Category: March Madness


Conference Tournament Predictions 2015 – Final Results

March 3rd, 2016 — 11:52pm

Three years ago, I compiled predictions for the conference tournaments from three sources–my own, Ken Pomeroy, and Team Rankings. When the dust settled, Team Rankings had narrowly edged out KenPom for the title as I lagged behind a distant third.

I didn’t get around to it in 2014 (though perhaps I can find time to go back and gather predictions from that season), but last year I did track things. Unfortunately, I’m just now getting around to posting it. The results were the same, though this time, Team Rankings won comfortably over KenPom and my own predictions. I’ve posted the full spreadsheet on Google docs, which you can find here. I discuss the scoring system in this post. Since we are posting advancement odds, we don’t have predictions for each individual matchup. Instead, predictions are essentially a rolled up version of all possible matchups. To score them, I use the log of each team’s predictions to get exactly to the round they did. For instance, my predictions for Montana in the Big Sky tournament were 81%/61%/43%, meaning an 81% chance of winning the 1st round and advancing to the semifinals, 61% of reaching the final, and 43% of winning the title. Another way of looking at it is that Montana had a 19% chance to lose in the 1st round (that’s 100% minus the 81% chance to win in the 1st round), a 20% chance of winning one game and then losing in the semis, an 18% chance of winning twice and losing in the final, and, of course, the 43% chance to win it all. Those are the probabilities that are scored.

This year is under way. If I get around to it, I may post the predictions for each of the three systems, but either way, I’ll be back in a couple weeks with the final results. Good luck to Ken Pomeroy and Team Rankings; I hope to be able to at least climb out of the cellar this year.

Comment » | College Basketball, Conference Tournament predictions, March Madness, predictive, review, team evaluation

The Silliness of Bracketology

February 23rd, 2016 — 1:05am

We’re less than one month from Selection Sunday, which means the burgeoning field often called Bracketology is in full swing. Bracketology has taken on some broader meanings over the years, but it most often refers to predicting the selection and seeding of teams in the NCAA Tournament bracket. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi (aka “Joey Brackets”) has made a name and a living on his projections and there are now so many bracketologists that there is a site called The Bracket Matrix that collects all of them (dozens and dozens), displays them in a matrix, and grades them when the final bracket is released.

As a March Madness lover, I am a fan of most things involving the tournament and endorse almost anything that brings interest and discussion to the event. While predicting the NCAA Tournament field certainly falls into that category–and I myself have dabbled in my version of it–there are some aspects of the current state of Bracketology that range from misguided to downright silly.

Continue reading »

Comment » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, review

NCAA Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 21st, 2013 — 2:29pm

With the tournament under way, I wanted to post my NCAA Tournament predictions. Things didn’t go so well for me with my Conference Tournament predictions, so hopefully the big dance will provide some sort of redemption.

I really hate the traditional bracket with normal scoring rules, as the best bracket ends up just being pretty much chalk and, well, what’s the fun in that? However, I’m guessing most people want to see my “bracket” so I’ll provide it. It’s really unexciting: only two double-digit seeds are favored by my system in the first round–11-seeds St. Mary’s and Minnesota–and there are only a couple more mild upsets along the way.

2013 March Madness Bracket

There’s a lot of information in predictive systems like mine, but this bracket shows virtually none of it. A better way to display all of the information is with advancement odds, like I did for conference tournaments. Here is the likelihood of each team advancing to each round of the tournament.

