The Pi-Rate Ratings

January 28, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Date1/28/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1GonzagaAuburnBaylorKansas
2ArizonaPurdueUCLADuke
3HoustonVillanovaKentuckyWisconsin
4IllinoisTennesseeTexas TechMichigan St.
5LSUProvidenceOhio St.Connecticut
6MarquetteAlabamaUSCTexas
7XavierIowa St.IowaColorado St.
8Wake ForestIndianaBYUMiami (Fla.)
9Saint Mary’sLoyola (Chi.)Boise St.Florida St.
10ArkansasNorth CarolinaOregonDavidson
11CreightonMurray St.TCUOklahoma
12UABIonaSan FranciscoWyomingSan Diego St.Notre Dame
13ChattanoogaToledoVermontSouth Dakota St.
14WagnerPrincetonSeattleJacksonville St.
15Cleveland St.Appalachian St.Cal St. FullertonWeber St.
16LongwoodColgateNorfolk St.SouthernUNC-WilmingtonNew Orleans

Best Of The Rest

69Mississippi St.
70Florida
71Michigan
72West Virginia
73Seton Hall
74Texas A&M
75SMU
76Belmont

Method

I try to mimic what the Selection Committee Does each year. I weigh several factors, including the NET Rankings, Strength of Record, a few select computer ratings (not my own, since as far as I know, only one former Committee member has ever acknowledged knowledge of the PiRate Ratings), wins against Quadrant 1 opponents and Quadrant 2 opponents versus losses against Quadrant 4 opponents, results away from home, and to a lesser extent conference record, and even though they will never admit it, there is a political aspect involved. The eighth best team in the Atlantic Coast or Big Ten Conference will beat out the second best team in the Missouri Valley Conference nine out of ten times when their resumes are similar.

Every year, the selection criteria claimed to be the most important by the Committee changes a little to fit what I believe are the desired results. For instance, in one year, in order to include a team like Syracuse at 19-14 over a team like Murray State at 29-4 that lost in the OVC Tournament to Belmont, the Committee referred to the fact that Syracuse went 2-8 against Quad 1 teams on the road, while Murray State went 1-1, and thus Syracuse’s schedule was so much stronger.

Then the next year, Kansas State gets in at 19-14 over Wofford at 30-4 that lost in the SoCon Tournament Championship to UNC-Greensboro; the Committee ignores the fact that Wofford went 5-2 against Quadrant 1 opponents while Kansas State went 3-9. Now, they state that Kansas State’s overall schedule strength was number 11, while Wofford’s was number 103. Never mind that West Virginia swept Kansas State during the regular season and then knocked the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, while Wofford beat WVU by eight points in Hawaii in November.

One additional factor used in today’s Bracketology was conference record to date. If a team is three games under .500 in their conference at the halfway point of their conference season, such as Seton Hall at 3-6, the rest of their resume is strong enough to be considered, but if The Hall finishes 7-11 or worse in the Big East, I don’t see them getting into the field with so many strong teams in conferences that normally receive a maximum of two teams getting into the Field.

Mid-Major Spoilers

This year, there are more Mid-Major teams in the running for at-large bids, and if a couple are upset in their conference’s tournament, they are still likely to be considered. Let’s take a look.

Atlantic 10: Davidson will most likely receive a bid if they don’t earn the league’s automatic berth. A team like Dayton, Saint Louis, or VCU is capable of winning the automatic bid, and personally, I think the Billekens are the team to beat in March in DC.

Conference USA: Andy Kennedy has done a fantastic job at UAB, but if the Blazers don’t win the CUSA Tournament at the Cowboys’ practice facility in Frisco, Texas, they have a decent shot at getting in as an at-large team. Louisiana Tech and North Texas must be considered co-favorites to win the conference tournament, especially with Frisco being almost a home game for the Mean Green from nearby Denton. Keep an eye on both Charlotte and Middle Tennessee, as the 49ers and Blue Raiders are rounding into shape.

Metro Atlantic: Rick Pitino knows how to win, even if he may cut corners at times. His Iona Gaels are definitely a Bubble team if they are 29-5 but runners up in the MAAC Tournament to Monmouth or Saint Peter’s.

Mid-American: Both Toledo and Ohio U are on the cusp of being at-large worthy. If the Rockets meet the Bobcats in the MACtion Title Game, the loser has a small chance to earn a spot.

