The Achievement S-Curve – 2013 Final

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

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Conference Tournament Predictions – Final Results

Last time, I laid out the method by which I would grade the conference tournament predictions.

The tournaments are over so it’s time to present the results…and it’s not pretty for my predictions.

TeamRankings: -317.53

KenPom: -317.87

Predict The Madness (me): -321.26

Yeah, the latter half of the conference tournaments did not go so well for my system. It’s not the biggest sample, but around 300 games gives us some indication. Perhaps next year I’ll grade all regular season predictions.

And now, it’s time for the real tournament. Enjoy the madness.

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Conference Tournament Predictions – Update 3/14/2013

As I laid out in my introductory post, I am laying out my conference tournament predictions in order to compare them to other predictions out there. The two that I know of are Ken Pomery’s Log5 predictions and TeamRankings predictions.

In that first post, I proposed a sum of squared errors measure to score each system. After talking with multiple people much smarter and more well-versed in this area than me, I settled on using a logarithmic scoring rule. One way to grade each system’s predictions would be to apply the log to the “winning” probability of each game (for instance if the winning team was given a 75% chance to win, the score for that game would be the log(.75); if the other team were to win, the score would instead be log(.25)). However, each set of predictions simply gives the probability of each team advancing to each round, so we don’t have individual game probabilities. As a replacement, I decided to grade each team based on the predicted odds that they would go exactly as far as they did. Say Team A won their 1st round and quarterfinal games but lost in the semifinals. If the prediction said they had a 75% to make it to the semifinals and a 50% chance to win in the semifinals, then the chance that they win the quarters but lose the semis is 75% – 50% = 25%. Thus, the score for Team A is log(.25). This double counts games, but it double counts every game, so there shouldn’t be a bias. Continue reading

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ACC, Big Ten, A-10, Big West, Great West, and Big Sky Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

Click here to check out all the conference tournament predictions.

In the final installment of my conference tournament predictions, we look at the remaining 6 conferences. They range from the Big  Ten–one of the best conferences of recent memory–to the Great West, at 5-team conference which doesn’t even receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In the ACC, it’s Duke out in front…again. NC State was a disappointment, while Miami was a surprise regular season champion. However, with Ryan Kelly back, the Hurricanes are back to doing what the rest of the ACC is used to doing: trying to catch Duke.

1Miami (FL)75.948.121.8
3North Carolina71.923.211.8
5North Carolina State83.545.222.57.9
8Boston College60.316.14.50.8
9Georgia Tech39.
6Florida State44.411.11.50.4
10Wake Forest29.
12Virginia Tech16.

The Big Ten was an absolute gauntlet this season. My predictive rankings have 6 teams from the Big Ten in the top 12. That’s right, half of my top 12 are from one conference. Throw in Iowa (27) and Illinois (32) and two-thirds of the conference are 2nd-round-caliber teams. Indiana is the class of this conference, which speaks to just how good the Hoosiers are this year. Unfortunately for them and Michigan and Wisconsin, the three best teams in the conference reside in the same half of the bracket. That gives 2-seed Ohio State a (relatively) easier path to the final and the most likely team to win the tournament should Indiana falter. Whatever happens, it should be an entertaining weekend.

2Ohio State86.054.722.6
3Michigan State65.029.38.2
12Penn State5.

The Atlantic-10 looks like a two-team tournament, with Saint Louis and VCU on a collision path toward the final. Three teams are lurking–Temple, Butler, and La Salle–hoping to crash the party. Those 5 teams may all find themselves in the big dance should things fall into place this week.

1Saint Louis80.955.533.2
2Virginia Commonwealth76.054.832.5
4La Salle46.215.06.3
10Saint Joseph's45.
11George Washington55.319.14.91.0

Perhaps the most balanced conference tournament of all this year is the Big West. The favorite, Pacific, isn’t even a 1-in-4 chance to win it all, while UCSB is the biggest longshot but still has a 4% chance to pull it off.

3Cal Poly63.434.218.5
1Long Beach State58.036.317.8
8Cal State Fullerton42.014.86.3
7California-Santa Barbara30.311.74.1

I’m not even going to say anything about the Great West, but here are the predictions.

3Chicago State63.831.3
5Utah Valley69.334.418.1
2Texas-Pan American36.214.5
4Houston Baptist30.79.53.8

It feels like every year, but once again Montana and Weber State are the overwhelming favorite to meet for the Big Sky championship. My predictive rankings actually rank Weber State as a better team than Montana (#126 versus #188), but the conference gives the #1 seed every advantage possible. The whole tournament is on Montana’s home floor, only the top 7 teams qualify meaning the #1 seed receives a bye to the semifinals and only has to win two games, and the semifinals are re-seeded so should an upset occur in the first round Montana will be the beneficiary. All of that puts the Grizzlies right at 50/50 with Weber State close by at 41%.

