The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 27, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament: The Elite 8–March 28-29, 2009

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament

The Elite 8

 March 28-29, 2009

 

We’ve decided to combine the Saturday and Sunday games into one blog since this is being compiled late Friday night after the games have ended.

 

It’s not quite the Big East Tournament part two, but it looks like there will be two and as many as three Big East teams headed to Detroit.

 

Our Sweet 16 picking brought an end to our chances of hitting the national champion for a fourth consecutive season.  We missed that pick, although we did mention that we thought Missouri should be the true favorite in that game and that they could easily run out to a quick double-digit lead in the game.  We also must admit that our mentor and originator of this blog told us to watch Missouri knock Memphis out, and we didn’t listen as much as we should have.

 

So, which teams left in the tournament still possess all the PiRate Criteria necessary to win it all?  In the East, Pitt easily qualifies.  Villanova now qualifies if you factor in their win over Duke, since their points per game margin reached 10.0 following the easy win.  In the Southeast, North Carolina qualifies, but Oklahoma just misses.  In the Midwest, Louisville qualifies but not Michigan State.  In the West, Connecticut and Missouri both qualify.  Seven of the eight remaining teams qualify, and the one that misses does so by a mere one point. 

 

Of the original 11 teams we listed as super teams possessing the statistical criteria similar to past champions, five have made it to the Elite 8 round. 

 

Our record for the Sweet 16 was just 5-3, bringing the three round total to 43-13.

 

 

(numbers in parentheses are PiRate Criteria scores)

[number in brackets is Strength of Schedule advantage]

 

East Region @ Boston

 

Pittsburgh (14) vs. Villanova (9) [Pittsburgh 2]

Game Time: Saturday, 7:00 PM EDT

These teams played just once during the regular season with Villanova winning by 10 at home.  In that game, Pitt’s Dejuan Blair sat on the bench with foul trouble for much of the night.

 

With Blair staying out of foul trouble this time, we think the Panthers will advance to their first Final Four.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 72 Villanova 64

 

South Region @ Memphis

 

North Carolina (17) vs. Oklahoma (9) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Sunday, 5:00 PM EDT

What a great match between two dominant big men we have here!  Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin are two of the top five college players in the game. 

 

Griffin may end up with the better numbers in this game, but Hansbrough has a much better supporting cast.  The Tar Heels will advance yet again to another Final Four.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 85 Oklahoma 73

 

Midwest Region @ Indianapolis

 

Louisville (10) vs. Michigan State (7) [Mich. State 1]

Game Time: Sunday, 2:20 PM EDT

The Two games on this side of the bracket provide us with great studies in contrast.  A quick, full-court team will take on an inside banger team that has some decent outside shooting.

 

Four of Louisville’s five losses came to teams that can bang the ball inside and get plenty of offensive rebounds.  Connecticut, Notre Dame, Minnesota, and UNLV all play a game similar to Michigan State.  The Spartans are capable of holding the Cardinals under 45% shooting and take 55% of the rebounds.  Capable yes, but we don’t think it will happen.  Rick Pitino will guide UL back to the Final Four.

 

Prediction: Louisville 70 Michigan State 63

 

West Region @ Glendale, AZ

 

Connecticut (14) vs. Missouri (12) [Connecticut 1]

Game Time: Saturday, 4:30 PM EDT

We think this will be the best game of the four in this round.  Missouri looked every bit as good as the 1994 Arkansas team that won the NCAA Championship, a team with current Tiger coach Mike Anderson on the bench as an assistant.

 

On the other hand, UConn looks every bit as good if not better than the two Husky teams that won national titles.

 

We don’t think Mizzou will be able to force all that many turnovers in this game, and if they only pick up 8-10 steals, it will not be enough.  They need 12-15 steals to have a chance to win this game.

 

Connecticut’s inside game will be too strong for MU, and we think it will force the Tigers into foul trouble. 

