Tag: S-Curve


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 »

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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 »

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The Selection Question Revisited

February 21st, 2012 — 9:40pm

The Philadelphia Eagles finished the season 8-8, but outscored their opponents by 68 points, the 5th-best mark in the NFC. Seven of their 8 losses were by one score or less, and they finished the season hot on a 4-game winning streak. Most rankings that try to determine how strong a team truly is had the Eagles as high as the 4th or 10th or 7th best team in the entire NFL. The team was filled with talented players like Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and Nnamdi Asomugha, among others, and easily passed the “eye” test as a good team capable of beating anyone at their best. In addition, two of the team’s losses came with their star QB sidelined and a third loss came when star WR DeSean Jackson was benched. When it came time to select the NFC’s playoff teams, the committee decided that Philadelphia was definitely one of the 6 best teams, and left out the Atlanta Falcons despite their 10-6 record as well as seeding the Eagles ahead of the 9-7 Giants, the winners of the Eagles’ division.

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I get the feeling that if this were to happen, fans would be outraged. However, this is exactly the type of thing that happens every year in the NCAA Tournament selection process. Continue reading »

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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.

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The Achievement S-Curve: 2/13/2012

February 14th, 2012 — 12:08am

Quick update on the Achievement S-Curve.

First, the bracket and the full ASC data here:

The ASC is converging with Bracketology. Besides differences in doling out the automatic bids, just two of Lunardi’s at-large teams were not in my bracket–BYU and Arizona–and they were my very first two teams below the cut line. One of the two spots went to Nevada since I give the WAC auto bid to New Mexico St. The other went to Northwestern, who I have all the way up at a 9-seed. I think the Wildcats are not being given due credit for their tough schedule, which I have ranked 10th toughest. Since I touched on Northwestern last week, I’ll use another Big Ten team that I believe is underseeded as this week’s example: Illinois.

Bracketology has the Illini as a 12-seed while the ASC sees their resume as worthy of a 6-seed. For comparison’s sake, since I have already picked on Florida in the past, I’ll spare them and go after their in-state rival Florida St. (#11 in the ASC, #6 in Bracketology). I’m going to debut a new tool to help display a team’s schedule. These graphs show a team’s schedule from toughest game to easiest. Green bars show wins while red bars indicate losses. The gray bars represent the opposite score for that game should the outcome have been flipped. This allows us to see exactly how a team is arriving at its score.

Here are the graphs (no cool name yet, but I should come up with one) for Illinois (on top) and Florida St. on the bottom (try clicking twice to view them larger). Continue reading »

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Who’s REALLY Going Dancing?

February 10th, 2012 — 12:08am

Around this time of year, there’s lots of talk about who’s in and who’s out and who’s on the bubble. Plenty of chatter about what may or may not get your team into the Big Dance. Tons of discussion of big wins and bad losses.

I’ve spent the past few weeks posting my Achievement S-Curve, an objective, reward-based system of who should be in the tournament if the season ended today. But the season is not going to end today, despite how much Murray State may have wanted it to end before they took their first loss to Tennessee State tonight. It’s interesting and fun to play committee member and decide the fates of 345 college basketball teams more than a month before the actual brackets are released. But what we really should be interested in is what is going to happen the rest of season.

It’s cool to see that overachievers like Murray State and San Diego State have climbed into the top half of the bracket, but if we know they’re likely to come down to earth a little bit that’s much more insightful. Conversely, underachievers like Alabama or Saint Louis might be on the bubble right now but if they’re going to work there way off of it and into the bracket, we shouldn’t really care too much.

The Solution: Simulation Continue reading »

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The Achievement S-Curve: 1/30/2012

January 30th, 2012 — 11:04pm

Those following along (those that have not, start here, here, and here) know that the goal of the Achievement S-Curve is to reward teams for what they have accomplished on the court. Wins and losses count. Strength of schedule counts. Scoring margin, the eye test, true team strength…they don’t count.

There are good arguments against simply selecting and seeding teams based on who is the most deserving as opposed to just the best teams. For one, some people simply prefer to select the best teams and see them go at it in the tournament. Secondly, while seeding teams based on achievement rewards the top teams with good seeds and likely easier paths in the tournament, you may sometimes inadvertently hurt some of these teams who draw teams that underachieved during the season. Take Washington as an example from last season–they were a top 10 team by some rankings of the best teams but underachieved and drew a 7-seed. A team that earned a 2-seed would actually be better off as a 3-seed drawing an easier 6-seed as opposed to being slotted across from the Huskies.

So, this week, I offer two alternative S-Curve systems: Continue reading »

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The Achievement S-Curve: 1/23/2012

January 23rd, 2012 — 11:04pm

I will try to update this every week, though I won’t provide nearly as much commentary. For an introduction and explanation, try these three posts.

This week, I’ll get right to it with the chart. As always, the full S-Curve with additional information can be found here.

This week, I’ll tie in some comments about this week’s ASC as examples for what are the main differences between my ratings and ESPN’s Bracketology by Joe Lunardi (and other similar “bracketology” predictions). Continue reading »

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The Achievement S-Curve: 1/16/2012

January 16th, 2012 — 5:26pm

Last year, I introduced the Achievement S-Curve. The idea behind it was that teams should be rewarded for their season based on their wins and losses and the strength of their schedule. This is in opposition to the other camp of evaluating and seeding teams for the tournament, where teams are judged based on who is the “best” regardless of record. I discuss this dichotomy in further detail in this post from last year.

Methodology

The result was my Achievement S-Curve, and I’m bringing it back for a second go-round this year. I explained the methodology last year, but I’ll give a quick summary here: Continue reading »

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The Achievement S-Curve

March 11th, 2011 — 12:19am

In my last post, I discussed evaluating teams based on what they accomplished (“most deserving”) versus what they are capable of (“best”). I argued that in selecting teams for the NCAA Tournament, only a team’s wins and losses–not their margin of victory, their statistics, or their “look”–should be considered against their schedule strength in order to determine which teams deserve the reward.

Today, I put my plan into action. I introduce to you the “Achievement S-Curve”. There is no margin of victory, no rebounding margin, no NBA prospects, and certainly no “eye test” where the ASC lives. The ASC doesn’t care how you won or lost, just if you won or lost. This is based solely on each team’s achievements to-date, not their future projections.

First, a disclaimer. I am NOT projecting what the NCAA Tournament field will look like. There are plenty of sites that do that already and do it well (although, when you get spotted 31 of 68 teams, it’s not all that difficult). What I am concerned with here is what the field SHOULD look like…what the committee should look at in determining who is selected and how they are seeded. Continue reading »

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

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