The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 15, 2019

Advanced Basketball Statistics–Fun Stuff for Stats Buffs, Part 2

Last week, we introduced you to the basics of advanced basketball statistics, the Four Factors.

If you missed that feature, you can find it here:

This week, we hope to explain how to apply advanced stats to individual players. It is a bit more involved, but if you break it down, it is not difficult to understand.

Then, in our final installment next week, we will attempt to explain offensive and defensive efficiency, which is a multiple step process and quite involved, but once you have the formulas placed in a spreadsheet, you can have the same data that the Selection Committee will have in the room when they meet to select the field and seed the teams.

Let’s start with individual statistics.

True Shooting %
The basic shooting stat for an individual is True Shooting Percentage. It incorporates field goal shooting from behind the three-point line, inside the line, and foul shooting into one percentage that provides a decent look at how efficient a player is when he shoots the ball to his basket.

The formula for TS% is: College: Pts/(2*(FGA+(.465*FTA))) &

NBA Pts/(2*(FGA+(.44*FTA)))

Example: Let’s take a look at the incredible Markus Howard of Marquette. As of this afternoon (January 15, 2019), Howard has scored 439 points for the season. He has taken 301 field goal attempts and 116 free throw attempts.

439/(2*(301+(.465*116))) = .618 or 61.8%

Let’s now take a look at a big man and how Howard stacks up as a perimeter player. Let’s look at Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura. As of this afternoon, the Bulldogs’ power forward has scored 374 points on 233 field goal attempts and 117 free throw attempts.

374/(2*(233+(.465*117)))= .651 or 65.1%
Hachimura is a little more efficient in scoring points when he shoots the ball for any reason than Howard, but they are both quite excellent at scoring for their teams.
How do they compare with a couple of all-time greats from the past?

Let’s look at Steph Curry’s and Bill Walton’s final years at Davidson and UCLA respectively.

Curry: 974/(2*(687+(.465*251)))= .606 or 60.6%, not as good as Howard so far this year.

Walton: 522/(2*(349+(.465*100)))=.660 or 66.%, which is a little better than Hachimura.

Hachimura has benefitted from some three-pointers that did not exist when Walton played at UCLA, but Walton would have never attempted a three-point shot playing in the low post for the Bruins. Walton also missed some games his senior year due to knee troubles, and he was a lousy foul shooter his last two years in Westwood, or else his TS% would have been even higher.

Offensive, Defensive, and Total Rebounding Percentage
For an individual player, the formula for offensive rebounding percentage is:

100 * [(Individual Player’s Offensive Rebounds * (Team Minutes Played/5)) / (Individual Player’s Minutes Played * (Team Offensive Rebounds + Opposing Team Defensive Rebounds))]

The formula looks bulky but it is quite easy to calculate and once you plug them into a spreadsheet, it is a quick process.

Defensive Rebounding percentage is just the opposite formula
100 * [(Individual Player’s Defensive Rebounds * (Team Minutes Played/5)) / (Individual Player’s Minutes Played * (Team Defensive Rebounds + Opposing Team Offensive Rebounds))]

And Total Rebounding Rebounding Percentage brings the whole into the parts.
100 * [(Individual Player’s Total Rebounds * Team Minutes Played/5) / (Individual Player’s Minutes Played * (Team Total Rebounds + Opposing Team Total Rebounds))]

Examples: Let’s compare the key board men from the hot rivals in the Big Ten: Kenny Goins of Michigan State and Jon Teske of Michigan

Goins offensive rebounding: 100 * [(41*3425/5)) / (450 * (201 + 356))] = 11.2%
Goins defensive rebounding: 100* [(119*3425/5)) / 450 * (543 + 185))] = 24.9%
Goins total rebounding: 100 * [(160 * 3425/5) / (450 * (744 + 541))] = 19.0%

Teske offensive rebounding: 100 * [(31 * 3400/5)) / (458 * (156 + 415))] = 8.1%
Teske defensive rebounding: 100 * [(82 * 3400/5)) / (458 * (463+135))] = 20.4%
Teske total rebounding: 100 * [(113 * 3400/5)) / (450 * (619+550))] = 14.6%

Because Michigan and Michigan State have played comparable schedules this year, Goins is a little better on both the offensive and defensive glass than the seven-foot Teske.

For what it is worth, Blake Griffin’s total rebounding percentage in 2009 at Oklahoma was 24.0, so Goins and Teske are not quite up to his lofty standards.

Turnover Percentage

The formula for individual TOV% is: 100 * TOV / (FGA + (.465 * FTA) + TOV)

It is rather simple to calculate, but it has its limitations, because point guards handle the ball much more per possession than other players, and this formula does not include assists which might show that it is worth a couple extra points of TOV% for a point guard to have higher numbers of assists. Additionally, some point guards do not attempt many shots, so the denominator of this equation is skewed too low.

We’ll combine this stat with the next stat to come up with an improvement over assist to turnover rate.

Let’s look at a couple of outstanding playmakers–Cassius Winston of Michigan State and Jared Harper of Auburn.

Winston: 100 * 42 / (205 + (.465 * 69) + 42) = 15.0%
Harper: 100 * 32 / (183 + (.465 * 53) + 32) = 13.4%

Assist Percentage
Now we give the playmakers a chance to shine and balance out the bad turnover percentages they receive for having possession of the ball more than others (like a running back in football will fumble the ball more than the tight end per team possession).
The formula for individial AST% is: 100 * AST / (((MP / (Team MP/5)) * Team FG) – FG)

Winston: 100 * 125 / (((528/(3425/5)) * 517) – 100) = 41.9%
Harper: 100 * 101 / (((506/(3050/5)) * 452) -69) = 33.0%

Assist Percentage to Turnover Percentage

Simply divide AST%/TOV% to get a better ratio than the standard AST/TOV.

Winston: 41.9/15.0 = 2.8
Harper: 33.0/13.4 = 2.5

Both of these rates are outstanding. For Michigan State, the Spartans have an outstanding playmaker in Winston, an outstanding dominator on the glass in Goins, and an outstanding group of shooters and defenders. Coach Tom Izzo has a Final Four caliber team for sure.

Block Percentage
Blocks are very important defensive tools. Obviously every time a player blocks a shot, it is also a missed field goal attempt for the other team. Obviously, a blocked shot is not as valuable as the non-blocked missed field goal attempt, because not every blocked shot would have been a made shot, and more blocked shots become offensive rebounds or offensive team rebounds than regular missed shots. However, an intimidator underneath the basket can influence a lot of shots that he does not block, thus lowering non-blocked field goal percentages. There are multiple algorithms used to calculate how valuable a blocked shot is worth in points with and without the inclusion of intimidation.

We like to compare this variable to baseball’s stolen base variable, where traditional sabermetrics lovers hate the stolen base attempt due to the effects on WAR not being great and needing a base stealer that can consistently steal better than 75% of the bases he attempts. They don’t factor in the extracurricular events such as middle infielders having to cheat a step closer to second base, pitchers worried about throwing off-speed (non fastball) pitches, pitchers having to throw to first a lot to reduce leads, and even the first baseman having to delay by a fraction of a second before moving out to cover his area.

For instance, when Maury Wills was stealing bases left and right for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the early 1960’s, Jim Gilliam benefited from being the next batter in the batting order. Gilliam liked to take a lot of pitches, so taking a couple to give Wills a chance to steal didn’t harm him. Actually, because pitchers worried so much, Gilliam was frequently ahead in the count. A veteran with a 2-0 count can hit about 100 points higher than when he has an 0-2 count. Also, Gilliam was an excellent placement hitter. He could hit the ball in the open space created by the first baseman holding Wills on base. When the switch-hitting Gilliam faced a left-handed batter, and the second baseman was covering the bag, while the first baseman was holding Wills on, Gilliam saw a monstrous hole to slap grounders towards right field that allowed Wills to take third base.

Editorial over

Here is the formula for Block Percentage
100 * (Blk * (Team MP/5)) / (MP * (Opponents FGA – Opponents 3-Point Attempts))

Example: Brandon Clarke of Gonzaga is a true intimidator in the paint. His ability to swat balls away has helped the Zags hold teams to just 38.8% field goal shooting. Here is his BLK%.

