Monday, January 29, 2018

29 JAN Bracket

Analysis to follow

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday 26 JAN Bracket

Southern Methodist... yikes!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Formula tweak

There is nothing more frustrating than letting the data tell you how to analyze it.  I feel like this is the game we play with Bracketolgy.  We are basically trying to reverse engineer something that has no plan and is not repeatable.  Basically, we are going back to Doc Brown rigging up the clock tower to send the Delorean back to the future.  One time, your timing will be right and everything will come together.  Most times, you will do everything correctly and somehow Air Force will sneak in anyways.  It's this fine line between what we believe to be correct through tireless analysis of efficiency numbers and game results to determine who is good, who beat who, where, when, and why.

We know that the committee will acknowledge advanced metrics, but everything that they do proves that they will fall back on the RPI.  Not as bad as past years, where they drop the 64 teams on the S-curve and maybe shuffle around a little so that they met their conference and venue criteria. 

I have tweaked my Total Rating formula with an RPI factor.  As a whole, nothing major changes.  I would have been more inclined to put Maryland in around the 10-11 seed with this formula and request that SMU and Houston duel to the death for the final spot.  While the Power 5 teams would be seen as benefitting most, Rhode Island get a huge jump would be hanging with Arizona and Cinci on the 4 line.  Nevada would remain 5-worthy.  St. Mary's and Gonzaga would get crushed though.

St. Mary's profile out like ISU last year, and splitting with the alpha in a mid-major is no longer a ticket.  The Nitty Gritty team sheets are barren for Big Wins, and their saving grace is that Jock Landale is a beast and makes for watchable basketball.

22 January Bracket

Man, this turned into a total goat screw.

My guess is that somebody else in the Big 10 gets hot.  Very odd year, where they have so little depth that it has propped Ohio State into this perceived juggernaut.  They are not, but nobody can stop them right now.

New Mexico State edges out Western Kentucky for the final at large bid.  I had to re arrange my play-in games to account for Buffalo taking the MAC autobid from Ball State (Buffs are right on the cusp of an at-large themselves) and ETSU snatching the SoCon bid at Furman (Bucs are also in the at large mix).  Buffalo is squarely on the 11 line, so dropped that other game back ass a 12/12.  Providence noses out Baylor.

The margin between the 1 and 2 seeds continues to grow.  There is a great deal of volatility as the major conferences' teams become less dependent on NCSOS and more dependent on "what have you done for me lately.  This may need to be tweaked, so we don't see a team like Seton Hall bouncing from 4 to 10 seed based on who the beat or lost to any given week.

I... was not aware St. Mary's RPI was so low.  I watch the games, see they are clearly a top 25 team, but holy shit the resume is the Gonzaga upset and New Mexico State.  Kansas State is also a team of circumstance right now... I had them way out just a week ago, yet 2 home wins (good wins) puts them in a safe place.

The PAC 12 has done nothing to make me believe they are getting a 4th team in, and if the FBI hammer were to fall... uh, yeah, this could be a 1 bid league (it won't).  The drop off from USC to UCLA is significant, and nobody else is even close.

1 seeds: Villanova, Purdue, Duke, Virginia
Hanging on the Bubble: Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, SMU, Marquette
Last 5 in: Houston, Providence, Texas, Boise State, New Mexico State
First 5 out: Western Kentucky, Maryland, Baylor, Notre Dame, BYU
Some others to consider: Syracuse, Louisiana Lafayette, Virginia Tech, UCLA, Nebraska

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Saturday Notes

The AAC is that deep.  Wichita State is still an elite, top 16/25 team, as is Cinci.  Houston and and SMU should easily fit within the field.  Certainly better than 5th best teams in the Big 10 and PAC 12.

St. Bonaventure may have two of the best players in the conference, but with 4 league losses, they are outbid or bust, and I can’t see them winning 3 straight non-home games to do that. Opens a spot for… 

Based on Emmert’s toothless statement, the NCAA isn’t doing anything about the teams mixed up with Dawkins.  Which is sad, because he is one guys, and that shit is EVERYWHERE in the NCAA.  No action condones it.

… Louisville is off the bench.  As long as they don’t lose to BC tomorrow.

Injuries are the story again this week.  Creighton is devastated for a second straight season.  TCU was already struggling in the Big 12; no Fisher will hamstring them further.

Mountain West needs to be taken seriously.  Nevada is strong and well coached.  Boise should be in the field, and San Diego State and Fresno State are certainly capable.  Wyoming and UNLV are NIT bound.

St. John’s is the worst team in the Big East.  Congrats DePaul!

Seriously folks.  St. Mary’s was in the field prior to stealing the WCC lead in Spokane.  Pepperdine and Portland give the conference a false bottom, which really weighs down their numbers, but this is also a Top 25, Top 8 seed team.  Stop deluding yourself that the WCC, MWC, C-USA, and A-10 are one-bid leagues.  There is enough parity in the 10-60 team range that the only conference looking like they can get a sub-.500 league team in is the Big 12.

Villanova… wow.  They played careless and sloppy in the second half.  Turnovers, fouling jump shooters… yet they are so efficient shooting it doesn’t matter.

