The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 22, 2023

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Sunday, January 22, 2023

HomeVisitorSpread
CaliforniaOregon St.3.6
CincinnatiMemphis0.6
ColoradoWashington St.4.6
ConnecticutButler14.4
Fairleigh DickinsonStonehill5.0
HoustonTemple21.3
IndianaMichigan St.5.5
Long IslandCentral Connecticut St.-6.8
MaineBinghamton2.3
MichiganMinnesota13.4
Mount St. Mary’sMarist4.1
PurdueMaryland9.1
QuinnipiacCanisius10.3
RiderManhattan9.6
Saint Peter’sNiagara0.0
SienaFairfield6.9
SMUWichita St.0.1
St. Francis (NY)Merrimack0.5
UMass LowellBryant3.4
VermontNJIT12.0
WagnerSacred Heart4.7
WoffordFurman-3.3

Coming Soon: “The 2023 list of coaches ready for the big time.”

In the past, our list has included Eric Musselman, Nate Oats, Matt McMahon, Todd Golden, Chris Jans, T.J. Otzelberger, Wes Miller, Steve Forbes, Mike Young, and top assistants like Jon Scheyer and Tommy Lloyd. All of these guys are coaching at a big time program in 2023, and some have already developed their school into a major power. Who makes this year’s list? We’ll give you 20 guys that can turn your moribund Major College program around in short time.

March 29, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 4:44 am
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
TeamTeamSpread
XavierSt. Bonaventure-0.2
Texas A&MWashington St.0.8

March 23, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
TeamTeamSpread
Texas A&MWake Forest2.5
BYUWashington St.2.5
UNC WilmingtonMiddle Tennessee-0.1
Fresno St.Youngstown St.2.5
Southern UtahPortland2.5

February 10, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, February 10, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am
HomeVisitorsSpread
WagnerMount St. Mary’s10.4
TowsonWilliam & Mary19.9
Appalachian St.Georgia Southern6.8
Central MichiganOhio-14.6
EvansvilleIndiana St.-4.6
UABSouthern Miss.24.3
Middle TennesseeOld Dominion5.6
MarshallFlorida International2.6
CharlotteLouisiana Tech-4.7
Sacred HeartBryant-4.9
MerrimackCentral Connecticut6.5
Long IslandSt. Francis (NY)7.4
Fairleigh DickinsonSt. Francis (PA)-2.3
LongwoodUSC Upstate9.0
Cleveland St.Illinois Chicago8.6
Purdue Fort WayneIUPUI18.6
TroyArkansas St.2.5
Coastal CarolinaGeorgia St.3.8
Western IllinoisNorth Dakota St.1.0
VMIMercer5.6
UNC GreensboroThe Citadel6.6
DrexelHofstra0.4
DelawareNortheastern7.4
James MadisonElon6.1
MarylandIowa-3.7
UL MonroeUT Arlington-0.4
ClemsonDuke-6.7
NichollsIncarnate Word14.5
SIU EdwardsvilleUT Martin4.5
BelmontMorehead St.9.5
Western KentuckyFlorida Atlantic4.3
New OrleansTexas A&M-CC2.5
Utah ValleyGrand Canyon1.3
Chicago St.Stephen F. Austin-13.3
LouisianaTexas St.1.8
South AlabamaLittle Rock13.6
St. ThomasNorth Dakota8.2
OmahaSouth Dakota-7.4
Tennessee St.Murray St.-16.5
Eastern IllinoisTennessee Tech-7.8
Austin PeaySoutheast Missouri St.4.4
Northwestern St.Houston Baptist5.4
GonzagaPacific34.7
MichiganPurdue-4.4
Washington St.Arizona-7.4
Saint Mary’sSan Diego15.8
OregonStanford7.9
Montana St.Portland St.9.4
MontanaNorthern Arizona11.3
IdahoIdaho St.4.0
Eastern WashingtonWeber St.-1.6
SE LouisianaMcNeese St.3.3
Dixie St.New Mexico St.-10.8
DenverSouth Dakota St.-13.4
UC IrvineUC Riverside5.5
Cal St. BakersfieldUC Santa Barbara-4.4
Cal PolyCal St. Northridge3.8
Sacramento St.Northern Colorado-4.6
California BaptistLamar11.6
SeattleUT Rio Grande Valley11.8
WashingtonArizona St.2.1
Loyola MarymountBYU-8.1
San FranciscoPepperdine20.6
HawaiiLong Beach St.4.8

February 3, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, February 3, 2022

