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RPI Plus: A simple fix to the RPI

3/20/2008 0 comments
Buried deep in Part 2 of my 3-part presentation exposing the flaws of the RPI is a proposal for a simple, common sense fix to some of the major problems with the RPI. I called it RPI+ because it takes the RPI and adds an extra performance component to come up with a more accurate number.

Essentially, all it's doing is asking 'If Team X has a RPI of 100, did they outperform or underperform expectations for team with that RPI and that schedule. A team that won more games than expected for its RPI would have a pretty strong case that its rating was too low. A team that lost more games than expected for its RPI would be viewed as being rated too high. This is basically what I do with the Colton Index, only I start with the win-loss record and do multiple iterations of the expectations and performance relative to expectations until the complete ranking set is as correct as it can be. The RPI+ proposal uses just one iteration of the performance component (although additional iterations would only make it better). You'll see in a minute that just one iteration does have a significant impact. Also, because you can capture the home-road adjustments more accurately in the performance component, you really wouldn't need to do the crude 40% home/road adjustment upfront. You'd be better off just using the old RPI and let the home/road show up in the performance component. However, I used the new RPI here simply because it makes for easier comparison of teams that would be most impacted.

The other proposed change is to finally abandon the deeply flawed, linear RPI SOS measure. Since we are calculating expected winning percentage for the performance component, it's easy to implement here. The proposed SOS captures the home/road influence accurately and recognizes that SOS is not linear (playing the 1st, 2nd and 330th ranked teams on the road IS NOT the same as playing the 110th, 111th and 112th rated teams at home).

Below is the new RPI and RPI+ for the top 90 RPI teams plus 6 teams who would be top 90 under RPI+. The 'Exp Wins' column shows the Expected Number of Wins for a team with that RPI given its schedule. So Tennessee would be expected to win 28.11 with its schedule if it were the #1 RPI team. Since they won 28 games, you'd expect their 'true' ranking to be slightly lower than that. The far right column shows the expect number of wins in the second iteration (if you account for the change in a team's rating for RPI+ and the change in the rating of all its opponents). I only show it here for information purposes, so you can get some sense directionally which way teams would go if you added additional performance iterations. The top 20 overperformers relative to RPI are shaded in yellow. The top 20 underperformers relative to RPI are shaded in orange.

Just adding the one performance components is a huge improvement in the RPI. The wins versus expectations are off by an average of 0.89 wins per team in the new RPI. Adding that one performance component brings that number down to 0.34 (the Colton Index is off by 0.04 per team). The other way I like to look at these rankings is by measuring the amount of informational lift that ranking provides over the most simple rank order you could think of...simply sorting teams by their win-loss record. We use alternative rankings because we know win-loss record doesn't tell the full story. Presumably, the ranking is a more accurate reflection of what's going on during the course of a basketball season, otherwise we wouldn't use it. Therefore, it's easy to measure different rating systems on how much additional value they provide.

Traditionally, the new RPI has been about 5-6% worse than the old RPI, and the Colton Index has provided 40-50% more lift versus the baseline relative to the new RPI. The 2007-08 season is no exception. I know it's hard to believe, but the old RPI is 5.2% better than the new RPI. The Colton Index outperforms the new RPI by 44%. RPI+ is 33.5% better than the new RPI. This seems like an easy fix that would provide the Selection Committee with significantly better information to make their decisions.

A couple teams to note from the table below:

- Vanderbilt seemed to be overseeded as a 4 seed, and we see their performance was over a game worse than expected from that lofty 12th-rated RPI. The 2nd iteration would suggest they would go down even futher with additional iterations. UNLV is another team that seemed to be overseeded as well.

- The Selection Committee doesn't seem to have much faith in very strong RPI numbers for mid-majors (see Southern Illinois last year). Butler seemed to suffer from this bias this year, although the RPI+ numbers suggest they outperformed their 17th-rated RPI.

- Arizona St is one of the biggest movers amongst tourney or bubble teams. They move up 30 spots when you consider they outperformed their RPI rating by 1.73 games. Also, by moving away from the linear nature of SOS, the 'bottom feeders' in their non-conference schedule don't hurt as much and their SOS increases from 77 to 32.

- South Alabama doesn't move in RPI+ (they would move down in future iterations), but just check out that SOS impact. 127 vs 203.

