The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 14, 2016

Bracketnomics 505–The Advanced Level Course in Bracket Picking

Welcome to Bracketnomics 505 for 2016–The Advanced Level Course in Picking NCAA Tournament winners. The best way to describe our PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Bracket-Picking formula is to call it the Past Performances of the teams. If you are familiar with the Daily Racing Form or other thoroughbred horse racing publications, you probably know how to read the PPS of the horses in each race.
If you have followed our statistical releases for the past 16 years, you will see only minor changes this year, as the PiRate Ratings have added only one minor statistical detail to our repertoire.
Here is a description of all the pertinent information you need to pick your brackets. We will explain each important statistic and tell you how it applies to the NCAA Tournament. Then, we will apply it to all 68 teams in the Big Dance and let you use what you want to fill out your brackets.

Remember one important bit of information–this process deals a lot with past tendencies trying to predict future outcomes. It is mechanical and has no real subjective data. It will not include information such as how your team’s star player may have the flu this week, so if you have other information, by all means include this in your selections.

THE FOUR FACTORS
Statistician and author Dean Oliver created this metric. He did for basketball what the incredible Bill James did for baseball. Oliver wrote the excellent book Basketball on Paper, where he showed that NBA winners could break down four separate statistical metrics to show how the winner won and the loser lost. Later experimentation showed that this metric works for college basketball when strength of schedule is factored into the metric.

The four factors are: Effective Field Goal Percentage, Rebound Rate, Turnover Rate, and Free Throw Rate. Each of these four factors apply to both offense and defense, so in essence, there are really eight factors.

Each Factor has a formula that can be calculated if you have the statistics. We have all the statistics for all 68 teams, and we did this for you.

Effective FG% = (FGM + (.5 * 3ptM))/FGA where FGM is field goals made, 3ptM is three-pointers made, and FGA is field goals attempted.

If a team made 800 FG, 250 3-pointers and attempted 1750 field goals, their EFG% is:
(800+(.5*250))/1750 = .529 or 52.9%
Rebound Rate = Offensive Rebounds/(Offensive Rebounds + Opponents’ Defensive Rebounds)
If a team has 500 offensive rebounds and their opponents have 850 defensive rebounds, their Rebound Rate is:
500/(500+850) = .370 or 37.0%

Turnover Rate = Turnovers per 100 possessions. Possessions can be estimated with incredible accuracy by this formula:
(FGA + (.475*FTA)-OR+TO)/G, where FGA is field goal attempts, FTA is free throw attempts, OR is offensive rebounds, TO is turnovers, and G is games played.

If a team has 1700 FGA, 650 FTA, 425 OR, and 375 TO in 30 games played, their average possessions per game is:
(1700+(.475*650)-425+375)/30 = 65.3, and thus, their TO Rate would be:

Turnovers per game / possessions per game * 100
((425/30)/65.3) * 100 = 21.7

Free Throw Rate: Oliver and others determined that getting to the line was actually more important than making the foul shots, so they did not include made free throws in their equation.

Their formula was simply: FTA/FGA, as they believed that getting the other team in foul trouble was the most important part.
Later statisticans changed this formulas to FT Made/FGA, which included made free throws, but it also erred by making teams that do not attempt many field goals but lead late in games look much better than they really were. If a team like Northern Iowa attempted just 50 field goals per game and won a lot of games by three or four points, going to the foul line many times late in the game, they would pad this stat by making a lot of FT in the final minutes when the opponent was forced to foul.
A third group of statisticians, including we here at the PiRate Ratings, believe that free throws made per 100 possessions is a better metric, and thus we go with this rating, which we call FT*:

If the team above with 65.3 possessions per game averages 17 made free throws per game, then their FT Rate is:
17 / 65.3 * 100 = 26.0

The PiRate Specific Statistics
For 15 years, the PiRate Ratings have relied on specific back-tested data that showed us what stats were important in selecting Final Four teams. We looked back in history to see how previous Final Four teams dominated in certain statistical areas while not dominating in other areas. Here is what we found.

Scoring Margin
For general bracket picking, look for teams that outscored their opponents by an average of 8 or more points per game. Over 85% of the Final Four teams since the 1950’s outscored their opponents by an average of 8 or more points per game.
More than 80% of the final four teams in the last 50 years outscored their opponents by double digit points per game. When you find a team with an average scoring margin in excess of 15 points per game, and said team is in one of the six power conferences, then you have a team that will advance deep into the tournament.
This is an obvious statistic here. If team A outscores opponents by an average of 85-70 and their team B opponent outscores similar opposition by an average of 75-70, and the teams played comparable schedules, then team A figures to be better than team B before you look at any other statistics.
In the days of the 64 to 68-team field, this statistic has become even more valuable. It’s very difficult and close to impossible for a team accustomed to winning games by one to seven points to win four times in a row, much less six or seven consecutive games.
This statistic gives the same significance and weighting to a team that outscores its opposition 100-90 as it does to a team that outscores its opposition 60-50.

Last year, the four Final Four Teams had scoring margins of 21, 16, 15, and 9.

Field Goal Percentage Differential
Take each team’s field goal percentage minus their defensive field goal percentage to calculate this statistic. Look for teams that have a +7.5% or better showing. 50% to 42% is no better or no worse than 45% to 37%. A difference of 7.5% or better is all that matters. Teams that have a large field goal percentage margin are consistently good teams. Sure, a team can win a game with a negative field goal percentage difference, but in the Big Dance, they certainly are not going to win six games, and they have no real chance to win four games. Two games are about the maximum for these teams.
This statistic holds strong in back-tests of 50 years. Even when teams won the tournament with less than 7.5% field goal percentage margins, for the most part, these teams just barely missed (usually in the 5.5 to 7.5% range). In the years of the 64 to 68-team tournament, this stat has become a more accurate predictor. In the 21st Century, the teams with field goal percentage margins in the double digits have dominated the field. For example, if you see a team that shoots better than 48% and allows 38% or less, that team is going to be very hard to beat in large arenas with weird sight lines.

Last year, the Final Four Teams had FG% Differentials of 11.4, 8.5, 7.3, and 6.1%

Rebound Margin
This statistic holds up all the way back to the early days of basketball, in fact as far back to the days when rebounds were first recorded. The teams that consistently control the boards are the ones that advance past the first week in the tournament. What we’re looking for here are teams that out-rebound their opposition by five or more per game. In the opening two rounds, a difference of three or more is just as important.
There are complete rebounding statistics back to 1954, and in the 61 NCAA Tournaments between 1954 and 2014, the National Champion outrebounded their opponents 61 times! Yes, no team with a negative rebound margin has ever won the title.
The reason this statistic becomes even more important in mid-March is that teams do not always shoot as well in the NCAA Tournament for a variety of reasons (better defense, abnormal sight lines and unfamiliar gymnasiums, nerves, new rims and nets, more physical play with the refs allowing it, etc.). The teams that can consistently get offensive put-backs are the teams that go on scoring runs in these games. The teams that prevent the opposition from getting offensive rebounds, holding them to one shot per possession, have a huge advantage. Again, there will be some teams that advance that were beaten on the boards, but as the number of teams drop from 64 to 32 to 16 to eight, it is rare for one of these teams to continue to advance. West Virginia in 2005 made it to the Elite Eight without being able to rebound, but not many other teams have been able to do so.

There have been years where all four Final Four participants were in the top 20 in rebounding margin, and there have been many years where the champion was in the top 5 in rebounding margin.

Last year, the Final Four Teams had positive Rebounding Margins of 7.4, 6.8, 6.2, and 6.0.

Turnover Margin & Steals Per Game
Turnover margin can give a weaker rebounding team a chance to advance. Any positive turnover margin is good here. If a team cannot meet the rebounding margin listed above, they can get by if they have an excellent turnover margin. Not all turnover margins are the same though. A team that forces a high number of turnovers by way of steals is better than a team that forces the same amount of turnovers without steals. A steal is better than a defensive rebound, because most of the time, a steal leads to a fast-break basket or foul. When a team steals the ball, they are already facing their basket, and the defense must turn around and chase. Many steals occur on the perimeter where the ball-hawking team has a numbers advantage.
The criteria to look for here is any positive turnover margin if the team out-rebounds its opposition by three or more; a turnover margin of three or better if the team out-rebounds its opposition by less than three; and a turnover margin of five or more if the team does not out-rebound its opponents. Give more weight to teams that average 7 or more steals per game, and give much more weight to teams that average double figure steals per game. A team that averages more than 10 steals per game will get a lot of fast-break baskets and foul shots. In NCAA Tournament play, one quick spurt can be like a three-run homer in the World Series, and teams that either steal the ball or control the boards are the ones who will get that spurt.

Last year, the Final Four Teams had Turnover Margins of +3.4, +2.6, +1.3, and -0.5 and average steals per game of 6.6, 5.7, 5.3, and 4.5. It was the fewest average steals per game for a Final Four group since steals have been kept as official statistics.

The All-Important R+T Margin
Consider this the basketball equivalent of baseball’s OPS (On Base % + Slugging %) or even better, the “Moneyball Formula.” The formula has undergone a couple of changes in recent years, including this season, and we think it will be slightly adjusted in the future based on changes in how the game is played.
The R+T Formula for 2016 is: (R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T, where R is rebounding margin, S is average steals per game (Opp S is opponents steals per game), and T is turnover margin. The numbers are all rounded to one digit.

Look for teams with R+T ratings at 15 or above. These are the teams that will get several additional opportunities to score points and go on scoring runs that put opponents away

When this stat is 7.5 to 15, you have a team that can overcome a few other liabilities to win and cut down the nets in Indianapolis if they don’t run into a team from the 15+ R+T range with similar shooting percentages and defense.

When this stat is 4.5 to 7.5, you have a team good enough to win early and get to the Sweet 16 or lite 8 but not advance past that round, unless said team has a large field goal percentage difference margin.

When this stat is 0 to 4.5, you have a team that better enjoy a large field goal margin advantage, or they will be one and done or two and out.

When this stat is negative, you have a team that will be eliminated quickly, even if they are playing a lower seed. We have isolated many early round upsets due to this statistic, and we have eliminated many teams expected to perform well that bombed in the opening round.

A few years ago, Georgetown had a negative R+T rating but was a prohibitive favorite against Ohio U. The Bobcats had a positive R+T rating and decent numbers in the other PiRate factors. We called for Ohio to upset Georgetown in the first round, and Ohio won by double digits.

The same thing occurred again a couple years later when Georgetown had a negative R+T rating as the Hoyas faced unknown Florida Gulf Coast. FGCU not only pulled off the upset, they blew GU off the floor.

Last year’s Final Four Teams had R+T ratings of 22.9, 18.8, 17.7, and 16.0, making this the most accurate predictor for the season, like it has for most every season. There were two Power Conference teams with negative R+T numbers last year, Oklahoma State and St. John’s. We pegged these teams to lose immediately as 9-seeds against 8-seeds with positive R+T ratings, and they did just that.