100 * (58 * (3600/5)) / 497 * (1148-418) = 11.5%

When a player has a double digit BLK%, it is almost a fact that he is also an intimidator in the paint, which means other teams will miss three or four shots that they normally would make against other teams. This is in addition to the blocks that would have been made baskets had they not been blocked.
If an opposing team normally averages 27 field goals on 58 attempts for 46.6%, but with Clarke’s blocks and intimidation this opponent hits only 21 of their 58 attempts for 36.2%. That is a 10% difference created mostly by one intimidating player. Block percentage is one of the most underrated defensive tools in basketball.

Steal Percentage
The steal is a dying art but for a reason. Ninety-five to ninety-nine percent of the time, the steal comes from an intercepted pass and not from a player actually stealing the ball off a player’s dribble. So, steals should be renamed as interceptions like in football. Because so many teams cannot pass the ball worth a darn these days, steals have been dropping in number for several years. This does not mean that the monotonous dribbling of the ball is the way for offenses to score. It is easier to guard the movement of a dribbled ball opposed to the movement of a passed ball, because a dribbler can rarely exceed 15 MPH, while a weak pass is double that speed and a crisp pass is triple that speed or more. When you see a player dribble the ball all the way up the floor on a fast break attempt, he is actually hurting his team’s chances of scoring points on that break. Two quick passes up the floor can result in a wide open basket and/or defensive foul. Many times, the dribbling player is the last of the 10 players to enter the scoring zone, and then the fast break is dead.

Once again editorial over.

The formula for steal percentage is: (100 * Steals * (Team MP/5)) / (Player MP * Opponents Possessions)

You can find team possessions in many locations today, but if you need to calculate this from scratch, team possessions can be very accurately estimated by this calculation:

FGA + (.465 * FTA) – Off. Rebounds + Turnovers {for college}

FGA + (.44 * FTA) – Off. Rebounds + Turnovers {for NBA}

If you are trying to calculate this for your high school, middle school, or youth league team, you will have to adjust the constant that you multiple with FTA. Unfortunately, we do not know what to use for the constants.

Example: Tremont Waters of LSU has come close this year to recording a triple double the hard way with points, assists, and steals. He needed two more steals against UL-Monroe to pull off a feat that is extremely rare in the 21st Century.
Here is Waters’ Steal %.
(100 * 45 * 3050/5) (478 * 1088) = 5.28%

This is an excellent percentage, but it does not approach the percentages of past years, especially when more teams used full-court pressure defense for 40 minutes per game. Some of the Kentucky players under Coach Rick Pitino exceeded 6%.

Usage Percentage
Usage percentage attempts tp gauge the percentage of team plays in which a specific player was key to the possession. It actually measures percentage of team plays USED by an individual while he was on the floor.

The formula for USG % is: 100 * ((FGA + (.465*FTA) + TOV) * (Team MP/5)) / (MP * (Team FGA + (.465* Team FTA)+Team TOV))

Example: Carsen Edwards of Purdue is heavily involved in all of the Boilermakers’ possessions.

100 * ((313 + (.465 * 90) + 52) * (3225/5)) / (537 * (985 + (.465*194)+174)) = 39.1%

At the same time, teammate Ryan Cline plays about the same number of minutes per game but has a USG% that is less than half of Edwards. Thus, Edwards is vital to Purdue’s offensive success. If Edwards gets in foul trouble, Purdue is in much worse shape than if Cline gets in foul trouble. Of course, Matt Painter doesn’t want either star getting into foul trouble, as they both play better than 33 minutes per game.

In our final installment of Fun Stuff for Stats Buffs, we will attempt to explain offensive and defensive efficiency ratings, the big advance metric that the Selection Committee will use as part of their selection and seeding criteria. It is quite bulky and involves multiple steps to figure. If you ever tried to calculate Base Runs in baseball, you know how involved that calculation was. oRAT and dRAT make base runs calculations look like simple addition.


March 23, 2018

PiRate Ratings Spreads For NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Games of Friday, March 23

Sweet 16–Friday, March 23

Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
Kansas Clemson 1.7
Villanova West Virginia 6.4
Duke Syracuse 5.1
Purdue Texas Tech 3.3

Friday Night’s Schedule

Friday, Mar 23, 2018
TIME (EDT) Higher Seed Lower Seed City TV
7:07 PM 1 Kansas 5 Clemson Omaha CBS
7:27 PM 1 Villanova 5 West Virginia Boston TBS
9:37 PM 2 Duke 11 Syracuse Omaha CBS
9:57 PM 2 Purdue 3 Texas Tech Boston TBS





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




March 4, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 4, 2018

Spreads For Sunday’s Games

Home Team Visitor Spread
Wichita St. Cincinnati -0.9
South Florida SMU -11.0
Tulsa Temple 1.0
Memphis East Carolina 11.0
Houston Connecticut 15.2
Central Florida Tulane 8.3
Florida Gulf Coast Lipscomb 6.5
Radford Liberty 3.8
Purdue Michigan 3.9
Charleston Drexel 9.8
William & Mary Towson -1.6
Northeastern Delaware 8.9
Hofstra UNC-Wilmington 6.4
Illinois-Chicago Milwaukee 0.1
Oakland IUPUI 7.3
Iona St. Peter’s 5.1
Fairfield Quinnipiac 3.7
Loyola (Chi.) Illinois St. 7.9
Colgate Holy Cross 4.8
Bucknell Boston U 9.2
UNC-Greensboro Wofford 4.9
East Tennessee St. Furman -0.3
Fort Wayne North Dakota St. 0.9
Denver Oral Roberts 1.5
Gonzaga San Francisco 14.5
Saint Mary’s BYU 4.5

Note:  Games in Bright Red are for Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids

Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids Awarded to Date

Murray State (26-5) 

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Murray St. 68 Belmont 51

Conference Tournaments Scores From Saturday with Updated Brackets

America East Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 3
UMBC 89 UMass-Lowell 77
Hartford 71 New Hampshire 60
Vermont 75 Maine 60
Stony Brook 69 Albany 60
Semifinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Vermont #5 Stony Brook ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 UMBC #3 Hartford ESPN3
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
11:00 AM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2


Big Ten Conference Tournament
Michigan 75 Michigan St. 64
Purdue 78 Penn St. 70
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM #3 Purdue #5 Michigan CBS


Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
First Round–March 3
Drexel 70 James Madison 62
Delaware 86 Elon 79
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 College of Charleston #8 Drexel CAA TV
2:30 PM #4 William & Mary #5 Towson CAA TV
6:00 PM #2 Northeastern #7 Delaware CAA TV
8:30 PM #3 Hofstra #6 UNC-Wilmington CAA TV
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM CofC/Drex/JMU W&M or Towson CBSSN
8:30 PM NE/Del/Elon Hofstra or UNCW CBSSN
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     CBSSN
Horizon League Tournament
Wright St. 87 Green Bay 72
Cleveland St. 89 Northern Kentucky 80
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #3 UIC #6 Milwaukee ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 Oakland #5 IUPUI ESPN3
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM Oakland or IUPUI #8 Cleveland St. ESPNU
9:30 PM #2 Wright St. UIC or Milwaukee ESPNU
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN


Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Fairfield 90 Niagara 77
Iona 72 Manhattan 60
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #4 Iona #9 St. Peter’s ESPN3
9:30 PM #6 Fairfield #7 Quinnipiac ESPN3
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN


Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Loyola (Chi.) 62 Bradley 54
Illinois St. 76 Southern Illinois 68
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #1 Loyola (Chi.) #3 Illinois St. CBS


Northeast Conference Tournament
Wagner 75 Robert Morris 64
Long Island 78 Fairleigh-Dickinson 77
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Wagner #4 Long Island ESPN2


Southern Conference Tournament
UNC-Greensboro 72 The Citadel 58
Wofford 73 Mercer 53
East Tennessee St. 77 Chattanooga 59
Furman 97 Western Carolina 73
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #1 UNC-Greensboro #5 Wofford ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 East Tennessee St. #3 Furman ESPN3
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2


Summit League Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 3
South Dakota St. 66 Western Illiois 60
South Dakota 87 Omaha 73
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #4 Fort Wayne #5 North Dakota St. ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 Denver #6 Oral Roberts ESPN3
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 South Dakota St. Ft.Wayne or NDSU ESPN3
8:30 PM #2 South Dakota Denver or ORU ESPN3
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2


West Coast Conference Tournament
BYU 85 San Diego 79
San Francisco 71 Pacific 70 ot
Gonzaga 83 Loyola Marymount 69
Saint Mary’s 69 Pepperdine 66
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Gonzaga #4 San Francisco ESPN
8:00 PM #2 Saint Mary’s #3 BYU ESPN2
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