Missouri Valley: Loyola of Chicago is a near lock to get into the Dance even if they fall short in Arch Madness. The MVC has multiple teams with enough talent and excellent coaching to win in Saint Louis. Missouri State, Drake, Northern Iowa, and Bradley are teams to watch.

Mountain West: It is likely that at least three and possibly four MWC teams will hear their names called on Selection Sunday. Colorado State and Boise State are near locks at this point, while San Diego State and Wyoming are strong candidates. Also, Utah State is recovering from a rough patch, but even at 2-5 in the league, the Aggies are talented enough to win the conference tournament if totally healthy.

Ohio Valley: Murray State might be deserving of a single-digit seed if the Racers win out from here. Even if they lose a game to Morehead State or Belmont, and they lose in the finals of their conference tournament, the Racers could still get in, just like Belmont a couple years ago.

West Coast: The WCC is used to getting Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s into the Field in the same year, but this year four teams have Tournament-worthy resumes. BYU and San Francisco also have decent shots to get into the field.

January 21, 2022

PiRate Ratings Bracketology

Date1/21/2022
SeedTeamTeamTeamTeamTeamTeam
1ArizonaGonzagaHoustonBaylor
2AuburnVillanovaKansasKentucky
3PurdueLSUIllinoisTennessee
4DukeTexas TechConnecticutXavier
5WisconsinTexasUCLAOhio St.
6Loyola (Chi.)AlabamaIowaIowa St.
7Michigan St.USCIndianaSeton Hall
8MarquetteOklahomaFloridaProvidence
9BYUSan Diego St.North CarolinaMiami (Fla.)
10Colorado St.DavidsonCreightonWake Forest
11Saint Mary’sBoise St.West VirginiaOregonFlorida St.
12Murray St.UABChattanoogaTCUSan Francisco
13IonaVermontOhioTowson
14WagnerGrand CanyonSouth Dakota St.Oakland
15LibertyTexas St.UC-IrvinePrinceton
16NavyMontana St.LongwoodNorfolk St.Texas A&M-CCTexas Southern

Last Four Byes: Wake Forest, Saint Mary’s, Boise St., West Virginia

Last Four In: Oregon, Florida St., TCU, San Francisco

First Four Out: Wyoming, Mississippi St., Texas A&M, Michigan

Next Four Out: Belmont, Arkansas, Dayton, Fresno St.

January 18, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Tuesday, January 18, 2022

HomeVisitorsSpread
Saint Peter’sCanisius7.4
West VirginiaBaylor-6.5
AkronWestern Michigan16.2
OklahomaKansas-4.0
Ohio St.IUPUI34.9
ConnecticutButler14.2
DaytonSt. Bonaventure0.8
MonmouthIona-0.9
VCUDavidson0.8
ManhattanNiagara-0.8
East CarolinaCentral Florida-4.6
Miami (Fla.)North Carolina-3.9
StetsonFlorida Gulf Coast-3.0
LibertyJacksonville8.2
Eastern KentuckyLipscomb6.9
BellarmineNorth Alabama7.0
Eastern MichiganKent St.-3.7
ToledoBall St.14.9
Miami (O)Ohio-1.2
ArkansasSouth Carolina10.1
MississippiMissouri9.1
MichiganMaryland7.7
HoustonSouth Florida24.1
EvansvilleLoyola (Chi.)-15.7
FordhamRichmond-5.3
Central ArkansasJacksonville St.-12.5
Northern IllinoisBowling Green-6.1
TexasKansas St.10.0
Florida St.Duke-4.8
NorthwesternWisconsin-0.5
Texas TechIowa St.6.3
VanderbiltTennessee-7.1
SyracuseClemson1.5
Boise St.Air Force18.2
Cal St. BakersfieldCal Poly6.7
Fresno St.Utah St.1.3

January 1, 2022

PiRate Ratings–College Basketball Spreads

Saturday, January 1, 2022

HomeVisitorsSpread
TexasWest Virginia6.6
Wichita St.Memphis-1.7
South FloridaEast Carolina-0.3
MarquetteCreighton1.6
Iowa St.Baylor-8.5
Seton HallVillanova-0.1
DePaulProvidence-0.2
North Carolina St.Florida St.-4.5
UNLVSan Diego St.-4.1
Fresno St.Air Force16.0
KansasGeorge Mason20.0
RutgersCentral Connecticut20.5
Miami (Fla.)Wake Forest-0.6
SyracuseVirginia3.8
CincinnatiTulane10.2
Saint Mary’sSan Francisco2.2
OklahomaKansas St.8.0
NevadaNew Mexico11.1
OregonUtah5.2

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.

