The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 16, 2016

PiRate Ratings For NCAA Tournament Round of 64

Thursday, March 17        
Higher Seed Lower Seed Red White Blue
Kansas Austin Peay 22 23 31
Colorado Connecticut -3 -2 -4
Arizona Wichita St. 1 4 1
Miami Buffalo 12 13 14
Baylor Yale 3 3 11
Duke UNC-Wilmington 6 8 12
North Carolina Florida Gulf Coast 19 21 25
USC Providence 1 1 3
Indiana Chattanooga 10 8 11
Kentucky Stony Brook 11 10 10
Virginia Hampton 20 25 33
Texas Tech Butler -1 -1 -2
Purdue UALR 6 7 17
Iowa St. Iona 8 10 13
Seton Hall Gonzaga 1 -1 -1
Utah Fresno St. 7 8 15
     
Friday, March 18        
Higher Seed Lower Seed Red White Blue
Maryland South Dakota St. 6 7 8
California Hawaii 5 6 11
Iowa Temple 8 6 9
Villanova UNC-Asheville 13 14 22
Oregon Holy Cross 22 25 35
St. Joseph’s Cincinnati 1 -2 1
Texas Northern Iowa 5 6 10
Texas A&M Green Bay 9 12 18
Oregon St. VCU -2 -4 -4
Oklahoma Cal State Bakersfield 11 13 20
Notre Dame Michigan 2 3 1
West Virginia Stephen F. Austin 6 8 12
Wisconsin Pittsburgh 1 1 -1
Xavier Weber St. 13 13 17
Dayton Syracuse -1 -1 2
Michigan St. Middle Tennessee 16 16 21
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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 18, 2013

Bracketnomics 2013: NCAA First and Second Rounds

We hope you read our informational posting about Bracketnomics.  In that post, we explained how we have back-tested certain data to find best fits for past national champions and Final Four participants.

 

We have all the data we need going back to the first year of the 64-team field.  We have sufficient data going back to the days of the 22 to 25-team fields of the 1960’s, and we have nominal data going back to the beginning of the NCAA Tournament 74 years ago.

 

In a nutshell, there are certain statistical trends that point to a team advancing deeper and deeper in the tournament.  As statistical information has become more easily obtainable, and the field has expanded to 64, 65, and now 68, this information has become much more accurate.

 

First and foremost, we look for teams that played better than average schedules.  It is obvious that a team can play 20 patsies and run up some really gaudy stats.

 

Second, we look for teams that can win away from home.  If a team goes 22-8, with a home record of 18-1 and a record away from home (away and neutral games) of 4-7, this team is not ready to win six consecutive games, or even four, away from home.

 

Once we have isolated the teams that have played an above average schedule and have enjoyed some success away from home, we look at these vital statistics:

 

1. Scoring Margin—anything that is 8 or more is important.  We really like a scoring margin at 10 or more, as all but one of the 21st Century champions have entered the Big Dance with a double digit scoring margin.  If a team has a 15-point or better scoring margin, and they satisfy the strength of schedule and road won-loss criteria, then watch out!

 

2. Field Goal Percentage Margin—this is a team’s offensive field goal percentage minus their defensive field goal percentage times 100.  The key stat here is +7.5% or better.

 

3. Rebounding Margin—a team with a rebounding margin of 5.0 or more has a chance to overcome a bad shooting game or a turnover-prone game.

 

4. Turnover Margin—similar to rebounding margin, but we have a weighted scale here.  If a team out-rebounds its opponents by 3.0 or more, then any positive turnover margin is sufficient.  If a team out-rebounds is opponents by 0.1 to 2.9, then a turnover margin of 3.0 or better is required.  And, if a team does not out-rebound its opponents, they must have a turnover margin of 5.0 or more.

 

5. Average Steals Per Game—if the rebound is gold, the steal is platinum.  We consider a steal to be worth 1.3 rebounds (reasons given in Bracketnomics 2013 posted on Sunday, March 17, 2013).  Any team that averages 7.5 or more steals per game will have several cheap basket opportunities.  Any team with double digit steals per game will be monsters in the tournament.

 

6. The PiRate R+T Rating—if rebound margin is gold, and steals per game are platinum, then our R+T rating is rhodium.  This rating combines rebounding margin, turnover margin, and steals per game into one sabrmetric-type rating, similar to any of several baseball ratings (like Wins Above Replacement).  The current formula is in Sunday’s post, but you don’t have to bother with trying to figure these out for all 68 teams.  We have done that for you.  What we isolate are the teams with an R+T rating of 5.0 or better, paying extra attention to 10.0 or better.  If a team has a negative R+T rating, they are going home quickly even if they are a number 3 seed playing a number 14 seed, which is exactly what happened in 2010, when Georgetown had a negative R+T rating and not only was upset by Ohio U in the opening round, they were blown out of the gym.

 

The 2013 Field of 68

1. Which teams qualify on all stat requirements?

 

None of the 68 teams qualify on all eight statistical requirements.  Two teams came close with seven of eight.

 

Gonzaga qualifies in all statistical categories, except schedule strength, and that is a killer.  The Bulldogs may advance to the Elite Eight, but with their lower than average SOS, we do not see this as their breakthrough season, even as a one-seed.

 

Indiana qualifies in all statistical categories except won-loss percentage away from Assembly Hall.  The Hoosiers’ won-loss percentage away from home is 71.4%, which misses qualifying by one game.

 

2. Which teams failed to qualify in even one statistical category?

 

We almost broke a record this year in “nullsville.”  11 teams failed to meet at least one of the statistical criteria and will not need reservations past the second round (what used to be the first round).

 

Albany, Florida Gulf-Coast, Harvard, Iona, Liberty, Long Island, Montana, North Carolina A&T, Pacific, and Western Kentucky come as no surprise to most.  These teams are not expected to win in this tournament, although either North Carolina A&T or Liberty must win one game, because they face off in the First Four in Dayton.

 

However, one major conference team is going to surprise you.  That team is: Notre Dame!  The Fighting Irish just missed out in scoring margin, rebounding margin, and strength of schedule, while their turnover margin and average steals missed by a long shot.  Keep this in mind when looking at upsets in the second round.

 

3. Which teams have a negative R+T rating and can be immediately eliminated from consideration?

 

Only one team has a negative R+T rating, and that is Liberty.  However, several teams have R+T ratings just above zero, and you should look at these teams as the type that will not get enough extra scoring opportunities to win.

 

4. Which of the teams expected to win or be competitive in a tossup game have these low R+T numbers?

 

California is a “sexy 12-seed” that many feel got the shaft in the seeding process.  A lot of experts are calling for the Golden Bears to benefit from playing in San Jose and upset 5-seed UNLV.  However, Cal has an R+T rating of 2.68, while the Runnin’ Rebels’ R+T rating is 6.88.  If you considered a game to be a tossup and then gave one team four additional possessions, which team would you expect to win?

 

La Salle is a 13-seed playing 4-seed KansasState.  The Explorers’ R+T rating is 2.46, while the Wildcats have a 7.86 rating.  Don’t count on the lads from Philly beating the lads from the other Manhattan.

 

5. Who will advance to the Final Four?

We’re glad you asked, because we have an opinion to proffer.

 

Normally, we find just one or at most two number one seeds worthy of making it to the final weekend.  The only year where we saw three 1-seeds advancing to the tournament was 2008, when we selected Kansas, Memphis, and North Carolina to advance to the Final Four as one-seeds.  That indeed happened, but we missed out on one-seed UCLA making it the one and only time that all four one-seeds won their respective regions.

 

This year, we are going with the chalk in three regions once again.  We believe Louisville, Indiana, and Kansas will win their regions.  We do not believe Gonzaga will make it four for four.  In fact, we have a dark horse candidate as our West Regional winner.  We believe six-seed Arizona will upset 2-seed OhioState in the Sweet 16 and then win again in the Elite Eight to be the surprise winner of the Regional.

 

6. So, who do we pick for the National Champion?

This is a very close call.  The top two teams, Indiana and Louisville are separated by just a hair the way we rate the teams.  It is a tossup, so we have to go to extracurricular information to figure out a winner.

 

Remember what we said were the rhodium, platinum, and gold ratings?  Both teams are in the top grouping in R+T rating.  Indiana dominates in rebounding margin, while Louisville is on the top rung in steals per game.  We have to go outside our formula to come up with a winner, and we are going with experience.  Rick Pitino has been to six Final Fours as a head coach.  Our official pick for NCAA Champion is Louisville.

 

Here are our picks for the first two rounds.  Of course, we will update the ratings and pick anew after round two with picks for Saturday on Friday night and picks for Sunday on Saturday night.