 

Prediction: Connecticut 86 Missouri 74

March 25, 2009

A PiRate Look At The 2009 NCAA Tournament: The Sweet 16

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Tournament

The Sweet 16

 March 26-27, 2009

 

As the Sweet 16 prepares to begin play tomorrow night, our PiRate Formula for picking teams that display the necessary statistics similar to the historical Final Four participants and National Champions are once again proving to be quite accurate.  We consider it the SABRmetrics of college basketball.

 

We originally told you about our list of the 12 Super Teams in this tournament.  We apologize for our not being able to count.  We only listed 11 teams.  Of those 11 teams, eight advanced to the Sweet 16.  One of the three teams, UCLA, lost to Villanova.  Villanova just barely missed out on qualifying for the Super Team list, and they basically got to host their first two games at the Spectrum.  Only Wake Forest and West Virginia’s losses can really be listed as misses.

 

On Sunday, our picks ran the table, going 8-0.  Combined with Saturday’s games, our second round success rate was 14-2.  For the tournament to date, we are now 38-10.

 

Without further adieu, here are the eight games for the third round.  The criteria scores and Strengths of Schedule have been updated to reflect the two games in the tournament.

 

(numbers in parentheses are PiRate Criteria scores)

[number in brackets is Strength of Schedule advantage]

 

East Region @ Boston

 

Pittsburgh (14) vs. Xavier (10) [Pitt 3]

Game Time: Thursday, 7:27 PM EDT

This is an interesting match if only because Xavier coach Sean Miller was once a starter on a great Pitt team. 

 

The way to beat Pitt is to force them to commit turnovers and play transition defense.  The Musketeers are more like Pitt than like the type of team needed to beat the Panthers.  Xavier cannot match up inside with the more muscular Pitt inside, and the Panthers will advance to the Elite 8.  Xavier’s only chance is to take 30 three-point shots and hit 40%.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 74 Xavier 64

 

Villanova (9) vs. Duke (14) [Duke 4]

Game Time: Thursday, approximately 9:42 PM EDT

Villanova missed out on being rated at 13 by just a hair.  This game is being touted as one in which the 3-seed Wildcats should be favored over the 2-seed Blue Devils. 

 

This game provides an excellent study in contrast.  VU has a great deal of talent inside with a surprising outside presence.  Duke has a great deal of talent on the perimeter with a surprising inside presence.

 

This should be a close game throughout the first half and a good deal of the second half.  Then, we believe the Duke defense will begin to force Villanova into mistakes and take advantage of those errors.  It should lead to a nice Blue Devil run in the last 10 minutes to move Coach K to the Elite 8.

 

Prediction: Duke 77 Villanova 70

 

South Region @ Memphis

 

Syracuse (4) vs. Oklahoma (9) [Syracuse 2]

Game Time: Friday, 7:27 PM EDT

This is the only Sweet 16 game in which neither team owns a double digit criteria score.  What it means to us is that the winner of this game will lose in the Elite 8 game Sunday.

 

This one should be a tight contest.  Syracuse’s zone defense should reduce the number of looks for Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.  The Sooners have an ample trio of outside shooters, and they will have to step it up a notch to beat the Orangemen.  If Tony Crocker, Willie Warren, and Austin Johnson are hot, the Sooners will continue to play on Sunday.

 

Syracuse will have to pack in their zone to keep Griffin from killing them inside.  They will score points on offense, but they may give up points just even quicker if they cannot cover the perimeter when the ball is kicked out from the posts.

 

Prediction: Oklahoma 82 Syracuse 75

 

 

North Carolina (17) vs. Gonzaga (17) [N. Carolina 5]

Game Time: Friday, approximately 9:42 PM EDT

Gonzaga shares the second best PiRate criteria score with their opponent, but the Bulldogs compiled their stats against an inferior schedule.  Even though they played some big time teams, including Memphis and Connecticut, they played too many teams well beneath the average. 

 

North Carolina will not be able to just walk all over the Zags.  We expect GU to stay within striking distance for at least 30-32 minutes, and we wouldn’t be shocked if they led at any point of that time.

 

The Tar Heels will supposedly have Ty Lawson near 100% ready for this game.  Their bench is much more potent than Gonzaga’s, and we think they will eventually wear down the Bulldogs.