RgSdTeamRtgRkRd of 32Sweet 16Elite 8Final 4Champ GameChamp
31Indiana98.0198.287.670.759.439.626.4
11Louisville97.5299.376.261.145.128.515.7
23Florida97.4396.771.055.736.620.812.5
41Gonzaga96.9498.562.341.226.715.67.8
24Michigan96.7593.071.850.728.014.47.8
42Ohio State96.1691.668.446.824.012.85.8
45Wisconsin96.1773.960.829.517.69.34.2
12Duke94.5994.057.934.614.86.52.4
48Pittsburgh95.8871.931.118.610.75.52.4
21Kansas94.01193.666.328.811.94.61.8
34Syracuse93.61394.663.418.211.24.31.6
46Arizona93.81275.048.522.68.93.81.3
13Michigan State93.61475.244.722.89.03.61.2
32Miami (FL)92.31990.957.235.310.23.51.2
211Minnesota94.41073.624.415.37.32.91.2
22Georgetown92.31892.756.117.26.82.30.8
33Marquette91.52176.652.527.87.52.40.7
14Saint Louis92.22077.045.413.66.42.30.7
111Saint Mary's (CA)92.61670.036.917.56.32.30.7
17Creighton92.51758.926.413.64.91.80.5
18Colorado State92.81555.514.28.24.01.50.5
43New Mexico91.12482.038.514.54.51.50.4
25Virginia Commonwealth91.32272.222.210.63.51.10.3
37Illinois89.23460.427.314.53.30.90.2
15Oklahoma State90.32956.628.57.22.90.90.2
47Notre Dame90.62659.119.29.02.70.90.2
27San Diego State90.62765.331.38.32.90.80.2
35Nevada-Las Vegas90.03069.328.45.92.90.80.2
19Missouri91.22344.59.75.12.20.70.2
110Cincinnati89.63241.115.16.51.90.50.1
36Butler85.84265.628.111.02.00.40.1
412Mississippi89.63326.116.24.11.50.40.1
112Oregon87.73543.419.24.01.40.30.1
28North Carolina87.63655.119.15.21.30.30.1
38North Carolina State87.13856.97.62.81.20.30.1
49Wichita State89.93128.16.62.60.90.30.1
310Colorado84.44539.614.26.11.00.20.0
410Iowa State87.03940.910.54.00.90.20.0
44Kansas State85.64357.514.42.80.80.20.0
29Villanova85.24444.913.73.20.70.10.0
16Memphis84.44630.010.02.80.60.10.0
39Temple83.65243.14.61.40.50.10.0
411Belmont83.55325.09.92.40.40.10.0
114Valparaiso82.85624.88.32.20.40.10.0
210Oklahoma83.75034.711.81.90.40.10.0
26UCLA85.94126.44.31.60.40.10.0
413La Salle81.55942.58.61.30.30.10.0
311Bucknell75.98034.49.92.50.30.00.0
314Davidson76.67823.49.52.50.30.00.0
312California79.96830.77.60.90.30.00.0
212Akron80.26727.84.41.20.20.00.0
113New Mexico State78.17323.06.90.80.20.00.0
414Harvard69.39918.03.10.40.00.00.0
415Iona69.4988.41.80.30.00.00.0
213South Dakota State68.51007.01.50.30.00.00.0
315Pacific54.41439.11.30.20.00.00.0
216Western Kentucky51.81556.40.90.10.00.00.0
115Albany (NY)52.31536.00.60.10.00.00.0
215Florida Gulf Coast48.51697.30.80.00.00.00.0
313Montana45.31845.40.60.00.00.00.0
214Northwestern State56.11403.30.30.00.00.00.0
316James Madison48.31711.80.30.00.00.00.0
416Southern32.22311.50.00.00.00.00.0
116North Carolina A&T21.82730.70.00.00.00.00.0

The table is fully searchable, sortable, and filterable. I added in the region and seed so you can sort and look at best/worst teams by seed and region.

For now, it’s time to finally enjoy the games.

 

Comment » | College Basketball, March Madness, predictive, team evaluation

Winners and Losers from Selection Sunday

March 19th, 2013 — 12:20am

Despite what many television analysts might say, seeding does have an enormous impact on a team’s chances to advance in the tournament. Every seed line you move up increases your chances of going further in the tournament. But the seeds don’t always play out that way, and so when the bracket is released we can see exactly what matchups each team will face on their path through the tournament.

WINNERS

Indiana has a clear path to the Final Four

The Hoosiers head the easiest of the four regions. Their 2nd round opponent will be the easiest of the 8/9 matchups (NC State or Temple). In the Sweet 16, Syracuse could provide a stiff test but each other region has a 4 or 5 seed as good or better than the Orange. And the bottom half of Indiana’s bracket is by far the easiest of any region: Miami is the worst 2-seed, Marquette is the worst 3-seed (along with New Mexico) and none of the other teams provide much of a threat. Nobody is ever a shoo-in for the Final Four, there’s too many games against too many good teams, but Indiana definitely increased their odds on Sunday with the path they were dealt.

Also benefiting from this easy bracket is 6-seed Butler, who has a relatively easy path to the Elite 8. Could they shock the world…again…and make it to the Final Four? Continue reading »

Comment » | College Basketball, March Madness, predictive, team evaluation

The Achievement S-Curve – 2013 Final

March 18th, 2013 — 9:51pm

Selection Sunday 2013 is in the books. Time to release the final Achievement S-Curve of 2013 and see how it compares to the actual bracket.

The 2013 Achievement S-Curve (click twice to embiggen):

Achievement S-Curve 130318 Continue reading »

3 comments » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, predictive, review, team evaluation

What’s Wrong with the Hawkeyes?

March 7th, 2013 — 12:26am

Amazingly, the Achievement S-Curve matches up well with the traditional Bracketology projections out there such as the one at ESPN. The only current differences between my ASC and ESPN’s Bracketology occur at the very end of the bracket. All of Lunardi’s tournament teams are at least in my first 6 teams out of the bracket and all of my tournament teams are at least in his first 4 out. Except one.