2Weber State86.672.740.8
5Northern Colorado51.711.63.0
3North Dakota64.913.52.8
4Montana State48.310.82.8
7Northern Arizona13.41.40.4
6Southern Utah35.12.80.2

That does it for this year’s conference tournament predictions. I’ll report back after the conclusion of all the tournaments with how my predictions fared against KenPom and TeamRankings (and maybe I’ll report some intermediate results some time this week).

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SEC, Big 12, C-USA, Pac-12, SWAC, and Southland Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

Click here to check out all the conference tournament predictions.

It’s a weak SEC, but they do have one Final Four contender in Florida. That combination makes the Gators overwhelming favorites. Behind them are bubble teams galore, with Kentucky as the most likely to unseat Florida, but they are without star Nerlens Noel.

SdTeam2nd RdQtrsSemisFinalsChamp
11Texas A&M63.610.
9Louisiana State56.
12South Carolina64.
13Mississippi State35.

As always, Kansas is the favorite, though the field is a better bet. Kansas State tied the Jayhawks for the regular season title but it’s the 3-seed Oklahoma State that has the best chance to knock off Kansas.

3Oklahoma State59.940.819.4
2Kansas State72.931.111.2
5Iowa State57.119.28.9
8West Virginia79.710.03.00.7
9Texas Tech20.
10Texas Christian14.

In my update on potential Bid Stealers, the top two teams that could turn a 1-bid league into a 2-bid league were Middle Tennessee and Memphis. Well, Middle Tennessee already lost in the Sun Belt tournament, and while other bracketologists aren’t quite as high on their at-large chances as my system is, they do all agree that Memphis is a tournament lock regardless. The worse news for bubble teams is that the rest of the conference–led by 2-seed Southern Miss–provides enough competition to make it more likely than not that someone besides the Tigers wins the C-USA tournament.

2Southern Mississippi77.753.126.4
3Texas-El Paso76.631.610.6
4East Carolina44.310.23.7
10Southern Methodist35.

The Pac-12 isn’t as bad as it has been, but it’s still not great. Arizona, despite their #4 seed, is the clear favorite. But the rest of top 5 plus 8-seed Stanford all have reasonable shots to take the auto bid.

11Washington State46.
7Southern California64.
9Arizona State39.713.83.31.1
12Oregon State26.

A conference has to be pretty bad for the 220th-best team to be an 80% favorite. And, well, the SWAC is that bad. The only other team that could compete with Southern is Texas Southern and they are ineligible for the conference tourney. Of note is that even in a group of terrible teams, one teams stands out from the pack. Grambling is so bad this year that they are 96% likely to lose to the 6-seed and 339th-ranked (out of 347) team in the country, Alabama A&M. That’s impressive ineptitude.

2Jackson State56.332.56.8
6Alabama A&M96.010.84.2
3Alcorn State50.824.83.8
5Alabama State43.723.32.8
4Prairie View49.219.42.4

The Southland tournament features one of the best low-major teams in Stephen F. Austin. They have a 62% chance to join the big dance, but Northwestern State and Oral Roberts could both stand in the Lumberjacks way.

1Stephen F. Austin89.662.0
2Northwestern State56.921.5
3Oral Roberts81.338.513.8
5Nicholls State64.441.55.31.5
4Southeastern Louisiana43.04.01.0
6Sam Houston State66.514.84.20.2
8McNeese State35.615.51.10.0
7Central Arkansas33.

Next up: the final installment including the ACC, Big Ten, Atlantic 10, Big West, Great West, and Big Sky.

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Big East, Mountain West, and WAC Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

Click here to check out all the conference tournament predictions.

Georgetown got the #1 seed but 2-seed Louisville is the big favorite here. Pittsburgh is actually the most likely team to emerge from Georgetown’s half of the bracket.

SdTeam2nd RdQtrsSemisFinalsChamp
6Notre Dame85.
10St. John's (NY)
12Seton Hall48.
13South Florida51.

New Mexico is the top seed and Colorado State is the best team and 2-seed, but it’s host UNLV that is the favorite to win the Mountain West tourney. Ah, the powers of home court. The final four with the three aforementioned teams plus San Diego St. should be a lot of fun to watch. All four teams are ranked between 15th and 33rd in my predictive rankings with UNLV actually the worst of the four.

3Nevada-Las Vegas86.950.034.8
2Colorado State90.245.728.7
1New Mexico76.543.016.7
4San Diego State68.135.714.6
5Boise State31.913.63.5
6Air Force13.13.10.7
7Fresno State9.81.20.2

Denver is a near coin-flip to win the WAC. Top seed Louisiana Tech and 3-seed New Mexico State should provide some stiff competition, however. Utah State has a decent shot to upset.

1Louisiana Tech89.257.522.4
3New Mexico State75.730.919.1
5Utah State70.232.38.9
9Texas-San Antonio59.
7Texas State49.
8San Jose State40.

Next up: the SEC, Big 12, C-USA, Pac-12, SWAC, and Southland tip off Wednesday.

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MAC and MEAC Conference Tournament Predictions – 2013

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

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?

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

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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