar New Orleans, LA Fri J1 8:30 PM ESPN Oklahoma St. Ole Miss
TaxSlayer Jacksonville, FL Sat J2 12:00 PM ESPN Penn St. Georgia
Liberty Memphis, TN Sat J2 3:20 PM ESPN Kansas St. Arkansas
Alamo San Antonio, FL Sat J2 6:45 PM ESPN TCU Oregon
Cactus Phoenix, AZ Sat J2 10:15 PM ESPN West Virginia Arizona St.
Nat’l Champ. Glendale, AZ Mon J11 8:30 PM ESPN Cotton Winner Orange Winner

***** Arizona Bowl will be streamed live on the Campus Insider’s website and will air in select markets via the American Sports Network

And, here are the PiRate Ratings for each bowl game.

Bowl Team Team PiRate Mean Bias
Cure San Jose St. Georgia St. 4.5 4.8 3.1
New Mexico New Mexico Arizona -12.6 -6.0 -12.0
Las Vegas Utah BYU 10.0 4.0 7.0
Camellia Ohio Appy St. -7.6 -6.3 -7.0
New Orleans La. Tech Ark. St. 4.1 2.6 2.6
Miami Beach South Florida W. Kentucky -5.9 -1.1 -6.3
Idaho Potato Akron Utah St. -12.5 -5.9 -8.6
Boca Raton Temple Toledo 3.2 4.9 3.5
Poinsettia Boise St. Northern Ill. 11.3 5.3 10.3
GoDaddy Bowl. Green Ga Southern 11.3 13.3 12.5
Bahamas Middle Tenn. Western Mich. -6.0 -7.6 -7.3
Hawaii Cincinnati S. Diego St. -3.7 -5.9 -3.6
St. Petersburg U Conn Marshall -6.9 -3.0 -5.3
Sun Miami Wash. St. -2.4 1.6 -2.1
Heart of Dallas Washington Southern Miss. 17.1 11.7 16.2
Pinstripe Duke Indiana 2.0 1.7 1.5
Independence Tulsa Virginia Tech -20.9 -16.5 -19.9
Foster Farms Nebraska UCLA -13.0 -8.9 -12.1
Military Pittsburgh Navy -0.4 -3.8 -1.2
Quick Lane Central Mich. Minnesota -13.3 -7.9 -11.0
Armed Forces California Air Force 16.3 7.6 15.0
Russell Athl. N. Carolina Baylor -1.8 2.6 -2.0
Arizona Colorado St. Nevada 3.1 -0.3 2.3
Texas Texas Tech LSU -11.7 -16.0 -11.1
Birmingham Memphis Auburn -7.9 -3.6 -6.3
Belk NC St. Miss. St. -5.1 -0.7 -6.6
Music City Louisville Texas A&M -8.4 -3.4 -6.5
Holiday Wisconsin USC -9.1 -4.8 -8.9
Peach Florida St. Houston 7.4 3.2 5.1
Orange Clemson Oklahoma -8.4 -3.9 -8.9
Cotton Alabama Michigan St. 11.8 11.9 11.7
Ouback Northwestern Tennessee -13.7 -9.6 -13.6
Citrus Michigan Florida -0.7 -0.4 -1.1
Fiesta Ohio St. Notre Dame 7.8 5.7 8.9
Rose Iowa Stanford -12.8 -8.4 -12.4
Sugar Oklahoma St. Ole Miss -9.6 -8.3 -9.2
TaxSlayer Penn St. Georgia -12.3 -7.9 -12.4
Liberty Kansas St. Arkansas -16.8 -20.4 -16.6
Alamo TCU Oregon 4.5 2.3 5.2
Cactus West Va. Arizona St. -2.5 -3.3 -2.7

December 11, 2015

Computer Simulated NCAA Playoffs 2015-16: Round 2

Welcome back to round 2 of our computer simulated college football playoffs.  If you did not see last week’s posting of round 1, we are taking the Football Bowl Subdivision teams and applying the Football Championship Series rules to the playoffs.


Thus our FBS simulated playoffs consisted of 24 teams with every conference champion guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.


Here were this week’s Round 2 Pairings.

Second Round
#9 Notre Dame at
#8 North Carolina  
#10 Florida St. at
#7 Stanford  
#11 TCU at
#6 Ohio St.  
#12 Baylor at
#5 Michigan St.  
#13 Northwestern at
#4 Iowa  
#19 Michigan at
#3 Oklahoma  
#15 Oregon at
#2 Alabama  
#16 Ole Miss at
#1 Clemson  


The games were simulated, and there were some surprises.  Here are the final scores of the games.

North Carolina 27  Notre Dame 23

Stanford 24  Florida St. 20

Ohio St. 34  TCU 21

Michigan St. 27  Baylor 24

Iowa 23 Northwestern 17

Oklahoma 47  Michigan 28

Alabama 20  Oregon 16

Ole Miss 35  Clemson 20


Here are the basic stats for those games.

Second Round 1 2 3 4 F FD Rush Pass Total
#9 Notre Dame at 0 14 6 3 23 19 171 149 320
#8 North Carolina   7 10 3 7 27 20 135 271 406
#10 Florida St. at 6 14 0 0 20 17 183 128 311
#7 Stanford   3 7 7 7 24 18 206 149 355
#11 TCU at 0 7 14 0 21 18 130 211 341
#6 Ohio St.   6 3 15 10 34 34 271 138 409
#12 Baylor at 0 3 14 7 24 23 98 226 324
#5 Michigan St.   6 14 7 0 27 16 188 177 365
#13 Northwestern at 10 0 7 0 17 16 129 176 305
#4 Iowa   0 6 3 14 23 16 135 153 288
#19 Michigan at 0 7 7 14 28 22 169 250 419
#3 Oklahoma   14 17 9 7 47 27 251 279 530
#15 Oregon at 3 3 10 0 16 14 76 202 278
#2 Alabama   7 7 3 3 20 18 247 139 386
#16 Ole Miss at 21 7 7 0 35 23 190 194 384
#1 Clemson   0 6 7 7 20 17 147 161 308


Here are the pairings for the Quarterfinal Round.

Quarterfinal Round  
#16 Ole Miss at
#8 North Carolina  
#7 Stanford at
#2 Alabama  
#6 Ohio St. at
#3 Oklahoma  
#5 Michigan St. at
#4 Iowa  
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