 

Opening Round (First 4 @ Dayton)

North Carolina A&T over Liberty

Middle Tennessee over St. Mary’s

Long Island over James Madison

BoiseState over La Salle

 

Second Round

Midwest

Louisville over North Carolina A&T

ColoradoState over Missouri

Oregon over OklahomaState

St. Louis over New MexicoState

Memphis over Middle Tennessee

MichiganState over Valparaiso

Cincinnati over Creighton

Duke over Albany

 

West

Gonzaga over Southern

Pittsburgh over WichitaState

Wisconsin over Ole Miss

KansasState over BoiseState

Arizona over Belmont

New Mexico over Harvard

IowaState over Notre Dame

OhioState over Iona

 

South

Kansas over Western Kentucky

North Carolina over Villanova

VirginiaCommonwealth over Akron

Michigan over South DakotaState

Minnesota over UCLA

Florida over Northwestern State

San DiegoState over Oklahoma

Georgetown over FloridaGulfCoast

 

East

Indiana over Long Island

North CarolinaState over Temple

UNLV over California

Syracuse over Montana

Bucknell over Butler (big upset pick)

Marquette over Davidson (closest game in this round according to our ratings)

Colorado over Illinois

Miami over Pacific

 

Third Round (Will be updated on Friday and Saturday for those that get to pick every round)

 

Midwest

Louisville over ColoradoState

Oregon over St. Louis

MichiganState over Memphis

Duke over Cincinnati

 

West

Gonzaga over Pittsburgh

Wisconsin over KansasState

Arizona over New Mexico

OhioState over IowaState

 

South

Kansas over North Carolina

Michigan over VirginiaCommonwealth (very close)

Florida over Minnesota

Georgetown over San DiegoState

 

East

Indiana over North CarolinaState

Syracuse over UNLV

Bucknell over Marquette (our Cinderella team in the Sweet 16)

Miami over Colorado

 

Sweet 16

Midwest

Louisville over Oregon

MichiganState over Duke

 

West

Gonzaga over Wisconsin

Arizona over OhioState

 

South

Kansas over Michigan

Florida over Georgetown

 

East

Indiana over Syracuse

Miami over Bucknell

 

Elite 8

Midwest

Louisville over MichiganState

 

West

Arizona over Gonzaga

 

South

Kansas over Florida

 

East

Indiana over Miami

 

Final 4

Louisville over Arizona

Indiana over Kansas

 

Championship

Louisville over Indiana

 

Here is a look at our raw stats:

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

D FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

RW-L

Akron

72.7

62.0

10.7

.457

.390

6.7

37.9

32.0

5.9

13.6

13.8

0.2

7.2

7.58

51.34

68.8

Albany

64.8

60.6

4.2

.436

.422

1.4

34.0

30.4

3.6

13.5

12.5

-1.0

5.3

3.46

45.63

64.7

Arizona

73.3

63.7

9.6

.450

.415

3.5

36.2

30.3

5.9

13.1

13.8

0.7

6.9

8.12

57.27

68.8

Belmont

77.2

64.0

13.2

.494

.410

8.4

32.2

33.0

-0.8

13.5

17.4

3.9

9.8

5.84

54.17

68.4

Boise St.

73.3

65.0

8.3

.459

.431

2.8

33.9

29.7

4.2

12.1

13.5

1.4

6.7

7.22

55.64

43.8

Bucknell

67.3

57.5

9.8

.456

.378

7.8

36.2

30.3

5.9

9.5

9.2

-0.3

3.6

6.26

48.45

77.8

Butler

69.7

63.7

6.0

.455

.417

3.8

36.6

28.9

7.7

13.2

11.2

-2.0

5.7

6.44

56.61

70.6

California

67.5

64.4

3.1

.446

.396

5.0

37.2

34.0

3.2

12.5

11.1

-1.4

5.8

2.68

56.35

60.0

Cincinnati

66.6

58.8

7.8

.402

.385

1.7

40.0

33.5

6.5

12.8

13.2

0.4

7.0

8.38

57.16

60.0

Colorado

68.2

63.8

4.4

.436

.404

3.2

37.2

33.8

3.4

13.3

12.9

-0.4

7.0

4.32

57.40

52.9

Colorado St.

73.1

62.9

10.2

.448

.409

3.9

40.4

28.4

12.0

10.8

11.1

0.3

4.9

13.34

56.44

56.3

Creighton

75.4

63.1

12.3

.508

.407

10.1

35.2

30.3

4.9

12.3

10.6

-1.7

5.0

3.86

54.46

70.6

Davidson

73.7

62.2

11.5

.463

.412

5.1

33.8

31.4

2.4

10.9

12.3

1.4

5.7

5.22

48.49

70.0

Duke

78.3

65.4

12.9

.476

.418

5.8

33.8

35.0

-1.2

10.7

14.4

3.7

6.5

4.54

60.79

68.8

Florida

71.6

53.7

17.9

.481

.377

10.4

35.1

30.3

4.8

11.1

14.0

2.9

7.0

9.68

57.28

61.1

FloridaGulfCoast

73.1

66.7

6.4

.460

.406

5.4

36.6

35.4

1.2

14.7

15.9

1.2

9.0

4.44

47.87

50.0

Georgetown

64.6

55.7

8.9

.456

.376

8.0

32.9

31.7

1.2

12.7

14.2

1.5

7.5

4.50

57.95

64.3

Gonzaga

78.0

59.7

18.3

.503

.382

12.1

37.4

30.0

7.4

11.3

13.9

2.6

8.0

12.12

54.72

93.8

Harvard

68.9

63.9

5.0

.482

.440

4.2

29.4

30.4

-1.0

13.5

13.8

0.3

7.4

0.84

48.79

42.9

Illinois

69.1

65.3

3.8

.416

.427

-1.1

33.5

34.9

-1.4

11.5

14.4

2.9

6.9

3.46

58.79

55.6

Indiana

80.0

62.5

17.5

.486

.390

9.6

38.6

30.9

7.7

13.0

14.4

1.4

7.5

10.88

58.69

71.4

Iona

80.7

75.8

4.9

.457

.449

0.8

36.0

35.9

0.1

12.2

14.1

1.9

6.6

3.70

50.69

42.9

Iowa St.

79.6

71.2

8.4

.455

.427

2.8

38.7

34.0

4.7

13.3

13.2

-0.1

6.5

5.88

56.13

37.5

James Madison

65.2

64.4

0.8

.420

.427

-0.7

32.7

34.2

-1.5

11.2

13.8

2.6

7.9

3.20

45.92

50.0

Kansas

75.4

61.5

13.9

.480

.360

12.0

39.1

32.5

6.6

13.7

12.9

-0.8

7.2

7.08

57.80

75.0

Kansas St.

69.2

60.4

8.8

.436

.418

1.8

35.3

32.1

3.2

11.6

14.3

2.7

7.1

7.86

56.31

62.5

La Salle

72.4

66.0

6.4

.448

.456

-0.8

31.7

34.7

-3.0

11.7

14.9

3.2

8.1

2.46

54.70

53.3

Liberty

69.1

69.9

-0.8

.429

.419

1.0

35.7

36.3

-0.6

13.4

10.8

-2.6

5.5

-2.62

44.38

35.0

Long Island

79.5

76.4

3.1

.484

.468

1.6

35.4

33.6

1.8

14.4

13.0

-1.4

6.8

1.48

45.45

43.8

Louisville

73.6

58.0

15.6

.445

.388

5.7

37.5

33.9

3.6

12.7

18.7

6.0

10.7

12.94

59.42

77.8

Marquette

69.0

62.7

6.3

.467

.405

6.2

35.0

30.6

4.4

13.6

12.9

-0.7

6.7

4.90

58.24

46.7

Memphis

75.9

65.1

10.8

.479

.405

7.4

37.8

32.9

4.9

14.6

15.5

0.9

9.0

7.78

54.81

81.3

Miami

69.9

60.7

9.2

.460

.399

6.1

35.8

32.5

3.3

10.9

11.9

1.0

6.3

5.76

59.20

72.2

Michigan

75.2

62.9

12.3

.484

.419

6.5

35.1

32.2

2.9

9.2

12.1

2.9

6.0

7.58

56.00

60.0

Michigan St.

