The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 23, 2013

Bracketnomics 2013: NCAA Tournament: Sunday, March 24, Third Round

2013 NCAA Tournament— Round Three Schedule For Sunday, March 24, 2013

All times Eastern Daylight

Time

Network

Higher Seed

Lower Seed

Region

12:15 PM

CBS

2 Ohio St. (27-7)

10 Iowa St. (23-11)

West

2:45 PM

CBS

1 Indiana (28-6)

9 Temple (24-9)

East

5:15 PM

CBS

1 Kansas (30-5)

8-North Carolina (25-10)

South

6:10 PM

TNT

3 Florida (27-7)

11 Minnesota (21-12)

South

7:10 PM

TBS

7 San Diego St. (23-10)

15 Florida Gulf Coast (25-10)

South

7:40 PM

TruTV

12 Ole Miss (27-8)

13 La Salle (23-9)

West

8:40 PM

TNT

2 Miami (Fla)  (28-6)

7 Illinois (23-12)

East

9:40 PM

TBS

2 Duke (28-5)

7 Creighton (28-7)

Midwest

 

Stats of the 16 Teams Playing Today

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

D FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

RW-L

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florida Gulf Coast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday’s Record: 10-6

Tournament Total: 22-10

 

Game Previews

Ohio State vs. Iowa State

We told you before the tournament that IowaState would beat Notre Dame, because the Irish failed to qualify in at least one of our PiRate Rating Criteria categories.  Can the Cyclones advance to the Sweet 16 with another upset of a bigtime Midwest opponent?

 

In two words, “probably not.”  OhioState holds decisive advantages in too many of our criteria categories, while IowaState enjoys one small advantage over the Buckeyes.  OhioState has a better field goal percentage margin by 3.1%.  The Cyclones enjoy a minor rebounding margin advantage over the Buckeyes by one, but OhioState counters that with a turnover margin advantage of 2.7.  The R+T advantage for the Buckeyes is 2.3.

 

Additionally, OhioState gained these statistical advantages by playing a schedule that was on average more than two points per game better than IowaState.  To top it off, the Buckeyes are clearly the better team away from home.  Not that it matters all that much in our ratings, but the boys from Columbus now own a nine-game winning streak and appear to be playing their best ball of the season

 

PiRate Pick: Ohio State 73  Iowa State 60

 

Indiana vs. Temple

Indiana looked like a Final Four team Friday, when the Hoosiers put James Madison away quickly.  Temple had a challenge from North CarolinaState, but the Owls made it a perfect first two rounds for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

 

Indiana is poised to make it an easy first two games, as this one looks like a major mismatch.  The Hoosiers’ field goal margin advantage in this game is a huge 10%.  This discrepancy can only be overcome if the other team enjoys one equally huge R+T rating advantage, but Indiana is the team that enjoys this advantage.  Because IU has the rebounding margin edge by 9.0, and Temple’s turnover margin advantage is just 1.3, the R+T advantage for the Hoosiers is 7.34.  So, Indiana figures to shoot about 10% better than the Owls and get more than seven extra opportunities to score.

 

Add a strength of schedule advantage of more than three points per game and a road winning percentage advantage of more than 10, and this looks like it could be boring after the first two TV timeouts.

 

PiRate Pick: Indiana 81  Iowa State 60

 

Kansas vs. North Carolina

This game is being used as an example that the NCAA Selection Committee purposely tries to arrange these games, but the public needs to realize that once seeded, you could select any number of possible schedules with no human contribution other than putting the mathematical equations into a computer, and no matter how the schedule was chosen, there would be games like this.  What if Indiana and Marquette faced off, and Tom Crean played his old team?  How about Florida and Louisville being placed in the same region and meeting in the Elite 8?  That would pit Billy Donovan against his college coach Rick Pitino.  The possibilities are endless, and dozens of games like this one could occur if this one did not.

 

As for the game, KU enjoys an advantage similar to Indiana.  The Jayhawks’ field goal margin difference in this game is 9.8%.  The Tar Heels have a slight R+T rating advantage, but it is not enough to counter the large discrepancy in field goal percentage margin.  UNC’s SOS is less than one point per game tougher than Kansas, while KU has a large road winning percentage advantage.  Of course, this is almost a home game for the Jayhawks, as they are less than 45 minutes away from campus.

 

PiRate Pick: Kansas 74  North Carolina 65

 

Florida vs. Minnesota

Here is another one of those games where the coaches share something in common.  Tubby Smith and Billy Donovan were both on the staff at Kentucky under Rick Pitino, and of course, they were tough rivals when Smith was the coach at Kentucky.