 

Prediction: North Carolina 85 Gonzaga 74

 

Midwest Region @ Indianapolis

 

Louisville (10) vs. Arizona (-2) [Louisville 2]

Game Time: Friday, 7:07 PM EDT

Arizona is the one team in the Sweet 16 that we feel doesn’t have the talent of the other 15 teams.  We didn’t think the Wildcats would make it this far, and we honestly felt that Penn State deserved to be here in their place.

 

The players heard for days that they didn’t deserve to be in the Dance, and that motivated them to play great ball last weekend.  We think this weekend will be different.

 

Louisville has not played like a number one seed of the entire tournament.  They got a virtual bye in the first round against Morehead State, and they could have easily lost to Siena in round two.  The Cardinals might stumble through for a third time and win only because their opponent is the weakest of the Sweet 16 teams.  It may be UL’s last win of the season if they don’t play more consistently.

 

Prediction: Louisville 69 Arizona 64

 

Kansas (10) vs. Michigan State (7) [Mich. St. 1]

Game Time: Approximately 9:22 PM EDT

This game should be a rugged, jaw-to-jaw contest of teams that like to bang it.  Both teams control the boards in their games, and it will be interesting to see if either can dominate the other.  We’ll call it a standoff in this stat.

 

Both teams’ weakness is their ability to take advantage of turnover margin.  If either team were playing somebody like Missouri this week, we would feel inclined to pick them to lose.  Since neither team will be able to force a bunch of mistakes and capitalize with a great fast break, we will call this a standoff as well.

 

We think the game will be decided by KU’s defense.  The Jayhawks will force MSU to shoot a lower percentage of shots and not receive their usual amount of offensive rebounds to hold the Spartans well below their points per game average.  We’re not sure MSU can do the same to the Jayhawks, so we’re picking the defending champions to return to the Elite 8.

 

Prediction: Kansas 72 Michigan State 67

 

West Region @ Glendale, AZ

 

Connecticut (14) vs. Purdue (6) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Thursday, 7:07 PM EDT

This looks like a potential mismatch, but some late developments may have the UConn players not ready mentally for this game.  A report by Yahoo Sports that the Huskies broke several NCAA rules when it recruited a former player may make it difficult for the players to properly prepare for this game.

 

Purdue doesn’t have the tools needed to beat Connecticut.  It takes a team with solid strength in the paint, and the Boilermakers don’t have the inside firepower.  Only a poorly played game by the top seed would make this one close.

 

We think the Huskies will start out a little bit off their game, but after a couple of TV timeouts, they should settle down and start playing well.  As long as Hasheem Thabeet stays out of foul trouble and plays about 25 minutes in this game, UConn should win by double digits.

 

Prediction: Connecticut 73 Purdue 60

 

Missouri (12) vs. Memphis (19) [Even Strength]

Game Time: Thursday, Approximately 9:22 PM EDT

This is the can’t miss game of the Sweet 16.  Both teams are strong in every aspect of the game.  Nary of foot of the court will be free parking for either team.  It will be a fast-paced game with the players on both teams trying to show up their opponents.

 

Yes, we picked Memphis to make it to the Championship Game and win it all, but we are not so sure they are the true favorite in this game.  Missouri won’t be intimidated, and if the Memphians come out flat like they did in the first round, Mizzou’s fast break game will quickly run out to a double-digit game.

 

All in all, we think Memphis will be pumped to play the Big 12 Tournament Champions.  This is a border war game, and neither team should be flat.  We’re going with Memphis only because we picked them to win the title.  In reality, we think this is a 50-50 contest.

 

Prediction: Memphis 77 Missouri 75

 

Come back Friday for a look at Saturday’s games and Saturday for a look at Sunday’s games.

January 7, 2009

College Football Computer Simulation Playoffs–Championship Game

NCAA 2008 College Football Playoff Simulation

Championship Round

 

Welcome to season number two of the NCAA College Football Playoff Simulation.  For those reading this blog for the first time, the PiRate College Football Playoffs take the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC as automatic qualifiers.  Any of the remaining conference champions (including the top independent) that finish in the top 16 in the final regular season BCS Standings also qualify automatically.  At-large teams are then selected in the order of BCS finish until 12 total teams have been selected.  The 12 teams are seeded by BCS ranking.

