The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 28, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

4IllinoisTennesseeTexas TechMichigan St.
5LSUProvidenceOhio St.Connecticut
7XavierIowa St.IowaColorado St.
8Wake ForestIndianaBYUMiami (Fla.)
9Saint Mary’sLoyola (Chi.)Boise St.Florida St.
10ArkansasNorth CarolinaOregonDavidson
11CreightonMurray St.TCUOklahoma
12UABIonaSan FranciscoWyomingSan Diego St.Notre Dame
13ChattanoogaToledoVermontSouth Dakota St.
14WagnerPrincetonSeattleJacksonville St.
15Cleveland St.Appalachian St.Cal St. FullertonWeber St.
16LongwoodColgateNorfolk St.SouthernUNC-WilmingtonNew Orleans

Best Of The Rest

69Mississippi St.
72West Virginia
73Seton Hall
74Texas A&M


I try to mimic what the Selection Committee Does each year. I weigh several factors, including the NET Rankings, Strength of Record, a few select computer ratings (not my own, since as far as I know, only one former Committee member has ever acknowledged knowledge of the PiRate Ratings), wins against Quadrant 1 opponents and Quadrant 2 opponents versus losses against Quadrant 4 opponents, results away from home, and to a lesser extent conference record, and even though they will never admit it, there is a political aspect involved. The eighth best team in the Atlantic Coast or Big Ten Conference will beat out the second best team in the Missouri Valley Conference nine out of ten times when their resumes are similar.

Every year, the selection criteria claimed to be the most important by the Committee changes a little to fit what I believe are the desired results. For instance, in one year, in order to include a team like Syracuse at 19-14 over a team like Murray State at 29-4 that lost in the OVC Tournament to Belmont, the Committee referred to the fact that Syracuse went 2-8 against Quad 1 teams on the road, while Murray State went 1-1, and thus Syracuse’s schedule was so much stronger.

Then the next year, Kansas State gets in at 19-14 over Wofford at 30-4 that lost in the SoCon Tournament Championship to UNC-Greensboro; the Committee ignores the fact that Wofford went 5-2 against Quadrant 1 opponents while Kansas State went 3-9. Now, they state that Kansas State’s overall schedule strength was number 11, while Wofford’s was number 103. Never mind that West Virginia swept Kansas State during the regular season and then knocked the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, while Wofford beat WVU by eight points in Hawaii in November.

One additional factor used in today’s Bracketology was conference record to date. If a team is three games under .500 in their conference at the halfway point of their conference season, such as Seton Hall at 3-6, the rest of their resume is strong enough to be considered, but if The Hall finishes 7-11 or worse in the Big East, I don’t see them getting into the field with so many strong teams in conferences that normally receive a maximum of two teams getting into the Field.

Mid-Major Spoilers

This year, there are more Mid-Major teams in the running for at-large bids, and if a couple are upset in their conference’s tournament, they are still likely to be considered. Let’s take a look.

Atlantic 10: Davidson will most likely receive a bid if they don’t earn the league’s automatic berth. A team like Dayton, Saint Louis, or VCU is capable of winning the automatic bid, and personally, I think the Billekens are the team to beat in March in DC.

Conference USA: Andy Kennedy has done a fantastic job at UAB, but if the Blazers don’t win the CUSA Tournament at the Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas, they have a decent shot at getting in as an at-large team. Louisiana Tech and North Texas must be considered co-favorites to win the conference tournament, especially with Frisco being almost a home game for the Mean Green from nearby Denton. Keep an eye on both Charlotte and Middle Tennessee, as the 49ers and Blue Raiders are rounding into shape.

Metro Atlantic: Rick Pitino knows how to win, even if he may cut corners at times. His Iona Gaels are definitely a Bubble team if they are 29-5 but runners up in the MAAC Tournament to Monmouth or Saint Peter’s.

Mid-American: Both Toledo and Ohio U are on the cusp of being at-large worthy. If the Rockets meet the Bobcats in the MACtion Title Game, the loser has a small chance to earn a spot.

Missouri Valley: Loyola of Chicago is a near lock to get into the Dance even if they fall short in Arch Madness. The MVC has multiple teams with enough talent and excellent coaching to win in Saint Louis. Missouri State, Drake, Northern Iowa, and Bradley are teams to watch.