October 20, 2021

PiRate Picks–October 21-23, 2021

What a minor difference a week made! After just missing on three big-payout parlays two weeks ago, we played the same strategy last week and made a minor splash thanks to the help of one long shot parlay that won and returned better than 3 to 1 odds. With another win at +187, we made a small profit last week, but large enough to turn our minor net loss for the season into a net gain of 2.3%.

Of course, as we say every week, our financial loss or gain is merely imaginary, as we are playing with imaginary funds that never run out but never accrue. This feature is presented just for fun, and we strongly urge you not to wager real money on what you read here, unless it merely validates your research.

This week presents the fewest number of games that met our criteria this year in any week. We could only go with four parlays of two teams apiece. None are major long shots, but they all top +120, which is the minimum odds we will play. Enjoy!

Date:

October 21-25

Odds:+187
Must WinOpponent
Central FloridaMemphis
Notre DameUSC

Odds:+147.40
Must WinOpponent
Eastern MichiganBowling Green
Kent St.Ohio U


Odds:+138.99
Must WinOpponent
San Jose St.UNLV
Ball St.Miami (O)


Odds:+131.08
Must WinOpponent
MinnesotaMaryland
TCUWest Virginia

March 21, 2021

PiRate Ratings NCAA Tournament Spreads

Sunday, March 21, 2021

FavoriteUnderdogSpread
BaylorWisconsin5.4
VillanovaNorth Texas5.7
ArkansasTexas Tech1.9
FloridaOral Roberts9.9
IllinoisLoyola (Chi.)6.2
Oklahoma St.Oregon St.5.6
West VirginiaSyracuse2.8
HoustonRutgers7.1

February 9, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

HomeVisitorSpread
DukeNotre Dame4.5
St. BonaventureLaSalle12.2
RichmondGeorge Washington14.3
DaytonVCU-1.8
San FranciscoPepperdine4.9
South CarolinaAlabama-9.9
NC St.Syracuse-0.1
Michigan St.Penn St.-1.5
KentuckyArkansas-2.3
Kansas St.Texas-16.6
VanderbiltAuburn-6.4
Texas TechWest Virginia1.8
GeorgetownCreighton-7.4
ButlerSt. John’s-3.4
TCUIowa St.3.9
Colorado St.New Mexico16.7

February 12, 2020

PiRate Ratings College Basketball For February 12, 2020

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:28 am

Wednesday’s Games

 

Home

Visitor

Spread

Abilene Christian

Houston Baptist

16.6

American

Loyola (MD)

6.2

Army

Lafayette

-1.8

Auburn

Alabama

5.6

Binghamton

Stony Brook

-10.6

Bradley

Indiana St.

2.9

Butler

Xavier

6.3

Central Arkansas

New Orleans

4.7

Chattanooga

VMI

9.1

East Tennessee St.

Citadel

21.9

Evansville

Loyola (Chi)

-8.6

Georgia

South Carolina

2.6

Georgia Tech

Louisville

-5.6

Hartford

Albany

1.5

Hawaii

Long Beach St.

11.8

La Salle

Richmond

-4.7

Lehigh

Holy Cross

7.4

Miami (Fla.)

Boston College

5.4

Missouri St.

Drake

2.2

Navy

Bucknell

4.3

Niagara

Canisius

-0.8

Nicholls

Lamar

8.2

Northern Iowa

Illinois St.

16.1

Northwestern

Michigan

-6.3

Northwestern St.

Incarnate Word

9.5

Ohio St.

Rutgers

6.5

Oklahoma

Iowa St.

5.6

Oral Roberts

Omaha

7.4

Pittsburgh

Clemson

4.4

Samford

Furman

-12.4

San Jose St.

Fresno St.

-6.5

Seton Hall

Creighton

6.0

SMU

Connecticut

2.5

South Dakota

Western Illinois

14.2

South Florida

Houston

-6.6

Southeast Louisiana

Sam Houston St.

