MAC and MEAC Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 11th, 2013 — 8:37pm

Previously covered: (1) Big South and Horizon, (2) A-Sun, Northeast, Patriot, OVC, and WCC, (3) MVC, (4) SoCon, MAAC, and Sun Belt, and (5) America East, Summit, and Colonial.

As the clear-cut best teams in the conference and armed with double byes to the semifinals (actually a triple-bye), Akron and Ohio are the clear favorites to win the MAC. However, Akron just lost their starting PG, Alex Abreu, which should make Ohio the odds-on favorite. Kent State and Western Michigan get the two double byes as the 3rd and 4th seeds and are dark horse candidates. Look for the Golden Flashes, especially, as they appear on Akron’s half of the bracket.

SdTeam2nd RdQtrsSemisFinalsChamp
4Kent State69.116.86.4
3Western Michigan71.521.25.7
6Bowling Green State80.
5Ball State41.510.71.30.2
11Miami (OH)19.813.
7Eastern Michigan77.818.
9Central Michigan22.410.
10Northern Illinois22.

North Carolina Central is a decent favorite, but the conference is very balanced behind them. Last year’s tournament cinderella Norfolk State, who knocked off Missouri as a 15-seed, is the top seed here and the most likely team to knock of NC Central.

2North Carolina Central76.959.839.6
1Norfolk State68.735.318.0
5Morgan State87.754.031.815.5
4Savannah State85.341.220.28.8
7North Carolina A&T76.
6Delaware State61.330.38.52.3
10Florida A&M23.
9Coppin State32.
12South Carolina State12.
13Maryland-Eastern Shore14.

Next up: Big East, Mountain West, and WAC.

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America East, Summit, and Colonial Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 7th, 2013 — 10:01pm

Previously covered: (1) Big South and Horizon, (2) A-Sun, Northeast, Patriot, OVC, and WCC, (3) MVC, and (4) SoCon, MAAC, and Sun Belt.

Three tournaments begin play Saturday. The America East is a 3-team race led by top seed Stony Brook, who wins nearly half the time. The 2-seed Vermont has the best chance to knock them off, and the host Albany can’t be overlooked with home court advantage throughout.

1Stony Brook97.857.947.8
4Albany (NY)87.940.017.3
7New Hampshire22.511.31.4
6Maryland-Baltimore County22.02.70.0

Before Taylor Braun went out with a foot injury, North Dakota St. was riding high at 15-3 as one of the best non-major conference teams in the country. In the 10 games he missed, they went just 5-5 and dropped to 3rd in the conference. Braun is back and after struggling in his first game back, went for 22 in his 2nd game back. Watch for the Bison in this one as even with those 10 games weighting them down, I still project them to win over half the time. The biggest competition is last year’s conference champion South Dakota St. led by Nate Wolters. Those two teams win over 80% of the time. Continue reading »

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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 »

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SoCon, MAAC, and Sun Belt Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 6th, 2013 — 10:11pm

If you missed it, here are the previous conferences covered: (1) Horizon and Big South, (2) A-Sun, Northeast, Patriot, OVC, and WCC, and (3) Missouri Valley.

The Southern Conference, once again, has been dominated by Davidson. The Wildcats haven’t been quite good enough to garner any at-large consideration, but the way they’ve run through the SoCon it shouldn’t matter. They have a 2 in 3 chance to head back to the NCAA Tournament. Should somebody stop them, it will have to be the College of Charleston, and they have a 20% chance to do so. Elon at 8% is the only other team with more than a prayer. Continue reading »

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Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 6th, 2013 — 8:33pm

I’ve already covered the Big South and Horizon tournaments, as well as the A-Sun, Northeast, Patriot, OVC, and WCC. The Missouri Valley, along with Bucknell, Belmont, and the WCC power duo of Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s already covered, sports two potential Bid Stealers as both Creighton and Wichita State should be in the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens in Arch Madness this week.

There is, however, a good chance that a team outside of the MVC’s top pair takes home the tournament title and accompanying ticket to the big dance. Northern Iowa, Illinois St, Indiana St., and Evansville combined have a nearly 20% chance to win the title, with each having a better than 3% chance. For Creighton and Wichita State, they still have plenty to play for. Right now, both teams are looking at a seed in the middle of the pack, and they want to do everything they can to move off the 8 and 9 seed lines. A couple wins in the conference tournament could shift them into the 5-7 seeds and greatly increase their chances of reaching the Sweet 16.

2Wichita State90.962.733.0
3Northern Iowa51.219.67.5
6Illinois State48.816.45.6
5Indiana State52.513.73.1
10Southern Illinois62.
7Missouri State37.

Next up: The Southern, MAAC, and Sun Belt conferences get under way Friday.

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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 Does cymbalta help opiate withdrawal 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 »

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A-Sun, Northeast, Patriot, OVC, and WCC Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 6th, 2013 — 12:14am

This is the second group of conference tournament I’ll take a look at. Earlier I looked at the Big South and Horizon tournaments.

The Atlantic Sun is mostly a two-team conference. Florida Gulf Coast ranks as the best team in the conference (#173 in my predictive rankings), but Mercer is close behind (#184) while grabbing the top seed and having the benefit of hosting the conference tournament. That is enough to make Mercer a better bet than the field here at 54%. FGCU is the only other team in double digits (23%), as far as their chances to go dancing. Continue reading »

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Big South and Horizon Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 5th, 2013 — 11:14pm

First up among this year’s conference tournaments are the Big South and the Horizon as both leagues kicked off with their 1st Round games today.

The Big South is one of the weakest leagues in the country, and my predictive ratings rank just one team in the top 190 teams in the country: Charleston Southern at #164, making them the favorite in the Big South. With host Coastal Carolina and the next-strongest team UNC-Asheville both getting upset tonight, the only other team with a reasonable chance at unseating Charleston Southern is Gardner-Webb, clocking in at a 19% chance at snagging the Big South’s automatic bid (which will definitely increase after tonight’s upsets). Continue reading »

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Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

March 5th, 2013 — 9:24pm

Conference tournaments got under way today with the 1st Round of the Big South and Horizon tournaments. This year I’m going to put my predictions on “paper” and compare them to some other predictions out there, notably Ken Pomeroy’s Log5 predictions and Team Rankings conference tourney predictions. If you know of any other posted predictions out there, let me know.

My predictions as well as KenPom and TeamRankings give the percentage chance of each team advancing to each round of every conference tournament. To grade each set of predictions, I’ll use the sum of squared error for each game winner. For example, let’s take Ken Pomeroy’s prediction of Charleston Southern in the Big South tournament:

                   Qtrs Semis Final Champ  1S Char Southern     100  77.2  50.5  31.6

So Charleston Southern has a 100% chance of reaching the quarterfinals (they have a bye), a 77% chance of reaching the Semifinals, 51% chance at making the final, and a 32% chance of grabbing the conference’s automatic bid. If Charleston Southern were to make the semifinals, for instance, KenPom’s prediction would receive (1 – .772)^2 “error points”, which comes out to .052. The fewer the error points, the better the predictions did. If, for instance, Longwood reaches the semis, KenPom’s ratings would suffer for their 2% prediction of that happening. That would give (1 – .020)^2, or .960 error points. In fact, Longwood did pull of the 1st Round upset and is just one game from reaching the semis.

It’s finally March and I see no reason why we need to wait for Selection Sunday to fill out some brackets when we have 31 perfectly good conference tournaments to predict. Let the Madness begin.

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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 Does cymbalta help opiate withdrawal 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 »

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