Other Conference Tournaments Resuming Today

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
3:00 PM #1 Florida Gulf Coast #2 Lipscomb ESPN
Big South Conference Tournament
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM #2 Radford #5 Liberty ESPN
Semifinals–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #2 Colgate #6 Holy Cross CBSSN
2:00 PM #1 Bucknell #5 Boston U CBSSN
Championship–March 7
Time Home Visitors TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

Bids That Will Be Awarded on Sunday

Big South Conference:  Radford or Liberty   1:00 PM EST on ESPN

Even with 2-seed Radford’s home court advantage, this game should be considered close to a toss-up.   Earlier in the season, these two teams had to play an extra five minutes to determine the outcome, as Radford won by a bucket 59-57.  Of the 20 players that appeared in that game, only one could find the basket consistently that night, as Radford’s Ed Polite, Jr. finished a perfect 7 for 7 from the field in that game.  It was no fluke, as in the return game at Liberty, Polite, Jr. went 7 for 10 from the field with a three-pointer and a perfect 8 for 8 at the line for 23 points, as Radford cruised to an easy win.  Any chance Liberty has of winning will come from limiting Radford’s ability to get second chance baskets and getting to the foul line, where they lead the Big South with a 78.5% accuracy rate.

Missouri Valley Conference:  Loyola (Chi.) or Illinois St.  2:00 PM EST on CBS

Loyola is the top seed, while Illinois State is the 3-seed.  During the regular season, Loyola won by identical 68-61 scores in a season sweep.  The Ramblers have won nine consecutive games and would be a formidable foe as an underdog in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  They rank third nationally in field goal percentage at 51% per game, and they play competent defense without fouling.

Atlantic Sun Conference:  Florida Gulf Coast or Lipscomb   3:00 PM EST on ESPN

These are the top two seeds, and they split the season series, winning on the other team’s home floor.  This game will be played at FGCU, where Lipscomb beat the Eagles 90-87, despite being forced into 23 turnovers at the hands of 19 FGCU steals.  Lipscomb has won seven games in a row and 11 out of 12, but FGCU is tournament tough and has been there before.  The Eagles have owned this league since Belmont left for the OVC, while Lipscomb has never been to the NCAA Tournament and only appeared in one previous A-Sun Tournament Championship Game.  This game should be exciting.

Big Ten: Purdue or Michigan  4:30 PM EST on CBS

Obviously, both teams are going to the NCAA Tournament, as will be Michigan State and Ohio State.  Nebraska has little or no chance, while Penn State’s chances of getting in are only marginally better.




February 16, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 16-18, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:25 am

This Week’s PiRate Rating Spreads

Spreads For Multi-Bid Conferences and Top Mid & Low Majors

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
St. Bonaventure Rhode Island 0.6
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Central Florida SMU -0.7
Tulane Memphis 2.7
Miami (Fla.) Syracuse 6.2
Georgia Tech Virginia Tech -5.1
Boston College Notre Dame -0.9
Wake Forest North Carolina St. 0.3
Louisville North Carolina 0.0
Oklahoma Texas 5.7
Kansas St. Iowa St. 7.5
Kansas West Virginia 3.9
Baylor Texas Tech -1.1
TCU Oklahoma St. 8.3
Butler Providence 8.0
Xavier Villanova -4.0
Creighton Marquette 8.0
Northwestern Michigan St. -9.4
Iowa Indiana 0.9
Maryland Rutgers 12.6
Boise St. Air Force 17.8
San Diego St. UNLV 3.9
Wyoming San Jose St. 15.1
Utah St. Nevada -8.1
Fresno St. Colorado St. 13.9
Washington Colorado 3.7
Washington St. Utah -7.5
UCLA Oregon 4.9
USC Oregon St. 9.5
LSU Missouri 0.4
Kentucky Alabama 4.4
South Carolina Auburn -6.4
Arkansas Texas A&M 2.7
Vanderbilt Florida -3.2
Georgia Tennessee -4.4
Mississippi St. Ole Miss 6.3
San Diego BYU -3.4
San Francisco Loyola Marymount 8.8
Gonzaga Pepperdine 29.2
Portland Saint Mary’s -16.1
Pacific Santa Clara 10.0
Louisiana Tech Middle Tennessee -3.8
Rice Western Kentucky -12.2
Murray St. Tennessee Tech 14.1
Louisiana-Lafayette Texas-Arlington 10.3
Seattle New Mexico St. -8.0
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
East Carolina Connecticut -4.7
Tulsa South Florida 15.9
Cincinnati Wichita St. 7.3
Temple Houston -2.2
Clemson Duke -3.1
Florida St. Pittsburgh 20.7
Seton Hall DePaul 11.4
Michigan Ohio St. 2.0
Illinois Nebraska -0.7
Purdue Penn St. 11.9
California Stanford -6.4
Evansville Loyola (Chi.) -5.9

PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 120.5 BIGE
2 Purdue 119.9 BTEN
3 Duke 119.8 ACC
4 Virginia 119.6 ACC
5 Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 118.5 AAC
7 North Carolina 116.1 ACC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Kansas 116.0 B12
10 Texas Tech 116.0 B12
11 West Virginia 115.6 B12
12 Auburn 115.2 SEC
13 Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
14 Tennessee 114.1 SEC
15 Creighton 113.4 BIGE
16 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
17 Clemson 113.2 ACC
18 Xavier 113.0 BIGE
19 Arizona 112.8 PAC12
20 Nevada 112.5 MWC
21 TCU 112.4 B12
22 Texas A&M 112.4 SEC
23 Florida St. 112.3 ACC
24 Oklahoma 112.2 B12
25 Louisville 112.1 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 118.5 AAC
Wichita St. 114.7 AAC
Houston 111.5 AAC
SMU 107.6 AAC
Temple 105.8 AAC
UCF 103.9 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Memphis 99.7 AAC
Tulane 99.4 AAC
Connecticut 99.4 AAC
East Carolina 91.7 AAC
South Florida 89.9 AAC
Duke 119.8 ACC
Virginia 119.6 ACC
North Carolina 116.1 ACC
Clemson 113.2 ACC
Florida St. 112.3 ACC
Louisville 112.1 ACC
Miami FL 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.7 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.6 ACC
North Carolina St. 108.3 ACC
Syracuse 108.3 ACC
Boston College 106.3 ACC
Wake Forest 105.6 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.5 ACC
Pittsburgh 95.1 ACC
Kansas 116.0 B12
Texas Tech 116.0 B12
West Virginia 115.6 B12
TCU 112.4 B12
Oklahoma 112.2 B12
Baylor 111.4 B12
Texas 110.0 B12
Kansas St. 109.1 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.6 B12
Iowa St. 105.1 B12
Villanova 120.5 BIGE
Creighton 113.4 BIGE
Xavier 113.0 BIGE
Butler 112.0 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.3 BIGE
Marquette 108.9 BIGE
Providence 107.5 BIGE
St. John’s 107.1 BIGE
Georgetown 104.9 BIGE
DePaul 103.4 BIGE
Purdue 119.9 BTEN
Michigan St. 119.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 111.9 BTEN
Penn St. 111.5 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Nebraska 107.8 BTEN
Indiana 107.1 BTEN
Northwestern 107.0 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.9 BTEN
Iowa 105.0 BTEN
Minnesota 104.8 BTEN
Illinois 104.1 BTEN
Rutgers 101.6 BTEN
Nevada 112.5 MWC
Boise St. 108.0 MWC
San Diego St. 106.8 MWC
Fresno St. 106.5 MWC
UNLV 106.4 MWC
New Mexico 102.1 MWC
Wyoming 101.9 MWC
Utah St. 100.9 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.7 MWC
San Jose St. 90.3 MWC
Arizona 112.8 PAC12
Arizona St. 110.8 PAC12
USC 109.2 PAC12
UCLA 108.7 PAC12
Oregon 107.8 PAC12
Utah 107.7 PAC12
Stanford 104.2 PAC12
Oregon St. 103.2 PAC12
Washington 103.1 PAC12
Colorado 102.9 PAC12
Washington St. 97.2 PAC12
California 94.8 PAC12
Auburn 115.2 SEC
Tennessee 114.1 SEC
Texas A&M 112.4 SEC
Florida 111.8 SEC
Kentucky 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 111.1 SEC
Missouri 110.7 SEC
Alabama 110.4 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.8 SEC
LSU 107.6 SEC
Georgia 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
South Carolina 105.3 SEC
Mississippi 104.5 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.0 WCC
BYU 106.9 WCC
San Diego 100.5 WCC
San Francisco 100.0 WCC
Pacific 99.4 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.2 WCC
Portland 92.9 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 90.3 WCC

Top Mid-Major and Low-Major Teams

Rhode Island 111.5 A10
Middle Tennessee 108.2 CUSA
Western Kentucky 106.7 CUSA
Loyola Chicago 107.4 MVC
Murray St. 106.4 OVC
Louisiana Lafayette 108.3 SB
South Dakota 106.8 Sum
New Mexico St. 108.4 WAC

Great TV Watching Options This Weekend

Once again, another great schedule of games allows college basketball fans some excellent viewing options.  Beginning tonight (Friday) at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, St. Bonaventure hosts Rhode Island.  The game will air on ESPN2.  The Bonnies (9-4/19-6) are tied for second place in the Atlantic 10 still have a remote chance to receive an at-large bid, and any chance would necessitate a win over URI.