-9.8

St. John’s

Providence

1.8

Texas A&M

Florida

-5.6

Texas A&M-CC

Stephen F. Austin

-7.8

Tulane

Temple

-3.8

Tulsa

East Carolina

12.3

UAB

Middle Tennessee

8.2

UC Riverside

UC Irvine

-3.9

UMass Lowell

Maine

6.8

UNC Greensboro

Western Carolina

10.3

UNLV

Nevada

-1.3

Valparaiso

Southern Illinois

2.7

VCU

George Mason

14.4

Vermont

New Hampshire

15.7

Villanova

Marquette

2.8

West Virginia

Kansas

-0.9

Wofford

Mercer

8.3

 

Wednesday’s Top TV Games

Time (EST)

Network

Home

Visitor

6:30 PM

FS1

Seton Hall

Creighton

6:30 PM

CBSSN

Butler

Xavier

7:00 PM

ESPN+

West Virginia

Kansas

7:00 PM

BTN

Ohio St.

Rutgers

8:30 PM

FS1

Villanova

Marquette

 

The 25-Teams Could Win The NCAA Championship Myth

 

If you view a national basketball telecast this year, the so-called experts announcing the games repeatedly say that this season is different because there are no overly dominating teams in college basketball.  These scribes say that 25 different teams could be good enough to win the national championship.  Some even say that 40 different teams are talented enough to make the Final Four.

We at the PiRate Ratings tend to be contrarian in nature.  We just don’t buy these theories of parity.  Certainly, none of the teams in this year’s Top 10 appear to be as talented and dominant as any of the Top 10 teams of the past decade.  However, none of the teams outside of the Top 10 appear to be as talented as their counterparts of the past decade.

We do not see the parity that others see, and the analytics when compared on a one season basis, actually tell us that fewer than 10 teams this season have statistical resumes worthy of contending for a national championship.

If you have been reading our chicken scratch long enough, you obviously know that we value certain data when predicting the outcomes of college basketball games past the Ides of March.  We have looked at reams and reams of data dating back to the years where statistics were kept on these games and have identified consistencies in the champions that other teams could not match.

Namely, the ability to rebound the basketball on the offensive end and get extra shooting chances appears to be much more valuable in the Big Dance than it is in the regular season, because so many of the tournament teams are in the top group of defensive teams.  Additionally, being able to protect the ball and limit turnovers has become more and more important in the 21st Century, because the age of pressing full court for 40 minutes and then relying on fast breaks off these turnovers just doesn’t happen like it used to work when UCLA ran its incredible 2-2-1 press and Rick Pitino used his matchup press defense at Kentucky.  So many of the top teams have little to no problem defeating the press defense and exploiting it for points that this strategy has become a non-factor most of the time.

Teams with excellent offensive efficiency, very good defensive efficiency, an ability to hold onto the ball, and a highly-ranked offensive rebounding rate rise above the rest when there are just 68 teams remaining in contention for the title.  Additionally, teams that lack this ability to rebound on the offensive end or limit turnovers have been vulnerable to early round upsets, as was seen multiple times with teams like Georgetown and Vanderbilt in the past decade, two notorious teams that were excellent offensive efficiency teams, very good defensive efficiency teams, but lousy offensive rebounding teams with no turnover margin advantage.

When you combine the teams that possess excellent offensive efficiency, very good defensive efficiency, strong rebounding ability with decent turnover prevention, and then said team has played a schedule that ranks in the top 35% of college basketball (basically a Power Conference), these are the teams that have National Championship Resumes.

By now, we hope you are wondering how many teams currently fit this National Championship footprint?  How many have excellent offensive efficiency, very good defensive efficiency, highly-ranked offensive rebounding ability, and a good rate of taking care of the rock?

The answer is far from the 25 to 40 teams that the hardwood pundits claim.  As of Wednesday, February 12, there are only 3 teams that possess these national championship worthy resumes.

Those three teams are: Duke, Gonzaga, and San Diego State.  Gonzaga and San Diego State just barely qualify on the basis of schedule strength, and unfortunately for the Aztecs in the Mountain West Conference, their remaining schedule might lower their overall schedule strength to remove SDSU from this list.

Because the West Coast Conference is abnormally stronger this season, Gonzaga still has enough games against opponents that will maintain the Bulldogs’ schedule strength above the line needed to qualify.