EXP WINS RANK SOS EXP WINS2
TEAM WL RPIRES RPIRPI+ RPIRPI+ RPI+RES2
Tennessee284 28.11-0.111318 28.30 -0.30
North Carolina 322 30.511.49 21 321 31.46 0.54
Memphis 331 31.291.71 32 27115 32.28 0.72
UCLA 303 28.321.68 44 1422 29.42 0.58
Kansas 303 28.901.10 55 5072 29.68 0.32
Texas276 27.25-0.256846 26.97 0.03
Duke275 26.490.5176810 26.89 0.11
Georgetown275 26.440.56873243 26.97 0.03
Xavier276 27.34-0.349112455 27.50 -0.50
Drake264 25.350.6510106892 26.03 -0.03
Wisconsin 294 27.331.67 119 6186 28.50 0.50
Vanderbilt 267 27.12-1.12 1217 4183 26.55 -0.55
Louisville248 24.50-0.501314623 24.02 -0.02
Stanford 267 25.060.94 1413 5629 25.72 0.28
Pittsburgh259 25.03-0.0315152012 24.92 0.08
Michigan St258 25.58-0.5816224358 24.80 0.20
Butler 293 27.401.60 1712 128156 28.88 0.12
Connecticut248 24.10-0.1018213540 23.74 0.26
Clemson239 22.910.0919201719 22.91 0.09
Marquette239 22.500.5020192115 22.81 0.19
Kent St286 27.730.272124111140 28.24 -0.24
Indiana257 24.490.5122235980 25.10 -0.10
Washington St 248 22.721.28 2316 4625 23.61 0.39
UNLV 257 26.17-1.17 2434 63141 25.48 -0.48
BYU27726.78 0.22252597122 27.30 -0.30
Notre Dame 247 22.761.24 2618 8167 23.89 0.11
Oklahoma2211 22.16-0.1627311324 21.88 0.12
Southern California21 1120.680.32282793 20.49 0.51
West Virginia2310 22.640.3629284533 22.85 0.15
Gonzaga 257 23.921.08 3026 93102 24.99 0.01
EXP WINS RANK SOS EXP WINS2
TEAM WL RPIRES RPIRPI+ RPIRPI+ RPI+RES2
Arkansas 2211 23.29-1.29 3140 2559 21.98 0.02
Dayton 2110 22.39-1.39 3242 3378 21.16 -0.16
Illinois St 239 23.85-0.85 3339 7193 22.84 0.16
Miami (FL)2110 21.22-0.2234364248 21.01 -0.01
Davidson256 24.430.573530129150 24.96 0.04
St. Mary's246 23.280.723629138145 24.16 -0.16
Arizona 1814 19.27-1.27 3746 21 17.19 0.81
South Alabama246 24.19-0.193837127203 24.60 -0.60
Western Kentucky256 24.620.383935142201 25.53 -0.53
Mississippi St2210 22.33-0.3340415885 22.26 -0.26
Texas A&M 2310 21.991.01 4133 5256 23.06 -0.06
Massachusetts2110 21.31-0.3142437084 21.17 -0.17
Baylor2010 19.710.2943384954 19.98 0.02
Saint Joseph's2112 21.55-0.5544485360 21.23 -0.23
Purdue 248 22.581.42 4532 11498 23.89 0.11
Creighton2010 20.40-0.4046506679 19.96 0.04
Temple 2112 22.15-1.15 4758 5173 20.65 0.35
Mississippi2110 21.31-0.3148496591 21.07 -0.07
Ohio State1913 19.61-0.6149541827 18.70 0.30
Kansas St1911 19.33-0.3350513451 18.61 0.39
Villanova2012 19.780.2251454739 20.04 -0.04
Virginia Tech 1913 19.98-0.98 5263 3938 18.45 0.55
Oral Roberts238 23.72-0.725359157191 23.56 -0.56
VCU24723.61 0.395444161189 24.45 -0.45
Syracuse1913 19.68-0.6855611034 18.50 0.50
UAB 2210 23.56-1.56 5670 95155 22.12 -0.12
Kentucky1812 18.03-0.0357551941 18.02 -0.02
Oregon1813 18.02-0.025856379 17.36 0.64
New Mexico 248 23.140.86 5947 155165 24.51 -0.51
Florida St1914 19.11-0.1160601516 18.49 0.51
EXP WINS RANK SOS EXP WINS2
TEAM WL RPIRES RPIRPI+ RPIRPI+ RPI+RES2
George Mason 2310 24.79-1.79 6183 126211 23.20 -0.20
Southern Illinois 1714 18.40-1.40 6277 1642 16.09 0.91
Cleveland St 1912 20.40-1.40 6386 85105 18.65 0.35
Stephen F. Austin225 21.210.796452263297 22.42 -0.42
Cornell215 20.620.386562265292 21.35 -0.35
Siena 2210 23.09-1.09 6685 120179 22.21 -0.21
Georgia Tech1517 15.70-0.70677672 14.43 0.57
Charlotte2013 20.17-0.1768716495 20.12 -0.12
IUPUI237 23.19-0.196973238277 23.44 -0.44
Utah St 2310 24.93-1.93 70102 168267 23.44 -0.44
Florida 2111 19.921.08 7157 8794 21.22 -0.22
Miami (OH) 1715 17.93-0.93 7289 5450 16.83 0.17
Nevada 2011 21.53-1.53 73100 132161 20.18 -0.18
Texas Tech1515 15.65-0.65748457 14.46 0.54
Akron2310 22.530.477565135157 23.37 -0.37
Ohio 1912 20.07-1.07 7694 109123 18.94 0.06
Rhode Island2111 20.470.537764107124 21.27 -0.27
Oklahoma St1615 15.940.0678721211 15.85 0.15
Belmont248 24.46-0.467982229293 24.81 -0.81
CS Fullerton238 23.29-0.298079199249 23.24 -0.24
Houston229 21.620.388169146171 22.31 -0.31
San Diego St 1912 19.80-0.80 8290 99118 19.00 0.00
Arizona St 1912 17.271.73 8353 7732 18.58 0.42
Austin Peay 2410 26.00-2.00 84116 205288 25.12 -1.12
Maryland1814 18.05-0.0585803163 17.89 0.11
Wright St2110 20.210.798666149144 21.35 -0.35
Boise St248 23.590.418774196276 24.61 -0.61
UMBC238 23.57-0.578895264302 23.57 -0.57
UC Santa Barbara228 21.620.388975208221 22.33 -0.33
American 2111 22.58-1.58 90120 158237 21.48 -0.48
California1615 15.510.4992812814 15.61 0.39
Nebraska 1912 17.391.61 9668 9469 18.72 0.28
Wake Forest 1713 15.261.74 10067 8652 17.20 -0.20
Minnesota 2013 18.751.25 10178 11387 20.03 -0.03
Providence 1516 13.621.38 11287 4417 15.09 -0.09
Washington 1616 14.061.94 12188 6018 15.78 0.22

The Bracket - Initial Thoughts

3/16/2008 0 comments
Here is my final, data-driven bracket projections taking into consideration all of the conference championship games (my 'Final bracket' that I submitted was an average of two different outcomes and assumed Arkansas beat Georgia.