Saturday’s great slate of games begins at 12 Noon Eastern Time.  Oklahoma hosts Texas on ESPN; Butler hosts Providence on Fox; and Miami hosts Syracuse on CBS.

At 4 PM EST, one of the best games of the day could be Arkansas hosting Texas A&M on ESPN.  At 4:30 PM EST, the Big East regular season title could be decided when Xavier hosts Villanova on Fox.  The winner should remain a number one seed on Monday.

At 6 PM EST, Kansas hosts West Virginia on ESPN.  The loser of this game will probably be eliminated from the Big 12 regular season race, while the winner will become Texas Tech’s key rival.

At 7 PM EST, Florida Gulf Coast hosts Lipscomb on ESPN3.  FGCU has already clinched the top seed in the Atlantic Sun, while Lipscomb is currently number two.  The significance here is that FGCU will host the A-Sun Tournament, so it will be interesting to see if the second best team in the league can compete with them on the same floor.

At 7:30 PM EST on ESPNU, Baylor hosts Texas Tech.  TTU has a chance to gain a game on one of the two nearest contenders (KU-WVU), but if the Red Raiders lose, then they will lose a game to the winner of that other game.  Baylor is actually the hottest team in the Big 12, and a win here would give the Bears a great upward move in the Bubble.

At 8:15 PM EST, Louisville host North Carolina on ESPN.  The winner has a chance to move up to number two in the ACC by the end of the weekend, while the loser could fall down in the standings as far as ninth place.

At 10:15 PM EST on ESPN, UCLA hosts Oregon.  Both teams are currently Bubble teams, so the winner will start the new week in good shape, while the loser will be facing some must win games.

Sunday presents additional excellent viewing options.  It starts at 1 PM EST, with two excellent Power Conference games.  Rivals Michigan and Ohio State square off in Ann Arbor in a game televised by CBS.  At the same time, Clemson hosts Duke on the ACC Network.

At 2 PM EST on ESPN3, it might not sound like a big game, but the Vermont-Hartford game in Burlington might be one to consider watching.  UVA is 12-0 in the America East Conference and will most likely host the conference tournament.  Hartford is one of three teams with enough talent to pull off an upset.

The top game of the day tips off at 4 PM EST, when Cincinnati hosts Wichita State.  This will be a battle of two aggressive, defense-dominant teams.  Cinti fell at Houston Thursday night, while the Shockers had to come from behind to beat Temple.  Seeding will be on the line in this one.

Finally, at 8 PM EST on the Big Ten Network, Penn State visits Purdue.  The Nittany Lions roared big time in a Thursday night blowout against Ohio State.  If Penn State pulls off the upset Sunday, that will give them two Quadrant 1 wins in a row, and that will certainly place Penn State in the heat of the discussion.  Purdue must win this game to remain in contention for a number one seed.



February 9, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 9-11, 2018

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

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Note–We add one Friday night game to Include Rhode Island in our coverage.

Friday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Rhode Island Davidson 6.1
Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Temple -12.5
Wichita St. Connecticut 18.6
North Carolina St. North Carolina -4.7
Boston College Miami (Fla.) -2.6
Notre Dame Florida St. 1.5
Virginia Virginia Tech 12.4
West Virginia Oklahoma St. 11.8
Baylor Kansas -2.6
Iowa St. Oklahoma -4.6
TCU Texas 5.5
Kansas St. Texas Tech -2.5
Villanova Butler 12.5
St. John’s Marquette 1.0
Creighton Xavier 1.8
Georgetown Seton Hall -4.6
Providence DePaul 8.9
Maryland Northwestern 6.6
Michigan St. Purdue 1.6
Nebraska Rutgers 9.9
Ohio St. Iowa 12.3
Air Force New Mexico -6.4
Colorado St. San Jose St. 8.9
Nevada San Diego St. 7.6
UNLV Wyoming 7.8
Utah St. Boise St. -4.3
Arizona St. UCLA 5.9
Utah California 14.4
Oregon St. Washington 0.3
Arizona USC 6.6
South Carolina Florida -1.7
Missouri Mississippi St. 5.9
Georgia Auburn -6.2
LSU Ole Miss 4.6
Alabama Tennessee -2.6
Texas A&M Kentucky 3.6
Arkansas Vanderbilt 8.4
BYU San Francisco 12.0
Santa Clara San Diego -7.0
Loyola Marymount Pepperdine 7.2
Saint Mary’s Gonzaga 3.4
Pacific Portland 9.4
Middle Tennessee North Texas 14.3
New Mexico St. Grand Canyon 8.6
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
SMU Cincinnati -5.3
Memphis Central Florida -0.9
Houston Tulane 13.8
Pittsburgh Louisville -12.0
Syracuse Wake Forest 6.8
Georgia Tech Duke -13.5
Wisconsin Michigan -2.6
Illinois Penn St. -1.3
Colorado Stanford 1.7
Oregon Washington St. 13.1

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 121.4 BIGE
2 Purdue 120.3 BTEN
3 Virginia 119.9 ACC
4 Duke 119.4 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.4 BTEN
6 Cincinnati 117.8 AAC
7 Kansas 116.7 B12
8 West Virginia 115.8 B12
9 North Carolina 115.7 ACC
10 Auburn 115.6 SEC
11 Tennessee 115.2 SEC
12 Xavier 115.1 BIGE
13 Texas Tech 115.1 B12
14 Gonzaga 114.9 WCC
15 Saint Mary’s 114.8 WCC
16 Wichita St. 114.6 AAC
17 Ohio St. 113.9 BTEN
18 Creighton 113.4 BIGE
19 Clemson 113.2 ACC
20 Florida St. 112.7 ACC
21 Oklahoma 112.6 B12
22 TCU 112.5 B12
23 Butler 112.4 BIGE
24 Arizona 112.4 PAC12
25 Nevada 111.6 MWC

This week, we add three highly-ranked Mid-Major teams that are good enough to receive at-large bids if they fail to win their conference’s automatic bids.  In most likelihood, these three teams would need to at least make the semifinals of their conference tournament.