Power Conference Plus Schedule Strength
Up to this point you might have been thinking that it is much easier for Stephen F. Austin or Stony Brook to own these gaudy statistics than it is for Baylor or Miami. And, of course, that is correct. We have to adjust this procedure so that teams that play tougher schedules get rewarded and teams that play softer schedules get punished.
Basically, the cut-off line for a Final Four team is 54.00, although there have been a few long shots like George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth that were below that mark. While the lowest National Champ was Florida in 2007 at 54.30, the average for the last dozen champions has been just over 58. Also, bear in mind that of the 16 winners since 2000, 6 came from the ACC, 4 from the Big East (none who are current members), 3 from the SEC, and one each from the American, Big 12, and Big Ten. The Pac-12 has not produced the national champion since Arizona in 1997.

Won-Loss percentage Away From Home Floor
This should be obvious. Except in the rarest of instances (like Dayton playing in a First Round Game last year), all NCAA Tournament games are played on neutral courts. Some teams play like titans on their home floor but become pansies when playing away from home. It is one thing to accumulate great statistics by scheduling 19 home games, three neutral site games, and eight away games and then going 18-1 at home, 1-2 on the neutral site, and 3-5 on the road to finish 22-8. However, we need to locate the teams that continue to dominate away from home. Combine the road and neutral games played and look at that percentage. When you find a team with a 75% or better win percentage away from home, this team is a legitimate contender in the Big Dance. When this number tops 85%, you have a tough team capable of winning four consecutive games and advancing to the Final Four.

New For 2016, Winning Streaks
We should have included this years ago. The NCAA Tournament Championship requires one team to win six consecutive games (seven if in the First Four) to become the champion. It requires the other Final Four teams to win four or five times to get to the Final Four. How often does a team get to the Final Four or win the title without having a long winning streak during the regular season? Not often , or to put it a better way, hardly ever.
When a team wins 10 consecutive games in the heart of their schedule, or to be more exact, against serious competition, or when they win 6 to 10 consecutive games more than once during the season, and the rest of our criteria shows them to be a contender (especially R+T and Schedule Strength), then this is one dangerous squad. Be wary picking against them in the early rounds and then go against them only when the other team looks lethal as well.

These are the basic PiRate criteria. You might be shocked to see that there are some key statistics that are not included. Let’s look at some of these stats that the PiRates do not rely upon.

Assists and Assists to Turnover Ratio
While assists can reveal an excellent passing team (and we love great passing teams), they also can hide a problem. Let’s say a team gets 28 field goals and has 21 assists. That may very well indicate this team can pass better than most others. However, it may also mean two other things. First, this team may not have players who can create their own offense and must get by on exceptional passing. That may not work against the best defensive teams in the nation (like the type that get into the Dance). Second, and even more importantly, it may indicate that this team cannot get offensive put-backs. As explained earlier, the offensive rebound is about as important as any stat can be in the NCAA Tournament. So, consider this stat only if you must decide on a toss-up after looking at the big seven stats. We would much rather go with a team that has 15 offensive rebound potential than a team that has assists on 80% of its made field goals. The NCAA Tournament is full of tough defenses, weird site lines, tight rims, and even tighter nerves, and the offensive put-back is an even more potent weapon, especially in the Round of 64, the Sweet 16, and the Final Four games. The Round of 32 and Elite 8 rounds tend to be less tense, because it is the second game on the playing floor for the participants.

Free Throw Shooting
You might say we are contradicting the Four Factors with this, but we are not. It is the least important of the Four Factors, and we only apply this caveat to the NCAA Tournament.
Of course, free throw shooting in the clutch decides many ball games. However, history shows a long line of teams making it deep into the tournament with poor free throw shooting percentages, and teams that overly rely on free throws may find it tough getting to the line with the liberalized officiating in the tournament.

Let’s say a team shoots a paltry 60% at the foul line while their opponent hits a great 75% of their foul shots. Let’s say each team gets to the foul line 15 times in the game, with five of those chances being 1&1, three being one shot after made baskets, and seven being two shot fouls. For the 60% shooting team, they can be expected to hit 3 of 5 on the front end of the 1&1 and then 1.8 of the 3 bonus shots; they can be expected to hit 1.8 of 3 on the one foul shot after made baskets; and they can be expected to hit 8.4 of 14 on the two shot fouls for a total of 15 out of 25. The 75% shooting team can be expected to connect on 3.75 of 5 on the front end of the 1&1 and then 2.8 of 3.75 on the bonus shot; they can be expected to hit 2.3 of 3 on the one foul shot after made baskets; and they can be expected to connect on 10.5 of 14 on the two shot fouls for a total of 19.35 out of 25.75.

A team with one of the top FT% only scores 4.35 more points at the foul line than a team with one of the worst. That is not a lot of points to make up, and when you consider that this is about the maximum possible difference, this stat is not all that important. Also consider that teams that shoot 60% of their foul shots and make the NCAA Tournament are almost always the teams that have the top R+T ratings, which is vitally important after the Ides of March.

Teams that make the NCAA Tournament with gaudy free throw percentages frequently get there by winning close games at the line. In the NCAA Tournament, fouls just don’t get called as frequently as in the regular season. The referees let the teams play. So, looking at superior free throw percentage can almost lead you down the wrong path.

Ponder this: The 1973 UCLA Bruins are considered to be the best college basketball team ever. That team connected on just 63% of its free throws. They had a rebounding margin of 15.2, and they forced many turnovers via steals thanks to their vaunted 2-2-1 zone press. In the great UCLA dynasty from 1964 through 1973 when the Bruins won nine titles in 10 years, they never once connected on 70% of their free throws and averaged just 66% during that stretch.

3-point shooting
You have to look at this statistic two different ways and consider that it is already part of field goal percentage and defensive field goal percentage. Contrary to popular belief, you do not count the difference in made three-pointers and multiply by three to see the difference in points scored. If Team A hits eight treys, while their Team B opponents hit three, that is not a difference of 15 points; it’s a difference of five points. Consider made three-pointers as one extra point because they are already figured as made field goals. A team with 26 made field goals and eight treys has only one more point than a team with 26 made field goals and seven treys.

The only time to give three-point shots any weight in this criteria is when you are looking at a toss-up game, and when you do look at this stat, look for the team that does not rely on them to win, but instead uses a credible percentage that prevents defenses from sagging into the 10-12-foot area around the basket. If a team cannot throw it in the ocean from behind the arc, defenses can sag inside and take away the inside game. It doesn’t play much of a role in the NCAA Tournament. A team that must hit 10 threes per game in order to win is not going to be around after the first weekend. To put it another way, teams that live and die by the outside shot will almost always die before they can get to the Final Four, if they cannot dominate inside.

One Big Star or Two Really Good Players
Teams that get to the Dance by riding one big star or a majority of scoring from two players are not solid enough to advance very far. Now, this does not apply to a team with one big star and four really good players. I’m referring to a team with one big star and four lemons or two big scorers with three guys who are allergic to the ball. Many times a team may have one big scorer or two guys who score 85% of the points, but the other three starters are capable of scoring 20 points if they are called on to do so. These teams are tough to stop. Usually, it is the mid-major teams that appear to be sleeper teams that could beat a favored opponent because they have one big talent that falls under this category. For instance, Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney this year fits that category.

If you have a team with five double figure scorers, they will be harder to defend and will be more consistent on the attack side. It is hard for all five players to slump at once.

We hope this primer will help you when you fill out your brackets this year.
Here is a list of all the statistics for the Big Dance teams for 2015-2016.

Offensive Stats

Team FG FGA 3pt 3ptA FT FTA OReb DReb Reb To Stl Pts
Arizona 926 1922 215 562 613 848 384 944 1328 423 162 2680
Austin Peay 920 1988 219 630 602 899 407 882 1289 490 242 2661
Baylor 903 1935 204 556 536 737 453 781 1234 425 260 2546
Buffalo 892 2037 253 750 600 845 417 913 1330 465 236 2637
Butler 868 1864 220 569 542 741 354 775 1129 317 210 2498
CSU Bakersfield 849 1881 174 506 465 712 401 825 1226 391 257 2337
California 867 1881 233 632 512 780 374 945 1319 403 136 2479
Chattanooga 869 1904 259 712 581 793 372 846 1218 422 265 2578
Cincinnati 823 1925 242 701 454 645 432 828 1260 354 254 2342
Colorado 842 1979 250 637 575 779 437 963 1400 442 172 2509
Connecticut 900 1959 239 660 457 581 322 920 1242 378 194 2496
Dayton 818 1780 215 620 491 730 317 919 1236 418 189 2342
Duke 826 1789 274 708 527 728 363 735 1098 293 190 2453
Fair. Dickinson 906 1958 230 633 451 645 338 736 1074 414 242 2493
Florida G. Coast 949 1991 176 493 466 720 392 935 1327 406 218 2540
Fresno St. 900 2073 212 620 549 793 404 874 1278 364 280 2561
Gonzaga 929 1910 258 682 514 676 350 957 1307 372 167 2630
Green Bay 1027 2294 246 703 648 984 451 909 1360 423 334 2948
Hampton 793 1911 203 659 529 805 438 853 1291 433 168 2318
Hawaii 843 1824 230 704 567 833 342 856 1198 423 252 2483
Holy Cross 737 1785 236 721 446 644 269 725 994 362 213 2156
Indiana 934 1864 316 762 449 621 385 811 1196 437 222 2633
Iona 888 1947 320 860 451 633 339 842 1181 409 242 2547
Iowa 855 1898 255 667 456 634 369 821 1190 323 211 2421
Iowa St. 998 1990 265 697 358 507 291 863 1154 370 197 2619
Kansas 951 1926 274 649 516 737 356 900 1256 408 225 2692
Kentucky 971 2029 236 637 531 777 442 876 1318 376 191 2709
Maryland 876 1794 252 673 506 666 304 867 1171 425 192 2510
Miami 837 1756 219 599 527 702 310 802 1112 341 194 2420
Michigan 898 1926 326 849 404 548 267 822 1089 333 188 2526
Michigan St. 979 2024 310 715 444 608 419 1005 1424 325 181 2712
Middle Tenn. 857 1902 260 673 425 689 341 879 1220 399 205 2399
North Carolina 1047 2187 183 583 520 705 477 916 1393 371 234 2797
Northern Iowa 801 1751 278 742 432 574 183 839 1022 334 193 2312
Notre Dame 869 1844 235 637 450 612 349 805 1154 311 179 2423
Oklahoma 884 1928 334 784 471 647 343 899 1242 415 221 2573
Oregon 933 1997 234 670 580 813 399 830 1229 393 259 2680
Oregon St. 786 1783 211 570 451 672 330 743 1073 355 231 2234
Pittsburgh 860 1871 201 578 512 679 410 812 1222 374 159 2433
Providence 833 1974 234 729 541 744 385 822 1207 380 219 2441
Purdue 934 1980 259 703 516 695 397 995 1392 406 145 2643
Seton Hall 872 1937 202 573 524 787 425 896 1321 457 240 2470
South Dakota St. 853 1891 245 686 566 766 370 881 1251 388 164 2517
Southern 887 1990 208 590 497 743 356 868 1224 382 254 2479
St. Joseph’s 926 2038 238 728 548 769 345 967 1312 344 175 2638
S. F. Austin 926 1915 254 691 477 653 380 750 1130 398 290 2583
Stony Brook 913 1917 217 584 415 618 400 866 1266 365 198 2458
Syracuse 766 1796 280 776 435 637 378 759 1137 388 259 2247
Temple 792 1957 251 739 362 529 358 818 1176 293 171 2197
Texas 789 1828 223 657 482 725 352 753 1105 332 165 2283
Texas A&M 906 2016 261 745 508 755 436 887 1323 401 235 2581
Texas Tech 760 1700 178 517 546 732 320 739 1059 371 182 2244
Tulsa 796 1793 216 656 486 717 313 773 1086 335 211 2294
UALR 836 1827 249 641 420 572 302 815 1117 347 216 2341
UNC-Asheville 877 1916 190 586 552 795 384 863 1247 430 307 2496
UNC-Wilm. 898 1971 219 651 520 741 384 819 1203 365 241 2535
USC 954 2085 260 675 500 737 396 906 1302 403 209 2668
Utah 928 1898 259 713 524 734 328 942 1270 418 183 2639
Vanderbilt 841 1826 270 695 504 721 304 930 1234 374 138 2456
VCU 953 2116 247 694 472 684 425 845 1270 389 299 2625
Villanova 905 1936 291 847 516 664 315 896 1211 378 229 2617
Virginia 849 1743 198 489 426 565 296 756 1052 310 181 2322
Weber St. 887 1831 287 768 548 810 291 983 1274 451 169 2609
West Virginia 927 2050 206 627 633 945 541 791 1332 476 338 2693
Wichita St. 801 1846 234 710 507 710 373 826 1199 318 231 2343
Wisconsin 751 1748 211 590 491 694 366 751 1117 351 188 2204
Xavier 876 1938 243 672 608 832 418 894 1312 408 234 2603
Yale 744 1580 181 484 436 658 379 752 1131 375 162 2105