1: North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, Tennessee
2: Kansas, Duke, Wisconsin, Texas
3: Georgetown, Stanford, Drake, Washington St
4: Butler, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Xavier
5: Southern California, Clemson, Connecticut, Marquette
6: Michigan St, Notre Dame, Indiana, Kent St
7: Vanderbilt, Purdue, West Virginia, Oklahoma
8: Texas A&M, Arizona, Gonzaga, Miami (FL)
9: BYU, Davidson, Arizona St, Baylor
10: Oregon, Illinois St, St. Mary's, Villanova
11: Arkansas, Kansas St, Florida St, UNLV
12: Ohio State, Temple, Western Kentucky, Oral Roberts
13: Cornell, George Mason, Siena, Georgia
14: CS Fullerton, Boise St, San Diego, Belmont
15: UMBC, Winthrop, Portland St, American
16: Austin Peay, UT Arlington, Mt St. Mary's, Coppin St, Miss Valley St

Last 4 In: Arkansas, Kansas St, Florida St, Ohio State
First 4 Out: Syracuse, Mississippi St, Saint Joseph's, Massachusetts
Next 4 Out: Dayton, Creighton, Virginia Tech, Mississippi

This one probably performed worst than my previous version since it drops Mississippi St. I had 50 teams within 1 seedline of actual, which I'm sure will be the worst of all bracketologists. Most of my differences were not unexpected, I think there's a good chance that a lot got all of the teams and nearly all of the seeds right. My hats off to you for predicting what the Committee would do.

Of course, that's not what I'm about. I'm all about exposing the weaknesses in the RPI and highlighting the teams that deviated most from the 'body-of-work' approach that the Selection Committee continues to say they judge teams on. Overall, I think the Selection Committee did a good job with the information they had in front of them, especially given some of the unique situations that went down this week. However, I think that misleading information may have skewed their decision making, and ultimately caused less deserving teams in the tournament at the expense of more deserving teams. Obviously, this wasn't the intent of the Selection Committe, they are hard working, well-intentioned people that take this task seriously. I only blame the NCAA for continuing to provide the Selection Committee with bad information that makes already a tough job that much tougher, especially when these problems would be easily fixed.

I will likely dive deeper into some of these issues later this week, but here's the list of winners and losers.

Losers - Teams Lower Than They Should've Been

ProjAct RANKSOS NC SOS
SeedSeedTEAM WLJCIRPI JCIRPIJCIRPI QWQL
3 5 Drake 26 4 11 10 82 68 114 126 15 15
4 7 Butler 29 3 12 17 127 128 78 109 21 7
6 8 Indiana 25 7 23 22 66 57 150 71 22 20
6 9 Kent St 28 6 25 21 128 111 96 56 27 30
8 10 Arizona 18 14 33 37 1 2 19 5 23 48
9 11 Baylor 20 10 36 43 47 48 213 130 38 40
10 12 Villanova 20 12 42 51 37 47 228 157 34 59
9 Arizona St 19 12 37 83 17 77 305 293 39 42
10 Illinois St 23 9 39 33 84 72 184 115 42 38
12 Ohio State 19 13 43 49 24 17 25 12 51 43
11 Florida St 19 14 47 59 23 14 197 128 36 65

The average Colton Index for these teams is 32 versus an average RPI of 39. But the RPI's aren't deflated across the board. There seems to be a bias against the mid-majors here...an assumption that teams such as Drake, Butler and Kent State (and Illinois St by association) aren't as good as their records or RPI's indicate, or put in other words, they didn't play anybody therefore have inflated records. Well, each of those mid-majors have profiles of wins and losses factoring in weaker schedules that still put them as deserving higher seeds, so penalizing them further would be like giving them losses for games they either won or didn't play. Drake had a 26-4 record with an RPI SOS of 68. Notre Dame had a weaker schedule (according to the RPI) and went 24-7 with a RPI SOS of 81, and had the same seed. But Kansas has a RPI SOS of 60 and got a 1 seed with a 29-3 record. There seems to be a disconnect.

I want to dive into the issue deeper later this week, but Arizona St simply flat out got screwed of the tournament this year. Of course, they didn't do themselves any favors with their non-conference scheduling. I can't argue that their non-conference wasn't weak, I had it even easier than the RPI (305 vs 293). However, the difference comes with how much this weighs on the final decision. I consider it as part of the body of work and Arizona St still rans 37th overall even with that very weak schedule (the cupcake wins don't tell us much about how good Arizona St really is, therefore don't help their profile much at all). In the RPI, these games drag down the team's overall RPI and SOS to the point like they barely look like a bubble team at all. (Plus, if the Committee is going to list that as a reason you didn't get picked, then they are already overweighting that factor more than it should be. Of course, Stanford and Notre Dame had equally weak non-conference SOS's and it didn't hurt them at all. Notre Dame even got seeded a little higher than expected.) Even if you win those games against the cupcakes, just showing up drags your RPI down. The seemingly harmless decision of playing Florida Gulf Coast, Idaho and St Francis (PA) is what kept them out of the tournament, not what they did or didn't do during the other 29 games of the season. If they had played Vermont, Wichita St and Navy instead (games they still would've won), they'd be playing in the NCAA instead of the NIT right now.