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 3:00 am
HomeVisitorsSpread
BellarmineLiberty-1.4
OhioEastern Michigan14.5
Morehead St.Tennessee Tech9.5
UT MartinSoutheast Missouri St.0.4
Eastern KentuckyKennesaw St.2.6
GeorgetownSt. John’s-4.1
DelawareDrexel2.9
Central MichiganWestern Michigan2.6
Central FloridaSouth Florida12.9
Florida InternationalSouthern Miss.8.2
Florida AtlanticLouisiana Tech-2.6
CharlotteWestern Kentucky-1.3
St. Francis (PA)Bryant-4.2
St. Francis (NY)Fairleigh Dickinson5.6
Mount St. Mary’sMerrimack6.4
Long IslandSacred Heart7.6
Central ConnecticutWagner-14.9
WinthropNorth Carolina A&T8.3
IUPUIYoungstown St.-13.4
Northern KentuckyOakland-5.0
Wright St.Detroit2.3
Georgia SouthernSouth Alabama-3.1
Georgia St.Troy3.2
HofstraTowson1.0
ElonUNC Wilmington-0.3
NortheasternJames Madison-0.2
William & MaryCharleston-7.7
Austin PeayMurray St.-14.5
Sam HoustonDixie St.9.0
Stephen F. AustinUtah Valley-0.4
Jacksonville St.North Florida13.3
Little RockLouisiana-5.4
ArizonaUCLA6.0
Ohio St.Iowa2.6
RiceUTSA11.9
Old DominionMarshall4.1
Northern ColoradoPortland St.6.9
Houston BaptistNorthwestern St.-0.2
Illinois ChicagoRobert Morris4.7
Arkansas St.UL Monroe8.1
Texas St.Appalachian St.2.2
UMKCSt. Thomas5.8
Oral RobertsWestern Illinois7.0
North Dakota St.Omaha16.4
North DakotaDenver-2.7
LipscombStetson3.5
Incarnate WordNicholls St.-10.9
Tennessee St.Belmont-15.1
SIU EdwardsvilleEastern Illinois12.1
Texas A&M-CCNew Orleans3.2
McNeese St.SE Louisiana1.3
Central ArkansasFlorida Gulf Coast-7.3
San DiegoGonzaga-21.5
Utah St.San Jose St.20.9
WyomingBoise St.0.5
UtahOregon St.6.2
StanfordWashington St.-2.1
Weber St.Montana6.0
Southern UtahIdaho13.1
Grand CanyonSeattle3.6
New Mexico St.California Baptist10.7
Santa ClaraLoyola Marymount9.5
North AlabamaJacksonville-0.1
PacificPepperdine3.9
ColoradoOregon-1.2
Long Beach St.Cal St. Bakersfield4.5
UC Santa BarbaraUC Irvine0.4
Cal St. FullertonCal Poly11.3
Cal St. NorthridgeUC San Diego-1.8
Sacramento St.Northern Arizona3.7
BYUSan Francisco3.3
Arizona St.USC-6.7
CaliforniaWashington4.7
UC RiversideHawaii3.4
PortlandSaint Mary’s-13.4

January 30, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Sunday, January 30, 2022

HomeVisitorsSpread
BrownCornell4.5
PurdueOhio St.9.2
East CarolinaCincinnati-5.9
Wright St.Purdue Fort Wayne4.4
Northern KentuckyCleveland St.-1.4
George WashingtonFordham-1.5
ProvidenceMarquette1.1
WisconsinMinnesota9.2
Fairleigh DickinsonCentral Connecticut1.3
BryantLong Island5.1
IonaSaint Peter’s11.1
Morgan St.Delaware St.14.1
St. Francis (NY)Wagner-11.8
DrakeLoyola (Chi.)-3.2
BradleyIndiana St.7.9
MassachusettsGeorge Mason8.7
SienaQuinnipiac0.4
ManhattanMarist-2.0
MonmouthNiagara8.5
RiderCanisius1.9
Boston CollegePittsburgh4.0
Southern IllinoisValparaiso5.8
BucknellLoyola (MD)-3.9
McNeese St.New Orleans0.7
Washington St.Colorado5.8