68.2

59.3

8.9

.460

.394

6.6

37.3

30.5

6.8

13.4

12.8

-0.6

8.1

7.70

59.69

53.3

Middle Tennessee

71.2

57.8

13.4

.463

.394

6.9

36.8

30.8

6.0

13.8

15.8

2.0

7.1

9.82

51.62

70.6

Minnesota

68.4

61.7

6.7

.442

.396

4.6

38.8

30.6

8.2

13.8

12.8

-1.0

7.6

8.52

59.67

33.3

Missouri

76.2

66.2

10.0

.460

.401

5.9

41.4

31.8

9.6

13.2

12.0

-1.2

6.8

9.52

56.00

37.5

Montana

71.1

65.0

6.1

.474

.427

4.7

31.2

32.4

-1.2

12.1

12.2

0.1

5.9

0.10

46.85

66.7

N.C.State

77.5

70.1

7.4

.494

.418

7.6

36.8

33.9

2.9

12.4

11.6

-0.8

6.6

3.26

56.64

47.1

New Mexico

67.4

60.4

7.0

.425

.388

3.7

35.2

33.1

2.1

11.5

12.7

1.2

6.1

4.76

60.31

77.8

New Mexico St.

68.0

62.1

5.9

.461

.398

6.3

37.6

31.1

6.5

14.4

12.4

-2.0

5.6

5.22

52.46

50.0

North Carolina

77.2

69.1

8.1

.444

.422

2.2

38.9

36.5

2.4

12.2

15.3

3.1

8.2

7.76

58.63

55.6

North Carolina A&T

62.4

61.4

1.0

.398

.383

1.5

35.4

36.6

-1.2

15.1

16.1

1.0

7.1

1.42

43.39

40.9

Northwestern St.

81.0

71.2

9.8

.461

.424

3.7

39.3

38.9

0.4

14.0

17.0

3.0

9.8

5.96

48.32

58.8

Notre Dame

70.4

63.1

7.3

.463

.418

4.5

36.2

32.1

4.1

11.1

10.4

-0.7

5.1

4.28

55.83

53.3

Ohio St.

69.2

57.9

11.3

.454

.395

5.9

35.5

31.8

3.7

10.6

13.2

2.6

6.8

8.18

58.31

66.7

Oklahoma

71.1

66.2

4.9

.436

.417

1.9

36.7

34.9

1.8

11.8

13.3

1.5

6.5

4.90

57.40

47.1

Oklahoma St.

72.4

62.8

9.6

.440

.390

5.0

36.4

34.6

1.8

12.4

14.8

2.4

7.5

6.18

56.26

64.3

Ole Miss

77.9

67.3

10.6

.438

.410

2.8

38.7

37.7

1.0

11.4

15.6

4.2

8.4

7.72

51.73

58.8

Oregon

72.5

62.9

9.6

.451

.406

4.5

37.9

30.9

7.0

15.1

15.7

0.6

8.8

9.48

53.29

60.0

Pacific

67.5

68.1

-0.6

.452

.444

0.8

32.3

31.9

0.4

11.1

11.3

0.2

5.6

1.76

50.38

47.4

Pittsburgh

69.6

55.4

14.2

.475

.393

8.2

35.3

28.3

7.0

10.9

13.5

2.6

6.7

11.46

54.91

64.3

San Diego St.

69.2

60.7

8.5

.438

.388

5.0

36.8

33.4

3.4

11.9

12.7

0.8

6.9

5.74

57.98

47.1

South Dakota St.

73.9

65.5

8.4

.470

.442

2.8

34.9

30.7

4.2

10.5

11.2

0.7

5.0

6.04

48.89

55.0

Southern

67.7

57.1

10.6

.434

.365

6.9

35.2

35.3

-0.1

10.9

13.7

2.8

7.5

4.76

40.21

55.0

St. Louis

68.7

58.1

10.6

.448

.412

3.6

32.8

32.5

0.3

11.5

15.2

3.7

7.5

6.24

55.73

69.2

St. Mary’s

75.5

63.5

12.0

.474

.419

5.5

37.1

28.4

8.7

12.0

11.7

-0.3

6.3

9.60

53.70

68.8

Syracuse

71.3

60.1

11.2

.440

.377

6.3

38.7

34.6

4.1

12.6

15.5

2.9

8.9

9.36

59.30

56.3

Temple

72.8

68.1

4.7

.430

.434

-0.4

34.5

35.8

-1.3

11.0

13.7

2.7

8.0

3.54

55.35

60.0

U C L A

74.7

68.9

5.8

.455

.422

3.3

36.3

38.1

-1.8

11.1

14.1

3.0

8.2

3.44

57.71

62.5

U N L V

71.7

63.0

8.7

.439

.388

5.1

40.1

33.5

6.6

14.0

13.0

-1.0

7.4

6.88

57.99

50.0

V C U

77.3

64.8

12.5

.449

.444

0.5

34.8

34.8

0.0

11.8

19.9

8.1

11.8

12.08

55.72

64.7

Valparaiso

71.7

62.2

9.5

.489

.414

7.5

32.9

28.5

4.4

14.5

12.8

-1.7

6.7

3.70

49.76

66.7

Villanova

67.8

64.7

3.1

.415

.402

1.3

36.3

33.2

3.1

15.7

15.2

-0.5

7.7

4.04

57.43

47.1

Western Kentucky

67.2

65.7

1.5

.431

.422

0.9

36.2

33.0

3.2

15.1

13.9

-1.2

6.1

2.98

49.50

45.0

Wichita St.

69.4

60.7

8.7

.443

.400

4.3

38.4

30.0

8.4

12.8

13.2

0.4

7.5

10.38

53.84

64.7

Wisconsin

65.5

55.9

9.6

.425

.394

3.1

36.7

32.9

3.8

9.7

11.2

1.5

5.7

6.74

58.11

50.0

 

Here is a look at the stats of the NCAA Champions since 2000:

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

D FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

RW-L

12 Kentucky

76.7

59.0

17.7

.483

.368

11.5

39.1

31.9

7.2

11.4

11.9

0.5

6.3

9.06

56.84

87.5

11 Uconn

72.4

64.9

7.5

.434

.393

4.1

39.7

35.3

4.4

11.4

11.5

0.1

6.3

5.78

72.2

10 Duke

77.0

61.0

16.0

.440

.401

3.9

39.0

32.8

6.2

11.1

14.2

3.1

6.7

11.26

70.6

09 North Carolina

89.8

72.0

17.8

.480

.410

7.0

42.0

35.7

6.3

12.4

15.9

3.5

8.6

12.22

82.4

08 Kansas

80.5

61.5

19.0

.508

.379

12.9

38.7

30.8

7.9

13.2

15.6

2.4

8.9

12.56

78.6

07 Florida

79.6

62.6

17.0

.526

.407

11.9

37.6

29.1

8.5

14.1

12.8

-1.3

6.7

8.28

68.8

06 Florida

78.3

63.5

14.8

.500

.399

10.1

35.9

32.3

3.6

14.4

15.5

1.1

7.6

6.44

73.3

05 North Carolina

88.0

70.3

17.7

.499

.401

9.8

40.5

33.0

7.5

16.1

17.8

1.7

9.8

11.50

75.0

04 Connecticut

78.8

63.9

14.9

.480

.369

11.1

44.7

34.9

9.8

13.6

12.2

-1.4

6.0

9.32

66.7

03 Syracuse

79.6

69.6

10.0

.475

.390

8.5

40.7

38.1

2.6

14.1

14.9

0.8

8.5

5.26

58.3

02 Maryland

85.0

70.9

14.1

.482

.399

8.3

41.1

37.4

3.7

13.8

15.4

1.6

8.4

7.30

73.3

01 Duke

90.7

70.5

20.2

.481

.416

6.5

38.6

37.5

1.1

13.6

19.1

5.5

10.5

9.80

88.9

00 Michigan St.

74.1

58.9

15.2

.474

.394

8.0

39.0

27.3

11.7

14.6

13.7

-0.9

6.6

11.94

63.2

 

March 13, 2012

2012 NCAA Tournament Play-in and Second Round Game Previews

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 10:35 am

All over the country, you can feel the symptoms coming on.  By Tuesday afternoon, millions of Americans will start to feel a little run down.  By Thursday morning, millions will call in sick with that mysterious illness that strikes every March.  Yes, March Madness Syndrome is about to hit epidemic proportions again.

 

Welcome back to the PiRate Ratings’ Bracketnomics.  If you are unfamiliar with PiRate Bracketnomics, refer to our Bracketnomics 505, 2012 edition at: https://piratings.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/bracketnomics-505-2012-edition/

 

There is a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it.

 

1. Which teams satisfy all the mechanical criteria?

A. Outscored their opponents by 8 or more points per game

B. FG% Differential of 7.5% or better

C. Outrebounded their opponents by 5 or more per game

D. Either a positive turnover margin if they outrebounded their opponents by 3 or more; a turnover margin of +3 or more, if they outrebounded their opponents by less than 3; or a turnover margin of +5 if they did not outrebound their opponents.