Team PiRate Conf.
Rhode Island 111.1 A-10
New Mexico St. 109.0 WAC
Middle Tennessee 108.8 CUSA

PiRate Ratings By Power Conferences

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.8 AAC
Wichita St. 114.6 AAC
Houston 110.6 AAC
SMU 109.0 AAC
Temple 105.4 AAC
UCF 103.6 AAC
Tulsa 102.4 AAC
Tulane 100.3 AAC
Connecticut 99.5 AAC
Memphis 99.2 AAC
East Carolina 91.1 AAC
South Florida 89.9 AAC
Virginia 119.9 ACC
Duke 119.4 ACC
North Carolina 115.7 ACC
Clemson 113.2 ACC
Florida St. 112.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.6 ACC
Louisville 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 110.5 ACC
Notre Dame 110.2 ACC
Syracuse 108.6 ACC
North Carolina St. 108.0 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.3 ACC
Georgia Tech 102.9 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.4 ACC
Kansas 116.7 B12
West Virginia 115.8 B12
Texas Tech 115.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.6 B12
TCU 112.5 B12
Baylor 110.6 B12
Texas 110.5 B12
Kansas St. 109.1 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.5 B12
Iowa St. 104.5 B12
Villanova 121.4 BIGE
Xavier 115.1 BIGE
Creighton 113.4 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.5 BIGE
Marquette 109.2 BIGE
Providence 107.9 BIGE
St. John’s 106.7 BIGE
Georgetown 103.9 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 120.3 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.4 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.9 BTEN
Michigan 111.6 BTEN
Maryland 110.4 BTEN
Penn St. 109.9 BTEN
Northwestern 107.8 BTEN
Nebraska 107.6 BTEN
Indiana 106.1 BTEN
Minnesota 106.1 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.5 BTEN
Illinois 105.1 BTEN
Iowa 105.1 BTEN
Rutgers 101.2 BTEN
Nevada 111.6 MWC
Boise St. 108.6 MWC
San Diego St. 107.5 MWC
UNLV 106.4 MWC
Fresno St. 106.1 MWC
New Mexico 102.2 MWC
Wyoming 102.1 MWC
Utah St. 100.8 MWC
Colorado St. 96.0 MWC
Air Force 92.8 MWC
San Jose St. 90.6 MWC
Arizona 112.4 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.0 PAC12
USC 109.3 PAC12
UCLA 108.6 PAC12
Oregon 107.1 PAC12
Utah 106.5 PAC12
Washington 104.8 PAC12
Stanford 104.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.8 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.1 PAC12
Washington St. 97.5 PAC12
California 95.6 PAC12
Auburn 115.6 SEC
Tennessee 115.2 SEC
Texas A&M 111.6 SEC
Kentucky 111.5 SEC
Florida 110.9 SEC
Missouri 110.5 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Alabama 109.1 SEC
Mississippi St. 108.1 SEC
LSU 106.7 SEC
Georgia 106.4 SEC
South Carolina 105.7 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.4 SEC
Mississippi 105.1 SEC
Gonzaga 114.9 WCC
Saint Mary’s 114.8 WCC
BYU 107.8 WCC
San Diego 101.9 WCC
Pacific 99.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.3 WCC
Portland 93.2 WCC
Loyola Marymount 93.1 WCC
Santa Clara 91.9 WCC
Pepperdine 88.9 WCC

Conference Tournaments Less Than 3 Weeks Away

It seems to have crept up on us this year.  In our environs, it has been a much colder and much wetter winter, the type that makes you feel it will last for a year.  So, it surprised us this morning when one of our followers asked us when we would post the conference tournament schedules like we do every year.

We will get to work on that this week and hopefully will have this in next Friday’s report or in a separate one midweek.

For now, here is a list of the conference tournaments with the dates.  The first action begins in just 17 days.

Atlantic Sun Feb. 26-Mar. 4 Higher Seed
Big South Feb. 27, Mar. 1-4 Higher Seed
Patriot Feb. 27, Mar. 1, 4, & 7 Higher Seed
Big Ten Feb. 28-Mar. 4 New York City
Ohio Valley Feb. 28, Mar. 1-3 San Antonio
Northeast Feb. 28, March 3 & 6 Higher Seed
Missouri Valley Mar. 1-4 St. Louis
Metro Atlantic Mar. 1-5 Albany, NY
Southern Mar. 1-5 Asheville, NC
West Coast Mar. 1-6 Las Vegas
Ivy Mar. 10-11 Philadelphia
Big West Mar. 12-14 Anaheim
Horizon Mar. 2-6 Detroit
Colonial Athletic Mar. 3-6 N. Charleson, SC
Summit Mar. 3-6 Sioux Falls, SD
America East Mar. 3, 6 & 10 Higher Seed
Mideastern Athletic Mar. 5-10 Norfolk, VA
Mid-American Mar. 5, 7-10 Higher Seed/Cleveland
Atlantic Coast Mar. 6-10 Brooklyn
Big Sky Mar. 6, 8-10 Reno, NV
Southwestern Athletic Mar. 6, 9-10 Houston
Big East Mar. 7-10 New York City
Big 12 Mar. 7-10 Kansas City
Conference USA Mar. 7-10 Frisco, TX
Mountain West Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Pac-12 Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Western Athletic Mar. 7-10 Las Vegas
Atlantic 10 Mar. 7-11 Washington, DC
Southeastern Mar. 7-11 St. Louis
Southland Mar. 7-11 Katy, TX
Sun Belt Mar. 7-11 New Orleans
American Athletic Mar. 8-11 Orlando











February 5, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for February 5, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 5:34 pm
Seed Team Conf.
1 Villanova BE
1 Virginia ACC
1 Purdue BTen
1 Xavier BE
2 Auburn SEC
2 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Clemson ACC
3 Michigan St. BTen
3 Texas Tech B12
3 Cincinnati AAC
3 Tennessee SEC
4 Oklahoma B12
4 North Carolina ACC
4 Arizona P12
4 Kentucky SEC
5 Ohio St. BTen
5 West Virginia B12
5 Rhode Island A10
5 Seton Hall BE
6 Gonzaga WCC
6 Saint Mary’s WCC
6 Miami (Fla.) ACC
6 Creighton BE
7 Wichita St. AAC
7 Butler BE
7 Florida St. ACC
7 Nevada MWC
8 Florida SEC
8 Texas B12
8 Michigan BTen
8 Alabama SEC
9 TCU B12
9 Arizona St. P12
9 Louisville ACC
9 Texas A&M SEC
10 Missouri SEC
10 Washington P12
10 Providence BE
10 USC P12
11 Houston AAC
11 Arkansas SEC
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
12 N. C. St. ACC
12 Virginia Tech ACC
12 Boise St. MWC
12 Kansas St. B12
12 Buffalo MAC
12 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 Vermont AE
13 East Tennessee St. Sou
13 South Dakota St. Sum
14 Belmont OVC
14 Montana BSky
14 Northern Kentucky Hor
14 Charleston CAA
15 UCSB BWest
15 Rider MAAC
15 Bucknell Pat
15 Fla. Gulf Coast ASun
16 Wagner NEC
16 Penn Ivy
16 Nicholls St. SLC
16 UNC-Asheville BSth
16 N.C. A&T MEAC
16 Ark.-Pine Bluff SWAC

Bubble Teams on the Outside, Looking In

69 UCLA P12
70 Temple AAC
73 Western Kentucky CUSA
74 Syracuse ACC
75 St. Bonaventure A10
76 Georgia SEC
77 Marquette BE
78 Mississippi State SEC
79 Maryland BTen
80 Utah P12
81 South Carolina SEC
82 Oklahoma State B12
83 Nebraska BTen


Last Four In–Headed To Dayton

North Carolina St. vs. Kansas St.

Virginia Tech vs. Boise St.

Last Four Byes






February 2, 2018

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Preview for February 3-4, 2018

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:49 am

This Weekend’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

For Multi-Bid  Leagues

Saturday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
Connecticut Cincinnati -13.7
Central Florida Houston -3.0
East Carolina Memphis -6.4
St. John’s Duke -11.4
North Carolina St. Notre Dame 0.6
Wake Forest Clemson -4.1
Virginia Tech Miami (Fla.) 3.1
Syracuse Virginia -6.7
Louisville Florida St. 3.3
North Carolina Pittsburgh 21.9
Kansas Oklahoma St. 13.8
TCU Texas Tech 1.7
West Virginia Kansas St. 8.4
Texas Oklahoma 1.2
Baylor Iowa St. 8.6
Butler DePaul 12.9
Marquette Providence 4.9
Xavier Georgetown 15.4
Michigan Minnesota 9.7
Rutgers Purdue -16.9
Penn St. Iowa 6.7
Indiana Michigan St. -10.2
Wyoming Fresno St. 1.6
San Jose St. New Mexico -9.0
Boise St. UNLV 6.3
Colorado St. Nevada -13.3
San Diego St. Air Force 18.2
Stanford Oregon -0.5
California Oregon St. -4.2
Washington Arizona -5.8
Missouri Kentucky 1.6
Texas A&M South Carolina 8.3
LSU Arkansas 0.2
Florida Alabama 7.6
Tennessee Ole Miss 12.1
Mississippi St. Georgia 2.8
Auburn Vanderbilt 12.8
Portland Loyola Marymount 1.1
San Diego Saint Mary’s -8.3
Gonzaga BYU 12.1
Pepperdine Pacific -6.1
Santa Clara San Francisco -4.1
Sunday’s Games    
Home Team Visitor Spread
South Florida Tulsa -9.8
Tulane Temple -2.1
Boston College Georgia Tech 5.7
Villanova Seton Hall 14.0
Ohio St. Illinois 11.7
Maryland Wisconsin 9.7
Washington St. Arizona St. -9.5

Note: As of last night’s games, with both Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky winning big road contests, Conference USA actually moved into multi-bid league status.  We apologize for not including CUSA games in this week’s preview, but if both MTSU and WKU win this weekend and mid-week, then CUSA will be included in next Friday’s preview.