Mountain West: It is likely that at least three and possibly four MWC teams will hear their names called on Selection Sunday. Colorado State and Boise State are near locks at this point, while San Diego State and Wyoming are strong candidates. Also, Utah State is recovering from a rough patch, but even at 2-5 in the league, the Aggies are talented enough to win the conference tournament if totally healthy.

Ohio Valley: Murray State might be deserving of a single-digit seed if the Racers win out from here. Even if they lose a game to Morehead State or Belmont, and they lose in the finals of their conference tournament, the Racers could still get in, just like Belmont a couple years ago.

West Coast: The WCC is used to getting Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s into the Field in the same year, but this year four teams have Tournament-worthy resumes. BYU and San Francisco also have decent shots to get into the field.

January 14, 2019

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For Monday, January 14, 2019

January 14, 2019

Seed Team Conf.
1 Virginia ACC
1 Duke ACC
1 Michigan Big Ten
1 Texas Tech Big 12
2 Tennessee SEC
2 Gonzaga West Coast
2 Michigan St. Big Ten
2 Houston American Athletic
3 Virginia Tech ACC
3 North Carolina ACC
3 Kentucky SEC
3 Kansas Big 12
4 Nebraska Big Ten
4 Buffalo MAC
4 Oklahoma Big 12
4 NC State ACC
5 Auburn SEC
5 Purdue Big Ten
5 Marquette Big East
5 Wisconsin Big Ten
6 Indiana Big Ten
6 Maryland Big Ten
6 Louisville ACC
6 Ole Miss SEC
7 Florida St. ACC
7 Nevada Mountain West
7 Iowa St. Big 12
8 Villanova Big East
8 Iowa Big Ten
8 TCU Big 12
8 Wofford Southern
9 UCF American Athletic
9 Mississippi St. SEC
9 Cincinnati AAC
9 Ohio St. Big Ten
10 St. John’s (NY) Big East
10 Washington Pac-12
10 Seton Hall Big East
10 Florida SEC
11 Utah St. Mountain West
11 Murray St. Ohio Valley
11 San Francisco West Coast
11 Temple American Athletic
12 Liberty Atlantic Sun
12 Minnesota Big Ten
12 Butler Big East
12 Kansas St. Big 12
12 Texas Big 12
12 VCU Atlantic 10
13 Hofstra Colonial
13 North Texas Conference USA
13 Yale Ivy
13 Vermont America East
14 New Mexico St. WAC
14 UC Irvine Big West
14 Radford Big South
14 Georgia St. Sun Belt
15 South Dakota St. Summit League
15 Northern Ky. Horizon
15 Loyola Chicago Missouri Valley
15 Montana Big Sky
16 Lehigh Patriot
16 Rider Metro Atlantic
16 Abilene Christian Southland
16 Texas Southern Southwestern Athletic
16 Wagner Northeast
16 N.C. A&T Mideastern Athletic


First 4 Out
69 Arizona Pac-12
70 Saint Mary’s West Coast
71 Northwestern Big Ten
72 Creighton Big East
Next 4 Out
73 Syracuse ACC
74 Alabama SEC
75 Saint Louis Atlantic 10
76 Clemson ACC
Last 4 Byes
10 Florida SEC
11 Utah St. Mountain West
11 San Francisco West Coast
11 Temple American Athletic
Last 4 In — Headed To Dayton
12 Minnesota Big Ten
12 Butler Big East
12 Kansas St. Big 12
12 Texas Big 12
16 Seeds Headed To Dayton
16 Abilene Christian Southland
16 Texas Southern Southwestern Athletic
16 Wagner Northeast
16 North Carolina A&T Mideastern Atheltic

About these Seedings: The PiRate Ratings seed the teams not according to our power ratings, but according to the criteria mandated by the NCAA and used by the Selection Committee when they meet in Indianapolis to pick the field and make the bracket.

If you want to read the criteria, the NCAA has it available at the following site:

The Committee Relies on the following data as its reference tool.

1.) The Won-Loss records of each team under consideration by the 4 Quadrant.

The Quadrants use the rankings of the teams from 1-353 by old RPI and then handicap those games based on whether they were Home, Road, or Neutral Site games.

A. Quadrant 1 = Home 1-30 / Neutral 1-50 / Road 1-75

B. Quadrant 2 = Home 31-75 / Neutral 51-100 / Road 76-135

C. Quadrant 3 = Home 76-160 / Neutral 101-200 / Road 136-240

D. Quadrant 4 = Home 161-353 / Neutral 201-353 / Road 241-353

2.) Net Efficiency Rankings for offense and defense

This is an advanced statistical metric that we will try to explain as simply as possible (probably not possible) later this week in our next installment of “Fun Stuff For Stats Buffs.”  The efficiency ratings are similar to power ratings that can be adjusted to tempo and schedule strength to determine how much better a team is compared to average.