 

This game should be closer than most people expect it to be.  On paper, Florida should blow the Gophers out of the gym, but the criteria scores indicate that Minny should keep this one close, if not for the entire game, at least most of the game.

 

Florida has a better field goal percentage margin, by 5.8%.  This is considerable but not infallible.  Minnesota enjoys the rebound margin advantage by 3.4.  The Gators’ return the favor in turnover margin advantage by 3.9, which gives Florida an R+T advantage of 1.16.  The Gophers have the better SOS at 2.39 points per game, while UF has a much better road winning percentage.

 

PiRate Pick: Florida 64  Minnesota 57

 

 

San Diego State vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Georgetown is quickly becoming the DePaul of the 21st Century.  In the early 1980’s, DePaul stayed at the top of the polls and was always a one or two seed, but the Blue Demons always suffered an upset early in the tournament, usually in the first round.

 

FloridaGulfCoast has now defeated two different number two seeds this year, as they topped Miami in November.

 

This San DiegoState team is not nearly as talented as last year’s version, but the Aztecs are favored to advance to the Sweet 16.  Does our criteria see it that way too?  No, it does not.  We believe this game will be rather close, and FGCU will have a chance to pull off another upset if they can force SDSU into a few more turnovers than average.

 

If Coach Steve Fisher’s squad can keep from making too many mistakes, the Aztecs will advance to the next round, because SDSU has decisive advantages in rebounding and SOS, while the rest of the criteria basically cancels itself out.

 

PiRate Pick: San Diego State 68  Florida Gulf Coast 64

 

Ole Miss vs. La Salle

We can state one prediction where we feel more than comfortable believing in our accuracy.  Not many college basketball fans have neutral feelings about Rebel sharpshooter Marshall Henderson.

 

This game guarantees that at least one double-digit seed will advance to the Sweet 16.  Ole Miss has a considerable but not overwhelming edge in the criteria stats.  The Rebels take the field goal percentage margin stat by 3.6%, and rebounding margin by 4, as La Salle is not strong in that category.  Ole Miss has a turnover margin edge of 1.0, which when combined with the other rebounds and steals, gives the Rebels an R+T advantage of 5.26.  On the other hand, the Explorers have an SOS advantage of 3 points per game, and neither team is an exceptional road team, so this game could be interesting.

 

PiRate Pick: Ole Miss 65  La Salle 61

 

Miami vs. Illinois

Make no mistakes about it:  Jim Larranaga knows how to coach and has taken a mid-major to the Final Four.  What can he do with big-time talent?  This team looks like an Elite 8 representative for sure, and who knows how a Miami-Indiana game might turn out?  Maybe some of us will get a clue for this possible game when the Hurricanes take on a team that beat Indiana in the regular season.

 

“The U” owns a 7.2% field goal margin difference, a rebounding margin advantage of 4.7, and an R+T advantage of 2.3.  Illinois has the advantage in turnover margin at 1.9, but that is not enough to balance the scale.  The SOS’s are roughly equal, and it is obvious that the Hurricanes’ road record is much better than the Illini

 

PiRate Pick: Miami 72  Illinois 59

 

 

Duke vs. Creighton

This is the final game of the third round, but it could be one of the most interesting.  WichitaState showed that the second best team in the Missouri Valley Conference is pretty tough, so Creighton must be even tougher.

 

Duke’s biggest advantage in this game is a Strength of Schedule that is more than six points per game better than Creighton’s.  That discrepancy skews the remainder of the ratings.

 

One stat that is not skewed is Creighton’s field goal percentage.  The Blue Jays are the best shooting team in the Big Dance, one of just two of the 68 teams to make better than half of their shots.  Duke is no slouch in shooting accuracy, but this Blue Devil team is not a toughie to shoot against.  To add to Coach K’s misery, Duke does not dominate on the glass, while Crieghton is a strong rebounding team.

 

Duke’s big advantage in this game is their turnover margin advantage, but since they do not generate a lot of steals, they do not benefit as much from the advantage.  Still, the SOS in this game is astronomical, and it is enough to counter all of Creighton’s advantages, which should make this a tossup game to end the opening weekend.