Additionally, Boise State fell from at-large status into one of the First Four out, so the Mountain West Conference should not be included as a multiple bid league.  The update occurred after this week’s games had been rated and placed in our database.  If the MWC is still just a one for sure bid league next Friday, we will remove it from our preview, thus trading CUSA for MWC.  If neither or both leagues remain in the multiple bid leagues, we will cancel both or include both in next Friday’s preview, depending on the outcomes through next Thursday night.

The PiRate Ratings Top 25

Rank Team PiRate Conf.
1 Villanova 122.2 BIGE
2 Purdue 121.4 BTEN
3 Duke 120.2 ACC
4 Virginia 119.2 ACC
5 Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
6 Kansas 117.5 B12
7 Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
8 Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
9 Xavier 115.2 BIGE
10 North Carolina 115.1 ACC
11 Auburn 114.9 SEC
12 Tennessee 114.8 SEC
13 West Virginia 114.4 B12
14 Texas Tech 114.4 B12
15 Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
16 Creighton 113.5 BIGE
17 Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
18 Arizona 113.1 PAC12
19 TCU 113.1 B12
20 Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
21 Oklahoma 112.9 B12
22 Clemson 112.8 ACC
23 Nevada 112.4 MWC
24 Butler 112.4 BIGE
25 Florida St. 112.4 ACC

PiRate Ratings By Power Conference

Team PiRate Conf.
Cincinnati 117.4 AAC
Wichita St. 114.2 AAC
Houston 110.3 AAC
SMU 109.4 AAC
Temple 105.3 AAC
UCF 104.3 AAC
Tulsa 102.3 AAC
Tulane 100.2 AAC
Memphis 100.0 AAC
Connecticut 99.7 AAC
East Carolina 90.6 AAC
South Florida 89.5 AAC
Duke 120.2 ACC
Virginia 119.2 ACC
North Carolina 115.1 ACC
Clemson 112.8 ACC
Florida St. 112.4 ACC
Louisville 111.7 ACC
Miami FL 111.4 ACC
Virginia Tech 111.0 ACC
Notre Dame 110.8 ACC
Syracuse 108.5 ACC
North Carolina St. 107.4 ACC
Boston College 105.5 ACC
Wake Forest 105.2 ACC
Georgia Tech 103.3 ACC
Pittsburgh 96.7 ACC
Kansas 117.5 B12
West Virginia 114.4 B12
Texas Tech 114.4 B12
TCU 113.1 B12
Oklahoma 112.9 B12
Texas 110.6 B12
Kansas St. 110.0 B12
Baylor 109.9 B12
Oklahoma St. 107.2 B12
Iowa St. 104.8 B12
Villanova 122.2 BIGE
Xavier 115.2 BIGE
Creighton 113.5 BIGE
Butler 112.4 BIGE
Seton Hall 111.7 BIGE
Marquette 109.1 BIGE
Providence 107.7 BIGE
St. John’s 105.3 BIGE
Georgetown 103.3 BIGE
DePaul 102.5 BIGE
Purdue 121.4 BTEN
Michigan St. 118.9 BTEN
Ohio St. 113.4 BTEN
Michigan 112.2 BTEN
Maryland 110.7 BTEN
Penn St. 109.1 BTEN
Nebraska 107.3 BTEN
Northwestern 107.2 BTEN
Minnesota 106.0 BTEN
Iowa 105.4 BTEN
Illinois 105.2 BTEN
Indiana 105.2 BTEN
Wisconsin 105.0 BTEN
Rutgers 101.5 BTEN
Nevada 112.4 MWC
Boise St. 108.9 MWC
San Diego St. 107.8 MWC
UNLV 105.6 MWC
Fresno St. 104.8 MWC
New Mexico 102.4 MWC
Wyoming 102.4 MWC
Utah St. 101.3 MWC
Colorado St. 96.1 MWC
Air Force 93.1 MWC
San Jose St. 90.4 MWC
Arizona 113.1 PAC12
Arizona St. 111.1 PAC12
USC 109.7 PAC12
UCLA 108.1 PAC12
Oregon 107.6 PAC12
Utah 106.9 PAC12
Washington 103.8 PAC12
Stanford 103.6 PAC12
Colorado 102.7 PAC12
Oregon St. 102.7 PAC12
Washington St. 98.6 PAC12
California 95.0 PAC12
Auburn 114.9 SEC
Tennessee 114.8 SEC
Florida 112.3 SEC
Kentucky 112.0 SEC
Texas A&M 111.3 SEC
Arkansas 110.3 SEC
Missouri 110.1 SEC
Alabama 108.2 SEC
Georgia 107.2 SEC
Mississippi St. 107.0 SEC
LSU 107.0 SEC
South Carolina 106.5 SEC
Mississippi 106.2 SEC
Vanderbilt 105.6 SEC
Gonzaga 116.0 WCC
Saint Mary’s 112.9 WCC
BYU 107.4 WCC
San Diego 101.6 WCC
San Francisco 99.5 WCC
Pacific 98.9 WCC
Loyola Marymount 94.7 WCC
Portland 92.8 WCC
Santa Clara 92.4 WCC
Pepperdine 89.8 WCC

The PiRates Are Adjusting How We Look For Buried Treasure

The PiRate Ratings began and operated for years as a college and pro football prediction establishment.  The ratings themselves began in October of 1969 and have operated continuously since.  In 1978-79, basketball ratings were added, and from 1980-2009, the PiRates did some horse racing prognosticating.  In all this time, however, it was an added filler that actually became our most patronized product we have publicly issued, be it in print or radio.

Our March Madness Bracket Picking guides have annually dwarfed all others, be it in the number of readers to this site, the number of responses from our historic newspaper presence, or the number of responses to our historic radio presence (and in one case to our sponsor, when one team’s fans threatened to boycott the adult beverage because our leader picked their rival to win the rivalry game).

We back-tested all the past Final Four and National Champions for the years where we had statistical data to identify the fingerprint statistics that might help us forecast future Final Four and National Championship teams.  We identified some consistent stats and discovered that some stats had little or no bearing.

For instance, we discovered that for most years, teams that scored a very high percentage of their points at the foul line tended to lose with more frequency as the rounds progressed.  We surmised that a lesser number of fouls were called in the bigger games, and the teams that got this far that were not great foul shooting teams got to where they were because they were dominant in other areas.  It just so happened that these other areas were the consistent ones that produced the champions.

We wanted to come up with a statistic that could be used to represent what has helped teams dominate in NCAA Tournament play.  We began refining this data over the years.

When our captain became a baseball metric specialist and started researching advanced analytics, he learned what many others had already learned.  What may work to determine the regular season division winners may not work in the playoffs.  Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane was quoted as saying (expletive altered), “My stuff doesn’t work in the playoffs.”

Beane was onto something, or in other words, it was plain to see that Oakland’s “Moneyball” ways produced 100-wins in the regular season, but it did not work in the playoffs, since the Athletics never won the pennant.  Forget for a minute that his predecessor Sandy Alderson actually began the advanced statistical age in Oakland, and he won three consecutive AL Pennants using a computer program to help determine some strategies.  Let’s look at why Moneyball issues do not work in the playoffs.