Defensive Stats

Team FG FGA 3pt 3ptA FT FTA OReb DReb Reb To Stl Pts
Arizona 829 2007 201 626 415 587 313 711 1024 383 178 2274
Austin Peay 955 2088 269 824 450 640 365 830 1195 470 244 2629
Baylor 797 1794 228 622 463 664 306 666 972 452 220 2285
Buffalo 882 2044 251 740 540 756 368 861 1229 450 192 2555
Butler 764 1773 222 655 456 642 298 724 1022 407 141 2206
CSU Bakersfield 668 1708 187 585 499 722 339 758 1097 490 170 2022
California 762 1940 180 513 508 721 325 772 1097 321 170 2212
Chattanooga 829 1910 225 694 382 566 337 764 1101 484 216 2265
Cincinnati 722 1849 231 648 337 498 365 742 1107 444 165 2012
Colorado 829 1980 206 580 469 693 313 793 1106 365 246 2333
Connecticut 737 1931 232 709 439 667 379 785 1164 415 175 2145
Dayton 740 1829 234 671 392 595 284 782 1066 398 154 2106
Duke 817 1865 179 536 321 466 384 711 1095 367 134 2134
Fair. Dickinson 834 1845 239 676 597 854 409 825 1234 492 202 2504
Florida G. Coast 823 1986 217 719 462 676 361 800 1161 406 217 2325
Fresno St. 785 1879 245 743 580 837 355 882 1237 510 150 2395
Gonzaga 795 1992 198 666 398 565 333 734 1067 341 185 2186
Green Bay 981 2198 271 746 555 779 421 991 1412 590 202 2788
Hampton 794 1874 203 615 498 688 319 813 1132 388 179 2289
Hawaii 719 1806 199 632 491 691 310 740 1050 472 190 2128
Holy Cross 803 1755 264 724 429 593 305 872 1177 434 182 2299
Indiana 821 1859 200 583 363 545 327 637 964 418 195 2205
Iona 812 1929 247 696 486 699 383 816 1199 451 184 2357
Iowa 788 1901 228 735 326 479 375 773 1148 407 165 2130
Iowa St. 903 2075 249 740 344 502 382 776 1158 397 179 2399
Kansas 758 1913 208 631 508 705 356 729 1085 438 201 2232
Kentucky 782 1954 192 582 565 808 407 726 1133 420 145 2321
Maryland 798 1956 223 693 368 526 363 695 1058 370 207 2187
Miami 790 1839 184 548 374 529 330 708 1038 372 163 2138
Michigan 844 1896 240 695 366 504 296 826 1122 406 138 2294
Michigan St. 741 1966 193 639 480 669 320 707 1027 325 181 2155
Middle Tenn. 767 1799 213 620 507 757 298 848 1146 445 194 2254
North Carolina 838 2046 262 728 425 608 389 723 1112 447 196 2363
Northern Iowa 794 1884 239 740 312 431 307 849 1156 401 164 2139
Notre Dame 821 1918 246 655 371 515 367 715 1082 311 167 2259
Oklahoma 819 2024 241 709 375 553 382 780 1162 407 227 2254
Oregon 836 1970 243 670 435 623 375 744 1119 488 158 2350
Oregon St. 739 1732 222 675 469 678 355 786 1141 420 157 2169
Pittsburgh 781 1791 218 612 393 593 303 682 985 370 180 2173
Providence 850 1956 211 658 390 544 355 860 1215 482 196 2301
Purdue 794 2029 210 670 398 563 302 728 1030 320 204 2196
Seton Hall 790 1971 206 652 451 664 397 788 1185 450 238 2237
South Dakota St. 766 1843 198 599 507 709 307 766 1073 399 187 2237
Southern 814 1960 225 709 494 795 412 870 1282 469 179 2347
St. Joseph’s 875 2110 270 872 357 517 337 875 1212 389 156 2377
S. F. Austin 719 1642 165 511 418 637 309 711 1020 596 174 2021
Stony Brook 737 1824 208 636 348 489 293 722 1015 409 176 2030
Syracuse 759 1835 225 739 360 540 413 769 1182 434 208 2103
Temple 785 1884 189 601 399 539 347 877 1224 355 137 2158
Texas 754 1801 201 586 469 675 359 792 1151 400 145 2178
Texas A&M 783 1930 251 763 411 626 381 810 1191 488 172 2228
Texas Tech 758 1777 237 674 412 586 356 689 1045 396 197 2165
Tulsa 733 1760 235 647 459 613 338 808 1146 445 164 2160
UALR 664 1710 206 672 434 633 339 774 1113 464 132 1968
UNC-Asheville 802 1897 192 677 431 616 353 819 1172 519 222 2227
UNC-Wilmington 729 1748 171 507 657 933 362 808 1170 485 159 2286
USC 899 2153 239 740 430 613 424 825 1249 411 191 2467
Utah 873 2112 253 689 352 488 359 759 1118 355 216 2351
Vanderbilt 762 1974 176 603 455 675 388 804 1192 319 180 2155
VCU 818 1859 187 556 465 688 326 853 1179 525 194 2288
Villanova 764 1910 240 716 398 600 360 787 1147 471 199 2166
Virginia 687 1630 212 608 383 550 264 671 935 398 174 1969
Weber St. 850 2053 195 564 378 567 326 801 1127 373 197 2273
West Virginia 709 1658 199 599 648 909 295 750 1045 617 229 2265
Wichita St. 602 1565 187 577 505 705 260 791 1051 495 150 1896
Wisconsin 732 1705 189 499 413 584 295 722 1017 389 169 2066
Xavier 787 1894 241 766 458 651 319 753 1072 452 195 2273
Yale 625 1536 166 525 352 506 237 584 821 349 187 1768

 

The Four Factors

Team EFG DEFG OR% DOR% TO% DTU% FT* DFT*  Streaks
Arizona 53.8 46.3 35.1 24.9 17.9 16.3 25.9 17.6 8 6
Austin Peay 51.8 52.2 32.9 29.3 19.6 18.8 24.1 18.0 6 2
Baylor 51.9 50.8 40.5 28.2 18.8 20.0 23.7 20.5 7 4
Buffalo 50.0 49.3 32.6 28.7 18.7 18.1 24.1 21.7 4 4
Butler 52.5 49.4 32.8 27.8 14.5 18.6 24.9 20.9 8 3
Cal State Bakersfield 49.8 44.6 34.6 29.1 17.7 22.3 21.0 22.7 6 6
California 52.3 43.9 32.6 25.6 17.7 14.1 22.5 22.3 12 3
Chattanooga 52.4 49.3 32.7 28.5 18.1 20.8 24.9 16.4 9 8
Cincinnati 49.0 45.3 36.8 30.6 16.4 20.5 21.1 15.6 7 4
Colorado 48.9 47.1 35.5 24.5 18.8 15.5 24.4 19.9 11 3
Connecticut 52.0 44.2 29.1 29.2 16.5 18.2 19.9 19.2 5 4
Dayton 52.0 46.9 28.8 23.6 18.8 17.9 22.0 17.6 9 5
Duke 53.8 48.6 33.8 34.3 14.2 17.7 25.5 15.5 7 5
Fairleigh Dickinson 52.1 51.7 29.1 35.7 17.7 21.1 19.3 25.6 5 3
Florida Gulf Coast 52.1 46.9 32.9 27.9 17.3 17.3 19.9 19.6 7 3
Fresno St. 48.5 48.3 31.4 28.9 15.1 21.0 22.8 23.9 9 5
Gonzaga 55.4 44.9 32.3 25.8 16.5 15.0 22.8 17.5 7 6
Green Bay 50.1 50.8 31.3 31.7 15.5 21.6 23.7 20.3 4 4
Hampton 46.8 47.8 35.0 27.2 18.9 17.1 23.1 21.9 6 5
Hawaii 52.5 45.3 31.6 26.6 18.4 20.6 24.6 21.4 8 6
Holy Cross 47.9 53.3 23.6 29.6 16.6 20.0 20.4 19.8 4 3
Indiana 58.6 49.5 37.7 28.7 19.8 18.9 20.3 16.4 12 5
Iona 53.8 48.5 29.4 31.3 17.6 19.4 19.5 20.9 8 5
Iowa 51.8 47.4 32.3 31.4 15.0 18.8 21.2 15.1 9 4
Iowa St. 56.8 49.5 27.3 30.7 16.0 17.0 15.5 14.8 9 3
Kansas 56.5 45.1 32.8 28.3 17.5 18.8 22.2 21.8 13 13
Kentucky 53.7 44.9 37.8 31.7 16.1 17.9 22.8 24.0 7 5
Maryland 55.9 46.5 30.4 29.5 19.0 16.7 22.7 16.6 8 5
Miami 53.9 48.0 30.5 29.2 16.1 17.4 24.9 17.5 8 5
Michigan 55.1 50.8 24.4 26.5 14.8 18.1 17.9 16.3 6 4
Michigan St. 56.0 42.6 37.2 24.2 14.6 14.2 20.0 21.0 13 9
Middle Tennessee 51.9 48.6 28.7 25.3 17.4 19.3 18.6 22.0 6 6
North Carolina 52.1 47.4 39.8 29.8 15.4 18.7 21.5 17.8 12 5
Northern Iowa 53.7 48.5 17.7 26.8 15.4 18.4 19.9 14.3 6 6
Notre Dame 53.5 49.2 32.8 31.3 14.8 14.8 21.5 17.6 4 3
Oklahoma 54.5 46.4 30.5 29.8 18.0 17.6 20.4 16.2 12 4
Oregon 52.6 48.6 34.9 31.1 16.5 20.5 24.4 18.3 8 6
Oregon St. 50.0 49.1 29.6 32.3 16.7 19.8 21.2 22.1 4 4
Pittsburgh 51.3 49.7 37.5 27.2 17.3 17.3 23.7 18.4 10 4
Providence 48.1 48.8 30.9 30.2 16.4 20.6 23.3 16.7 8 6
Purdue 53.7 44.3 35.3 23.3 17.5 13.8 22.2 17.2 11 5
Seton Hall 50.2 45.3 35.0 30.7 19.5 19.2 22.4 19.3 7 4
South Dakota St. 51.6 46.9 32.6 25.8 17.1 17.6 24.9 22.3 6 6
Southern 49.8 47.3 29.0 32.2 16.1 19.6 21.0 20.6 8 5
St. Joseph’s 51.3 47.9 28.3 25.8 14.3 16.2 22.8 14.8 7 7
Stephen F. Austin 55.0 48.8 34.8 29.2 17.7 26.7 21.3 18.7 20 5
Stony Brook 53.3 46.1 35.7 25.3 16.8 18.8 19.1 16.0 18 3
Syracuse 50.4 47.5 33.0 35.2 18.4 20.5 20.6 17.0 6 5
Temple 46.9 46.7 29.0 29.8 13.7 16.5 16.9 18.6 5 4
Texas 49.3 47.4 30.8 32.3 15.4 18.5 22.4 21.7 6 4
Texas A&M 51.4 47.1 35.0 30.0 17.1 20.9 21.7 17.6 10 8
Texas Tech 49.9 49.3 31.7 32.5 17.7 18.9 26.0 19.7 10 5
Tulsa 50.4 48.3 27.9 30.4 15.5 20.6 22.5 21.3 5 4
UALR 52.6 44.9 28.1 29.4 16.2 21.7 19.6 20.3 10 6
UNC-Asheville 50.7 47.3 31.9 29.0 18.4 22.0 23.6 18.3 5 5
UNC-Wilmington 51.1 46.6 32.2 30.7 15.8 21.0 22.6 28.4 11 5
USC 52.0 47.3 32.4 31.9 16.5 16.9 20.5 17.7 7 5
Utah 55.7 47.3 30.2 27.6 17.9 15.2 22.4 15.0 9 5
Vanderbilt 53.5 43.1 27.4 29.4 16.7 14.3 22.5 20.4 5 4
VCU 50.9 49.0 33.3 27.8 16.2 22.0 19.6 19.5 12 3
Villanova 54.3 46.3 28.6 28.7 16.3 20.4 22.3 17.3 9 7
Virginia 54.4 48.7 30.6 25.9 15.3 19.7 21.0 18.9 11 7
Weber St. 56.3 46.2 26.6 24.9 19.0 15.7 23.1 16.0 8 6
West Virginia 50.2 48.8 41.9 27.2 19.6 25.6 26.0 26.9 8 7
Wichita St. 49.7 44.4 32.0 23.9 14.9 23.2 23.8 23.7 12 6
Wisconsin 49.0 48.5 33.6 28.2 17.0 18.7 23.8 19.9 7 4
Xavier 51.5 47.9 35.7 26.3 17.6 19.3 26.2 19.6 12 5
Yale 52.8 46.1 39.4 24.0 19.9 18.5 23.1 18.6 12 5