I could (and may) write a whole post about the plight of Florida St. This is the third year in a row that I felt they deserved to get in but didn't. They are the quinticessential bubble team. But every year they have a deflated RPI that's right in the 40-60 sweet spot, an undesirable position to be in. Check out their numbers the last three years.

2007-08: JCI 47, RPI 60
2006-07 JCI 33, RPI 40
2005-06 JCI 37, RPI 63

You gotta feel for these guys. Every year there are going to be winners and losers in this process, but imagine if it was your team that was on the outside looking in for three years in a row. And based on e-mails I've received from Seminole fans, it seems like they've resigned themselves to the fact that it will keep on happening. Florida St gets so little respect that they weren't even listed among the 8-9 teams more 'most surprising team left out' fan poll.

Winners - Teams Higher Than They Should've Been

ProjAct RANKSOS NC SOS
SeedSeedTEAM WLJCIRPI JCIRPIJCIRPI QWQL
7 4 Vanderbilt 26 7 24 12 91 40 277 93 30 25
11 8 UNLV 25 7 40 24 152 63 221 60 62 34
8 Mississippi St 22 10 45 40 90 58 217 124 50 51
10 South Alabama 24 6 53 38 214 127 127 69 83 35
11 Saint Joseph's 21 12 54 45 73 51 135 116 29 99
11 Kentucky 18 12 60 58 58 21 129 98 55 63
15 13 Winthrop 20 11 128 107 211 178 56 38 112 123

Here's where you can really see a pattern. The average team listed here has a RPI of 46 and average Colton Index of 58, and average RPI SOS of 77 vs 127, and an average RPI NC SOS of 85 vs 166. Remember those differences are based purely on the nuance (ie flaws) of the RPI formula. It's clear that the RPI has a role in the process. It's almost unfathomable that the NCAA would rely on SOS numbers that may be off by 90 or more (look at Vandy's NC SOS of 93 vs 277...yikes!) slots for any given team. How does the Committee make any informed decisions using inputs with margins of error that large? Certainly, it skews the profiles of Vandy, UNLV, Mississippi St and South Alabama in particular.

The SEC was the main beneficiary of the seeding process, as the Committee must've felt that Mississippi St and Kentucky were better than their records and profiles indicated (or maybe it was just the Silve factor). The only way to determine strength of a conference is to view how the perform against non-conference foes. Unfortunately, nearly all of this occurs in the first half of the season. The rest of the season is just teams beating up on each other in conference. The SEC doesn't fare too well against other conferences, mainly because Kentucky, Florida and Missippi St performed poorly in non-conference play. It drags down the conference looks overall. Maybe it's true that those teams improved as the season went on, but is it 'body-of-work' or not? I even factored in last 10 games and Kentucky was still way down the list. By discounting their non-conference season, you might as well be giving Kentucky wins for games that they lost.

THIRTEEN TEAMS MORE DESERVING THAN SOUTH ALABAMA

South Alabama is the anti-Arizona St. The danger of being a bubble team with a deflated RPI is that there's going to be less deserving bubble teams with inflated RPI's of the same amount or more. South Alabama's profile and tourney-worthiness falls apart if their RPI were 53 instead of 38 and SOS was 214 instead of 127. I have them 83rd in quality wins (a summation of a team's wins scaled by difficulty), the next closest at-large is BYU at 56th. And considering they got a 10 seed, it looks like they got in the tournament by a pretty safe margin.

ProjAct RANKSOS NC SOS
SeedSeedTEAM WLJCIRPI JCIRPIJCIRPI QWQL
9 Arizona St 19 12 37 83 17 77 305 293 39 42
10 Illinois St 23 9 39 33 84 72 184 115 42 38
11 Florida St 19 14 47 59 23 14 197 128 36 65
12 Ohio State 19 13 43 49 24 17 25 12 51 43
Syracuse 19 13 51 55 36 9 195 20 35 72
Massachusetts 21 10 50 42 93 71 138 88 43 61
Dayton 21 10 49 32 92 33 147 26 41 64
Creighton 20 10 46 46 76 65 177 91 63 45
Virginia Tech 19 13 52 52 38 38 176 135 53 55
Mississippi 21 10 55 48 105 67 269 122 47 67
VCU 24 7 57 54 191 161 82 85 60 56
Nebraska 19 12 56 97 57 94 281 310 69 52
11 Kentucky 18 12 60 58 58 21 129 98 55 63
California 16 15 58 92 5 26 291 175 52 62
10 South Alabama 24 6 53 38 214 127 127 69 83 35

Bracket Projections - Mar 16 (PM Update - FINAL)

0 comments
Here is my final bracket projection. Below, I ran the Colton Index-based seedings on all of the remaining 8 scenarios, but I doubt the Committee has built that much flexibility into the brackets. So I'm putting my stake in the ground with a bracket projecting that Wisconsin and Arkansas win (then averaging the rank between the outcome of Texas vs Kansas). If Georgia and/or Illinois win (go Illini!), they will simply replace the last two teams in.

Just like every other year, I fully expect that I will finish the worst amongst all of the bracketologists. However, I'd caution against thinking this is a black mark against my rating system or something. I'm simply churning out a data-driven brackets that is based on the things the Committee says to value, mostly body-of-work. And more importantly, I don't rely on the RPI at all. Where the actual seedings differ from mine will highlight exactly where the Committee veered from this consistent, objective approach and/or relied on misleading information from the RPI or any of its subcomponents.

