Tag: March Madness


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

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: 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

The Blindness of the Blind Resume

March 10th, 2012 — 2:38pm

I love the spirit of the blind resume. I hate the execution.

With Selection Sunday just hours away, you will undoubtedly be inundated with blind resumes comparing multiple teams and asked to decide which team is in and which is out, or which team should be seeded higher. I like the sentiment behind these: strip away the name of the team, their history, their media coverage, their conference affiliation and focus solely on what they’ve accomplished this season. The problem is that the blind resumes focus on the wrong information, making the comparisons flawed.

Why the Blind Resumes are Flawed

A typical blind resume looks something like this: Continue reading »

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

What the RPI is and what it is not

February 23rd, 2012 — 9:42pm

Earlier today on CBSsports.com, Matt Norlander wrote an article about the much-maligned RPI. He comes to this conclusion:

If anything else, this chart proves there are far too frequent communication breakdowns with teams across the board, enough so that the RPI goes beyond outlier status and continues to prove what many have known for years: If the RPI was introduced in 2012, it’s hard to reason that it would be adopted as conventional by the NCAA or in mainstream discussion.

Norlander then provides the heart of his argument, a table comparing the RPI to various other basketball ratings: Sagarin (overall), KenPom, LRMC, Massey and BPI. He points out that “Texas, Belmont, Arizona and Southern Miss all have big disparity as well. The largest gaps are UCLA (62 points lower in the RPI) and Colorado State (65 points higher in the RPI).”

The RPI is a rating created to measure what a team has accomplished so far this season based on their record and their strength of schedule. It is a descriptive rating. LRMC, Massey, BPI, and Sagarin are predictive ratings at their core (though some are even worse, a random combination of descriptive and predictive). Comparing the RPI to these ratings and concluding that because it doesn’t match, it is flawed, is itself a terribly flawed argument. Of course it doesn’t match, it is trying to measure a completely different thing. I agree, the RPI is flawed, but not because of this.

Norlander’s article should have been about his preference for selecting and comparing teams based on their true strength instead of their resume, and not about the quality of the RPI which has little to do with this debate. Even if the RPI perfectly did it’s job (of measuring how much to reward teams for their performance on the season), it would have failed the test in this article. Let’s take a deeper look. Continue reading »

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

The Importance of Seeding

February 23rd, 2012 — 7:34pm

This post was a 2-part guest post at TeamRankings.com. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.

With a month left in the season, most of college basketball is focused on who’s in and out of the tournament. Those teams near the cut line are on the Bubble, while teams that are securely in the tournament are Locks with little worry of falling out of the bracket and seemingly little left to gain with their dance cards punched.

Turns out, there’s still plenty to play for, especially at the top. As every fan knows, the NCAA Tournament is seeded from 1 to 16 in four separate regions. The top seeds are rewarded by being placed at locations close to home, protected from a home-crowd disadvantage, and–most importantly–pitted against easier opponents. That last point is even more pronounced than one might expect. Obviously every team wants to move up a seed line, but the importance of climbing each rung of the seeding ladder might surprise. Continue reading »

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

Quick Slant: Murray State punches ticket

February 18th, 2012 — 7:05pm

One cool thing we can do with the rest-of-season simulation is look at the effect that the outcome of a specific game can have. As an example, take today’s headline BracketBusters game between Murray State and St. Mary’s that just finished. Entering today, the Racers had a 92.9% chance to get an at-large bid should they fail to win their conference tournament. With a loss today, that would have dropped to 88.6%, but Murray State was able to pull out the big victory at home and–at least according to the Achievement S-Curve–punch their ticket to the Big Dance.

Comment » | College Basketball, March Madness, Quick Slant, simulation, team evaluation

Determining the “Most Deserving”

February 18th, 2011 — 8:17pm

With football season over, I will turn my focus to one of my favorite times of the year: March Madness. I’ll continue to post some football research during the off-season, but the next month or so will be heavy on college hoops.

I had been planning on continuing on the theme of my last couple posts, the difference between “predictive” and “descriptive” measurements. I wanted my first college basketball post to discuss the difference between the “best team” and “teams that have played the best”. Earlier today, John Gasaway at Basketball Prospectus wrote an article advocating the use of scoring margin in determining inclusion and placement in the NCAA Tournament, providing an opportunity for me to debate my point of view. Continue reading »

6 comments » | College Basketball, descriptive, March Madness, predictive

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