 

PiRate Pick: Duke 76  Creighton 73

 

March 22, 2013

Bracketnomics 2013: NCAA Tournament: Saturday, March 23, Third Round

 2013 NCAA Tournament— Round Three Schedule For Saturday, March 23, 2013

All times Eastern Daylight

Time

Network

Region

Higher Seed

Lower Seed

 

12:15 PM

CBS

South

#4 Michigan (27-7)

#5 Virginia Commonwealth (27-8)

 

2:45 PM

CBS

Midwest

#3 Michigan St. (26-8)

#6 Memphis (31-4)

 

5:15 PM

CBS

Midwest

#1 Louisville (30-5)

#8 Colorado St. (26-8)

 

6:10 PM

TNT

West

#6 Arizona (26-7)

#14 Harvard (20-9)

 

7:10 PM

TBS

Midwest

#4 St. Louis (28-6)

#12 Oregon (27-8)

 

7:45 PM

CBS

East

#3 Marquette (24-8)

#6 Butler (27-8)

 

8:40 PM

TNT

West

#1 Gonzaga (32-2)

#9 Wichita St. (27-8)

 

9:40 PM

TBS

East

#4 Syracuse (27-9)

#12 California (21-11)

 

Team

PPG

Opp

Diff

FG%

Def FG%

Diff

Reb

Opp

Diff

TO

Opp TO

Diff

Stl

R+T

SOS

Rd  W-L

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thursday’s Pick Record: 12 – 4.

 

Game Previews

Michigan vs. Virginia Commonwealth

Michigan has a decided shooting edge in this game, and the Wolverines should win the rebound battle, but the key here will be how much they control the boards.  VCU’s pressing defense is called “Havoc” for a reason.  The Rams can get 10 steals on just about any team in this tournament, because players do not have the fundamentals mastered in this era.  If Michigan cannot win the rebounding battle by at least five and maybe as much as eight, VCU will create enough turnovers and score enough in transition to erase Michigan’s shooting advantage.  The Maize and Blue may be the best team VCU’s press has tried to upset this year, and Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are much better than the average pair of ball-handlers.

 

Like most of Saturday’s games, this one will be an excellent game to watch, and it should be nip and tuck all the way.  We grade these teams three ways to come up with our PiRate Number.  Michigan has a slight edge in one rating, while VCU has an equally slim edge in the second rating.  VCU qualifies in four of our rating criteria categories, while Michigan qualifies in three.  However, Michigan qualifies in the all-important strength of schedule, while the Rams do not.

 

VCU fails to qualify on SOS by the thinnest of hairs, and when we compare the two teams’ SOS side-by-side, they are separated by less than a point per game.

 

PiRate Pick: Virginia Commonwealth 74  Michigan 70

 

Michigan St. vs. Memphis

This is another game where the teams match up well with enough strengths with which to exploit the other and enough liabilities that can be exploited.  MichiganState is a tad slow in transition, while Memphis is considerably quicker.  The Spartans are stronger in the paint, while their guards are better outside shooters than the Tigers’ guards.

 

We think the difference in this game will come in shot selection.  In the second half, we expect MichiganState to take the smarter shots, while Memphis throws up some ill-advised shots.  It will be the difference down the stretch as Sparty pulls away at the end.

 

PiRate Pick: Michigan State 68  Memphis 61

 

Louisville vs. Colorado St.

The Rams might have a decent shot at ousting any of the other three number one seeds, but they unfortunately draw the one number one seed that they do not match up well against.  Louisville is a much better version of New Mexico, and CSU could not handle New Mexico.

 

The Cardinals have the best defensive backcourt in the tournament, even better than VCU’s Havoc Defense.  Not only can UL steal the ball 10 times a game, they also can stop teams in the paint and on the perimeter in the halfcourt.  Coach Rick Pitino may have his best team since his 1996 Kentucky Wildcats, and “The Ville,” looks to be unstoppable at this point.

 

ColoradoState may keep it close for one or two TV timeouts, but the Cardinals will pull away and have a double-digit lead before halftime.  CSU is not the best come-from-behind team, and things will only get worse until Pitino removes his starters.

 

PiRate Pick: Louisville 77  Colorado St. 54

 

Arizona vs. Harvard

If you read our previous post, you know we selected the 6-seeded Wildcats to emerge as the surprise winner of the West Region.  We’ve been given a gift in this round, as Sean Miller’s squad almost gets a walkover to advance to the Sweet 16.

 

Harvard is the first team that failed to qualify in any of our criteria categories to advance to the Round of 32 in six seasons.  We do not expect the Crimson to put up much of a fight in this game.