Final Bracket Projections
1: North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, Tennessee
2: Kansas, Texas, Duke, Wisconsin
3: Georgetown, Stanford, Drake, Washington St
4: Butler, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Xavier
5: Southern California, Michigan St, Clemson, Marquette
6: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Indiana, Vanderbilt
7: Kent St, Purdue, Oklahoma, West Virginia
8: Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Arizona, Miami (FL)
9: Arkansas, Baylor, BYU, Davidson
10: Arizona St, Oregon, Illinois St, St. Mary's
11: Villanova, Kansas St, Mississippi St, Florida St
12: UNLV, Ohio State, Temple, Western Kentucky
13: Oral Roberts, Cornell, George Mason, Siena
14: CS Fullerton, Boise St, San Diego, Belmont
15: UMBC, Winthrop, Portland St, American
16: Austin Peay, UT Arlington, Mt St. Mary's, Coppin St, Miss Valley St

Last 4 In: Kansas St, Mississippi St, Florida St*, Ohio State*
First 4 Out: Syracuse, Saint Joseph's, Massachusetts, Dayton
Next 4 Out: Creighton, Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Kentucky
* Potentially replaced by Illinois (go Illini!) and/or Georgia

I think it's safe to say the teams most as risk are Florida St, Arizona St, Ohio St, Oregon and Villanova probably are at the most risk (from highest risk to lowest risk), likely to be replaced by Saint Joseph's, Virginia Tech, South Alabama, Kentucky and (grasping for a fifth team) Syracuse or Mississippi. I fully expect Florida St and Arizona St to be out of the field, despite the fact they deserve to be in.

If you were able to factor in the results of the remaining three games completely, my approach would come up with the following seeds based on the 8 potential scenarios below.

Scenario A: Georgia, Kansas, Illinois win
Scenario B: Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin win
Scenario C: Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois win
Scenario D: Arkansas, Kansas, Wisconsin win
Scenario E: Georgia, Texas, Illinois win
Scenario F: Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin win
Scenario G: Arkansas, Texas, Illinois win
Scenario H: Arkansas, Texas, Wisconsin win

TeamA BCDE FGH
North Carolina11 111111
UCLA111 11111
Memphis111 11111
Tennessee11 112222
Kansas222 22222
Texas222 21111
Duke222 22222
Wisconsin32 323232
Georgetown23 232323
Stanford333 33333
Drake333 33333
Washington St33 333333
Butler444 44444
Pittsburgh44 444444
Louisville44 444444
Xavier444 44444
Southern California5 5555555
Clemson555 55555
Michigan St66 666565
Marquette55 555555
Connecticut55 555656
Notre Dame66 666666
Indiana666 66666
Vanderbilt77 667766
Kent St667 76677
Purdue777 78787
Oklahoma777 77777
West Virginia77 777878
Texas A&M88 887777
Gonzaga888 88888
Arizona888 88888
Miami (FL)88 888888
Arkansas1111 99111199
BYU999 99999
Baylor999 99999
Davidson999 999109
Arizona St99 101099910
Oregon1010 101010101010
Illinois St1010 101010101010
St. Mary's1010 101010101010
Villanova1010 111110101111
Kansas St1111 111111111111
Mississippi St 1111 1111
Florida St1111 111111111111
UNLV111112 1211111212
Ohio State 12 12 12 12
Temple1212 121212121212
Western Kentucky1212 121212121212
Oral Roberts1212 121312121213
Illinois12 13 12 13
Cornell1313 131313131313
George Mason1313 131313131313
Siena131313 1313131313
Georgia1313 1313
CS Fullerton1414 141414141414
Boise St1414 141414141414
San Diego1414 141414141414
Belmont1414 141414141414
UMBC151515 1515151515
Winthrop1515 151515151515
Portland St1515 151515151515
American1515 151515151515
Austin Peay1616 161616161616
UT Arlington1616 161616161616
Mt St. Mary's1616 161616161616
Coppin St1616 161616161616
Miss Valley St1616 161616161616

You'll notice some flip-flopping of seeds based on the last three games, but I think these are most likely already set in stone. Texas would be worthy as a 1 seed if they beat Kansas, but Kansas wouldn't have enough to overcome Tennessee if they beat Texas. It's doubtful that the Committee has this type of contingency in place. They either the winner of the Texas/Kansas game as a 1 seed, the loser as a 2 seed. Or they have both as a 2 seed and Tennessee locked in as a 1 seed. The same goes for Wisconsin, who could move ahead of Georgetown as a 2 seed with a win over Illinois. I'm guessing they already have Wisconsin as a 2 or a 3 (probably a 3) and the outcome of today's game won't change it.

Once the brackets come out, I'll do some additional analysis on teams that were overseeded and underseeded relative to my projections.

Bracket Update - March 16th (AM Edition)

0 comments
Here's my bracket as of Sunday morning. Look for one more this afternoon. I will also likely post some scenario-based seeds depending on the outcomes of this afternoon's games, although the Committee won't likely have time to fully account for the SEC and Big Ten title games.

Again, this is what I think the brackets SHOULD look like if the Selection Committee practices what it preaches (i.e., body-of-work with extra emphasis on last 10 games and quality wins to determine the most deserving teams). I'm not trying to guess what the Committee WILL do (a la Joe Lunardi). The actual brackets will look much different than mine because the Committee will use different factors and/or weight them differently from team to team, and they have the RPI numbers and all their subcomponents, which will skew the results simply because the silly nuances of the formula.