All year, the biggest discrepancy between the Achievement S-Curve and traditional s-curves has been Iowa. Until recently, they weren’t even among those considered for the bracket. They have now snuck their way not into the First Four Out or the Next Four Out, but as the Ninth Team Out and last team considered for ESPN’s bracket. Now, the Hawkeyes are no perfect team, and what I love about the NCAA Tournament as opposed to the BCS is that there are no real “snubs”. If you’re not one of the top 34 non-automatic qualifiers, you don’t have much of a gripe.

That said, we can still try to pick the 34 most deserving at-large teams and Iowa certainly appears to be in the heart of that discussion. The Hawkeyes are 19-11 against what I measure as the 10th toughest schedule in the country. However, teams that appear much more flawed are listed ahead of them. Let’s take a look at a few of the issues that are influencing this misperception. Continue reading »

Comment » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, team evaluation

Bid Stealers – 2013 Conference Tournament Edition

March 6th, 2013 — 10:16am

Earlier this season, I looked at those teams who could potentially shrink the at-large pool by getting upset in their conference tournament. These potential “Bid Stealers” are generally teams from mid-major conferences where they are the only viable at-large candidate. When they don’t win the conference tournament, that automatic bid is going to a team that otherwise would have no chance of going dancing and therefore they are stealing a bid from another at-large candidate.

As we enter Conference Tournament season, it’s time to refresh that look at this year’s potential Bid Stealers. My process for determining auto and at-large bids relies on a simulation of the remainder of the season followed by an application of my Achievement S-Curve to determine NCAA Tournament bids. My Achievement S-Curve (ASC) is based on what I think the criteria for selection should be, and is not trying to mimic the selection committee.

Here are this year’s potential Bid Stealers: Continue reading »

2 comments » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, simulation, team evaluation

The Achievement S-Curve: 2/21/2013

February 22nd, 2013 — 12:24am

It’s time to re-introduce the Achievement S-Curve for the 2013 season. For those of you that are new, I’ll give a quick recap in this post but check out previous posts that go into more detail about the system (try this and this and this for starters).

The Achievement S-Curve is a descriptive rating system that attempts to rate teams based on what they have accomplished. It is a subtle yet important difference from a predictive rating system. While a predictive system attempts to answer the question “who would win if these two teams played today?” a descriptive system answers “who has accomplished the most in the games they’ve already played?”.

An example is probably the best way to demonstrate the differences between the two systems. Let’s take a real-life example. My predictive rating system says that New Mexico is the 33rd best team in the country. That is, there are 32 teams I’d favor over the Lobos, but I’d pick them to beat every other team. Pitt, meanwhile, is the 7th best team. Only six teams in the nation would be favored over the Panthers today. However, New Mexico is 22-4 against the 29th-hardest schedule thus far while Pitt hasn’t fared as well with a  20-7 record against a very similar schedule (24th-most difficult). It is clear that New Mexico has “achieved” more thus far this season than Pitt has. The Lobos have earned a higher seed than Pitt, despite the fact that Pitt would beat them more times than not. Continue reading »

Comment » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, simulation, team evaluation

Bid Stealers

February 12th, 2013 — 12:21am

With the Super Bowl behind us, it’s time for me to turn my attention to college hoops for a couple months.

As we approach March, it’s all about teams trying to claw their way into the tournament. As you surely know, there are two ways to get into the dance: win your conference or get a coveted at-large berth.

Most of the time, the winner of the conference’s automatic bid has little bearing on other teams. In the Big Ten, if Indiana doesn’t win the bid, Michigan might. Or Ohio State. Or Michigan State. Regardless, those teams were getting in anyway. Conversely, in the traditional one-bid leagues, like the SWAC, it doesn’t matter who wins. The champion is going dancing and the rest of the conference is going home.

But there are the select few who can really ruin a bubble team’s Selection Sunday. The Bid Stealers. These are the teams that have a chance to win an at-large bid, but unlike the power conferences where the alternatives for the auto bid are themselves at-large locks, when these bid-stealers lose its a team that otherwise had no chance to make the tournament that takes the conference’s auto bid. These teams, should they get an at-large bid, are essentially stealing a bid from the at-large pool. (Seth Greenberg, above, is not happy that a bid-stealer took a bid from his Virginia Tech Hokies.) Continue reading »

2 comments » | College Basketball, March Madness

The Achievement S-Curve: 3/10/2012

March 10th, 2012 — 4:41pm

About half of the automatic bids are still up for grabs this weekend, but the NCAA Tournament picture is starting to take shape. It’s time for one last Achievement S-Curve update. As always, the full ratings can be found here. All data updated through Friday, March 9th. Click to view bigger.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest discrepancies and see what we can learn. Continue reading »

Comment » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, team evaluation

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