E. 7.5 or more steals per game

F. An R+T Rating of 5 or more

G. A strength of schedule better than .5500 (from CBS Sportsline)

H. A road+neutral court W-L% of 70% or better.

 

Answer—Five teams this year match all the criteria above, meaning they have statistical resumes similar to the average National Champions of the past 50 years. These five are (in alphabetical order): Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, and Wichita State.

 

2. Which teams fail to meet any of the mechanical criteria?

 

Answer—Eight teams fail to satisfy any of the minimal mechanical criteria.  It should come as no surprise that Western Kentucky, with a losing record, misses the boat.  Colorado State and Long Island are not powerhouses as well.  However, how about these five teams?  Michigan, Notre Dame, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Xavier fail to meet any of the minimum requirements in any of the criteria (not counting strength of schedule).

 

3. Which teams score the highest point totals?

 

Answer—Nine teams rate at 20 or more points, while a dozen scored 18.3 or higher.  All of the national champions since Kansas in 1988 have scored 18.3 or higher using the 2012 criteria.  Since 2000, the average score for the National Champion has been 27.7, as shown below.

 

2011 UConn—18.3

2010 Duke—29.2

2009 North Carolina—31.8

2008 Kansas—34.9

2007 Florida—29.2

2006 Florida—25.2

2005 North Carolina—31.7

2004 Connecticut—29.5

2003 Syracuse—18.8

2002 Maryland—24.6

2001 Duke—30.2

2000 Michigan State—29.4

12 Champion Avg. = 27.7

 

The nine teams with scores in excess of 20 are: Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Wichita State.

 

The three teams between 18.3 and 20 are: Duke, Georgetown, and Missouri.

 

Three teams come in with ratings above the 12-year average.  Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio State are the top three.

 

We strongly believe that one of these 12 teams will be your 2012 National Champion, with the top three having the best chance of all.

 

Here is a list of all 68 teams with their PiRate technical scores:

 

Team

Pts

FG% Diff

Reb

TO

R+T

SOS

Rd W-L

Total

North Carolina

7.6

3.40

6.5

0.8

5.63

4.26

3

31.1

Kentucky

8.9

5.75

4.3

0.3

3.62

1.84

4.5

29.1

Ohio St.

7.9

3.85

4.4

1.7

5.17

3.45

1.5

28.0

Michigan St.

6.5

4.90

4.8

0.0

3.74

6.05

1.5

27.4

Kansas

6.6

5.10

3.5

0.4

3.29

3.69

1.5

24.0

Wichita St.

7.7

4.65

4.0

0.4

3.52

0.28

3

23.5

Syracuse

7.1

4.00

-0.8

3.1

3.14

2.43

4

22.9

Baylor

5.4

3.15

2.9

0.3

2.82

3.62

4

22.1

New Mexico

7.1

4.15

4.0

0.5

3.71

-1.19

3

21.2

Duke

4.7

1.35

1.6

0.4

1.96

5.38

4.5

19.9

Missouri

7.3

3.15

0.4

2.1

2.90

-0.76

4

19.1

Georgetown

5.0

3.80

3.4

0.2

2.97

3.10

0

18.4

Memphis

6.1

5.50

0.9

0.7

1.86

2.66

0.5

18.2

Wisconsin

5.5

2.05

1.4

1.0

2.30

2.95

2

17.2

Saint Mary’s

6.3

2.40

4.3

0.2

3.63

-2.33

2.5

17.0

BYU

5.8

2.80

2.6

1.3

3.65

-2.28

2.5

16.3

Gonzaga

5.4

2.95

3.9

-0.2

3.00

-1.06

2

16.0

New Mexico St.

5.3

2.35

5.2

0.0

3.98

-2.91

2

15.8

Louisville

3.8

2.30

1.1

0.6

2.06

3.83

2

15.7

Marquette

4.9

2.65

-0.2

1.7

2.22

2.76

1.5

15.5

Creighton

5.3

3.55

3.7

-1.0

1.91

-2.32

4

15.1

UNLV

5.4

2.65

2.0

0.9

2.81

1.13

0

14.8

Florida St.

3.7

3.85

2.0

-0.6

1.44

3.79

0.5

14.8

Indiana

5.9

3.30

1.4

0.4

1.82

1.90

0

14.7

St. Louis

5.9

2.05

1.0

1.9

2.98

-1.47

2

14.2

Murray St.

6.5

2.80

1.1

1.3

2.59

-5.12

5

14.1

San Diego St.

4.0

2.80

2.9

0.2

2.51

0.16

1.5

14.0

Kansas St.

3.9

1.75

2.9

0.9

3.27

0.33

1

14.0

Florida

5.2

1.40

1.3

1.1

2.37

2.37

0

13.6

West Va.

2.7

-0.25

4.1

0.3

3.53

2.74

0

13.1

Vanderbilt

4.0

2.05

0.7

-0.2

0.72

3.75

2

12.9

Virginia

4.7

3.20

1.9

0.8

2.52

-1.28

1

12.8

N. Car. St.

2.7

2.25

2.6

-0.2

2.13

2.21

1

12.7

Alabama

3.4

3.20

1.6

0.4

2.00

1.85

0

12.4

Belmont

7.1

3.00

1.8

1.1

2.80

-6.41

2.5

11.8

Southern Miss.

3.3

-1.30

2.8

1.7

3.90

0.63

0.5

11.5

Harvard

5.3

3.05

2.7

0.0

2.33

-6.07

4

11.4

Davidson

5.3

1.10

4.0

0.4

3.46

-5.53

2.5

11.2

Long Beach St.

5.2

2.50

1.7

1.1

2.79

-3.22

1

11.1

Iona

5.3

2.70

0.6

1.8

2.66

-4.55

2.5

11.0

Connecticut

2.4

3.55

1.9

-0.8

0.94

4.95

-2

10.8

California

5.0

3.40

2.6

0.4

2.48

-1.33

-2

10.5

Temple

3.1

1.75

0.7

0.5

1.45

0.39

2

9.7

Texas

3.2

1.10

1.8

0.6

2.27

2.74

-2

9.6

Cincinnati

3.7

0.40

0.1

1.8

2.41

-0.52

1.5

9.3

Purdue

3.1

-0.25

-0.4

2.1

2.25

1.98

0

8.8

Michigan

2.6

1.50

-0.6

0.9

0.82

3.36

0

8.5

Iowa St.

3.3

0.70

2.8

-0.3

2.02

1.13

-2

7.6

V C U

4.3

-0.65

-0.9

3.3

3.38

-5.02

3

7.4

S. Dakota St.

5.4

1.00

1.4

1.3

2.70

-5.95

1.5

7.3

Colorado

2.6

1.95

1.9

-0.1

1.62

-0.91

0

7.0

Ohio

4.2

0.85

0.1

2.3

2.99

-5.32

1.5

6.5

Lamar

4.3

0.80

3.1

1.2

3.85

-7.18

0.5

6.5

St. Bonaventure

2.9

2.10

3.3

-0.9

1.84

-3.03

0

6.2

Xavier

1.7

2.75

1.2

0.0

1.29

1.32

-2

6.2

Colorado St.

1.3

2.00

0.6

-0.2

0.64

3.76

-2

6.1

Lehigh

5.6

1.80

1.3

1.6

2.95

-9.91

2.5

5.7

S. Florida

1.2

2.40

2.2

-1.3

0.72

1.90

-2

5.1

UNC-Asheville

5.0

2.00

0.8

1.3

2.49

-6.95

0.5

5.1

Montana

4.5

3.05

-0.3

1.2

1.52

-6.93

2

5.0

Notre Dame

2.5

1.00

-0.3

0.4

0.60

1.14

-2

3.3

Detroit

2.6

0.75

1.3

1.3

2.69

-5.53

0

3.1

Loyola (MD)

1.9

0.00

2.2

0.4

2.44

-7.10

2.5

2.3

Vermont

3.4

1.75

2.2

0.2

2.17

-9.11

1.5

2.1

Norfolk St.

1.5

1.90

1.2

-0.6

0.82

-10.75

3

-2.9

Long Island

2.3

1.50

1.5

-1.2

0.34

-8.36

0.5

-3.4

Western Kentucky

-1.5

-1.70

-0.1

-0.2

0.14

-4.31

-2

-9.7

Miss. Valley

-0.2

-1.75

0.1

0.9

1.56

-10.96

0

-10.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the same list in Alphabetical Order:

Team

Pts

FG% Diff

Reb

TO

R+T

SOS

Rd W-L

Total

Alabama

3.4

3.20

1.6

0.4

2.00

1.85

0

12.4

Baylor

5.4

3.15

2.9

0.3

2.82

3.62

4

22.1

Belmont

7.1

3.00

1.8

1.1

2.80

-6.41

2.5

11.8

BYU

5.8

2.80

2.6

1.3

3.65

-2.28

2.5

16.3

California

5.0

3.40

2.6

0.4

2.48

-1.33

-2

10.5

Cincinnati

3.7

0.40

0.1

1.8

2.41

-0.52

1.5

9.3

Colorado

2.6

1.95

1.9

-0.1

1.62

-0.91

0

7.0

Colorado St.