 

PiRate Criteria

Team PPG DPPG Mar. FG-M Rb-M TO-M R+T WLRd SOS
Arizona 81.2 68.9 12.3 6.9 9.2 -1.2 20.3 8-7 54.69
Austin Peay 76.0 75.1 0.9 0.5 2.7 -0.6 7.3 11-10 48.15
Baylor 77.2 69.2 7.9 2.2 7.9 0.8 20.0 8-6 59.49
Buffalo 77.6 75.1 2.4 0.6 3.0 -0.4 9.3 10-9 53.77
Butler 80.6 71.2 9.4 3.5 3.5 2.9 14.6 8-7 54.61
Cal State Bakersfield 73.0 63.2 9.8 6.0 4.0 3.1 15.9 10-7 44.72
California 75.1 67.0 8.1 6.8 6.7 -2.5 13.9 5-10 58.52
Chattanooga 75.8 66.6 9.2 2.2 3.4 1.8 12.3 16-4 48.07
Cincinnati 73.2 62.9 10.3 3.7 4.8 2.8 17.2 8-7 54.70
Colorado 76.0 70.7 5.3 0.7 8.9 -2.3 16.6 6-10 56.45
Connecticut 73.4 63.1 10.3 7.8 2.3 1.1 9.4 9-7 55.70
Dayton 73.2 65.8 7.4 5.5 5.3 -0.6 14.1 11-4 55.73
Duke 79.1 68.8 10.3 2.4 0.1 2.4 7.3 7-6 58.97
Fairleigh Dickinson 77.9 78.3 -0.3 1.1 -5.0 2.4 -4.1 9-8 45.04
Florida Gulf Coast 77.0 70.5 6.5 6.2 5.0 0.0 12.8 4-9 45.65
Fresno St. 75.3 70.4 4.9 1.6 1.2 4.3 12.4 9-7 51.24
Gonzaga 79.7 66.2 13.5 8.7 7.3 -0.9 16.5 15-3 52.35
Green Bay 84.2 79.7 4.6 0.1 -1.5 4.8 6.8 12-9 48.08
Hampton 74.8 73.8 0.9 -0.9 5.1 -1.5 11.7 12-8 43.76
Hawaii 77.6 66.5 11.1 6.4 4.6 1.5 14.8 10-2 47.33
Holy Cross 65.3 69.7 -4.3 -4.5 -5.5 2.2 -5.2 6-13 45.37
Indiana 82.3 68.9 13.4 5.9 7.3 -0.6 17.3 8-7 53.79
Iona 79.6 73.7 5.9 3.5 -0.6 1.3 4.2 11-8 50.33
Iowa 78.1 68.7 9.4 3.6 1.4 2.7 9.5 8-8 56.69
Iowa St. 81.8 75.0 6.9 6.6 -0.1 0.8 4.1 7-9 58.96
Kansas 81.6 67.6 13.9 9.8 5.2 0.9 14.6 12-4 60.22
Kentucky 79.7 68.3 11.4 7.8 5.4 1.3 16.7 9-8 57.45
Maryland 76.1 66.3 9.8 8.0 3.4 -1.7 7.8 9-7 56.77
Miami 75.6 66.8 8.8 4.7 2.3 1.0 9.5 10-6 58.22
Michigan 74.3 67.5 6.8 2.1 -1.0 2.1 4.9 9-8 55.96
Michigan St. 79.8 63.4 16.4 10.7 11.7 0.0 26.7 15-3 55.75
Middle Tennessee 72.7 68.3 4.4 2.4 2.2 1.4 9.1 13-6 50.23
North Carolina 82.3 69.5 12.8 6.9 8.3 2.2 22.4 13-5 57.74
Northern Iowa 68.0 62.9 5.1 3.6 -3.9 2.0 -1.9 11-9 53.34
Notre Dame 75.7 70.6 5.1 4.3 2.3 0.0 8.1 7-9 57.25
Oklahoma 80.4 70.4 10.0 5.4 2.5 -0.3 7.1 11-6 58.74
Oregon 78.8 69.1 9.7 4.3 3.2 2.8 14.4 10-6 60.01
Oregon St. 72.1 70.0 2.1 1.4 -2.2 2.1 2.4 5-9 58.77
Pittsburgh 76.0 67.9 8.1 2.4 7.4 -0.1 17.5 6-7 56.86
Providence 74.0 69.7 4.2 -1.3 -0.2 3.1 6.0 10-6 55.71
Purdue 77.7 64.6 13.1 8.0 10.6 -2.5 20.9 9-7 56.54
Seton Hall 74.8 67.8 7.1 4.9 4.1 -0.2 10.5 12-5 56.24
South Dakota St. 76.3 67.8 8.5 3.5 5.4 0.3 13.9 14-7 51.07
Southern 72.9 69.0 3.9 3.0 -1.7 2.6 3.6 10-11 42.66
St. Joseph’s 77.6 69.9 7.7 4.0 2.9 1.3 11.2 15-3 55.49
Stephen F. Austin 80.7 63.2 17.6 4.6 3.4 6.2 18.2 13-5 47.18
Stony Brook 76.8 63.4 13.4 7.2 7.8 1.4 20.7 11-5 48.19
Syracuse 70.2 65.7 4.5 1.3 -1.4 1.4 2.2 6-9 56.21
Temple 68.7 67.4 1.2 -1.2 -1.5 1.9 3.3 10-8 54.61
Texas 71.3 68.1 3.3 1.3 -1.4 2.1 3.3 6-9 59.88
Texas A&M 75.9 65.5 10.4 4.4 3.9 2.6 14.7 9-7 55.70
Texas Tech 72.4 69.8 2.5 2.0 0.5 0.8 4.3 5-9 58.94
Tulsa 74.0 69.7 4.3 2.7 -1.9 3.5 3.8 8-8 54.97
UALR 70.9 59.6 11.3 6.9 0.1 3.5 9.1 15-4 47.45
UNC-Asheville 75.6 67.5 8.2 3.5 2.3 2.7 11.2 11-8 47.21
UNC-Wilmington 79.2 71.4 7.8 3.9 1.0 3.8 10.6 13-5 51.21
USC 80.8 74.8 6.1 4.0 1.6 0.2 6.8 5-10 56.79
Utah 77.6 69.1 8.5 7.6 4.5 -1.9 9.4 10-7 59.33
Vanderbilt 76.8 67.3 9.4 7.5 1.3 -1.7 3.4 5-11 56.44
VCU 77.2 67.3 9.9 1.0 2.7 4.0 14.0 9-8 55.24
Villanova 77.0 63.7 13.3 6.7 1.9 2.7 10.0 14-4 58.54
Virginia 70.4 59.7 10.7 6.6 3.5 2.7 13.2 11-7 60.05
Weber St. 76.7 66.9 9.9 7.0 4.3 -2.3 9.0 13-7 45.32
West Virginia 79.2 66.6 12.6 2.5 8.4 4.1 25.3 13-6 58.59
Wichita St. 73.2 59.3 14.0 4.9 4.6 5.5 19.7 10-7 52.52
Wisconsin 68.9 64.6 4.3 0.0 3.1 1.2 11.1 7-7 58.14
Xavier 81.3 71.0 10.3 3.6 7.5 1.4 19.9 12-4 56.82
Yale 75.2 63.1 12.0 6.4 11.1 -0.9 23.4 10-6 49.48

If this data is a little overbearing, fret not Bracketaholics.  We will select bracket winners for you Tuesday afternoon so you can fill them out with some science and mathematics backing you up.