 

Arizona will get about 10-12 more chances to score points in this game, and the Wildcats should match or exceed Harvard in shooting percentage.  UA’s quickness should prevent the Crimson from getting many open looks from behind the arc, which is the only area where Harvard has a chance to stay in the game.

 

PiRate Pick: Arizona 71  Harvard 52

 

St. Louis vs. Oregon

We think this will be a dandy of a game to watch.  Aside from being just plain solid, SLU is playing for their deceased head coach, Rick Majerus.  While this emotional boost of octane does not figure in our PiRate Criteria, we do keep this knowledge in the back of our heads.

 

OU has an axe to grind that equalizes the Billikens’ extra emotion.  The Ducks felt as if they were seeded about five spots lower than they deserved to be seeded.  So these factors cancel each other out.

 

Let’s look at the Criteria numbers for this game.  Oregon should end up with a better shooting percentage, and the Ducks should win the battle of the boards, but not by a large number.  The SLU players are a better ball-control team, but they won’t remind anybody of conference rival VCU.

 

Oregon has a small R+T advantage, while SLU has played a slightly more difficult schedule and has performed better away from home.  The fact that this game is in San Jose does not help the Ducks as much as it would if this were the previous round, but SLU will have been on the coast for four days and will have adjusted by the time this game tips off.

 

Both teams have exceptional depth and balance, and this game should have a fluidity that others do not.  It would not surprise us if neither team ever enjoys a lead of more than eight points.  It would also not surprise us if 40 minutes is not enough to determine the winner.

 

PiRate Pick: Oregon 72  St. Louis 70

 

Marquette vs. Butler

This game could have just as easily been Davidson versus Bucknell.  Marquette survived an advanced because Davidson panicked at the end.  Bucknell had Butler on the ropes, but the Bulldogs showed poise when it counted.  The more experienced teams emerged victorious.

 

Now, in this round, we need to closely examine the numbers, because both teams are solid with savvy.  Marquette is a slightly better shooting team than Butler, and the Golden Eagles are also a little better affecting shots by the opponent.   Butler is considerably better on the glass, while neither team is much of a ball-hawking power.  Butler will get three to five more chances to score, but Marquette will shoot a higher percentage.

 

Looking at the other criteria, Marquette compiled their stats against competition that was a little less than two points per game better than Butler’s opponents, but Butler performed much better away from Indianapolis than MU did away from Milwaukee.  This stat is the deciding factor for us, and we believe Coach Brad Stevens will have his squad a little better prepared on less than 48 hours notice.

 

PiRate Pick: Butler 59  Marquette 55

 

Gonzaga vs. Wichita St.

The number one seed and regular final season number one team almost fell to a 16-seed.  The last time the overall number one team and top seed in a region lost their first game was way back in 1981, when #1-seed DePaul lost to #9-seed St. Joseph’s (40-team tournament in 1981).

 

WichitaState looked like a Sweet 16 team in their win over Pittsburgh.  The Shockers have their best team since the great 1981 team that advanced to the Elite 8.  That team had three future NBA players in Cliff Levengston, Antoine Carr, and Xavier McDaniel.

 

Of course, this is Gonzaga’s best team, and the Bulldogs have been toughened by their narrow escape.  We do not see Coach Mark Few’s team stubbing its toe and coming out flat in this game.  GU has something to prove.

 

The Zags are a better shooting team and a better defending team in the half-court.  The two teams are fairly even on the boards, while Gonzaga enjoys a slight advantage in turnover margin.  The two teams’ strengths of schedule differ minutely, but Gonzaga enjoys a considerably better record away from Spokane than WSU has away from Wichita.

 

PiRate Pick: Gonzaga 78  Wichita State 69

 

Syracuse vs. California

The Golden Bears get a little bit of home court advantage, as Berkeley is only 45 miles north of San Jose.  Still, the ‘Cuse is clearly the better team.

 

A lot of teams have trouble with Coach Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 matchup zone the first time they face it.  We believe the Bears will shoot under 40% in this game and fail to pick up enough offensive rebounds to keep the game within reach at the end.

 

Syracuse enjoys small, but significant advantages in field goal percentage margin and rebound margin.  The difference is more significant in turnover margin, and this leads to SU enjoying an R+T rating that is worth 6 ½ more possessions.  To top it off, The Orangemen’s strength of schedule is about three points per game better than Cal’s.  This adds up to a solid win for Boeheim’s bunch.

 

PiRate Pick: Syracuse 69  California 57

 

Coming Saturday night, we will preview Sunday’s games.

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