 

Here is how the 12 teams were selected for the 2008 playoffs.

 

Top Six Conference Champions

ACC-Virginia Tech 9-4 seeded 12th

Big East Champion-Cincinnati 11-2 seeded 11th

Big Ten-Penn State 11-1 seeded 8th

Big 12-Oklahoma 12-1 seeded 1st

Pac-10-Southern Cal 11-1 seeded 5th

SEC-Florida 12-1 seeded 2nd

 

Automatic Qualifiers By Virtue Of Top 16 In BCS

MWC-Utah 12-0 seeded 6th

WAC-Boise State 12-0 seeded 9th

 

Top Four At-Large To Fill Out 12-Team Field

Texas 11-1 seeded 3rd

Alabama 12-1 seeded 4th

Texas Tech 11-1 seeded 7th

Ohio State 10-2 seeded 10th

 

The PiRate Playoff System uses the top 11 bowl games to play the four rounds.  The 5th through 12th seeds must play in the first round, while the top four seeds receive byes to the quarterfinals.

 

The First Round games were simulated Saturday, December 13.  Here were the results of those games.

 

Insight Bowl: #5 Southern Cal 20 #12 Virginia Tech 6

 

Cotton Bowl: #6 Utah 23 #11 Cincinnati 20 2ot

 

Chick-Fil-a Bowl:  #10 Ohio State 45 #7 Texas Tech 31

 

Outback Bowl: #9 Boise State 34 #8 Penn State 23

 

 

Quarterfinal Round Matches

Simulated December 20

 

Fiesta Bowl

#1 Oklahoma 48  #9 Boise State 21

 

Sugar Bowl

#2 Florida 34  #10 Ohio State 17

 

Capital One Bowl

#3 Texas 35  #6 Utah 17

 

Gator Bowl

#5 Southern Cal 17  #4 Alabama 10

 

 

FINAL FOUR

 

Rose Bowl

 

Southern California 27  Oklahoma 14

 

Orange Bowl

 

Florida 49  Texas 35

 

 

National Championship Game

 

Florida 14-1  vs. Southern Cal 14-1

 

AND THE WINNER IS………….

 

Southern California Trojans

 

Final Score:  USC 27  Florida 23

 

Team

1

2

3

4

OT

F

USC

3

10

14

0

 

27

Fla

6

3

6

8

 

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USC

Stat

Fla

 

 

 

 

18

FD

14

 

 

 

 

46-148

Rush-Yds

29-77

 

 

 

 

239

Pass Yds

223

 

 

 

 

19-32-0

Passes

19-35-2

 

 

 

 

5-41.8

Punt

6-40.5

 

 

 

 

3-46

PR

2-17

 

 

 

 

7-60

Pen

6-50

 

 

 

 

1-0

Fum

2-1

 

 

 

 

68

Play

64

 

 

 

 

387

Tot Yds

300

 

 

 

USC-Buehler 36 yd. FG, 1st Qtr. 10:33 (USC 3 FL 0)

Fla-Tebow 4 yd. run, kick blocked, 1st Qtr. 3:11 (FL 6 USC 3)

Fla-Phillips 29 yd. FG, 2nd Qtr. 7:55 (FL 9 USC 3)

USC-Turner 17 yd. pass from Sanchez, Buehler Kick 2nd qtr. 3:09 (USC 10 FL 9)

USC-Buehler 45 yd. FG, 2nd Qtr. 0:00 (USC 13 FL 9)

USC-Gable 9 yd. run, Buehler Kick, 3rd Qtr. 12:46 (USC 20 FL 9)

USC-Maualuga 44 yd. interception return, Buehler Kick, 3rd Qtr. 9:15 (USC 27 FL 9)

Fla-Demps 2 yd. run, 2-point try failed, 3rd Qtr. 0:54 (USC 27 FL 15)

Fla-Murphy 31 yd. pass from Tebow, Tebow run for 2, 4th Qtr. 2:27 (USC 27 FL 23)

 

Congratulations go to Southern California for winning the simulated national championship playoffs for the second year in a row!