 

And, if you are like many of our old-time readers, some of who prefer to use our data when visiting Las Vegas (and who have to buy new shirts after they lose the one they had), we will have our Red-White-Blue computer-rated picks for the First Four games late tonight, and then the picks for the second round late Wednesday night after the last First Four game has concluded.

 

March 16, 2015

Bracketnomics 505–The Advanced Level Course in Bracket Picking

Welcome to Bracketnomics 505 for 2015–The Advanced Level Course in Picking NCAA Tournament winners.  The best way to describe our PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Bracket-Picking formula is to call it the Past Performances of the teams.  If you are familiar with the Daily Racing Form or other thoroughbred horse racing publications, you probably know how to read the PPS of the horses in each race.  

If you have followed our statistical releases for the past 15 years, you will see a noticeable difference this year, as the PiRate Ratings have incorporated the infamous “Four Factors” into our bracket selection tutorial.

Here is a description of all the pertinent information you need to pick your brackets.  We will explain each important statistic and tell you how it applies to the NCAA Tournament.  Then, we will apply it to all 68 teams in the Big Dance and let you use what you want to fill out your brackets.  Remember one important bit of information–this process deals a lot with past tendencies trying to predict future outcomes.  It is mechanical and has no real subjective data.  It will not include information such as how your team’s star player may have the flu this week, so if you have other information, by all means include this in your selections.

THE FOUR FACTORS

Statistician and author Dean Oliver created this metric.  He did for basketball what the incredible Bill James did for baseball.  Oliver wrote the excellent book Basketball on Paper, where he showed that NBA winners could break down four separate statistical metrics to show how the winner won and the loser lost.  Later experimentation showed that this metric works for college basketball when strength of schedule is factored into the metric.

The four factors are: Effective Field Goal Percentage, Rebound Rate, Turnover Rate, and Free Throw Rate.  Each of these four factors apply to both offense and defense, so in essence, there are really eight factors.

Each Factor has a formula that can be calculated if you have the statistics.  We have all the statistics for all 68 teams, and we did this for you.

Effective FG% =  (FGM + (.5 * 3ptM))/FGA  where FGM is field goals made, 3ptM is three-pointers made, and FGA is field goals attempted.

If a team made 800 FG, 250 3-pointers and attempted 1750 field goals, their EFG% is:

(800+(.5*250))/1750 = .529 or 52.9%

Rebound Rate = Offensive Rebounds/(Offensive Rebounds + Opponents’ Defensive Rebounds)

If a team has 500 offensive rebounds and their opponents have 850 defensive rebounds, their Rebound Rate is:

500/(500+850) = .370 or 37.0%

Turnover Rate = Turnovers per 100 possessions.  Possessions can be estimated with incredible accuracy by this formula:

(FGA + (.475*FTA)-OR+TO)/G, where FGA is field goal attempts, FTA is free throw attempts, OR is offensive rebounds, TO is turnovers, and G is games played.

If a team has 1700 FGA, 650 FTA, 425 OR, and 375 TO in 30 games played, their average possessions per game is:

(1700+(.475*650)-425+375)/30 = 65.3, and thus, their TO Rate would be:

Turnovers per game / possessions per game * 100

((425/30)/65.3) * 100 = 21.7

Free Throw Rate: Oliver and others determined that getting to the line was actually more important than making the foul shots, so they did not include made free throws in their equation.  Their formula was simply:

FTA/FGA, as they believed that getting the other team in foul trouble was the most important part.

Later statisticans changed this formulas to FT Made/FGA, which included made free throws, but it also erred by making teams that do not attempt many field goals but lead late in games look much better than they really were.  If a team like Virginia attempted just 42 field goals and led an opponent by three or four points late in the game, they would pad this stat by making a lot of FT in the final minutes when the opponent was forced to foul.

A third group of statisticians, including the PiRate Ratings, believe that free throws made per 100 possessions is a better metric, and thus we go with this rating, which we call FT*:

If the team above with 65.3 possessions per game averages 17 made free throws per game, then their FT Rate is:

17 / 65.3 * 100 = 26.0

The PiRate Specific Statistics

For 15 years, the PiRate Ratings have relied on specific back-tested data that showed us what stats were important in selecting Final Four teams.  We looked back in history to see how previous Final Four teams dominated in certain statistical areas while not dominating in other areas.  Here is what we found.

  1. Scoring Margin

For general bracket picking, look for teams that outscored their opponents by an average of 8 or more points per game.  Over 85% of the Final Four teams since the 1950’s outscored their opponents by an average of 8 or more points per game.

More than 80% of the final four teams in the last 50 years outscored their opponents by double digit points per game.  When you find a team with an average scoring margin in excess of 15 points per game, and said team is in one of the six power conferences, then you have a team that will advance deep into the tournament.

This is an obvious statistic here.  If team A outscores opponents by an average of 85-70 and their team B opponent outscores similar opposition by an average of 75-70, and the teams played comparable schedules, then team A figures to be better than team B before you look at any other statistics.

In the days of the 64 to 68-team field, this statistic has become even more valuable.  It’s very difficult and close to impossible for a team accustomed to winning games by one to seven points to win four times in a row, much less six or seven consecutive games.

This statistic gives the same significance and weighting to a team that outscores its opposition 100-90 as it does to a team that outscores its opposition 60-50.

  1. Field Goal Percentage Differential

Take each team’s field goal percentage minus their defensive field goal percentage to calculate this statistic.  Look for teams that have a +7.5% or better showing.  50% to 42% is no better or no worse than 45% to 37%.  A difference of 7.5% or better is all that matters.  Teams that have a large field goal percentage margin are consistently good teams.  Sure, a team can win a game with a negative field goal percentage difference, but in the Big Dance, they certainly are not going to win six games, and they have no real chance to win four games. Two games are about the maximum for these teams.

This statistic holds strong in back-tests of 50 years.  Even when teams won the tournament with less than 7.5% field goal percentage margins, for the most part, these teams just barely missed (usually in the 5.5 to 7.5% range).  In the years of the 64 to 68-team tournament, this stat has become a more accurate predictor.  In the 21st Century, the teams with field goal percentage margins in the double digits have dominated the field.  For example, if you see a team that shoots better than 48% and allows 38% or less, that team is going to be very hard to beat in large arenas with weird sight lines.

  1. Rebound Margin

This statistic holds up all the way back to the early days of basketball, in fact as far back to the days when rebounds were first recorded.  The teams that consistently control the boards are the ones that advance past the first week in the tournament.  What we’re looking for here are teams that out-rebound their opposition by five or more per game.  In the opening two rounds, a difference of three or more is just as important.

There are complete rebounding statistics back to 1954, and in the 61 NCAA Tournaments between 1954 and 2014, the National Champion outrebounded their opponents 61 times!  Yes, no team with a negative rebound margin has ever won the title.

The reason this statistic becomes even more important in mid-March is that teams do not always shoot as well in the NCAA Tournament for a variety of reasons (better defense, abnormal sight lines and unfamiliar gymnasiums, nerves, new rims and nets, more physical play with the refs allowing it, etc.).  The teams that can consistently get offensive put-backs are the teams that go on scoring runs in these games.  The teams that prevent the opposition from getting offensive rebounds, holding them to one shot per possession, have a huge advantage.  Again, there will be some teams that advance that were beaten on the boards, but as the number of teams drop from 64 to 32 to 16 to eight, it is rare for one of these teams to continue to advance.  West Virginia in 2005 made it to the Elite Eight without being able to rebound, but not many other teams have been able to do so.  There have been years where all four Final Four participants were in the top 20 in rebounding margin, and there have been many years where the champion was in the top 5 in rebounding margin.

  1. Turnover Margin & Steals Per Game

Turnover margin can give a weaker rebounding team a chance to advance.  Any positive turnover margin is good here.  If a team cannot meet the rebounding margin listed above, they can get by if they have an excellent turnover margin.  Not all turnover margins are the same though.  A team that forces a high number of turnovers by way of steals is better than a team that forces the same amount of turnovers without steals.  A steal is better than a defensive rebound, because most of the time, a steal leads to a fast-break basket or foul.  When a team steals the ball, they are already facing their basket, and the defense must turn around and chase.  Many steals occur on the perimeter where the ball-hawking team has a numbers advantage.

The criteria to look for here is a positive turnover margin if the team out-rebounds its opposition by three or more; a turnover margin of three or better if the team out-rebounds its opposition by less than three; and a turnover margin of five or more if the team does not out-rebound its opponents.  Give more weight to teams that average 7.5 or more steals per game, and give much more weight to teams that average double figure steals per game.  A team that averages more than 10 steals per game will get a lot of fast-break baskets and foul shots.  In NCAA Tournament play, one quick spurt can be like a three-run homer in the World Series, and teams that either steal the ball or control the boards are the ones who will get that spurt.

  1. The All-Important R+T Margin: Consider this the basketball equivalent of baseball’s OPS (On Base % + Slugging %) or even better, the “MoneyballFormula.”  The formula has undergone a couple of changes in recent years, including this season, and we think it will be slightly adjusted in the future based on changes in how the game is played.

The R+T Formula for 2015 is: (R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T, where R is rebounding margin, S is average steals per game (Opp S is opponents steals per game), and T is turnover margin.  The numbers are all rounded to one digit.

Look for teams with R+T ratings at 15 or above.  These are the teams that will get several additional opportunities to score points and go on scoring runs that put opponents away

When this stat is 7.5 to 15, you have a team that can overcome a few other liabilities to win and cut down the nets in Indianapolis if they don’t run into a team from the 15+ R+T range with similar shooting percentages and defense.

When this stat is 4.5 to 7.5, you have a team good enough to win early and get to the Sweet 16 or lite 8 but not advance past that round, unless said team has a large field goal percentage difference margin.

When this stat is 0 to 4.5, you have a team that better enjoy a large field goal margin advantage, or they will be one and done or two and out.

When this stat is negative, you have a team that will be eliminated quickly, even if they are playing a lower seed.  We have isolated many early round upsets due to this statistic, and we have eliminated many teams expected to perform well that bombed in the opening round.

A few years ago, Georgetown had a negative R+T rating but was a prohibitive favorite against Ohio U.  The Bobcats had a positive R+T rating and decent numbers in the other PiRate factors.  We called for Ohio to upset Georgetown in the first round, and Ohio won by double digits.

The same thing occurred again a couple years later when Georgetown had a negative R+T rating as the Hoyas faced unknown Florida Gulf Coast.  FGCU not only pulled off the upset, they blew GU off the floor.

  1. Power Conference Plus Schedule Strength

Up to this point you might have been thinking that it is much easier for Stephen F. Austin or Wofford to own these gaudy statistics than it is for Iowa St. or Notre Dame.  And, of course, that is correct.  We have to adjust this procedure so that teams that play tougher schedules get rewarded and teams that play softer schedules get punished.  We use three different SOS ratings to come up with an average, and then we plug it into a formula that gives extra points for teams with tough schedules, while taking away points from teams with easy schedules.