So, the next time you hear that this could be the year that somebody like Penn State or Rutgers makes an unexpected run to the national title, or that this is the year the Pac-12 returns to prominence with Oregon or Arizona winning it all, refer them to this data that says this is not so.  For now, we would tend to believe that Duke and Gonzaga are runaway top contenders.  We aren’t saying that somebody else might get hot and move into the field of legitimate contenders, since there is a month to go until Selection Sunday, but when somebody says that 25 teams today are good enough to win the title, laugh at the statement and educate them in the analytics of long historical importance.

Let’s take a look at the supposed biggest dark horse national champion in the last 60 years.  The infamous 1966 Texas Western Miners (UTEP today) pulled off the monumental upset over the mighty Kentucky Wildcats.  Was Texas Western a use anomaly that year?  Did they come from out of nowhere to upset the trends and blow this theory apart?

Quite the opposite.  The issue that year wasn’t the mathematics; it was the publicity.  Texas Western was no dark horse.  Let’s take a look at the stats available to us.

First, let’s start with the obvious.  What was the Miners strength of schedule?  They were an independent in 1966, which in those days was the largest group of all.  There were close to 50 Division I Independents then, and they included some of the top teams in the nation like former National Champion Loyola of Chicago, future National Runner-up Dayton, Providence, Houston, and Syracuse.

Texas Western finished the regular season with a 23-1 record and were ranked #3 in the polls.  When has the #3-ranked team ever been considered a dark horse or surprise team?  Just because the Nabobs of the Eastern Elite Media didn’t dub the Miners with their accolades, it did not make the Miners a dark horse.

The Miners played one Top 10 team in the regular season.  They slaughtered Iowa by 18 points.  They beat a host of above average teams by well above average margins and blew out the rest of the teams on their schedule until the final game.   They lost by two at Seattle, when the Chieftains were still a strong program and just seven years removed from appearing in the National Championship Game.

The issue with the established press is that all these TW wins came against teams west of the Mississippi River.  The media didn’t realize that the Miners had outrebounded their opponents by an average of 51.5 to 36.2 in their 24 regular season games.  They didn’t know that the Miners had one of the toughest defenses in the nation, limiting opponents to an estimated 79 points per 100 possessions (not exact because offensive rebounds and turnovers were not official stats then),  They didn’t see that the Miners were quite efficient for the day with an estimated 99 points per 100 possessions.  Remember that there was no three-point line then, and anything over 85 points per 100 possessions was above average.  That Texas Western team also took good care of the ball.  They had exceptional ball handlers in Bobby Joe Hill, Willie Worsley, and Orsten Artis.

Texas Western began tournament play with an easy 15-point victory over Oklahoma City, holding the Chiefs 25 points under their average of nearly 100 points per game.  The Miners dominated on the glass and proved to be much too quick for the Chiefs, fouling out four of OKC’s starters.

In the second round, TW had to go to overtime to beat the favored Cincinnati Bearcats.  Cincinnati actually controlled the boards, but the Miners won with steals and not turning the ball over.  It was the only game where the other team won the rebounding war, but the difference in turnovers was huge.

In the Midwest Regional Final, Texas Western faced a favored Kansas team that featured all-American center Walt Wesley and 1st team all-Big 8 guard Jo Jo White.  The press basically advanced the Jayhawks to the Final Four before this game began, but the Miners proved to be too quick for the slower KU team.  TW won the rebounding and turnover battle, and Kansas’s two stars were matched by the Miners’ balance.  On to the Final Four in College Park, Maryland, went the Miners, finally playing games in the East.

The Final Four was nothing like it is today.  The University of Maryland’s gymnasium was no 70,000-seat dome stadium. Cole Field House seated about 12,000.  However, the press made a big deal out of half of this field.  The Eastern Region Champion Duke Blue Devils, the number two team in the nation placed the Mideast Region Champion Kentucky Wildcats, the number one team in the nation.  The winner of this game would then win the National Championship Game the next night against the winner of the other semifinal game.  Texas Western and Utah were there too.

The semifinal games were both close.  Kentucky came from behind to nip Duke, while Texas Western stayed ahead of Utah most of the game but never ran away from the Utes, thanks to superstar forward Jerry Chambers keeping the Utes in the game.

The Championship Game was considered an afterthought.  The mighty Wildcats of Kentucky were basketball royalty with their Baron, Adolph Rupp.  Texas Western was this tiny school from El Paso with a coach that had learned the game from the great Hank Iba, but they were almost as much a patsy for Kentucky’s soon to be fifth national title as the Washington Generals were for the Harlem Globetrotters.