1.3

2.00

0.6

-0.2

0.64

3.76

-2

6.1

Connecticut

2.4

3.55

1.9

-0.8

0.94

4.95

-2

10.8

Creighton

5.3

3.55

3.7

-1.0

1.91

-2.32

4

15.1

Davidson

5.3

1.10

4.0

0.4

3.46

-5.53

2.5

11.2

Detroit

2.6

0.75

1.3

1.3

2.69

-5.53

0

3.1

Duke

4.7

1.35

1.6

0.4

1.96

5.38

4.5

19.9

Florida

5.2

1.40

1.3

1.1

2.37

2.37

0

13.6

Florida St.

3.7

3.85

2.0

-0.6

1.44

3.79

0.5

14.8

Georgetown

5.0

3.80

3.4

0.2

2.97

3.10

0

18.4

Gonzaga

5.4

2.95

3.9

-0.2

3.00

-1.06

2

16.0

Harvard

5.3

3.05

2.7

0.0

2.33

-6.07

4

11.4

Indiana

5.9

3.30

1.4

0.4

1.82

1.90

0

14.7

Iona

5.3

2.70

0.6

1.8

2.66

-4.55

2.5

11.0

Iowa St.

3.3

0.70

2.8

-0.3

2.02

1.13

-2

7.6

Kansas

6.6

5.10

3.5

0.4

3.29

3.69

1.5

24.0

Kansas St.

3.9

1.75

2.9

0.9

3.27

0.33

1

14.0

Kentucky

8.9

5.75

4.3

0.3

3.62

1.84

4.5

29.1

Lamar

4.3

0.80

3.1

1.2

3.85

-7.18

0.5

6.5

Lehigh

5.6

1.80

1.3

1.6

2.95

-9.91

2.5

5.7

Long Beach St.

5.2

2.50

1.7

1.1

2.79

-3.22

1

11.1

Long Island

2.3

1.50

1.5

-1.2

0.34

-8.36

0.5

-3.4

Louisville

3.8

2.30

1.1

0.6

2.06

3.83

2

15.7

Loyola (MD)

1.9

0.00

2.2

0.4

2.44

-7.10

2.5

2.3

Marquette

4.9

2.65

-0.2

1.7

2.22

2.76

1.5

15.5

Memphis

6.1

5.50

0.9

0.7

1.86

2.66

0.5

18.2

Michigan

2.6

1.50

-0.6

0.9

0.82

3.36

0

8.5

Michigan St.

6.5

4.90

4.8

0.0

3.74

6.05

1.5

27.4

Miss. Valley

-0.2

-1.75

0.1

0.9

1.56

-10.96

0

-10.4

Missouri

7.3

3.15

0.4

2.1

2.90

-0.76

4

19.1

Montana

4.5

3.05

-0.3

1.2

1.52

-6.93

2

5.0

Murray St.

6.5

2.80

1.1

1.3

2.59

-5.12

5

14.1

N. Car. St.

2.7

2.25

2.6

-0.2

2.13

2.21

1

12.7

New Mexico

7.1

4.15

4.0

0.5

3.71

-1.19

3

21.2

New Mexico St.

5.3

2.35

5.2

0.0

3.98

-2.91

2

15.8

Norfolk St.

1.5

1.90

1.2

-0.6

0.82

-10.75

3

-2.9

North Carolina

7.6

3.40

6.5

0.8

5.63

4.26

3

31.1

Notre Dame

2.5

1.00

-0.3

0.4

0.60

1.14

-2

3.3

Ohio

4.2

0.85

0.1

2.3

2.99

-5.32

1.5

6.5

Ohio St.

7.9

3.85

4.4

1.7

5.17

3.45

1.5

28.0

Purdue

3.1

-0.25

-0.4

2.1

2.25

1.98

0

8.8

S. Dakota St.

5.4

1.00

1.4

1.3

2.70

-5.95

1.5

7.3

S. Florida

1.2

2.40

2.2

-1.3

0.72

1.90

-2

5.1

Saint Mary’s

6.3

2.40

4.3

0.2

3.63

-2.33

2.5

17.0

San Diego St.

4.0

2.80

2.9

0.2

2.51

0.16

1.5

14.0

Southern Miss.

3.3

-1.30

2.8

1.7

3.90

0.63

0.5

11.5

St. Bonaventure

2.9

2.10

3.3

-0.9

1.84

-3.03

0

6.2

St. Louis

5.9

2.05

1.0

1.9

2.98

-1.47

2

14.2

Syracuse

7.1

4.00

-0.8

3.1

3.14

2.43

4

22.9

Temple

3.1

1.75

0.7

0.5

1.45

0.39

2

9.7

Texas

3.2

1.10

1.8

0.6

2.27

2.74

-2

9.6

UNC-Asheville

5.0

2.00

0.8

1.3

2.49

-6.95

0.5

5.1

UNLV

5.4

2.65

2.0

0.9

2.81

1.13

0

14.8

V C U

4.3

-0.65

-0.9

3.3

3.38

-5.02

3

7.4

Vanderbilt

4.0

2.05

0.7

-0.2

0.72

3.75

2

12.9

Vermont

3.4

1.75

2.2

0.2

2.17

-9.11

1.5

2.1

Virginia

4.7

3.20

1.9

0.8

2.52

-1.28

1

12.8

West Va.

2.7

-0.25

4.1

0.3

3.53

2.74

0

13.1

Western Kentucky

-1.5

-1.70

-0.1

-0.2

0.14

-4.31

-2

-9.7

Wichita St.

7.7

4.65

4.0

0.4

3.52

0.28

3

23.5

Wisconsin

5.5

2.05

1.4

1.0

2.30

2.95

2

17.2

Xavier

1.7

2.75

1.2

0.0

1.29

1.32

-2

6.2

 

 

All Times Eastern Daylight Time

 

1st Round Preview (Play-in Games)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

6:40 PM truTV #16 Seeding

Mississippi Valley State (21-12) vs. Western Kentucky (15-18)

PiRate Criteria Score: MVSU -9.7  WKU -10.4

These are the two weakest teams in the Tournament, and they should not have been paired against each other.  Both teams were outscored by their opposition.  Both teams were less accurate from the field than their opponents.  Western Kentucky’s schedule was about six points more difficult.  So, we will go with the Hilltoppers to top MVSU in a close, low-scoring game.

 

Prediction: Western Kentucky 55  Mississippi Valley St. 50

 

9:00 PM truTV #14 Seeding

Brigham Young (25-8) vs. Iona (25-7)

PiRate Criteria Score: BYU 16.3  Iona 11.0

 

Following the two weakest teams in the tournament, these two do not deserve to be in the play-in.  Both are talented enough to advance to the third round, but one will be eliminated.

 

These two teams like to move the ball and push the tempo, so this game should be interesting for the average fan. 

 

Iona is one of three teams in the field that shot above 50% from the field, but BYU allowed just 41% against their opponents.

 

Prediction: BYU 82  Iona 75

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

6:40 PM truTV #16 Seeding

Lamar (23-11) vs. Vermont (23-11)

PiRate Criteria Score: Lamar 6.5  Vermont 2.1

 

These teams match up well, and we see another defensive struggle in Dayton Wednesday evening.  Lamar is a little better defensively, but Vermont has the better offense.  Lamar has been hot in the last month, and we believe Coach Pat Knight’s troops will survive.

 

Prediction: Lamar 67  Vermont 60

 

9:00 PM truTV #12 Seeding

California (24-9) vs. South Florida (20-13)

PiRate Criteria Score: Cal 10.5  USF 5.1

 

The so-called experts did not give much credit to the Pac-12 this year, and some even predicted one bid.  Cal is not headed to the Elite Eight, but the Bears are talented enough to make the Sweet 16. 

 

South Florida ranks dead last among the 68 teams in the Big Dance.  The Bulls average just 59 points per game, but they give up just 57 points per game.

