The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 12, 2020

The Greatest NCAA Basketball Tournament That Never Was

No, not 2020, but the National Champions Since 1960 with the 24 best non-champions


You are looking live at a website, your 2020 basketball simulation network.   During the 1981 and 1994 Major League Baseball seasons, simulated games replaced the real ones. In 1982, The Greatest Baseball Game Never Played featured all-stars from National League History playing all-stars from American League History.


This website will hold a simulated NCAA Basketball Tournament featuring 68 of the greatest teams between 1960 and 2019. We would have added the top team this year, the Kansas Jayhawks, but they didn’t rate as highly as other non-Tournament Champions.


How did we choose the 68 teams? We simulated our own Selection Committee. Okay, we quickly looked at the top ranked teams according to Simple Rating System and took the 26 best non-champions from this list. The remaining 42 teams are national champions. We did not choose any team that won the National Championship in consecutive seasons, so it eliminated Four UCLA teams and one team from Cincinnati and Duke.


How are we going to simulate these games? Actually, these games will not be simulated. They will be played on a tabletop board strategy game. In the 1960’s through the 1980’s, Avalon Hill and Sports Illustrated featured a professional basketball game called, “Statis-Pro Basketball.” The PiRate Captain cracked the code used to rate the players in all the basketball statistics–shooting, getting open for shots, drawing and committing fouls, passing, rebounding, committing turnovers, blocking shots, stealing the ball, defense against shots, and how many minutes players could play before having fatigue.


The Captain made some improvements and did thorough research to determine the pace of play his favorite college teams played in certain seasons. Over the course of a couple years, The Captain refined his game until he felt good with the product he had. He made hundreds of teams from the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, and played games by establishing game plans based on what the particular team’s coach might have planned.


Then, in 1986-1987, when the three-point shot and shot clock were both instituted in college basketball across the board for all teams, he began to estimate how teams in years before the three-point shot might have been able to score from behind the arc. Based on knowing who the top outside shooters were on these great teams and looking at available video, he was able to estimate the percentage and frequency with which these pre-three-point shot teams could use. FWIW, players like Pistol Pete Maravich, Rick Mount, Jerry West, Austin Carr, and Larry Bird would have made their teams considerably better had the three-point shot been in place when they played college ball.


How are we seeding the teams? There won’t be any 14-19 conference tournament champions from low-major conferences. So, the seedings will be true — 1 to 68. The bottom eight teams will all be #16 seeds and forced to play opening round games in Dayton for the privilege of playing the top four teams in the last 60 years!


We will debut the field of 68 on Sunday to help you have something to read and look forward to when there will be no real Selection Sunday.


Then, we will commence playing on Tuesday Night with the first two play-in games. Hopefully, you will be entertained enough. Maybe, when you see some teams before your time, you will read more about them from the past and discover new enlightenment.

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