  1. Won-Loss percentage Away From Home Floor

This should be obvious.  Except in the rarest of instances (like Dayton playing in a First Round Game this year), all NCAA Tournament games are played on neutral courts.  Some teams play like titans on their home floor but become pansies when playing away from home.  It is one thing to accumulate great statistics by scheduling 19 home games, three neutral site games, and eight away games and then going 18-1 at home, 1-2 on the neutral site, and 3-5 on the road to finish 22-8.  However, we need to locate the teams that continue to dominate away from home.  Combine the road and neutral games played and look at that percentage.  When you find a team with a 75% or better win percentage away from home, this team is a legitimate contender in the Big Dance.  When this number tops 85%, you have a tough team capable of winning four consecutive games and advancing to the Final Four.

These are the basic PiRate criteria.  You might be shocked to see that there are some key statistics that are not included.  Let’s look at some of these stats not to rely upon.

  1. Assists and Assists to Turnover Ratio

While assists can reveal an excellent passing team (and we love great passing teams), they also can hide a problem.  Let’s say a team gets 28 field goals and has 21 assists.  That may very well indicate this team can pass better than most others. However, it may also mean two other things.  First, this team may not have players who can create their own offense and must get by on exceptional passing.  That may not work against the best defensive teams in the nation (like the type that get into the Dance).  Second, and even more importantly, it may indicate that this team cannot get offensive put-backs.  As explained earlier, the offensive rebound is about as important as any stat can be in the NCAA Tournament.  So, consider this stat only if you must decide on a toss-up after looking at the big seven stats.

  1. Free Throw Shooting

You might say we are contradicting the Four Factors with this, but we are not.  It is the least important of the Four Factors, and we only apply this to the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, free throw shooting in the clutch decides many ball games.  However, history shows a long line of teams making it deep into the tournament with poor free throw shooting percentages, and teams that overly rely on free throws may find it tough getting to the line with the liberalized officiating in the tournament.

Let’s say a team shoots a paltry 60% at the foul line while their opponent hits a great 75% of their foul shots.  Let’s say each team gets to the foul line 15 times in the game, with five of those chances being 1&1, three being one shot after made baskets, and seven being two shot fouls.  For the 60% shooting team, they can be expected to hit 3 of 5 on the front end of the 1&1 and then 1.8 of the 3 bonus shots; they can be expected to hit 1.8 of 3 on the one foul shot after made baskets; and they can be expected to hit 8.4 of 14 on the two shot fouls for a total of 15 out of 25.  The 75% shooting team can be expected to connect on 3.75 of 5 on the front end of the 1&1 and then 2.8 of 3.75 on the bonus shot; they can be expected to hit 2.3 of 3 on the one foul shot after made baskets; and they can be expected to connect on 10.5 of 14 on the two shot fouls for a total of 19.35 out of 25.75.

A team with one of the top FT% only scores 4.35 more points at the foul line than a team with one of the worst.  That is not a lot of points to make up, and when you consider that this is about the maximum possible difference, this stat is not all that important.  Also consider that teams that shoot 60% of their foul shots and make the NCAA Tournament are almost always the teams that have the top R+T ratings, which is vitally important after the Ides of March.

Teams that make the NCAA Tournament with gaudy free throw percentages frequently get there by winning close games at the line.  In the NCAA Tournament, fouls just don’t get called as frequently as in the regular season.  The referees let the teams play.  So, looking at superior free throw percentage can almost lead you down the wrong path.

Ponder this:  The 1973 UCLA Bruins are considered to be the best college basketball team ever.  That team connected on just 63% of its free throws.  They had a rebounding margin of 15.2, and they forced many turnovers via steals thanks to their vaunted 2-2-1 zone press.  In the great UCLA dynasty from 1964 through 1973 when the Bruins won nine titles in 10 years, they never once connected on 70% of their free throws and averaged just 66% during that stretch.

  1. 3-point shooting

You have to look at this statistic two different ways and consider that it is already part of field goal percentage and defensive field goal percentage.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not count the difference in made three-pointers and multiply by three to see the difference in points scored.  If Team A hits eight treys, while their Team B opponents hit three, that is not a difference of 15 points; it’s a difference of five points.  Consider made three-pointers as one extra point because they are already figured as made field goals.  A team with 26 made field goals and eight treys has only one more point than a team with 26 made field goals and seven treys.

The only time to give three-point shots any weight in this criteria is when you are looking at a toss-up game, and when you do look at this stat, look for the team that does not rely on them to win, but instead uses a credible percentage that prevents defenses from sagging into the 10-12-foot area around the basket.  If a team cannot throw it in the ocean from behind the arc, defenses can sag inside and take away the inside game.  It doesn’t play much of a role in the NCAA Tournament.  A team that must hit 10 threes per game in order to win is not going to be around after the first weekend.

  1. One Big Star or Two Really Good Players

Teams that get to the Dance by riding one big star or a majority of scoring from two players are not solid enough to advance very far.  Now, this does not apply to a team with one big star and four really good players.  I’m referring to a team with one big star and four lemons or two big scorers with three guys who are allergic to the ball.  Many times a team may have one big scorer or two guys who score 85% of the points, but the other three starters are capable of scoring 20 points if they are called on to do so.  If you have a team with five double figure scorers, they will be harder to defend and will be more consistent on the attack side.  It is hard for all five players to slump at once.

We hope this primer will help you when you fill out your brackets this year.

Here is a list of all the statistics for the Big Dance teams.  Hopefully, they will align properly on your computer, as we had issues getting the alignment to work here.  Our provider is not really set up for tabular posts, and that is our problem and not theirs.

Offense Statistics

Team FG FGA 3pt 3pta FT FTa OR DR TO Stl
Albany 706 1605 197 547 487 640 320 756 374 181
Arizona 908 1855 172 478 611 874 368 898 381 244
Arkansas 932 2083 227 648 562 776 442 774 399 264
Baylor 794 1831 229 607 476 710 485 808 413 261
Belmont 831 1746 321 841 400 579 301 763 439 205
Boise St. 809 1768 291 738 426 581 286 800 339 201
Buffalo 817 1878 193 567 573 794 412 818 361 244
Butler 777 1771 184 514 488 718 390 785 364 204
BYU 948 2032 85 734 660 859 415 895 402 257
Cincinnati 716 1581 161 483 403 598 351 744 409 210
Coastal Carolina 808 1841 221 621 529 769 440 873 393 232
Davidson 877 1861 337 849 386 543 325 789 297 170
Dayton 750 1620 213 605 538 789 245 796 379 230
Duke 944 1880 250 648 522 755 401 831 371 237
E. Washington 951 1981 335 832 509 704 341 814 367 216
Georgetown 750 1650 181 521 511 728 347 742 392 240
Georgia 728 1673 180 524 551 800 348 869 408 179
Georgia St. 854 1778 163 492 504 693 309 773 352 300
Gonzaga 973 1856 242 593 502 726 347 940 359 211
Hampton 753 1847 187 615 523 802 404 820 469 220
Harvard 650 1493 141 399 420 589 304 695 342 204
Indiana 899 1930 308 764 451 631 395 792 379 167
Iowa 758 1776 181 545 524 703 401 805 361 211
Iowa St. 916 1908 257 703 497 714 314 870 364 209
Kansas 822 1869 198 528 579 804 402 888 435 222
Kentucky  883 1884 185 529 596 825 439 859 361 223
Lafayette 851 1744 257 622 415 542 272 720 351 179
Louisville 783 1827 181 595 468 709 413 808 378 266
LSU 868 1902 184 543 438 636 388 865 468 235
Manhattan 733 1686 209 615 561 808 333 691 464 259
Maryland 741 1693 241 647 570 753 302 855 397 160
Michigan St. 901 1912 256 663 386 610 390 891 395 181
N. C. St. 820 1875 219 606 464 679 400 849 347 131
New Mexico St. 788 1692 160 435 524 755 414 756 459 209
North Carolina 1019 2144 167 484 522 746 488 948 444 233
North Dakota St. 714 1659 220 579 417 602 271 803 312 153
North Florida 872 1858 308 788 522 721 326 851 417 213
Northeastern 811 1670 200 515 510 703 284 843 467 181
Northern Iowa 735 1523 242 609 445 613 239 778 346 196
Notre Dame 945 1853 281 716 509 688 283 831 319 234
Ohio St. 916 1886 225 605 445 656 372 811 373 257
Oklahoma 818 1874 216 629 450 612 351 868 388 221
Oklahoma St. 706 1607 216 618 459 632 238 730 380 245
Ole Miss 788 1850 207 612 541 695 397 805 363 211
Oregon 937 2031 248 688 447 588 359 877 401 195
Providence 808 1830 161 520 540 761 398 791 391 238
Purdue 801 1768 191 571 515 752 388 810 432 180
Robert Morris 802 1798 211 555 462 647 344 759 454 282
San Diego St. 756 1805 178 556 411 653 413 784 386 236
SMU 812 1695 138 384 529 750 378 833 417 226
St. John’s 808 1831 195 552 468 676 329 803 342 239
S.F. Austin 894 1819 257 666 577 786 402 745 464 252
Texas 779 1787 206 607 478 659 410 900 420 124
Texas Southern 794 1789 180 562 550 831 386 788 445 209
UAB 820 1907 187 563 514 694 403 841 461 225
UC-Irvine 830 1799 212 544 368 539 320 849 382 189
UCLA 849 1927 205 564 473 700 406 847 392 226
Utah 788 1624 247 611 484 692 296 821 366 190
Valparaiso 817 1780 224 593 446 658 386 859 413 198
VCU 872 2076 283 828 510 778 431 809 372 338
Villanova 861 1833 306 787 565 777 351 819 369 265
Virginia 761 1644 162 449 407 563 329 829 304 179
West Virginia 813 1975 213 669 527 798 539 638 418 350
Wichita St. 784 1756 224 619 439 638 380 758 301 225
Wisconsin 860 1793 237 663 487 638 322 823 252 154
Wofford 800 1745 215 572 463 672 310 792 371 223
Wyoming 726 1573 200 620 445 629 212 813 380 189
Xavier 885 1870 214 613 517 713 340 844 411 207