Arizona State has regressed.  They need to be blowing the doors off Cal, not squeaking out a single point win, even on the road.  Not sure how February will treat them, but i see them finishing much closer to the bubble than a top 4 seed.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Middle of the road

Last year, my bracket numbers were all over the place.  My formula was immature.  Metrics were poorly chosen. I had to hand-jam numbers so they were often not up to date (like, I would have never been tracking LSU).  My bracket last season typically had most of the correct at large teams,  but many were under or over seeded based on public perception.

This year, with better use of specific components of the RPI and efficiency metrics, my bracket has been more consistent week to week.  The seedings also fall in line with the rest of the matrix.  Check it out: no blue or red outside the top line (last week Texas Tech crept ahead of Duke, so I slid them into a 1 spot... oops).

Also, the formula has done a better job of balancing recent success with the entire body of work.  Ohio State may look overseeded right now based on their preseason perception, but their overall body of work is just as strong as their recent hot streak.  It does lean heavily on NCSOS, so this will damped the effect of a hot 3 game homestand against conference foes.  The RPI still gives a little too much credit to mid-pack power 5 teams that get trounced against all good teams, but steal enough home victories to remain middle of the pack.  Those miserable losses are enough to keep them relevant in the RPI, but often they are floating in line with top mid-majors by other metrics.

It will be interesting to see how this keeps up as more conference data is accumulated.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

16 JAN Bracket

Welcome to the party Missouri and Western Kentucky!  Marquette and Providence play hopscotch between the 9-11 seed lines, while UCLA looks to be buried until the win in their 3 game run through USC, ASU, and UoA, and a road win @ Oregon would be huge.  BYU has become the little train that just couldn't, tanking to Pacific and making it an uphill climb the rest of the way.

Really not much to discuss at the Top... the Big 12 cannibalized itself to get off the 1 line.  Not sure how UNC jumped back to the 2, but they have a chance to make a statement against Clemson.

Last 5 in are Boise, SMU, Texas, WKU, and Providence.  The Bonnie are sinking but I'm holding them on the autobid line.  WKU and MTSU are almost identical by the numbers, so maybe Conference USA sneaks a second team in Dance.  UAB and ODU would be competitive in bigger conferences and could easily make a run, though it looks like Louisiana Tech has been done in by injuries.

Baylor, Marquette, USC, Houston, and Florida State are safe for now, but all are only a rough patch away from the NIT.  Texas A&M is straddling the band saw as well, but their injury woes have been addressed and they have a nice 4 game stretch to put up some conference wins before heading to Kansas.  URI grades out as a 7, Nevada as a 6 but were shifted back to adjust for oversaturation of power 6 teams.

First 5 Out: Maryland (injuries), Alabama (surprisingly brutal schedule), KSU (nothing to note), Syracuse (terrible schedule balance), and New Mexico State (won't have enough for an at-large, though they already beat GCU, so maybe they probably will take the autobid).

Next 5 Hanging Around: Virginia Tech, UCLA, San Diego State, BYU, LSU.  Minnesota just clobbered Penn State, but they have a lot of ground to cover to get back into the mix.  NC State and BC have the Duke wins which will help if they end up in the top half of the ACC (doubtful). East Tennessee and Buffalo are feisty Mid-majors, but Vermont is unlikely to press the Top 50 this year without Anthony Lamb.

Big 12: 7
Big East: 7
ACC: 7
SEC: 7
AAC: 4
Big Ten: 4
Pac-12: 3
C-USA: 2
MWC: 2
A-10: 2
WCC: 2
21 One Bid Leagues

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

8 JAN Bracket

I try not to lay too hard on individual performances week to week, but that was one of the tougher weeks to gauge in recent memory.  I don't like slipping Duke and MSU off the 1 line because they are extremely talented and will likely roll into March on fire.  I certainly don't like having Texas Tech and Purdue storming out of nowhere and expecting them to hold serve for more than a week.  It's more the quality of opponent that Izzo and crew lined up for December, which can be described as none other than underwhelming.  They are 3-1 in the Big 10, and given their joke of a schedule and injuries at Maryland, will only be tested at home against Purdue and maybe at Minnesota if they get their shit together. I love Duke's schedule on the other hand. They brought in some decent mid-majors (beat them), owned Portland, but have crashed on the road in conference.  It is a young team, and the ACC road is not getting easier, Pitt aside. Chapel Hill, Clemson, Blacksburg, and even Coral Gables remain on the schedule, with a pit stop in MSG to play a desperate St. John's team.  They may even crash out of a tough home game against the Heels, Cavs, or Irish. Bottom line, their road back is much less certain, but given the quality, should stumble beyond the 3 line.

Ohio State benefits the most, jumping up to the 5 line, which is 2-3 seeds high, but the numbers don't lie.  The lack of NC road games will sting a little, but right now they are very much safe, whereas last week they were looking more flukey than legit.  Florida also seems to be righting the ship after a rough patch.  They look more like 5 seed than OSU, but that FSU/Loyola twin killing at home bruised the profile.