3.) Winning Percentage and Adjusted Winning Percentage

This is rather obvious.  Nevada will most likely have one of the top 10 winning percentages this year, maybe the best.  However, would the Wolf Pack post anything close to that mark playing in the ACC or Big Ten?  The Committee will look at winning percentages plus schedule strength when determining at-large teams and seedings.

4.) Scoring Margin but capped at 10 points

This is the most controversial part of the criteria for reasons at both ends.  First, there are NCAA interests that prefer that scoring margin not be included at all, because it might encourage teams to run up the score in blowout games to pad their ratings.  

The reason that the NCAA capped the scoring margin at 10 points was to try to stop the running up of the score in potential blowout games.

However, there are many that believe that 10 points is too low.  There are many close games that are within doubt in the final minute but end up as 10-point margins due to foul shooting at one end and missed three-pointers at the other end.  There are many teams that have 20-point leads before emptying the bench that end up winning by 10 points.  These two outcomes should not carry the same weight.

Let’s look at two examples of how this 10-point capping looks dumb to us from two SEC games played this past Saturday.

In Gainesville, the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers were fighting out a close game, and Tennessee had a 69-67 lead in the final 1:10 of the game.  Florida had the ball and missed a good percentage three-point shot that would have given the Gators the lead with just over a minute to play.  Tennessee got the rebound, and All-American Grant Williams spotted All-SEC Admiral Schofield open for a three-pointer, which Schofield then drained to give the Vols a 72-67 lead with 45 seconds to go.

Florida took a timeout to set their offense to get an open three-pointer, and the shot by Jalen Hudson was off target.  Tennessee rebounded again, and Lamonte Turner was fouled.  Turner hit both shots to make it 74-67 with just 25 seconds remaining.  

Florida now had to hurry, and this Gator team is not the most excellent in passing the ball.  Jordon Bone made a steal and then took it to the hole for a slam to seal the victory at 76-67 and just 9 seconds left.

Florida basically quit at this point, and one final steal by Grant Williams led to a Jordan Bowman layup to make the final score 78-67.  Tennessee got the maximum credit for winning by 10 points or more.

Later that evening, Kentucky hosted Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena.  The Wildcats started slowly not able to penetrate the Commodore 2-3 zone defense, which Vandy played the entire night.  Vandy started off red hot and led by 12, before Coach John Calipari turned up the defensive pressure and shut down the Commodores perimeter game.  It got rather ugly as Kentucky’s defense limited Vanderbilt to just 31 points in the last 35 minutes of the game. 

Kentucky dominated after the opening five minutes of the game, but they did so by winning ugly with a stellar defensive effort and credible offensive effort.  At one point, Kentucky outscored Vanderbilt by  50-27, which is total domination.  Late in the game, the Wildcats led by 11 points, and the outcome was certain.  Kentucky had the ball up by 11, and Keldon Johnson was called for a charging foul that might have been the wrong call, but at this point in the game (under a minute), it was inconsequential.  Vanderbilt scored to cut the lead to 56-47, and then they fouled to stop the clock with just over 20 seconds to go.  

P.J. Washington missed the front end of the 1 and 1 foul shot, and Vandy rebounded.  A missed three pointer led to a Kentucky rebound and easy clear out for the game-ending slam to give Kentucky an 11-point win, but the Kentucky player was a true Commonwealth Gentleman.  Rather than take the dunk after being open by 25 feet, he pulled up and dribbled out the clock to give Kentucky a 9-point win.  In other words, the Wildcats dominated this game for 35 minutes and get credit for a 9-point win.  Tennessee trailed for much of the game and most of the second half and through a few freak plays get credit for the capped win of 10-points.  That’s why the scoring margin is the last part of the new criteria.  The cap should be 25 points that should go into effect at any time that the winning team has the 25-point lead and wins by 10 or more.  If they empty the bench and win by 10, they would still get credit for the 25-point lead they had.

Coming Later Today–An updated Basketball Rankings & Our Preview of the NFL Conference Championship Games

Coming Midweek–The next installment of our Fun Stuff For Stats Buffs

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