Defense

Team FG FGA 3pt 3pta FT FTa OR DR TO Stl
Albany 672 1600 243 666 340 486 259 665 399 153
Arizona 686 1752 181 581 440 636 258 710 481 159
Arkansas 824 1914 212 600 525 736 402 800 543 188
Baylor 716 1782 191 637 368 570 367 663 404 211
Belmont 828 1832 232 675 363 514 319 726 411 212
Boise St. 710 1712 188 611 381 544 276 729 419 158
Buffalo 773 1831 230 697 409 618 358 774 436 197
Butler 701 1684 175 571 381 561 260 708 403 175
BYU 858 1972 211 643 540 770 354 788 449 224
Cincinnati 654 1678 184 560 277 427 347 589 390 177
Coastal Carolina 691 1766 231 718 422 604 305 722 394 191
Davidson 779 1769 175 582 405 636 337 749 365 159
Dayton 731 1738 181 571 367 541 309 768 449 172
Duke 829 1931 171 534 335 483 357 670 415 188
E. Washington 876 1953 268 697 484 676 353 796 417 187
Georgetown 650 1614 203 566 501 709 338 665 420 192
Georgia 707 1826 200 647 440 626 353 729 355 194
Georgia St. 667 1749 237 735 482 683 398 704 500 154
Gonzaga 737 1917 191 589 406 615 372 669 395 191
Hampton 744 1801 188 546 568 827 367 826 461 178
Harvard 587 1471 159 486 327 484 268 623 368 156
Indiana 875 1925 194 591 413 617 359 724 357 200
Iowa 701 1788 211 652 367 522 354 718 400 195
Iowa St. 842 2012 245 697 357 488 358 786 427 186
Kansas 780 1977 195 631 444 664 415 751 398 216
Kentucky  651 1836 156 570 377 581 398 647 478 159
Lafayette 850 1864 263 698 415 542 370 687 354 190
Louisville 676 1740 160 547 393 603 362 763 463 191
LSU 796 1986 180 575 395 597 427 753 439 262
Manhattan 710 1630 145 450 595 846 351 740 531 221
Maryland 756 1910 223 713 352 533 374 733 372 180
Michigan St. 728 1821 208 643 492 686 312 738 377 194
N. C. St. 757 1877 195 588 450 640 370 770 331 176
New Mexico St. 727 1725 120 409 384 557 329 618 434 179
North Carolina 818 2056 227 763 531 773 416 734 435 234
North Dakota St. 697 1668 206 556 369 497 237 771 338 146
North Florida 851 1971 172 549 430 633 389 767 420 217
Northeastern 848 1905 191 555 323 470 289 674 342 240
Northern Iowa 641 1638 197 624 167 221 287 652 372 163
Notre Dame 847 1984 213 647 325 463 384 725 384 176
Ohio St. 743 1833 221 694 350 502 370 718 484 166
Oklahoma 727 1888 197 637 357 546 399 785 443 209
Oklahoma St. 646 1620 176 519 464 678 349 722 426 185
Ole Miss 708 1771 245 703 499 729 374 740 405 161
Oregon 853 2025 215 652 484 697 399 790 395 190
Providence 742 1762 210 631 467 679 331 730 430 188
Purdue 724 1807 196 560 485 696 365 684 385 228
Robert Morris 778 1835 222 664 457 690 424 756 482 216
San Diego St. 659 1750 172 567 317 456 339 748 451 184
SMU 671 1768 258 803 372 548 350 632 423 220
St. John’s 768 1895 221 675 407 619 431 822 423 165
S.F. Austin 712 1627 150 451 555 800 312 656 571 196
Texas 686 1862 200 575 421 637 367 668 298 209
Texas Southern 850 1930 188 550 405 629 410 749 419 220
UAB 824 1960 206 635 447 653 411 780 452 210
UC-Irvine 716 1823 179 527 445 644 373 746 375 191
UCLA 779 1866 259 729 428 611 331 793 416 207
Utah 643 1681 152 477 384 569 313 640 373 176
Valparaiso 670 1762 219 667 397 565 319 687 404 223
VCU 794 1835 223 648 482 694 359 928 566 205
Villanova 752 1856 186 603 380 563 369 724 483 192
Virginia 578 1600 177 584 289 447 267 641 341 163
West Virginia 697 1488 173 473 572 833 285 778 628 185
Wichita St. 617 1551 161 469 391 576 272 698 426 127
Wisconsin 742 1771 170 442 254 373 256 686 339 135
Wofford 715 1715 170 551 433 613 292 762 435 180
Wyoming 692 1725 210 612 309 444 290 733 370 178
Xavier 814 1862 242 693 430 641 314 746 440 221

Four Factors

Team EFG DEFG OR% DOR% TO% DTO% FT* DFT*
Albany 50.1 49.6 32.5 25.5 19.1 20.2 24.8 17.3
Arizona 53.6 44.3 34.1 22.3 16.7 21.1 26.8 19.3
Arkansas 50.2 48.6 35.6 34.2 16.6 22.6 23.3 21.8
Baylor 49.6 45.5 42.2 31.2 19.7 19.3 22.7 17.6
Belmont 56.8 51.5 29.3 29.5 20.3 19.0 18.5 16.7
Boise St. 54.0 47.0 28.2 25.7 16.2 19.8 20.3 18.0
Buffalo 48.6 48.5 34.7 30.4 16.4 19.8 26.0 18.6
Butler 49.1 46.8 35.5 24.9 17.4 19.3 23.4 18.2
BYU 48.7 48.9 34.5 28.3 16.6 18.5 27.2 22.2
Cincinnati 50.4 44.5 37.3 31.8 21.3 20.3 21.0 14.4
Coastal Carolina 49.9 45.7 37.9 25.9 18.2 18.4 24.5 19.7
Davidson 56.2 49.0 30.3 29.9 14.2 17.4 18.5 19.3
Dayton 52.9 47.3 24.2 28.0 17.8 21.0 25.3 17.2
Duke 56.9 47.4 37.4 30.1 16.8 18.7 23.6 15.1
E. Washington 56.5 51.7 30.0 30.2 15.7 17.8 21.7 20.7
Georgetown 50.9 46.6 34.3 31.3 19.2 20.7 25.0 24.6
Georgia 48.9 44.2 32.3 28.9 19.3 16.7 26.1 20.7
Georgia St. 52.6 44.9 30.5 34.0 16.4 23.0 23.4 22.2
Gonzaga 58.9 43.4 34.2 28.4 16.2 17.7 22.7 18.2
Hampton 45.8 46.5 32.8 30.9 20.5 20.2 22.8 24.8
Harvard 48.3 45.3 32.8 27.8 18.9 20.4 23.2 18.2
Indiana 54.6 50.5 35.3 31.2 17.1 16.1 20.4 18.6
Iowa 47.8 45.1 35.8 30.5 17.4 19.2 25.3 17.6
Iowa St. 54.7 47.9 28.5 29.2 15.8 18.5 21.6 15.4
Kansas 49.3 44.4 34.9 31.8 19.0 17.5 25.4 19.5
Kentucky  51.8 39.7 40.4 31.7 16.4 21.8 27.1 17.2
Lafayette 56.2 52.7 28.4 33.9 16.9 16.8 19.9 19.7
Louisville 47.8 43.4 35.1 30.9 17.8 21.8 22.0 18.5
LSU 50.5 44.6 34.0 33.0 20.5 19.2 19.2 17.3
Manhattan 49.7 48.0 31.0 33.7 21.1 24.0 25.5 26.9
Maryland 50.9 45.4 29.2 30.4 18.5 17.2 26.6 16.3
Michigan St. 53.8 45.7 34.6 25.9 17.9 17.0 17.5 22.2
N. C. St. 49.6 45.5 34.2 30.4 16.2 15.5 21.6 21.0
New Mexico St. 51.3 45.6 40.1 30.3 21.9 20.7 25.0 18.3
North Carolina 51.4 45.3 39.9 30.5 18.1 17.8 21.3 21.7
North Dakota St. 49.7 48.0 26.0 22.8 15.7 16.9 21.0 18.4
North Florida 55.2 47.5 29.8 31.4 18.2 18.2 22.8 18.7
Northeastern 54.6 49.5 29.6 25.5 21.4 15.7 23.3 14.8
Northern Iowa 56.2 45.1 26.8 26.9 18.0 20.4 23.2 9.1
Notre Dame 58.6 48.1 28.1 31.6 14.4 17.4 23.0 14.7
Ohio St. 54.5 46.6 34.1 31.3 17.0 22.1 20.2 16.0
Oklahoma 49.4 43.7 30.9 31.5 17.6 20.2 20.4 16.3
Oklahoma St. 50.7 45.3 24.8 32.3 18.5 21.1 22.4 23.0
Ole Miss 48.2 46.9 34.9 31.7 16.9 18.9 25.2 23.2
Oregon 52.2 47.4 31.2 31.3 17.0 16.8 19.0 20.6
Providence 48.6 48.1 35.3 29.5 17.9 19.7 24.7 21.4
Purdue 50.7 45.5 36.2 31.1 19.9 17.8 23.7 22.5
Robert Morris 50.5 48.4 31.3 35.8 20.5 21.7 20.9 20.6
San Diego St. 46.8 42.6 35.6 30.2 18.5 21.7 19.7 15.3
SMU 52.0 45.2 37.4 29.6 19.9 20.1 25.3 17.7
St. John’s 49.5 46.4 28.6 34.9 15.8 19.4 21.6 18.7
S.F. Austin 56.2 48.4 38.0 29.5 20.6 25.2 25.6 24.5
Texas 49.4 42.2 38.0 29.0 19.9 14.2 22.7 20.1
Texas Southern 49.4 48.9 34.0 34.2 19.8 18.7 24.5 18.1
UAB 47.9 47.3 34.1 32.8 20.1 19.6 22.4 19.3
UC-Irvine 52.0 44.2 30.0 30.5 18.0 17.6 17.4 20.9
UCLA 49.4 48.7 33.9 28.1 17.5 18.6 21.1 19.1
Utah 56.1 42.8 31.6 27.6 18.1 18.5 23.9 19.1
Valparaiso 52.2 44.2 36.0 27.1 19.5 19.1 21.0 18.8
VCU 48.8 49.3 31.7 30.7 15.6 23.9 21.4 20.3
Villanova 55.3 45.5 32.7 31.1 16.6 21.6 25.4 17.0
Virginia 51.2 41.7 33.9 24.4 16.1 18.1 21.6 15.3
West Virginia 46.6 52.7 40.9 30.9 18.7 28.2 23.6 25.7
Wichita St. 51.0 45.0 35.3 26.4 15.2 21.5 22.2 19.8
Wisconsin 54.6 46.7 31.9 23.7 12.4 16.7 24.0 12.5
Wofford 52.0 46.6 28.9 26.9 17.5 20.2 21.8 20.1
Wyoming 52.5 46.2 22.4 26.3 18.6 18.4 21.8 15.3
Xavier 53.0 50.2 31.3 27.1 18.0 19.2 22.7 18.8

PiRate Ratings Essential Information For Bracketnomicss

Pos = Possessions Per game (and Defensive Possessions)

PM = Scoring Margin

FGM = Field Goal % Margin

RbM = Rebound Margin

TOM = Turnover Margin

RT = R + T Score

Rd = Won-Loss away from home

SOS = Strength of Schedule (ESPN’s version)