 

 

The Real BCS Championship Game Simulated 100 Times

 

Florida won 59 of the 100 Simulations by an average score of 36 to 32.

Five of the games went to overtime, with one simulation going four overtimes.  Oklahoma won that one 68-66.

Florida won 11 games by 10 or more points with their biggest margin of victory being 23 points in a 55-32 win.

Oklahoma won three games by 10 or more points with their biggest margin of victory being 19 points at 49-30.

29 of the simulations were decided by three points or less, with Florida winning 15 and Oklahoma winning 14.

 

Regardless of the outcome of this game, there will be discussion that three other teams were just as deserving.

 

If Oklahoma wins this game, Texas has every bit as much right if not more to proclaim themselves champions.  They beat Oklahoma on a neutral field.

 

If Florida wins this game, then Utah has every bit as much right it nor more to proclaim themselves champions.  The Utes beat Alabama by more points than Florida did, and Utah had to play this game as if they were the road team.  Utah won at Oregon State, something that Southern Cal did not do.

 

Speaking of Southern Cal, the Trojans are hands down the best college team in the nation.  Most football experts, including the wise guys in Nevada understand this fact and would list USC as a favorite over any other team.

December 21, 2008

PiRate College Football Computer Simulation: Quarterfinal Round–December 21, 2008

NCAA 2008 College Football Playoff Simulation

Quarterfinal Round

 

Welcome to season number two of the NCAA College Football Playoff Simulation.  For those reading this blog for the first time, the PiRate College Football Playoffs take the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC as automatic qualifiers.  Any of the remaining conference champions (including the top independent) that finish in the top 16 in the final regular season BCS Standings also qualify automatically.  At-large teams are then selected in the order of BCS finish until 12 total teams have been selected.  The 12 teams are seeded by BCS ranking.

 

Here is how the 12 teams were selected for the 2008 playoffs.

 

Top Six Conference Champions

ACC-Virginia Tech 9-4 seeded 12th

Big East Champion-Cincinnati 11-2 seeded 11th

Big Ten-Penn State 11-1 seeded 8th

Big 12-Oklahoma 12-1 seeded 1st

Pac-10-Southern Cal 11-1 seeded 5th

SEC-Florida 12-1 seeded 2nd

 

Automatic Qualifiers By Virtue Of Top 16 In BCS

MWC-Utah 12-0 seeded 6th

WAC-Boise State 12-0 seeded 9th

 

Top Four At-Large To Fill Out 12-Team Field

Texas 11-1 seeded 3rd

Alabama 12-1 seeded 4th

Texas Tech 11-1 seeded 7th

Ohio State 10-2 seeded 10th

 

The PiRate Playoff System uses the top 11 bowl games to play the four rounds.  The 5th through 12th seeds must play in the first round, while the top four seeds receive byes to the quarterfinals.

 

The First Round games were simulated Saturday, December 13.  Here are the results of those games.

 

Insight Bowl: #5 Southern Cal 20 #12 Virginia Tech 6

 

Cotton Bowl: #6 Utah 23 #11 Cincinnati 20 2ot

 

Chick-Fil-a Bowl:  #10 Ohio State 45 #7 Texas Tech 31

 

Outback Bowl: #9 Boise State 34 #8 Penn State 23

 

 

Quarterfinal Round Matches

Simulated December 20

 

Fiesta Bowl

#1 Oklahoma 12-1 vs. #9 Boise State 13-0

 

Final Score: Oklahoma 48  Boise State 21

 

Chris Brown rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns, and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford passed for four scores, as Oklahoma scored on touchdowns on their first three possessions to win rather easily.

 

The top-seeded Sooners now advance to the semifinal round where they will take on Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

 

 

Team

1

2

3

4

OT

F

Oklahoma

21

10

10

7

 

48

Boise St.