  1. On base percentage is superior to batting average, but in order to draw walks, the pitcher must throw pitches outside the strike zone.  In 130 out of 162 regular season games, a team might face pitching that would throw enough balls outside of the strike zone to walk four times per game.  However, in the playoffs, this team is more likely to face pitchers like Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, Clayton Kershaw, and Steven Strasburg.  These guys will paint the corners and force batters to either swing or walk back to the dugout rather than to first base.
  2. The sacrifice hit, hit and run, stolen base, and taking an extra base on singles and doubles may not be the most intelligent way to score runs in the regular season when again, 130 out of 162 games may present better ways to score runs by getting men on and hitting three-run homers.  However, try to wait for that three-run homer against Strasburg, Kluber, Sale, or Carrasco and see how far that gets you.  You are likely to lose 3-2 more than get that three-run tater.  Many people understand that giving up one of just 27 outs to advance a runner one base is foolish–most of the time.  If you are playing for one run in the eighth or ninth inning and have a runner on 2nd with no outs, it is the right thing to do to bunt the runner over to third.  Also, when the batter is facing a dominant pitcher, and the expected on base average for this batter against this pitcher is far south of what his normal OBA is, then it may also be the smarter option to bunt a runner up a base rather than risk a non-productive out or worse a GIDP.
  3. Relief pitching changes in the playoffs, especially the World Series.  In actuality, managers more intelligently use their best reliever when leverage is the highest, even if that is with two outs in the fifth inning.  Rather than bring in the top ace to protect a 3-run lead in the ninth, managers are more likely to use that ace in a one-run game in earlier innings.  Under Beane in the height of the Moneyball years where the A’s made the playoffs and lost, Oakland never invested a lot in a true stopper.  The numbers said that just about any above-average reliever could get 35 saves coming into the game in the ninth inning protecting a two or three-run lead.  In the playoffs, when Oakland needed the next Rollie Fingers, Paul Lindblad, Bob Locker, or Darold Knowles, or the next Dennis Eckersley, and they needed that stopper to stop a rally in the 6th inning, he wasn’t on the roster.

What does this have to do with March Madness, you may ask?  Plenty, we respond.  In basketball, the Four Factors have come to represent some of the best statistical analysis that can reveal the superior teams over the inferior teams.  During the regular season, these stats may show that State U is a top 25 team and should be no worse than a 5-seed in the Big Dance.  Then, this team gets a 4 or 5-seed in the tournament and goes up against a 12 or 13-seed that dominated a mid-major conference during the regular season.  This underdog possesses some of the dominating stats that work in the tournament, while the big team from the big conference does not.  And, lo and behold, the underdog upsets the favorite, making the sports media talk about how so many 12-seeds beat 5-seeds, like it is a curse.

Never once did these media experts consider that the reason the 12-seeds beat the 5-seeds much more often than normal is because these 12-seeds would beat these 5-seeds 7 times out of 10.  In other words, they are not really upsets.  They are indicators that the people that set the seeds are doing a poor job.

So, by now, you must be anxious to see what these special stats are that help us determine what works in the playoffs.  The answer is: The PiRate R+T Rating.

Huh?  What is the R+T Rating?  If you have followed our site for a long enough time, you have seen the R+T used since the 2000 NCAA Tournament.  It has been refined through the years, sort of like how weighted on-base average goes through refinements based on each season’s environments.

At the present time, our R+T rating is:

(R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T

R = Rebounding Margin per game

S = Average Steals per game

T= Turnover Margin per game

This formula translates into the number of extra scoring opportunities a team should be expected to gain over an average team.  It took hours of backtesting to refine it to the point where the result represented a real number that estimated the number of “cheap” points a team might be expected to receive over an average team.

It looks simple enough. If one team has a large rebounding edge in a game, they will benefit with an extra number of shots.  Depending on whether the advantage is at the offensive or defensive end, or both, limiting shots to one per possession and getting putbacks on the offensive end can create spurts in games that turn close contests into blowouts.

Turnover margin is not as important as rebounding margin except for when the turnover comes by way of a steal.  If the opponent turns the ball over due to travelling or stepping out of bounds or committing a charge, the opponent does not immediately see a benefit.  It ends the opponents’ possession, but it does not lead to fast break opportunities or the ability to tip the ball in the basket from a couple feet away.

When a team steals the ball, however, this is the absolute best extra possession.  Most steals come when the defense gains possession of the ball while their players are facing their basket, and the team turning the ball over has their back to that basket.  Almost all steals immediately present a number’s advantage for the team gaining possession.  If it is 2 on 1 or 3 on 2, this is like having a 3-0 count as a batter with the bases loaded.  Even if the steal results in a 2 on 2 or 3 on 3, the team with the ball has the advantage, since any even strength less than 5 on 5 favors the offense in basketball.

This is what the R+T represents.  A steal and rebound counts more than a turnover or lack of a turnover, but the turnover has value too.

How do we interpret R+T?  We have levels of interpretation.

If a team has an R+T rating of 20 or better, this is a potentially dangerous tournament team.  In a tight, evenly matched game, a team with a 20+ R+T rating has a huge advantage over a team with an average R+T rating.  At crunch time, a crucial steal or offensive rebound resulting in a basket can be the difference.

An R+T rating of 15-20 is a good rating, and a team with a rating in this range has Sweet 16 potential and maybe Elite 8 potential.

An R+T rating of 10-15 is average for an NCAA Tournament team.  Unless this team is outstanding in other areas such as field goal percentage margin, they probably do not have the necessary talent to make it past the Sweet 16.  There have been teams that made the Final Four with R+T ratings in  this range, but most of the time, they got there because they played opponents with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 5-10 range might win a game or even sneak into the Sweet 16, but they should not be expected to go any farther.  It is unlikely that a team in this range will face three consecutive teams with even weaker R+T ratings.

An R+T rating in the 0-5 range does not have the goods to make it to the second weekend of the tournament.  Favored teams in this range playing underdogs with double-digit R+T ratings are prime to be “upset.”

And, when you see a team with a negative R+T, treat this team like you would treat a race horse with “four white socks.”

There is an old poem about horses wearing white socks (hooves), as it was generally believed, rightly or wrongly, that white hooves were a sign of weakness in a horse.  If we remember correctly it goes:

One white sock, keep him to the end.

Two white socks, give him to a friend.

Three white socks, send him far away.

Four white socks, keep him not a day.

A team with a negative R+T rating has four white socks.  Pick them not a game.  Teams with negative R+T ratings almost always lose in the Round of 64, even if they are a 2-seed playing a 15-seed.  There was a year where three heavily favored teams from power conferences but with negative R+T ratings played three double-digit seeds from mid-major conferences but with good R+T ratings.  All three heavily favored teams lost.

Do you remember in 2013 when Florida Gulf Coast made Andy Enfield famous for something more than his fantastic spouse, when his 15th-seeded Eagles clobbered second-seed Georgetown?  FGCU had a fat R+T rating, while the Hoyas had a negative R+T rating.

Let’s look at this statistic in tabular form with several potential NCAA Tournament teams.  These numbers represent only the stats from conference games for each team, thus eliminating games where a power conference team beat a low-major team by 35 points and padded their stats.

Team Reb. Stl. Opp Stl. TO R+T  Conf.
Alabama -0.1 7.7 6.7 -0.3 2.7 1
Arizona 6.1 4.8 5.7 -0.2 14.7 5
Auburn -0.3 8.1 5.8 4.4 8.1 1
Buffalo 4.1 6.9 4.8 2.4 15.3 13
Cincinnati 9.1 7.1 5.1 3.1 25.8 7
Clemson -1.9 5.4 6.4 -0.5 -2.0 2
Duke 6.9 7.8 5.7 -0.1 17.9 2
East Tennessee 7.7 6.8 5.6 0.2 19.4 17
Florida -3.6 5.2 3.3 3.0 1.1 1
Florida St. 3.6 5.5 5.8 0.0 10.2 2
Gonzaga 10.5 5.7 4.9 2.6 27.6 11
Kansas -5.2 5.8 5.7 0.3 -6.9 3
Kansas St. -8.0 8.3 6.0 3.0 -8.9 3
Kentucky 2.0 5.7 5.1 -1.7 6.1 1
UL-Lafayette 10.2 7.9 5.7 1.1 25.8 23
Louisville 1.6 7.9 7.3 2.1 8.0 2
Loyola (Chi.) 0.8 7.4 5.7 2.2 7.8 9
Miami (Fla.) 0.9 7.6 6.3 1.6 6.9 2
Michigan -0.5 5.1 4.7 3.2 6.1 6
Michigan St. 9.0 3.5 4.8 -4.5 16.5 6
Middle Tennessee 10.0 5.5 6.2 -0.9 21.7 14
Montana 4.5 8.8 4.1 4.3 19.6 20
Nevada -1.2 7.3 4.4 4.8 7.7 10
New Mexico St. 11.5 4.3 5.3 1.7 27.6 15
North Carolina 9.9 5.5 5.7 -1.2 21.7 2
North Carolina St. 0.9 6.8 6.0 1.6 6.8 2
Ohio St. 6.0 5.8 3.9 0.0 17.0 6
Oklahoma 1.6 6.3 7.8 -3.2 1.4 3
Oregon 1.8 6.7 4.8 0.7 8.9 5
Purdue 1.9 5.5 5.4 1.5 8.7 6
Rhode Island 1.5 6.3 5.7 5.6 12.1 8
Saint Mary’s 6.4 5.8 6.3 -0.7 14.7 11
South Dakota St. 2.9 5.1 4.4 -0.2 9.8 16
USC -1.4 8.0 4.7 7.0 9.5 5
SMU -0.7 8.4 4.0 2.8 7.6 7
Tennessee 1.4 6.0 5.7 0.7 6.8 1
Texas Tech 5.1 6.2 6.7 0.6 13.2 3
UCLA -0.1 6.1 4.9 0.5 4.5 5
Villanova -3.2 6.7 4.3 3.6 2.3 4
Virginia -2.9 8.3 4.1 6.2 6.5 2
Virginia Tech -6.4 6.4 5.8 1.4 -8.0 2
West Virginia 2.8 6.9 6.0 2.3 11.4 3
Wichita St. 9.3 4.9 6.1 0.8 21.8 7