1: North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, Tennessee
2: Kansas, Texas, Duke, Wisconsin
3: Georgetown, Stanford, Drake, Washington St
4: Butler, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Xavier
5: Southern California, Clemson, Michigan St, Marquette
6: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Indiana, Vanderbilt
7: Kent St, Purdue, Oklahoma, West Virginia
8: Texas A&M, Arizona, Gonzaga, Miami (FL)
9: BYU, Baylor, Arkansas, Davidson
10: Arizona St, Oregon, Illinois St, St. Mary's
11: Villanova, Kansas St, Florida St, UNLV
12: Mississippi St, Ohio State, Temple, Western Kentucky
13: Oral Roberts, Cornell, George Mason, Siena
14: CS Fullerton, Boise St, San Diego, Belmont
15: UMBC, Winthrop, Portland St, American
16: Austin Peay, Mt St. Mary's, Northwestern St, Coppin St, Miss Valley St

Last 4 In: Kansas St, Florida St, Mississippi St, Ohio State
First 4 Out: Syracuse, Saint Joseph's, Massachusetts, Dayton
Next 4 Out: Creighton, Virginia Tech, Mississippi, Kentucky

Bubble Teams

Here's the overview of the bubble teams again. I think everyone from Arkansas above is locks or near locks (except maybe Arizona) and the teams below South Alabama are probably barely bubble worthy, but I included them here for context if nothing else. Of the teams I have in, Florida St, Arizona St, Ohio St, Oregon and Villanova probably are at the most risk (from highest risk to lowest risk), likely to be replaced by Saint Joseph's, Virginia Tech, South Alabama, Kentucky and (grasping for a fifth team) Syracuse or Mississippi. I fully expect Florida St and Arizona St to be out of the field, despite the fact they deserve to be in.

Georgia and Illinois (go Illini!) probably 'deserve' 13 seeds if they were to win their games today, but will likely get 12 seeds by simply replacing the last bubble teams in. The Selection Committee probably won't be able to get have contingency plans any more sophisticated than that.

Proj RANKSOS NC SOS
SeedTEAMW LJCIRPIJCI RPIJCIRPIQW QL
8 Texas A&M 23 10 30 41 45 51 275 220 24 35
8 Arizona 18 14 32 37 1 2 19 4 23 48
8 Miami (FL) 21 10 34 34 50 41 282 143 32 46
9 BYU 27 7 33 25 130 97 145 144 57 22
9 Baylor 20 10 36 42 46 47 208 127 36 38
9 Arkansas 22 10 39 26 70 20 194 82 30 57
10 Arizona St 19 12 37 83 16 77 305 294 38 42
10 Oregon 18 13 38 58 4 37 185 169 43 37
10 Illinois St 23 9 40 33 85 73 186 115 42 40
10 St. Mary's 24 6 35 36 139 136 86 28 72 21
11 Villanova 20 12 43 51 38 48 231 158 34 61
11 Kansas St 19 11 41 50 44 33 179 86 49 43
11 Florida St 19 14 47 59 24 15 196 130 37 66
12 Mississippi St 22 10 45 39 87 57 217 125 50 51
12 Ohio State 19 13 44 49 23 17 25 13 51 44
Syracuse 19 13 51 55 36 9 199 20 35 76
Saint Joseph's 21 12 56 45 73 53 137 116 29 99
Massachusetts 21 10 50 43 93 71 139 89 45 62
Dayton 21 10 49 32 92 34 149 27 41 65
Creighton 20 10 46 47 77 66 175 91 63 45
Virginia Tech 19 13 52 53 41 38 177 136 55 58
Mississippi 21 10 53 46 103 64 271 123 46 68
Kentucky 18 12 58 57 54 22 130 98 53 63
Nebraska 19 12 55 96 55 94 280 310 69 52
VCU 24 7 57 54 190 160 83 83 60 56
California 16 15 59 92 5 26 290 175 52 64
Oklahoma St 16 15 63 73 11 11 152 102 54 78
South Alabama 24 6 54 38 214 127 126 69 83 36
Georgia Tech 15 17 67 67 3 7 23 45 44 102
Southern Illinois 17 14 66 62 49 16 15 6 58 90
Washington 16 16 65 121 7 60 181 223 65 69
New Mexico 24 8 62 60 176 155 311 269 81 53
Wake Forest 17 13 64 100 52 86 219 268 68 71
Florida 21 11 61 72 95 87 328 271 74 55
Maryland 18 14 75 84 59 29 228 65 47 110

Bracket Update - March 14th (Afternoon Edition)

3/14/2008 0 comments
I updated the Colton Index ratings with some of the early Friday games, so we have a new bracket as well. Arkansas is leading late against Vandy, Kentucky and UNLV can help themselves with wins tonight. Virginia Tech still has a pulse, but they'll have to beat North Carolina tomorrow to have any chance.

Of the teams I have in my bracket, I think Arizona St, Florida St and Syracuse are the biggest risks of not making it in the end, potentially replaced by Arkansas, UNLV and either Dayton or South Alabama.