January 10, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Date1/10/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1BaylorHoustonLSUArizona
2GonzagaAuburnKansasPurdue
3VillanovaIllinoisDukeUSC
4TennesseeKentuckyTexasMichigan St.
5UCLAXavierConnecticutTexas Tech
6AlabamaOhio St.WisconsinSeton Hall
7Loyola (Chi.)IowaBYUIndiana
8Iowa St.North CarolinaOklahomaVirginia Tech
9West VirginiaSan Diego St.San FranciscoProvidence
10Saint Mary’sMississippi St.Washington St.Marquette
11Colorado St.MemphisFloridaBoise St.Wake ForestMichigan
12BelmontChattanoogaDavidsonUAB
13OhioIonaTowsonNew Mexico St.
14OaklandUC-IrvineWagnerPrinceton
15VermontSouth Dakota St.LibertyNavy
16Texas St.Weber St.Gardner-WebbNicholls St.Texas SouthernHoward

Last Four Byes: Washington St., Marquette, Colorado St., Memphis

Last Four In: Florida, Boise St., Wake Forest, Michigan

First Four Out: Clemson, Wyoming, VCU, TCU

Next Four Out: Texas A&M, Murray St., Fresno St., Creighton

December 27, 2021

A New Sun Bowl

With Miami of Florida having to back out of the Sun Bowl and Boise State having to back out of the Arizona Bowl due to multiple positive Covid cases, The Arizona Bowl has been cancelled, and the Sun Bowl has now extended an invitation to Central Michigan to face Washington State. Below are the new PiRate Ratings spreads for that game.

HomeVisitorPiRateMeanBias
Washington St.Central Michigan7.29.39.4

November 11, 2021

PiRate Picks–November 11-13, 2021

We almost made it, but a small miss is as good as a long mile. Last week, with a fourth consecutive winning week looking promising, a couple of fourth quarters went against us, and alas we suffered a tiny loss of 0.9%, or less than $5 on $500 invested in imaginary currency.

For the year, our net profit is now 4.88%, so we are still in the black, just barely. This week, we delayed by a day putting this feature online. The reason is that we did not like the overall numbers and wanted the betting public to help us out by moving the money lines just enough for our program to show the parlays to have an edge by finding the best lines. After looking at 11 different books, we still could only find three wagers to play. Four more were monitored closely and might have eventually moved to make them playable, but we like to publish this before Noon on Thursday, and the movements aren’t moving this morning (Thursday at 9:30 AM EST).

These next two weeks historically have seen monumental upsets in college football when teams that appear to be superior to the opponents they are playing have hidden depth issues. It’s not just players that don’t dress out. By this point in the schedule most college teams have 10-20 players that are playing with minor injuries and are not the same as they were four weeks ago. We look for teams that win consistently through the first week in November but tend to lose power ratings while winning, because instead of producing a statistics box that looks like a 20-point win, they produce a statistics box of 15-17 points, and then 10-14 points. We do not update our ratings by final score. We look at the statistics and make a score adjustment based on the domination or lack thereof and then update. A team that wins by 28 points and is out-gained by 50 yards where the opponent lost fumbles in the Red Zone may actually receive credit for a 14-point “effective win.” A team that wins by 11 points but ends the game at the opponent’s five yard line and chooses to take a knee may receive credit for an 18-point effective win.

You will also notice that since early in the season, we have stopped playing NFL parlays in this feature. The variance in the games is making it impossible for our method to isolate on enough games to make a favorable parlay. We think there are two reasons for this. First, even though there are lousy teams like Detroit, there are no dominant teams that can be counted on to win when they are favored by less than a touchdown. Second, now that many millions more people can legally wager, the odds no longer move by large enough amounts to create favorable odds. There are 60+ college games to find favorable numbers, and the public may not find a Mountain West Conference game worth much, while we do. There are 13-16 NFL games per week, and even Detroit, San Francisco, and Miami get heavy action. We’d like to play three underdogs this week, but the numbers are not favorable according to our program.

Here are our three selections for this week. Remember, we never wager real money on these picks. If we don’t, do you think you should?

Odds:+185
Must WinOpponent
East CarolinaMemphis

Odds:+205.47
Must WinOpponent
Kansas St.West Virginia
Air ForceColorado St.
Oklahoma St.TCU

Odds:+152.71
Must WinOpponent
LouisianaTroy
OklahomaBaylor
OregonWashington St.

January 23, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For January 23, 2020

Games Being Played Thursday

Home

Visitor

Spread

UNC Asheville

Radford

-4.4

Ohio St.

Minnesota

7.7

Hofstra

Delaware

6.7

Stetson

NJIT

-0.1

Kennesaw St.

North Alabama

-6.1

William & Mary

James Madison

10.2

Cleveland St.

Green Bay

-3.1

Detroit

IUPUI

7.0

Winthrop

USC Upstate

16.3

Northeastern

Drexel

7.4

Oakland

Illinois Chicago

5.7

Youngstown St

Milwaukee

3.6

Murray St.