There were some astute professional gamblers that knew what was really about to happen.  Kentucky’s players were quite talented.  They could shoot the ball about as competently as any team in the history of the game, and with Louie Dampier and Pat Riley on the perimeter, they could quickly shoot a weaker opponent out of the gym.  Kentucky’s devastating 1-3-1 zone trap defense had forced numerous opponents out of their normal offense, where they either turned the ball over or took a hurried shot.  It had worked like a charm 27 times out of 28.  Ironically, just like Texas Western, Kentucky only lost their regular season finale at Tennessee, a team that would win the SEC the following year.

The “Sharp” gamblers knew something that most of the rest of the nation and just about all of the Eastern Establishment media did not know.  Texas Western was much quicker than Kentucky.  Their man to man defense was stronger than Kentucky’s 1-3-1 zone trap, and it did not surrender a handful of easy buckets like the gambling press.

In the opening minutes of the game, neither team could find the range, but Kentucky’s fast break led to a couple of baskets.  Additionally in the first part of the game Kentucky enjoyed a huge rebounding edge, as the Wildcats missed multiple offensive tips.  Texas Western scored on some lob passes over the zone for easy layups, and even though they were a tad sloppy with the ball, they limited turnovers, being called for a couple of travelling violations but not giving UK easy breakaway baskets off steals.

The key sequence of the game was when Kentucky’s Tommy Kron dribbled the ball up the floor guarded man to man and then from the blind-side, Bobby Joe Hill came in and stole the ball, driving for an easy layup.  The play tightened the screws on the favored Wildcats.  On the very next possession, star guard Louie Dampier brought the ball up the middle of the floor, and Hill pressured him to the left.  As Dampier attempted to cross over, Hill stole the ball again and drove for another easy basket.

Texas Western never relinquished the lead the rest of the night.  As the game continued, Kentucky only had one shooting opportunity per possession, while Texas Western had second and third chances.  Thunderous dunks by power player David Latin allowed the patient Miners to keep the lead.  Kentucky had chances to tie or take the lead, but every time, the Texas Western defense held and secured the rebound.

Can San Diego State be this year’s Texas Western?  Can Gonzaga finally get over the hump and win the National Championship?  Will Coach Mike Krzyzewski win another national championship?  If we had to predict the champion today, we believe these are the only three possible teams that could go from 68 to 1.  Duke has the perfect resume this year.  We’ll see if anybody else joins the group of championship-worthy teams in the final four weeks before Selection Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 27, 2020

PiRate Ratings Bracketology For January 27, 2020

 

Date

1/27/2020

Seed

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

Team

1

Baylor

Gonzaga

San Diego St.

Kansas

2

Florida St.

Duke

Seton Hall

Louisville

3

West Virginia

Oregon

Michigan St.

Dayton

4

Villanova

Butler

Maryland

Kentucky

5

Iowa

Colorado

Creighton

Penn St.

6

LSU

Illinois

Auburn

Wisconsin

7

Rutgers

Arizona

Marquette

Houston

8

Wichita St.

USC

Indiana

Ohio St.

9

Arkansas

Oklahoma

Stanford

Saint Mary’s

10

Michigan

Florida

BYU

Texas Tech

11

N. Carolina St.

Purdue

East Tennessee St.

VCU

Virginia Tech

12

Northern Iowa

Akron

Stephen F. Austin

Memphis

Minnesota

13

Liberty

New Mexico St.

Harvard

Vermont

14

North Texas

Wright St.

Colgate

Little Rock

15

William & Mary

Murray St.

UC-Irvine

South Dakota St.

16

Winthrop

Montana

Monmouth

Norfolk St.

Prairie View A&M

Robert Morris

First Four Out

DePaul

Arizona St.

Syracuse

Alabama

Next Four Out

Rhode Island

Virginia

Richmond

Tennessee

 

Tonight’s Best TV Games

Time

Network

Home

Visitor

6:00 PM

6:00 PM

ESPNU

ESPN

Norfolk St.

North Carolina St.

Florida A&M

North Carolina

7:30 PM

BigTen

Iowa

Wisconsin

8:00 PM

ESPN2

Oklahoma St.

Kansas

 

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