1: North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA, Tennessee
2: Duke, Texas, Kansas, Georgetown
3: Wisconsin, Stanford, Washington St, Drake
4: Xavier, Butler, Louisville, Marquette
5: Michigan St, Indiana, Southern California, Connecticut
6: Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Purdue
7: Clemson, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kent St
8: Gonzaga, Texas A&M, Arizona, Miami (FL)
9: BYU, Baylor, Arizona St, Davidson
10: Oregon, Illinois St, St. Mary's, Kansas St
11: Villanova, Mississippi St, Ohio State, Florida St
12: Syracuse, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Western Kentucky
13: Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Cornell, UC Santa Barbara
14: George Mason, Siena, San Diego, Belmont
15: Utah St, UMBC, Winthrop, Portland St
16: American, Austin Peay, Morgan St, Mt St. Mary's, Alabama St

Last 4 In: Florida St, Syracuse, Massachusetts, Kentucky
First 4 Out: Dayton, Creighton, Arkansas, UNLV
Next 4 Out: Virginia Tech, Saint Joseph's, Nebraska, Mississippi

Bracket Update - March 14th

0 comments
Here is my latest bracket. A lot of bubble teams are losing early in the conference tourneys. Fortunately for them, nearly everybody they are competing with is losing as well. Very few teams have strengthened their case. It seems like a very weak bubble this year, which to me means there's no telling what the Committee will do this year.

I'm probably the only one who has Florida St in, but they have a resume that stacks up just as well as the others.

1: North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA, Tennessee
2: Duke, Kansas, Texas, Georgetown
3: Wisconsin, Stanford, Washington St, Drake
4: Xavier, Butler, Louisville, Marquette
5: Indiana, Southern California, Connecticut, Notre Dame
6: Michigan St, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Purdue
7: Clemson, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Miami (FL)
8: Kent St, Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Arizona
9: BYU, Baylor, Arizona St, Davidson
10: Oregon, Illinois St, St. Mary's, Kansas St
11: Villanova, Ohio State, Mississippi St, Florida St
12: Syracuse, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Western Kentucky
13: Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Cornell, UC Santa Barbara
14: George Mason, Siena, San Diego, Belmont
15: Utah St, UMBC, Winthrop, Portland St
16: American, Austin Peay, Morgan St, Mt St. Mary's, Alabama St

Last 4 In: Florida St, Syracuse, Massachusetts, Kentucky
First 4 Out: Dayton, Creighton, Arkansas, UNLV
Next 4 Out: Saint Joseph's, Mississippi, Nebraska, California

Bubble Watch I think it's safe to say West Virginia is in, so I removed them from the list. I think it's safe to say Maryland, Florida and UAB are off the bubble, but I kept them on the list just so you can see how far down there are.

South Alabama continues to baffle me. How they deserve to get in ahead of a team like Arizona St is beyond me. Put their two schedules head-to-head and Arizona St has 8 of the 9 best wins. Arizona St has a lot more losses but most of them are two top Pac 10 teams. Arizona has five losses tougher than South Alabama's 'best' loss (at Vandy), and South Alabama has the two worst losses between the two teams (swept by Middle Tenn St). Unfortunately, there are two numbers that stick out.

South Alabama RPI 35
Arizona State RPI 82
If they get in and Arizona St doesn't, it's only because the RPI is wrong for both teams in different directions.

Proj    RANKSOS NC SOS   
SeedTEAMW LJCIRPIJCI RPIJCIRPIQW QLNext Game
7 Miami (FL)  21  9  30  26  46  32  278 130  28   39  3/14 Virginia Tech
8 Kent St  26  6  29  27  132  127  96 61  33   34  3/14 Miami (OH)
8 Texas A&M  22  9  31  44  53  58  271 214  29   37  3/14 Kansas St
8 Arizona  18  14  34  34  1  2  24 7  22   51  None ( 3/13 L vs Stanford)
9 BYU  26  6  32  25  141  111  152 152  65   21  3/14 San Diego St
9 Baylor  20  10  36  42  41  39  216 139  34   45  None ( 3/13 L vs Colorado)
9 Arizona St  19  12  38  82  12  71  305 299  36   47  None ( 3/13 L vs Southern California)
10 Oregon  18  13  37  56  3  22  179 155  42   42  None ( 3/13 L vs Washington St)
10 Illinois St  23  9  39  33  82  72  181 116  39   44  None ( 3/ 9 L vs Drake)
10 St. Mary's  24  6  35  37  140  139  88 30  69   23  None ( 3/ 9 L at San Diego)
10 Kansas St  19  10  40  45  42  31  171 80  46   38  3/14 Texas A&M
11 Villanova  20  12  43  51  38  43  233 168  31   62  None ( 3/13 L vs Georgetown)
11 Ohio State  19  12  41  46  24  17  28 13  51   41  3/14 Michigan St
11  Mississippi St 21  9  42   39  87  53  219 123  56  43   3/14 Alabama
11 Florida St  19  13  46  62  32  23  197 129  35   66  3/14 North Carolina
12 Syracuse  19  13  51  52  33  8  193 18  32   76  None ( 3/12 L vs Villanova)
12 Massachusetts  21  10  49  43  91  64  136 86  41   63  None ( 3/13 L vs Charlotte)
12 Kentucky  18  11  48  47  48  13  129 97  53   55  3/14 Georgia
  Dayton 21   10  52  32  92  29  155 31  40   64  None ( 3/13 L vs Xavier)
  Creighton 20   10  45  49  73  69  176 98  58   48  None ( 3/ 8 L vs Drake)
  Arkansas 20   10  53  40  84  42  199 87  50   59  3/14 Vanderbilt
  UNLV 23  7   44  28  150  78  213 52  74   36  3/14 Utah
  Saint Joseph's 20   11  58  50  80  62  138 118  37   87  3/14 Xavier
  Mississippi 21   10  56  48  104  65  274 133  45   70  None ( 3/13 L vs Georgia)
  Nebraska 19   11  55  96  66  107  281 315  63   54  3/14 Kansas
  California 16   15  59  87  5  16  283 164  49   65  None ( 3/13 L vs UCLA)
  VCU 24  7   57  55  193  159  85 88  57   61  None ( 3/ 9 L vs William & Mary)
  Oklahoma St 16   14  63  75  17  15  166 111  54   75  3/14 Texas
  South Alabama 24   6  54  35  210  125  122 67  81   40  None ( 3/10 L Middle Tenn St)
  Virginia Tech 18   12  60  59  54  52  178 142  70   58  3/14 Miami
  Georgia Tech 15   16  67  68  4  9  23 44  43   102  3/14 Duke
  Southern Illinois  17  14  64  61  40  12  11 4  52   91  None ( 3/ 7 L vs Northern Iowa)
  Temple 19   12  69  60  86  51  69 27  48   98  3/14 Charlotte
  New Mexico 24   8  62  58  173  149  309 264  76   56  None ( 3/13 L vs Utah)
  Washington 16   16  66  118  6  54  187 217  62   72  None ( 3/12 L vs California)
  Wake Forest 17   13  65  97  47  85  223 267  60   77  None ( 3/13 L vs Florida St)
  Florida 21   11  61  72  97  86  330 273  77   57  None ( 3/13 L vs Alabama)
  Texas Tech 15   15  68  69  9  4  83 26  67   73  None ( 3/13 L vs Oklahoma St)
  Wright St 21   10  70  86  129  151  183 108  59   83  None ( 3/ 7 L vs Valparaiso)
  Maryland 18   14  76  83  60  25  229 70  44   115  None ( 3/13 L vs Boston College)
  Cleveland St 19   12  75  64  95  88  105 40  55   104  None ( 3/11 L at Butler)
  Rhode Island 21   11  73  77  124  104  260 195  68   89  None ( 3/12 L vs Charlotte)
  UAB 22  10   82  54  157  92  267 162  85   74  None ( 3/13 L vs Tulsa)