 

Prediction: California 64  S. Florida 58

 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

12:15 PM CBS—West Regional

#6 Murray State (30-1) vs. #11 Colorado State (20-11)

PiRate Criteria Score: MSU 14.1  CSU 6.1

 

Colorado State’s schedule on average was almost 10 points better than the schedule Murray State played, but 10 points is not enough to make up the difference between these two teams.  The Racers are the best low-major team in the tournament, and they are actually the Las Vegas favorite in this game.

 

The Rams are one of the handful of teams that fail to meet the minimum requirements in any of the PiRate Criteria.  Teams like that do not advance past the first weekend, and we do not see CSU bucking that trend.

 

Prediction: Murray State 74  Colorado State 65

 

12:40 PM truTV—East Regional

#8 Kansas State (21-10) vs. #9 Southern Mississippi (25-8)

PiRate Criteria Score: KSU 14.0  USM 11.5

 

Kansas State is a physical team that relies on muscle with just a touch of finesse to win.  When they play a team that is soft inside, they usually win.  When they play a team that can pound the ball inside, they do not fare so well.

 

Southern Mississippi is not physical enough inside to put a scare into the Wildcats.  The Golden Eagles have troubles getting open shots inside, and this will doom them to a quick exit in the tournament.

 

Prediction:  Kansas State 69  Southern Miss. 57

 

1:40 PM TBS—West Regional

#4 Louisville (26-9) vs. #13 Davidson (25-7)

PiRate Criteria Score: UL 15.7  Dav. 11.2

 

This game could be quite exciting.  Louisville plays tenacious defense, and they have to stop the opponent’s offense, because the Cardinals’ cannot score a lot of points. 

 

Davidson can score points—a lot of them.  The Wildcats defeated Kansas in the regular season and almost knocked off Vanderbilt.  Don’t be surprised if they take Pitino’s troops to the wire with a chance to win in the final minutes.

 

Prediction: Louisville 68  Davidson 65

 

2:10 PM TNT—East Regional

#4 Wisconsin (24-9) vs. #13 Montana (25-6)

PiRate Criteria Score: UW 17.2  Mont. 5.0

 

Wisconsin has the number one scoring defense in the nation at just under 53 points per game, while the Badgers average 11 points more per game.  Opponents hit only 38.3% from the field against UW.  Coach Bo Ryan employs a deliberate style of play, where his team may hold onto the ball for 30 seconds on many possessions.  Opponents get frustrated and tend to rush their offense, which plays right into Wisconsin’s gameplan.

 

Montana has the talent to keep this game close, but we do not believe the Grizzlies can maintain their composure for 40 minutes of tranquilizer ball.  UW will commit fewer than 10 turnovers and take no more than three or four ill-advised shots.  Montana will force their offense a few too many times, and that will be their downfall.

 

Prediction: Wisconsin 65  Montana 51

 

2:45 PM CBS—West Regional

#3 Marquette (25-7) vs. #14 BYU or Iona

PiRate Criteria Score: Marq 15.5  BYU 16.3 or Iona 11.0

 

This could be a trap game.  If BYU is the opponent, the Cougars have a better PiRate Criteria score than Marquette.  Iona is not that much weaker than the Golden Eagles, so Marquette would have a tough game if they have to play the Gaels.

 

Marquette’s one big weakness is rebounding, where opponents best them by a small amount. 

 

Prediction: BYU 74  Marquette 69 (or Marquette 69  Iona 63)

 

3:10 PM truTV—East Regional

#1 Syracuse (31-2) vs. #16 UNC-Asheville (24-9)

PiRate Criteria Score: Syr 22.9  UNCA 5.1

 

What we have here is a classic mismatch.  UNC-Asheville is an offense first team.  The Bulldogs surrendered 71.3 points per game and allowed 44.4% shooting from the field against teams that were on average nine points weaker than the opponents Syracuse played.

 

Syracuse will find little trouble scoring inside with Fab Melo being seven inches taller than the man that will guard him.

 

Prediction: Syracuse 84  UNCA 62

 

4:10 PM CBS—West Regional

#5 New Mexico (27-6) vs. #12 Long Beach State (25-8)

PiRate Criteria Score: UNM 21.2  LBSU 11.1

 

Long Beach State didn’t catch a break in their bracket.  New Mexico is a sleeper to make it past the first weekend. 

 

The Lobos have an excellent combination of size and speed, as well as quality depth and excellent coaching.  On the other hand, the 49ers have an excellent starting five that will not be intimidated by New Mexico.  LBSU played a tough schedule that included games against Kansas, Xavier, North Carolina, San Diego State, Louisville, and Kansas State.

 

The infamous #12 seed produced a lot of upsets in past years, and this looks like one that is possible.  However, New Mexico is capable of making a run to the Final Four, and we will call for a Lobo win.

 

Prediction: New Mexico 76  Long Beach State 70

 

4:40 PM TNT—East Regional

#5 Vanderbilt (24-10) vs. #12 Harvard (26-4)

PiRate Criteria Score: VU 12.9  Harv 11.4

 

In the early 1980’s DePaul was a number one or two seed for three consecutive years and lost in their first tournament game (before there were 64 teams and #16 seeds).  Each year, underdogs upset them in the final minutes.

 

Vanderbilt has endure the same history in the 21st Century, losing first round games three times in a row to Siena, Murray State, and Richmond.

 

Harvard may be better than the three teams that upset the Commodores in the first round.  The Crimson are another dubious 12-seed looking to pull off the upset, and Tommy Amaker’s crew has the talent to pull it off.

 

Vanderbilt failed to meet even one of the minimal PiRate Criteria stats, although they missed by a whisker on point differential (7.9).

 

Harvard has no weakness.  The only area where they are inferior to the Commodores is in schedule strength, where Vandy’s schedule was 10 points per game harder. 

 

Both teams have something going against them in this game.  Harvard will have not played for 12 days, while Vanderbilt will have to travel to Albuquerque three days after beating Kentucky in New Orleans, their third game in three days.

 

Prediction: Vanderbilt 62  Harvard 59

 

6:50 PM TBS—South Regional

#1 Kentucky (32-2) vs. #16 Mississippi Valley State or Western Kentucky

PiRate Criteria Score: UK 29.1  MVSU -9.7  or WKU -10.4

 

Kentucky’s players will begin the tournament with chips on their shoulders.  They will be out for blood, at least in the first 10 minutes of this game.

 

Regardless of the opponent, this game will be over by the under 12:00 minute media timeout.  Kentucky could double the score if Coach John Calipari left his starters in long enough. 

 

Prediction: Kentucky 89  Mississippi Valley 60  or Kentucky 83  Western Kentucky 52

 

7:15 PM CBS—South Regional

#5 Wichita State (27-5) vs. #12 Virginia Commonwealth (28-6)

PiRate Criteria Score: Wich 23.5  VCU 7.4

 

This should be an interesting game.  Wichita State  has an excellent half-court game with expertise both inside and outside.  Virginia Commonwealth is a full-court terror, but they cannot compete on the boards.

 

VCU will force a lot of turnovers and pick up a lot of steals, but Wichita State will not wilt and fall apart.  The Shockers do not turn the ball over all that much, and they can dominate on the glass.

 

This game will come down to a test of shooting accuracy.  WSU has much better shooters, and they will end any chance of the Rams making another huge run.

 

Prediction: Wichita State 77  Virginia Commonwealth 72

 

7:20 PM TNT—East Regional

#7 Gonzaga (25-6) vs. #10 West Virginia (19-13)

PiRate Criteria Score: Gonz. 16.0  WVU 13.1

 

The field of 64 or second round has several interesting games this year, and this will definitely be one of them.  Gonzaga is the second best team from the West this year, but the Bulldogs have a few holes.  They can be stopped by physical inside teams or teams that play an excellent zone defense.

 

West Virginia has a rebuilding team this year, but Coach Bob Huggins has produced the maximum out of a young squad; defense has gotten the job done.

 

We saw two years ago that the Mountaineers could play an awesome zone defense to upset Kentucky.  Expect a combination of zone and sagging man-to-man, and WVU should control the inside game.

 

As for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs have a couple of outside shooters that can get hot and shoot an opponent out of the gym.  They can run the fast break and get a dozen “cheap points” in a game.

 

We believe this is close to a 50-50 toss-up game. 

 

Prediction: Gonzaga 72  West Virginia 70

 

7:27 PM truTV—South Regional

#3 Baylor (27-7) vs. #14 South Dakota State (27-7)

PiRate Criteria Score: Bay 22.1  SDSU 7.3

 

The Bears are a dark horse team.  Three Big 12 teams could advance deep into the tournament, and Baylor is one of them.  This is a team capable of going on big runs, outscoring opponents 12-2 in a five-minute stretch.

 

South Dakota State is not a pushover.  The Jackrabbits can pass, shoot, and rebound.  Their weakness is on the defensive side, and Baylor will be able to exploit it for a couple of big runs.