Team Pos DPos PPG D PPG PM FGM RbM TOM RT Rd W-L SOS
Albany 61.3 61.6 65.5 60.2 5.3 2.0 4.8 0.8 14.3 12-5 24-8 43.3
Arizona 67.2 67.0 76.4 58.6 17.8 9.8 8.8 2.9 25.4 8-3 31-3 58.4
Arkansas 70.8 70.7 78.0 70.1 7.9 1.7 0.4 4.2 9.4 7-5 26-8 64.2
Baylor 63.5 63.3 69.5 60.3 9.2 3.2 8.0 -0.3 19.2 6-5 24-9 65.1
Belmont 67.5 67.8 74.5 70.3 4.1 2.4 0.6 -0.9 2.9 7-8 22-10 45.6
Boise St. 63.5 64.0 70.8 60.3 10.5 4.3 2.5 2.4 11.6 9-5 25-8 51.9
Buffalo 68.9 68.8 75.0 68.3 6.7 1.3 3.1 2.3 12.1 10-7 23-9 57.2
Butler 65.2 65.4 69.6 61.2 8.4 2.2 6.5 1.2 17.9 7-4 22-10 66.4
BYU 71.4 71.6 77.7 72.6 5.1 3.1 4.9 1.4 14.5 8-3 25-9 58.9
Cincinnati 60.1 60.1 62.4 55.3 7.1 6.3 5.0 -0.6 13.1 6-5 22-10 57.8
Coastal Carolina 65.4 64.9 71.7 61.7 10.0 4.8 8.7 0.0 21.1 8-7 24-9 40.2
Davidson 67.4 67.7 79.9 69.0 10.9 3.1 0.9 2.2 7.6 9-4 24-7 56.5
Dayton 64.5 64.7 68.2 60.9 7.3 4.2 -1.1 2.1 4.2 6-7 25-8 60.3
Duke 66.9 67.2 80.6 65.6 15.0 7.3 6.2 1.3 17.7 10-2 29-4 62.0
E. Washington 68.9 68.8 80.8 73.6 7.1 3.2 0.2 1.5 5.5 11-6 26-8 42.5
Georgetown 65.8 65.6 70.7 64.6 6.1 5.2 2.8 0.9 10.1 7-5 21-10 68.9
Georgia 66.0 66.4 68.3 64.2 4.2 4.8 4.2 -1.7 9.5 8-5 21-11 68.3
Georgia St. 65.2 65.9 72.0 62.2 9.8 9.9 -0.6 4.5 9.2 10-8 24-9 46.9
Gonzaga 65.1 65.7 79.1 60.9 18.2 14.0 7.2 1.1 19.0 13-1 32-2 56.3
Hampton 69.5 69.3 67.2 68.0 -0.8 -0.5 0.9 -0.2 5.6 7-12 16-17 37.0
Harvard 62.4 62.1 64.2 57.2 6.9 3.6 3.7 0.9 12.5 9-4 22-7 49.3
Indiana 67.1 67.2 77.5 71.4 6.1 1.1 3.2 -0.7 8.1 4-7 20-13 64.8
Iowa 64.7 65.1 69.4 61.9 7.5 3.5 4.2 1.2 12.8 7-4 21-11 63.7
Iowa St. 69.6 70.1 78.4 69.3 9.1 6.2 1.2 1.9 7.9 7-5 25-8 67.7
Kansas 67.2 66.9 71.2 64.7 6.5 4.5 3.6 -1.1 9.1 6-6 26-8 71.2
Kentucky  64.6 64.5 74.9 54.0 20.9 11.4 7.4 3.4 22.9 14-0 34-0 58.5
Lafayette 65.0 65.8 74.2 74.3 -0.1 3.2 -2.0 0.1 -1.1 9-7 20-12 44.0
Louisville 66.5 66.5 69.2 59.5 9.7 4.0 3.0 2.7 12.8 8-3 24-8 66.7
LSU 71.4 71.3 73.7 67.7 6.0 5.6 2.3 -0.9 5.1 8-5 22-10 62.7
Manhattan 68.8 69.1 69.9 67.5 2.4 -0.1 -2.1 2.1 1.0 8-9 19-13 46.0
Maryland 65.0 65.5 69.5 63.2 6.2 4.2 1.5 -0.8 5.2 9-4 27-6 65.0
Michigan St. 64.9 65.1 71.9 63.4 8.5 7.1 6.8 -0.5 16.0 9-6 23-11 65.0
N. C. St. 65.0 64.9 70.4 65.4 5.0 3.4 3.3 -0.5 8.8 7-9 20-13 66.8
New Mexico St. 63.5 63.5 68.5 59.3 9.2 4.4 6.8 -0.8 16.5 7-8 23-10 44.1
North Carolina 70.1 69.8 77.9 68.4 9.5 7.7 8.2 -0.3 18.7 11-5 24-11 68.6
North Dakota St. 62.1 62.7 64.5 61.5 3.0 1.3 2.1 0.8 8.8 7-9 23-9 42.6
North Florida 67.4 67.7 75.7 67.8 7.9 3.8 0.6 0.1 4.1 11-9 23-11 41.1
Northeastern 64.3 64.2 68.6 65.0 3.6 4.0 4.8 -3.7 7.6 13-8 23-11 49.5
Northern Iowa 58.2 55.4 65.4 49.9 15.5 9.1 2.4 0.8 9.5 12-3 30-3 55.6
Notre Dame 65.2 64.8 78.8 65.6 13.2 8.3 0.1 1.9 6.5 11-2 29-5 61.1
Ohio St. 66.6 66.2 75.8 62.3 13.5 8.0 2.9 3.4 14.0 5-8 23-10 63.4
Oklahoma 68.8 68.5 71.9 62.8 9.2 5.1 1.1 1.7 6.8 6-7 22-10 66.7
Oklahoma St. 66.1 65.1 67.3 62.3 5.0 4.1 -3.3 1.5 -1.2 4-9 18-13 65.8
Ole Miss 67.1 67.1 72.6 67.5 5.1 2.6 2.8 1.3 11.1 10-4 20-12 65.7
Oregon 69.2 69.2 75.6 70.7 4.8 4.0 1.4 -0.2 5.9 7-6 25-9 63.7
Providence 66.2 66.2 70.2 65.5 4.7 2.0 3.9 1.2 12.8 8-6 22-11 68.1
Purdue 65.7 65.4 69.9 64.5 5.4 5.2 4.5 -1.4 9.4 7-8 21-12 66.0
Robert Morris 67.1 67.3 69.0 67.7 1.3 2.2 -2.3 0.8 -0.1 9-8 19-14 43.6
San Diego St. 61.4 61.1 61.8 53.1 8.6 4.2 3.2 1.9 12.4 10-6 26-8 56.1
SMU 63.3 63.7 69.4 59.8 9.7 10.0 6.9 0.2 16.8 10-4 27-6 58.1
St. John’s 67.7 68.2 71.2 67.6 3.6 3.6 -3.8 2.5 -0.5 5-8 21-11 63.7
S.F. Austin 68.3 68.7 79.5 64.5 14.9 5.4 5.4 3.2 18.0 14-3 29-4 43.6
Texas 63.9 63.5 67.9 60.4 7.5 6.8 8.3 -3.7 14.5 6-8 20-13 67.6
Texas Southern 66.0 65.8 68.2 67.4 0.7 0.3 0.4 -0.8 2.7 13-11 22-12 40.5
UAB 67.5 68.0 68.9 67.7 1.2 1.0 1.6 -0.3 6.0 3-8 19-15 52.4
UC-Irvine 64.2 64.6 67.9 62.3 5.6 6.9 1.5 -0.2 5.9 7-9 21-12 50.8
UCLA 68.0 67.9 72.0 68.0 4.0 2.3 3.9 0.7 11.7 4-12 20-13 65.9
Utah 63.2 62.9 72.1 56.9 15.2 10.3 5.1 0.2 13.9 8-7 24-8 59.0
Valparaiso 64.2 64.1 69.8 59.3 10.5 7.9 7.2 -0.3 16.5 13-4 28-5 46.4
VCU 68.2 67.8 72.5 65.5 7.0 -1.3 -1.3 5.5 7.8 14-5 26-9 63.4
Villanova 65.3 65.8 76.3 60.9 15.4 6.5 2.3 3.4 12.1 15-2 32-2 59.8
Virginia 59.0 58.9 65.3 50.7 14.7 10.2 7.8 1.2 20.5 14-2 29-3 61.2
West Virginia 69.8 69.6 73.9 66.8 7.1 -5.7 3.6 6.6 19.4 11-6 23-9 65.8
Wichita St. 61.9 61.8 69.7 55.8 13.9 4.9 5.3 3.9 20.0 13-4 28-4 56.1
Wisconsin 59.6 59.7 71.9 56.1 15.8 6.1 6.0 2.6 18.8 16-2 31-3 59.9
Wofford 62.5 63.2 67.0 59.8 7.2 4.2 1.4 1.9 8.7 15-5 28-6 47.5
Wyoming 60.0 59.3 61.7 56.0 5.7 6.0 0.1 -0.3 3.4 8-7 25-9 48.8
Xavier 67.0 67.4 73.6 67.6 5.9 3.6 3.6 0.9 10.7 8-10 21-13 66.4

Coming tomorrow, we look at each game in the opening round and round two, picking the winners and then picking the entire bracket.

March 16, 2010

A PiRate Bracketnomics Sample–The Play-in Round

A PiRate Bracketnomics Sampler

The Play-in Game

 

Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time: 7:30 PM EDT

Site: Dayton, OH

Teams: Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions (17-15) vs.

             Winthrop Eagles (19-13)

For those of you who have not read out Bracketnomics tutorial from Sunday, March 14, you need to scroll down and peruse it carefully so this will mean something to you.

Almost all bracket competitions around the country allow you to submit your picks as late as Thursday morning, one hour before game time.  You get the play-in winner as a free pick in your bracket, mostly because it is a logistical nightmare to add a separate space on the competition form.

We always believe you should wait until the latest possible time to submit your picks.  You never know when a team’s star player might come down with a cold or flu, and that is vital information.

Now, let’s take a look at tonight’s play-in game between Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Winthrop.  We will show how the PiRate Bracketnomics formula applies.

Here are the raw numbers for both of the teams.

Stat UAPB Winthrop
Scoring Margin -0.3 1.0
FG% Difference 0.4 -1.5
Rebound Margin 6.6 1.7
Turnover Margin -2.9 3.2
Steals/G 6.8 8.8
R+T 1.9 8.5
Schedule Strength 45.5 46.7
W-L Away Games 9-14 7-11
Raw Score -11.46 -2.29
Favorite   9.2

 

The PiRate system sees this game as a great one of contrasts.  UABP has a superior inside game, but they Golden Lions cannot handle the ball well enough to withstand the Eagles’ superior perimeter defense.  Winthrop will force numerous turnovers and pick up a couple of easy baskets in this game, and then their defense will turn up the screws and force UAPB to rush their shots.

We see this as a sloppy, low-scoring game and will take Winthrop to win by 9 points in the neighborhood of 64-55.  The Eagles will provide no competition for Duke on Friday.

Coming tomorrow, we will tell you which teams are contenders, which are pretenders, and which are possible dark horses.  We will give you these tidbits today.  One team rated much higher than all the others (and is thus our pick to win it all), and that school is from one of the Big Six conferences and in the Top 10.  One of the smaller conference teams was the only one of the 65 to score in the top echelon of every important statistic, with strength of schedule being their only liability, while another mid-major came very close to matching that feat and had a decent strength of schedule.

Only two teams of the 65 were eliminated immediately based on a negative R+T rating, and a record 22 teams this year possess the usual necessary criteria to win four times and advance to the Final Four.  A dozen more rate so close to the necessary number, that we wouldn’t be shocked if any of 35 teams make it to Indianapolis in April. 

Many pundits proclaim this to be an off year in college basketball with no real dominant team, but our ratings show it to be a balanced year with many teams good enough to dominate this tournament in a real off year.

So, come back tomorrow for an in-depth look at bracket picking plus a detailed look at Thursday’s and Friday’s 32 first-round games.

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