0

7

0

14

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKL

Stat

BSU

 

 

 

 

26

FD

17

 

 

 

 

37-177

Rush-Yds

32-74

 

 

 

 

348

Pass Yds

213

 

 

 

 

24-37-0

Passes

19-32-1

 

 

 

 

2-40.5

Punt

6-39.3

 

 

 

 

2-14

PR

1-5

 

 

 

 

4-33

Pen

6-47

 

 

 

 

0-0

Fum

0-0

 

 

 

 

74

Play

64

 

 

 

 

525

Tot Yds

287

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Bowl

#2 Florida 12-1 vs. #10 Ohio State 11-2

 

Final Score: Florida 34  Ohio State 17

 

Tim Tebow may have lost out on a second consecutive Heisman Trophy award, but the junior Gator Quarterback showed the nation that he is still the most versatile quarterback in college football.  Tebow opened the game with a 72-yard scoring pass to Louis Murphy.  On the Gators’ next possession, Tebow completed six consecutive passes and then ran off left tackle for 22 yards and a touchdown.  He finished the game with 67 yard rushing and 312 total yards.

 

The number two seed Gators now advance to the Orange Bowl and will play Texas on New Year’s Day.

 

Team

1

2

3

4

OT

F

Florida

14

10

3

7

 

34

Ohio State

0

3

14

0

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fla

Stat

OSU

 

 

 

 

23

FD

17

 

 

 

 

50-286

Rush-Yds

25-90

 

 

 

 

245

Pass Yds

219

 

 

 

 

17-25-0

Passes

18-34-3

 

 

 

 

4-42.8

Punt

7-39.6

 

 

 

 

5-73

PR

3-16

 

 

 

 

7-60

Pen

6-52

 

 

 

 

0-0

Fum

1-1

 

 

 

 

67

Play

59

 

 

 

 

531

Tot Yds

309

 

 

 

 

Capital One Bowl

#3 Texas 11-1 vs. #6 Utah 13-0

 

Final Score: Texas 35  Utah 17

 

Colt McCoy completed his first 14 passes and joines two other Longhorns with more than 50 yards rushing, as Texas crushed Utah and advanced to the Orange Bowl against Florida.

 

McCoy rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries; Vondrell McGee picked up 57 yards on 17 carries, and Cody Johnson rushed for 71 yards on just 11 carries and scored two touchdowns.

 

Team

1

2

3

4

OT

F

Texas

14

7

14

0

 

35

Utah

0

0

3

14

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tex

Stat

Utah

 

 

 

 

26

FD

15

 

 

 

 

40-179

Rush-Yds

27-58

 

 

 

 

301

Pass Yds

241

 

 

 

 

25-32-0

Passes

20-37-1

 

 

 

 

3-41.0

Punt

6-40.7

 

 

 

 

1-8

PR

0-0

 

 

 

 

6-50

Pen

8-67

 

 

 

 

1-0

Fum

2-1

 

 

 

 

72

Play

64

 

 

 

 

480

Tot Yds

299

 

 

 

 

Gator Bowl

#4 Alabama 12-1 vs. #5 Southern Cal 12-1

 

Final Score: Southern Cal 17  Alabama 10

 

Southern Cal took advantage of three Alabama turnovers inside Crimson Tide territory, and the stellar Trojan defense kept Alabama out of the end zone.  Alabama’s lone touchdown came on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone.

 

USC now advances to the Rose Bowl, where the Trojans will take on Oklahoma in a battle of the best offense versus the best defense.

 

Team

1

2

3

4

OT

F

Alabama

0

3

0

7

 

10

USC

0

7

10

0

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ala

Stat

USC

 

 

 

 

8

FD

16

 

 

 

 

32-51

Rush-Yds

35-119

 

 

 

 

144

Pass Yds

207

 

 

 

 

15-27-1

Passes

19-31-1

 

 

 

 

8-41.6

Punt

6-33.3

 

 

 

 

3-22

PR

5-69

 

 

 

 

4-30

Pen

5-40

 

 

 

 

3-2

Fum

0-0

 

 

 

 

59

Play

66

 

 

 

 

195

Tot Yds

326

 

 

 

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