I saw some solid shade at the situation in the PAC 12, when asked about Colorado's at large chances, and the response was to join the Big 12.  Here is the deal.  The PAC 12 has 4 major programs in the southwest.  They have 2 academic first schools in desperate need of athletic and budget reform in the Bay Area.  Oregon is corporate beast, but outside of that, these are glorified mid-major basketball programs.  The Big 4 know they don't have to tax themselves too hard at this point... the bottom half of this conference is struggling to make the NIT.  It doesn't help that a lot of their natural non-conference Buy games in the Big Sky, Big West, WAC have become worthless.  There are no Southern, MVC, MAAC, Horizon caliber teams.  The Summit is nice, but these guys need more MWC games.  Right now, they are lucky to have 4 in.

St. Bonaventure is going to be in a tough spot.  On one hand, they hold 2 Power 5 Top 50 road wins against fellow Bubble dwellers Syracuse and Maryland.  They played TCU tight.  But they are 1-2 in the A-10 facing the "middle" of the conference... teams they should not be losing to.  Right now they are in by virtue of the autobid, as they are the most talented team in a shallow pool.  But another slip and the A-10 is in C-USA territory.

8 JAN Bracket Summary

I’ll wait to post when I can take a better screen shot.

A10: 2 (URI, SBU*)
AAC: 4 (Cinci*, Wichita St., SMU, Houston)
ACC: 7 (UVA, Duke, UNC, Clemson, ND, Miami, FSU)
B10: 5 (Purdue, MSU*, OSU, Michigan, Minn)
B12: 7 (TTU, WVU, Kansas, OU, TCU, Baylor, Texas)
BEast: 7 (Nova, SHU, X, Creighton, Butler, PC, Marq)
MWC: 2 (Nevada, Boise)
PAC12: 4 (Zona, ASU*, USC, UCLA)
SEC: 6 (UT, Auburn, UK, Ark, UF, A&M)
WCC: 2 (Zaga, SMC)

22 One Bid Leagues

On the bubble: Baylor, SMU, Texas, Houston (that’s a lot of Lone Star), PC
Last Five: Marq, UCLA, USC, Boise, Minn

First 5 Out: MD, Mizzou, UGA, KSU, PSU
Next 5 Out: Cuse, Bama, VT, BC, NMST

Not considered: Louisville, OKST

Too many bad losses: WKU, SDST, Utah, BYU, NCST
Not enough good wins: Buffalo, Miss St

Sleeper: UCF, LSU?

1 Seeds: Nova, UVA, Purdue, Texas Tech (wtf...)
2 Seeds: (for now): MSU, Duke, WVU, Kansas
3 Seeds: Cinci, Wichita St., OU, UNC
4 Seeds: SHU, Zaga, X, Clemson

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2 JAN Bracket Analysis

The goal is to take a week or so off before revisiting again... can't jump and jive at every result.

Kansas is the big mover here, who promptly crapped the bed at home against Texas Tech. So we know Chris Beard can coach, but seriously, look at the Big 12 right now:
Bill Self (1), Shaka Smart (9), Jamie Dixon (5), Huggy Bear (2), Bruce Weber (11), Scott Drew (11), Lon Kruger (3), Chris Beard (4), Steve Prohm (just out), and Mike Boyntin (just out, other considerations).
You gotta feel a little bit for Boyntin... got thrown into a tough situation with little resources or experience.  If the Cowboys stink up the joint for a couple years because the conference is 10 deep, he'll deserve another chance.  As of right now, all 10 teams are within reasonable position to grab a bid if they can get to 7 league wins (6 maybe even, though Iowa State put themselves in an early hole).
Spartans are my #1 overall by an eyelash over Villanova, though SoS will likely shift in favor of the Cats or Duke as the season progresses. 

Kentucky is back from the 7 line, and will likely finish with a 3-4 seed.  Holding 5 this week.  I wish I had held on to that Auburn stock from last year... I said they were a dark horse to win the SEC... then they sucked, then their coaches did nefarious things and I really thought this season was lost... ooops.

Major injuries had me reconsider Maryland and Notre Dame.  Both we on the fringes, and the Terps escaped bubble bath buddy PSU last night, which is big. Long term, however, is that these teams were already underachieving and will not pull it together by March.

My last 5? Boise and Baylor, Syracuse and Southern Cal, and KSU jumps in.  A road loss at the Carrier Dome tells me little about VT, so they remain in the 10-11 range for now. 

First 5 out? MD, ND, Utah, Missouri, Providence
Next 5 out? Ohio State, Penn State, San Diego State, Oregon, Boston College
Talk about a bad week: St. John's, Temple, Iowa State, UT Arlington
Will need help: Northwestern, Georgia, Marquette, BYU, New Mexico State
Sidelined for now: Louisville, Oklahoma State

Newcomers from One-bid leagues: Belmont (Jax St), Santa Barbara (Hawaii), Iona (Monmouth/Manhattan)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

JAN 2 Bracket

I'll try to get a higher res version up tomorrow.

With analysis even.  Tonight's craziness will be glossed over, but injuries are the news this week.