 

Prediction: Baylor 74  South Dakota State 60

 

9:20 PM TBS—South Regional

#8 Iowa State (22-10) vs. Connecticut (20-13)

PiRate Criteria Score: ISU 7.6  UConn 10.8

 

Neither team is going to advance to the Sweet 16, as the winner will be fodder for Kentucky on Saturday.

 

Iowa State was the surprise of the Big 12 under first year coach Fred Hoiberg.  Royce White is a player to watch; he can do it all.

 

Connecticut has some rough edges, but the Huskies have the parts to compete with the Kentucky’s and Syracuse’s of the world.  However, this is not last year’s team, and nobody on the roster can carry them for six games.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 68  Iowa State 63

 

9:45 PM CBS—South Regional

#4 Indiana (25-8) vs. #13 New Mexico State (26-9)

PiRate Criteria Score: IU 14.7  NMSU 15.8

 

We smell an upset here.  New Mexico State dominates on the glass, and the Aggies should neutralize Indiana post man Cody Zeller.  NMSU has been turnover prone at times this year, but Indiana has not been a ball-hawking team this year. 

 

Both teams shoot the ball well, and both are fairly good on defense.  What concerns us is that Indiana relies too much on the three-point shot, and in unfamiliar gyms, outside shooting can be a problem in the first half. 

 

Prediction: New Mexico State 71  Indiana 66

 

9:50 PM TNT—East Regional

#2 Ohio State (27-7) vs. #15 Loyola (Md) (24-8)

PiRate Criteria Score: OSU 28.0  Loy 2.3

 

How can we entice you to watch this game?  How about this tidbit of information?  Loyola played Kentucky in Lexington in December.  They lost by 24 points, but until the end of the first half, the Greyhounds were within a couple of points.

 

Ohio State will eventually run the Greyhounds out of the gym, but we believe this game could be exciting for 10-15 minutes.

 

Prediction: Ohio State 76  Loyola (Md) 54

 

9:57 PM truTV—South Regional

#6 U N L V (26-8) vs. #11 Colorado (23-11)

PiRate Criteria Score: UNLV 14.8  CU 7.0

 

Here is another excellent study of contrasts.  UNLV passes the ball like a team from the 1980’s.  The Runnin’ Rebels are not that far away from being considered an Elite 8 contender.  They shoot, rebound, and play good defense. 

 

Colorado won the Pac-12 Tournament with a swarming defense and an ability to hit the glass.  The Buffs do not have enough offense to make a long stay this year. 

 

Prediction: UNLV 70  Colorado 59

 

Friday, March 16, 2012

12:15 PM CBS—East Regional

#6 Cincinnati (24-10) vs. #11 Texas (20-13)

PiRate Criteria Score: Cinti 9.3  UT 9.6

 

According to the PiRate Criteria score, this game should be close and could go to overtime.

 

Unlike Bearcat teams of yore, this Cincinnati squad is not an overpowering inside monster.  UC relies on tenacious defense and a strong perimeter game with one good inside presence in Yancy Gates.  Teams have difficulty matching the Bearcats’ 4-out, 1-in offense.

 

Texas just barely qualified as an at-large in what is a rebuilding process for Coach Rick Barnes.  The Longhorns are almost a one-man team.  If J’Covan Brown does not score 20 points, the burnt orange don’t win.

 

Flip a coin for this one; it could come down to the last shot of the game.

 

Prediction: Cincinnati 69  Texas 68

 

12:40 PM truTV—Midwest Regional

#6 San Diego State (26-7) vs. #11 North Carolina State (22-12)

PiRate Criteria Score: SDSU 14.0  NCSU 12.7

 

Here is yet another interesting game that should be close.  The Aztecs were not expected to return to the Dance for the second consecutive year, but Coach Steve Fisher reloaded rather than rebuilt.  SDSU’s starting five is high quality similar to the talent the Wolf Pack face in the ACC.  The Aztec bench is lacking, and teams can wear their starters down.

 

North Carolina State has better depth, but the starting five is not as strong as the Aztec starting five.  Defense can be a problem at times, and one spurt allowed in a close game can be fatal.

 

Because the timeouts are longer in the NCAA Tournament, we believe fatigue will not be a major problem in this game, and SDSU will benefit from one big spurt.

 

Prediction: San Diego State 75  North Carolina State 68

 

1:40 PM TBS—Midwest Regional

# 8 Creighton (28-5) vs. #9 Alabama (21-11)

PiRate Criteria Score: Crei. 15.1  Ala. 12.4

 

Here is another great study in contrasts.  Creighton is all about offense, while Alabama is all about defense.

 

The Blue Jays have the best offensive threat in the tournament in Doug McDermott, the 21st Century Larry Bird. 

 

Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant suspended four players in February, and eventually reinstated three of the quartet.  Since that time, ‘Bama lost four of their last 10 games, following a 15-7 start.  The Tide never fully recovered, and they enter this tournament playing more like a team that should be in the NIT.

 

Prediction: Creighton 70  Alabama 62

 

2:10 PM TNT—West Regional

#7 Florida (23-10) vs. #10 Virginia (22-9)

PiRate Criteria Score: Fla. 13.6  Virginia 12.8

Yet another “yin-yang” game, Florida has the shooters, and Virginia has the defenders.  Florida is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation, while Virginia is one of the best three-point defensive teams.

 

Both teams enter the tournament with injury issues.  Virginia may only be able to use two off the bench, but the Cavaliers will slow the game down and rely on the longer timeouts to keep from getting winded.

 

Florida coach Billy Donovan will try to speed up the pace and press.  If the Cavs can handle the Gator pressure, UVa will win.  If not, then the Gator chomp will be seen in Omaha around 3:00 PM local time.

 

Prediction: Florida 62  Virginia 56

 

2:45 PM CBS—East Regional

#3 Florida State (24-9) vs. #14 St. Bonaventure (20-11)

PiRate Criteria Score: FSU 14.8  SBU 6.2

 

Not many, if any, teams have defeated North Carolina and Duke two times each in a year where both powers were top 10 teams.  The Seminoles can defend and rebound.  They have a tendency to turn the ball over a bit too much, and they are not the most fluent team on offense.

 

St. Bonaventure is a smaller mirror of FSU.  They defend well, rebound tenaciously, and turn the ball over too much.  Their offense tends to stall at times.

 

We’ll go with the bigger fish in this game.

 

Prediction: Florida State 65  St. Bonaventure 55

 

3:10 PM truTV—Midwest Regional

#3 Georgetown (23-8) vs. #14 Belmont (27-7)

PiRate Criteria Rating: GU 18.4  BU 11.8

 

In recent years, Georgetown lacked the rebounding and ball-hawking ability to advance very far in the Tournament.  This year is completely different.  This Hoya team has the talent to make it to New Orleans.

 

This Hoya team can shoot the ball, and like all Georgetown teams, they can force off-target shots and can block shots.  GU can rebound like the old Alonzo Mourning-Dikembe Mutombo and Pat Ewing teams.  While they don’t force a lot of turnovers, they don’t commit many either.

 

Belmont has twice given Mike Krzyzewski a nervous stomach, losing by one in the NCAA Tournament a few years ago and by one in Durham this year.  The Bruins rely on a lot of three-point shots, and that style of play rarely works in the Big Dance.  Big men Scott Saunders and Mick Hedgepath will be neutralized by Georgetown’s deep inside presence, and this game will not be all that close.

 

Prediction: Georgetown 71  Belmont 51

 

4:10 TBS—Midwest Regional

#1 North Carolina (29-5) vs. #16 Lamar or Vermont

PiRate Criteria Score: UNC 31.1  Lam. 6.5  VT 2.1

 

The Tar Heels have the highest criteria score, but they do not meet the minimum requirements in every category.  They just miss on field goal percentage margin with a margin of 6.8%.  However, they are the most dominating rebounding team in the nation, and they can monopolize on those rebounds with a devastating fast break.

 

The injury to forward John Henson will not stop UNC in the first weekend.  If he recovers fully, this team could finish the season on a six-game winning streak.

 

The play-in winner will be overwhelmed and intimidated by the most explosive team in the Dance.  This game will be over within five to eight minutes.  UNC will have a comfortable lead by the second media timeout. 

 

Prediction: North Carolina 102  Lamar 67 or North Carolina 89  Vermont 50

 

4:40 TNT—West Regional

#2 Missouri (30-4) vs. #15 Norfolk State (25-9)

PiRate Criteria Score: MO 19.1  Norf. -2.9

 

Okay, there is nothing we can do to encourage you to watch this game.  It could be the biggest mismatch of the second round.  Missouri likes to run, and the Tigers can score a lot of points in a little time.  Even though the Tigers are up-tempo, they take care of the ball and do not turn it over.  Their one weakness comes inside against teams that can control the tempo and be physical in the paint.