Belmont

-1.1

High Point

Gardner-Webb

-6.5

Old Dominion

Florida Intl.

3.0

Central Connecticut

Sacred Heart

-13.4

Merrimack

Fairleigh Dickinson

7.4

Long Island

St. Francis (PA)

0.6

St. Francis (NY)

Robert Morris

-3.2

North Florida

Liberty

-4.9

Charlotte

Florida Atlantic

4.9

Bryant

Wagner

8.7

Hampton

Campbell

-2.3

Elon

Towson

-5.8

Lipscomb

Jacksonville

2.2

Charleston Southern

Presbyterian

5.9

Middle Tennessee

Louisiana Tech

-12.0

North Texas

UTSA

10.1

Rice

UTEP

-2.0

Arkansas St.

South Alabama

0.2

Omaha

Western Illinois

11.6

South Dakota

Purdue Fort Wayne

7.1

Utah

Washington

-3.4

North Dakota

Denver

9.3

UAB

Southern Miss

8.7

Indiana

Michigan St.

-3.4

Austin Peay

Tennessee St.

7.5

Missouri St.

Valparaiso

3.4

SIU-Edwardsville

SEMO

0.8

Tennessee Tech

Morehead St.

-3.2

Eastern Illinois

UT-Martin

8.9

Jacksonville St.

Eastern Kentucky

8.8

Grand Canyon

Seattle

1.6

Idaho St.

Montana

-1.8

Weber St.

Montana St.

0.2

Houston

UConn

9.1

Colorado

Washington St.

12.8

Loyola Marymount

Portland

5.6

Santa Clara

Pepperdine

3.8

Cal St. Bakersfield

Utah Valley

6.2

 

Interesting Analytics

Every year at this time, the PiRates begin looking at some of the advanced analytics that we have used to gauge potential NCAA Tournament success.

Our R+T Rating ™, is our personal creation that attempts to predict how many more opportunities to score a team might have in a game as compared to an average team.  It relies on rebounding margin and turnover margin with an added emphasis on steals and protecting the ball from being stolen by the other team.  It attempts to estimate the potential extra points available to the team due to the “hustle stats.”

In the past, when a team has an R+T of 15.0 or better, that team has the ability to score on enough extra opportunities to go on a big spurt and put another team away.  When UCLA was the dominant basketball team during John Wooden’s runs, their R+T stats were always at the top of the nation.  When they had the 1964 small lineup that went 30-0, the 2-2-1 zone press created turnover after turnover by the opponent with a lot of steals.  These extra opportunities prevented the other team from scoring, but they also led to easy fast break points, and the Bruins had incredible scoring spurts in every game, the most famous being the incredible 16-0 run in just over two minutes before halftime that put NCAA Championship Game with Duke out of reach.

The Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and Bill Walton years saw the Bruins totally dominating on the glass while still getting a nice number of steals and forcing turnovers.  These UCLA teams frequently had 20 extra scoring opportunities a game, and with Jabbar and Walton both hitting better than 60% from the field, the Bruins were unstoppable.

Long after UCLA won those 10 titles, the ability to get extra scoring opportunities has remained consistently and vitally important in NCAA Tournament games.  To get to the Big Dance, teams must display an ability to play very tough defense, and teams with good offenses and little else become pretenders when every opponent they face will play much better defense than the average opponent in the regular season.  Thus, the ability to create extra scoring opportunities and the ability to prevent extra scoring opportunities take precedence over just being able to shoot the ball more accurately than the opponent.

Obviously, we do not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Shooting is still quite important.  After all, the object of the game is to put the ball in the basket more than the other team.  If a team gets 10 more chances to put the ball in the basket, but they shoot like our Captain trying to putt at Pebble Beach, 30 more chances might not be enough to overcome the inaccurate marksmanship.  Obviously, shooting ability and ability to prevent made shots remain important.

Then, there is the third key factor.  If State only plays Southeast Northwest Community College and similar teams, they will inevitably end up with impressive stats.  If Tech plays Kansas, Duke, Maryland, Oregon, and Kentucky out of conference, it is going to be difficult, make that impossible, to end up with stats as impressive at State.  Thus strength of schedule must play as important a roll as the other two stats.  Think of schedule strength in the same vein as class in thoroughbred horse racing, where a winner of a claiming race is not going to compete well against the fifth place winner from a Grade 1 Classic race, even if in the last two races, their times for 1 1/8 miles were about the same.

Let’s put all three key stats together and look at a sampling of teams that are producing quality numbers across the board.