There are a couple of extra things to add to this discussion before you receive your BS in R+Tology.  Most of you by now have thought that it is a lot easier for New Mexico State to dominate in the WAC than it is for Kansas to dominate in the Big 12.  Beating Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Texas Tech is a lot harder than beating Chicago State, Missouri-Kansas City, and Seattle.  Definitely, the strength of the conference must be factored into this equation.  In the last column above, you see a number under the heading of “conf.”  This represents the rating of conferences by strength.  As of today, the SEC is the toughest league in college basketball.  The ACC is number two; the Big 12 is number three; and so on.  The WAC is number 15.  There are 31 Division One conferences, so 15 is about average, while the SEC and ACC are many points better than an average conference.

We do handicap these ratings when we do our March Madness picking.  An ACC team with an R+T rating of 15 is better than a Colonial Athletic Association team with an R+T rating of 23.  A SWAC team with an R+T rating of 7 is like a Big 12 team with a negative R+T rating.

One final adjustment.  When looking at the components of the R+T ratings, notice whether a team’s components are all positive numbers.  In other words, look to see if a team has positive rebounding margins, positive turnover margins (commit less than they force), averages more than 6 steals per game and who limits opponents steals to less than 6 per game.  This is the sign of a complete team, and complete teams frequently beat teams with superior R+T ratings when the other team is not a complete team.

Let’s look at two examples from above.

Dan Hurley has done a great job at Rhode Island, and the Rams are a “complete team.”  They have a positive rebounding margin.  They average more than 6 steals per game and give up less than 6 steals per game, and they have a really nice turnover margin.  Their R+T rating is 12.1, and the Atlantic 10 conference is rated #8.  URI is definitely Sweet 16-worthy with these stats before we begin to look at other factors like shooting percentages and defensive shooting percentages.

Now, let’s look at Michigan State.  The Spartans have a 16.5 R+T rating from the number 6 conference.  However, Sparty averages only 3.5 steals per game and have a negative turnover margin of 4.5.  This is a real warning sign for bracket-pickers.  MSU will dominate on the boards in a matchup against Rhode Island, but the Rams will even up that advantage with a large turnover margins against the Spartans.  If both teams shoot a similar percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line, you have a toss-up game.

Michigan State saw how this lack of being complete hurt them in the past.  In the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Spartans faced a Middle Tennessee State team that excelled in turnover margin and steals.  The Blue Raiders basically were much quicker than Michigan State, and this is why their turnover margin was so excellent.  They could pressure the ball and play in the passing lanes without giving up easy baskets.  MTSU pulled off the upset thanks to turnover margin equalizing the rebounding margin of their opponent.  The Blue Raiders’ quickness led to a lot of open shots, while Michigan State’s power game did not produce an equivalent number of open shots.  MTSU took MSU out of its game plan and forced the tempo, turning this into a 70-possession game.  Michigan State preferred a 60-64 possession game, and those extra 6-10 possessions per side helped the underdog team.

It is not always this cut and dried.  Other factors have to be considered, and this is where the PiRate Ratings have made substantial changes starting this year.  In past years, we did not give a lot of support to excellent three-point shooting teams, because we favored teams that could get shots from within 5 feet of the basket.  During the last three or four years, the three-point shot has become much more important, essential if you will.  The Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams now rely on advanced analytical data almost as much as Major League Baseball teams.  Three-point shooting has been determined to be as vital as having the relief ace that can enter the World Series in the 6th inning and get six high-leverage outs.  The PiRate Bracket-picking protocol has now incorporated true shooting percentages with R+T ratings and conference strength to refine our ratings.

The game has come down to whether a team can be expected to shoot a certain percentage from inside and outside the 3-point line and whether they can be expected to get extra scoring opportunities.  A combination of these two basic factors will be how we handicap games in the future.  Of course, we will handicap the two factors based on conference strength.

When you look at our spreads each week, you are looking at an algorithm that incorporates and handicaps due to conference strength, expected true shooting percentages and scoring opportunities








January 29, 2018

PiRate Ratings Bracket Gurus Report for January 29, 2017

Our Bracket Gurus have spoken for the first time this year.  Maybe, you should listen, because in 2017, the Gurus were 100% correct in picking the final 68 teams on Selection Sunday morning, something mighty impressive considering there were about a half-dozen teams competing for the last three spots in the field.

All 12 of last year’s March Gurus have returned, and because we thought we might fall one shy, we added a trio of new Gurus who have credibility with the PiRate Captain.  So, in this report, the number of Gurus reporting is 15.

Let’s get to it.  Here are the 68 teams seeded 1-16.

Seed Team League
1 Villanova BIGE
1 Purdue BTEN
1 Virginia ACC
1 Kansas B12
2 Duke ACC
2 Xavier BIGE
2 Auburn SEC
2 Oklahoma B12
3 Clemson ACC
3 Arizona PAC12
3 Michigan St. BTEN
3 North Carolina ACC
4 Texas Tech B12
4 Cincinnati AAC
4 Tennessee SEC
4 West Virginia B12
5 Kentucky SEC
5 Florida SEC
5 Ohio St. BTEN
5 Seton Hall BIGE
6 Wichita St. AAC
6 Rhode Island A-10
6 Creighton BIGE
6 Miami (Fla.) ACC
7 Arizona St. PAC12
7 Louisville ACC
7 Florida St. ACC
7 Gonzaga WCC
8 TCU B12
8 Arkansas SEC
8 Saint Mary’s WCC
8 Michigan BTEN
9 Nevada MWC
9 Alabama SEC
9 Texas B12
9 Butler BIGE
10 USC PAC12
10 Providence BIGE
10 Kansas St. B12
10 Houston AAC
11 Middle Tennessee CUSA
11 New Mexico St. WAC
11 Buffalo MAC
11 Loyola (Chi.) MVC
12 Texas A&M SEC
12 Syracuse ACC
12 Marquette BIGE
12 North Carolina St. ACC
12 Washington PAC12
12 Boise St. MWC
13 UL-Lafayette SBC
13 East Tennessee St. SOCON
13 Vermont AMEAST
13 South Dakota St. Summit
14 Belmont OVC
14 Wright St. Horizon
14 William & Mary CAA
14 Bucknell Patriot
15 Montana BSKY
15 UC-Davis BWEST
15 Canisius MAAC
15 Stephen F. Austin SLC
16 Florida Gulf Coast A-SUN
16 Penn Ivy
16 Wagner NEC
16 UNC-Asheville BIGS
16 Bethune-Cookman MEAC
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff SWAC

Here is the breakdown of Multiple Bid Leagues. There are 23, one-bid leagues in this first report, with the Mountain West Conference just barely sneaking in with two teams and Conference USA just barely missing out on getting a second team in this field.

AAC: 3

ACC: 9

Big 12: 7

Big East: 7

Big Ten: 4

Mountain West: 2

Pac-12: 4

SEC: 7

WCC: 2


The Bubble

The Last 4 Teams With a Bye

Kansas St.


Texas A&M



The Last 4 Teams In The Field (First Four Teams in Dayton)

Marquette vs. Boise St.

North Carolina St. vs. Washington


The Rest of the Bubble (in order of votes by the Gurus)


Western Kentucky

Virginia Tech


South Carolina



St. Bonaventure



Notre Dame

Old Dominion




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