 

Norfolk State actually has a huge size advantage, but the Spartans lack the talent to exploit Missouri’s liability.  NSU turns the ball over too much, and Missouri will take advantage of these miscues with several easy baskets.

 

Prediction: Missouri 92  Norfolk State 66

 

6:50 PM TBS—West Regional

#8 Memphis (26-8) vs. #9 St. Louis (25-7)

PiRate Criteria Score: Mem 18.2 Stl 14.2

 

These former rivals once again feature dissimilar assets.  Coach Josh Pastner has Memphis playing much like his former mentor Lute Olsen’s Arizona teams.  The Tigers move the ball with meaning and get a lot of open shots.  MU’s field goal accuracy is a hair under 50%, and it has been improving as of late.  The Tigers grudgingly yield baskets, holding opponents to 38.4% from the field.

 

For the Billikens, it’s defense first, second, and third.  SLU holds opponents to 57.5 points a game, and they force a goodly amount of turnovers for the pace they play.  Coach Rick Majerus has enjoyed success against the “Arizona offense” in the past, but this is not the past.  SLU does not have the talent to go head-to-head with the Tigers for 40 minutes. 

 

Prediction: Memphis 67  St. Louis 58

 

7:15 PM CBS—South Regional

#2 Duke (27-6) vs. #15 Lehigh (26-7)

PiRate Criteria Score: Duke 19.9  Leh. 5.7

 

In Durham, even when Duke is not up to its normal standards, the Blue Devils are still contenders to advance to the Final Four.  While we believe the Blue Devils will fall in the second weekend this year, the first weekend is no problem.  They have the horses to win the two claiming races they will play in Greensboro.

 

Lehigh is one of the better Patriot League representatives to come along in recent years, but this is not Bucknell vs. Kansas of a few years ago.

 

Prediction: Duke 82  Lehigh 58

 

7:20 TNT—Midwest Regional

#4 Michigan (24-9) vs. #13 Ohio U (27-7)

PiRate Criteria Score: Mich. 8.5  Ohio 6.5

 

It is our opinion that Michigan is ripe for the picking this weekend.  The Wolverines win games with the jump shot.  They lack any rebounding strength, yet they do not force enough turnovers to get extra scoring opportunities.  If their outside shooting is on target, they can compete with most of the teams in the tournament.  If their outside shooting is not on target, the Ohio’s of the tournament can beat them and even beat them handily.

 

The Bobcats are strong on defense, and they can limit the Wolverines’ outside shooting.  If they had any legitimate offensive threat, we would go with Ohio in this game.  However, this team may not have the offensive power to take advantage of a cold Wolverine shooting night.

 

Prediction: Michigan 66  Ohio 62

 

7:27 truTV—Midwest Regional

#7 Saint Mary’s (27-5) vs. #10 Purdue (21-12)

PiRate Criteria Score: SMU 17.0  PU 8.8

 

Saint Mary’s is the top team in the West, and the Gaels have a legitimate chance to advance to the Elite 8 if injured big guard Stephen Holt can return from an injury to his knee.

 

Purdue knows all about injuries to the knee.  Star forward Robbie Hummel missed two seasons.  Like Alabama, Purdue has suffered since a former starter was booted from the team.  The Boilermakers are not going to make it through the first weekend, and we see them being one and done.

 

Prediction: Saint Mary’s 75  Purdue 65

 

9:20 PM TBS—West Regional

#1 Michigan State (27-7) vs. #16 Long Island (25-8)

PiRate Criteria Score: MSU 27.4  LIU -3.4

 

Michigan State can be defeated by a team that can force turnovers and change the pace of the game.  Not many opponents that try to go head-to-head with them in an inside power game will come away happy.  The Spartans can hoist the big banner if they catch a break and avoid teams like Missouri and Syracuse.

 

Long Island might have been more competitive against MSU had this been last year, but the Blackbirds just don’t have the talent to pull off an upset or even keep this game close.

 

Look for Michigan State to gradually pull ahead and lengthen their lead until Coach Tom Izzo empties the bench.

 

Prediction: Michigan State 72  Long Island 50

 

9:45 PM CBS—South Regional

#7 Notre Dame (22-11) vs. #10 Xavier (21-12)

PiRate Criteria Score: ND 3.3  Xav. 6.2

 

Neither team is all that impressive, and the winner will be gone Sunday after losing to Duke.

 

Notre Dame is a poor shooting team overall, but the Irish defense is strong.  Coach Mike Brey wants a snail’s pace, half-court game, because his players cannot get into a running game and win. 

 

Xavier’s chances for a big year went down the drain in a melee against in-town rival Cincinnati.  The Musketeers have been a .500 team since that brawl, and they were undefeated when it happened.  Had performance in the last 10 games still counted, the Selection Committee would have selected someone else and left Xavier to the NIT.

 

Xavier’s Tu Holloway should guide his team to a victory, but that’s as far as Xavier is going.

 

Prediction: Xavier 60  Notre Dame 56

 

9:50 TNT—Midwest Regional

#5 Temple (24-7) vs. #12 California or South Florida

PiRate Criteria Score: TU 9.7  Cal 10.5  USF 5.1

 

If Coach Mike Montgomery’s Bears win the play-in game, a second round Temple-Cal match would be one of the best of the day.  Both teams feature excellent perimeter play with just enough inside presence to keep defenses honest.

 

If USF beats Cal, a second round game with Temple will be a different kettle of fish.  It will be more of a dull, grind-it-out affair.  We believe the Owls will have little trouble defeating this style of play.

 

Prediction: California 73  Temple 69 or Temple 64  South Florida 54

 

9:57 truTV—Midwest Regional

#2 Kansas (27-6) vs. #15 Detroit (22-13)

PiRate Criteria Score: KU 24.0 Det. 3.1

 

This will not be the basketball version of “Remember The Titans.”  These Titans from Detroit are just happy to be here.  They will be home Saturday morning. 

 

Kansas is liable to double up on the rebounding numbers in this game.  A two to one edge on the boards is a certain victory.  Thomas Robinson could outrebound Detroit’s starting five!

 

Look for a quick and easy blowout in this game, but make no mistake about this: Kansas is vulnerable after this weekend.

 

Prediction: Kansas 79  Detroit 55

 

 

March 14, 2011

Starting Times and Networks For NCAA Rounds One and Two

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 7:24 pm

Here is a list in order of starting times of the First Four and Second Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

All Times EDT
Tuesday’s Games
Time Team Team Network
6:30 PM UNC-Asheville Arkansas-Little Rock truTV
9:00 PM Alabama-Birmingham Clemson truTV
Wednesday’s Games
6:30 PM Texas-San Antonio Alabama State truTV
9:00 PM Southern Cal Virginia Commonwealth truTV
Thursday’s Games
Time Team Team Network
12:15 PM West Virginia U A B/Clemson Winner CBS
12:40 PM Butler Old Dominion truTV
1:40 PM Louisville Morehead State TBS
2:10 PM Temple Penn State TNT
2:45 PM Kentucky Princeton CBS
3:10 PM Pittsburgh UNCA/UALR Winner truTV
4:10 PM Vanderbilt Richmond TBS
4:50 PM San Diego State Northern Colorado TNT
6:50 PM Florida U C-Santa Barbara TBS
7:15 PM Brigham Young Wofford CBS
7:20 PM Connecticut Bucknell TNT
7:27 PM Wisconsin Belmont truTV
9:20 PM U C L A Michigan State TBS
9:45 PM St. John’s Gonzaga CBS
9:50 PM Cincinnati Missouri TNT
9:57 PM Kansas State Utah State truTV
Friday’s Games
Time Team Team Network
12:15 PM Texas Oakland CBS
12:40 PM Michigan Tennessee truTV
1:40 PM Notre Dame Akron TBS
2:10 PM George Mason Villanova TNT
2:45 PM Arizona Memphis CBS
3:10 PM Duke Hampton truTV
4:10 PM Texas A&M Florida State TBS
4:40 PM Ohio State UTSA-Alabama State Winner TNT
6:50 PM Kansas Boston U TBS
7:15 PM North Carolina Long Island CBS
7:20 PM Purdue St. Peter’s TNT
7:27 PM Xavier Marquette truTV
9:20 PM U N L V Illinois TBS
9:45 PM Washington Georgia CBS
9:50 PM Georgetown USC/VCU Winner TNT
9:57 PM Syracuse Indiana State truTV

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