 

Team

R+T

TS%

SOS

Baylor

19.1

5.8

55.1

Butler

15.2

8.8

57.2

UC-Irvine

20.2

5.6

50.4

Duke

21.5

8.4

55.7

Gonzaga

27.7

10.1

49.0

Houston

25.5

4.2

54.4

Illinois

22.2

6.2

55.4

Indiana

20.6

3.2

54.7

Kansas

18.5

10.9

62.7

Kentucky

16.2

8.3

52.2

Liberty

15.9

12.6

43.4

Louisiana State

16.9

6.6

54.4

Maryland

16.7

5.2

58.4

Michigan State

21.6

10.2

57.7

New Mexico State

18.3

4.3

49.3

Oral Roberts

16.3

2.1

53.6

Rutgers

19.7

6.2

55.7

San Diego State

18.4

9.9

49.6

Southern Utah

15.7

8

48.2

Stephen F. Austin

22.5

2.9

42.7

Utah State

20.8

6.5

52.3

West Virginia

21.7

5.9

58.8

What you see above are the R+T ratings for 22 teams in column 1.  The formula for R+T is:  (R * 2) + (S * .5) + (6 – Opp S) + T, where R is rebounding margin per game, S is steals per game, Opp S is opponents’ steals per game, and T is turnover margin (Opponents Turnovers minus Teams’  Turnovers divided by games played).

Another excellent formula that estimates extra scoring chances per game is the formula by the brilliant Jordan Sperber, creator of Hoop Vision.  Jordan’s formula is: (Team’s OEff)-((100.9/49.0)*(Team’s eFG%)),  where OEff is offensive efficiency, the number 100.9 represents the average Division 1 team’s offensive efficiency, the number 49.0 represents the average Division 1 team’s effective FG%, and eFG% is effective FG%.  The result represents the extra chances to utilize effective FG%, and like everything else Jordan does, it is a great tool.  By the way, Jordan has worked for my number one rated Mid-Major coach of last year (Eric Musselman), and my number one rated Mid-Major coach of this year (Chris Jans).  His analytics have helped both coaches strategize the way they coach.  Check out Jordan’s website at: https://hoopvision.substack.com

In column 2 above, you see TS%.  This stands for true shooting percentage, which in this case actually stands for the difference in the team’s offensive TS% and the defensive TS%.  To calculate TS%, the formula is: (100 * points scored) /  (2 * [FG Attempts + {.475 * FT Attempts}]) 

The final column represents strength of schedule.  50 is considered an average schedule strength.  55 is considered a strong schedule strength.  60 is considered a tough schedule strength.  Below 45 is considered too weak to consider a team a legitimate contender in the Big Dance.

Gonzaga has the top R+T rating in the nation at the present time.  Their TS% difference is in the top 10, so the Bulldogs should be considered a key contender to run the table in the NCAA Tournament this year, correct?  No, that is not correct.  Gonzaga’s strength of schedule (SOS) is too low.  At 49.0, the other two stats must be discounted.  Gonzaga’s remaining schedule will not give the Bulldogs enough increase in SOS to take their R+T and TS% stats seriously.  This does not mean they will lose to a 16-seed in the first game.  What it means is that when they get to the Sweet 16 and face an opponent with a better SOS and strong R+T and TS%, they will be ripe for the upset.

Baylor, Butler, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan State, Rutgers, and West Virginia have the best resumes today.  They have excellent R+T, TS%, and SOS numbers.  It should be no surprise that the Big 12 and Big Ten are the two best conferences so far this season.  

Kentucky and LSU fall just short of the elites in this test.  Neither team has the important 55 or better SOS mark, although both teams could eventually get over that key number.

Among the mid-major teams to keep an eye on, there are four teams in the West that could be sleepers for the Sweet 16 if they make the dance.  UC-Irvine, New Mexico State, Southern Utah, and Utah State all have strong R+T and TS% numbers with SOS that isn’t totally weak.  Contrast that to Liberty and Stephen F. Austin, two teams where the schedule strength doesn’t cut it.

Then, there are two teams high in the rankings from the lower tier of major conferences.  Houston and San Diego State have excellent numbers, but their schedule strengths make them both on the outside looking in when compared to the power conference teams.  Frequently, teams like these two can make a run to the second weekend of the tournament, and once or twice a decade, they will sneak into the Final Four.  However, when it comes to cut the nets and hear “One Shining Moment,” the happy team is one that comes from one of the top 5 power conferences.

As of today, the top 5 power conferences are: The Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Atlantic Coast, and Southeastern Conferences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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