Bracket Update - March 12th

3/12/2008 0 comments
There was very little change after Monday night's games -- Butler and Western Kentucky won as expected. Therefore, I didn't update the brackets until we have some meaningful games on Tuesday completed. The biggie is Syracuse vs Villanova, with the loser likely staying home.

I updated my brackets with the Villanova win, and surprisingly Syracuse is still in by the skin of its teeth. This is likely to change as we go further on into the week. Most have South Alabama in, while I don't. UNLV may get in on the strength of its inflated RPI numbers, plus it has the opportunity to pad a few more wins in the Mountain West tourney. In the end, I think somebody will pass Syracuse for one of the last spots. Villanova looks safe even if they lose to Georgetown tomorrow. Ohio State shouldn't slide behind Syracuse in the pecking order even if they lose to Michigan State.

Dayton is doing everything it can to play it outself out of a tourney bid, but they did manage to hold on against St Louis in overtime. They may have to beat Xavier tomorrow to have any chance. They do have inflated RPI numbers on their side. Assuming Mississippi beats Georgia tomorrow, we may have another one of those 'loser stays home' match-ups with Kentucky in the quarterfinals.

1: North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA, Tennessee
2: Duke, Texas, Kansas, Georgetown
3: Wisconsin, Stanford, Drake, Washington St
4: Louisville, Xavier, Butler, Connecticut
5: Notre Dame, Indiana, Michigan St, Southern California
6: Marquette, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Clemson
7: Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Kent St
8: Arizona, Texas A&M, Miami (FL), Baylor
9: West Virginia, BYU, Arizona St, Oregon
10: Davidson, Illinois St, St. Mary's, Villanova
11: Kansas St, Ohio State, Mississippi St, Massachusetts
12: Syracuse, Mississippi, Arkansas, Western Kentucky
13: Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Cornell, UC Santa Barbara
14: George Mason, Siena, San Diego, Belmont
15: UMBC, Utah St, Winthrop, Portland St
16: American, Austin Peay, Morgan St, Sacred Heart, Alabama St

Last 4 In: Massachusetts, Syracuse, Mississippi, Arkansas
First 4 Out: Dayton, South Alabama, Kentucky, Florida St
Next 4 Out: Creighton, UNLV, VCU, Saint Joseph's

Bubble Teams

Proj RANKSOS NC SOS
SeedTEAMW LJCIRPIJCI RPIJCIRPIQW QLNext Game
7 Kent St 25 6 28 28 127 28 97 64 34 34 3/13 Toledo/Bowling Green
8 Arizona 17 13 35 29 1 29 26 6 21 52 3/12 Oregon St
8 Texas A&M 21 9 31 30 48 30 274 218 27 39 3/13 Iowa St
8 Miami (FL) 20 9 34 31 46 31 275 133 30 44 3/13 North Carolina St
8 Baylor 20 9 29 32 39 32 230 150 32 33 3/13 Colorado
9 West Virginia 21 9 32 33 54 33 237 134 45 27 3/12 Providence
9 BYU 25 6 30 34 135 34 144 145 65 23 3/13 Colorado St/Wyoming
9 Arizona St 19 11 37 35 17 35 307 305 33 47 3/13 Southern Cal
9 Oregon 18 12 38 36 4 36 185 160 39 42 3/13 Washington St
10 Illinois St 23 9 39 38 83 38 180 115 35 46 None
10 St. Mary's 24 6 36 39 143 39 94 30 68 24 None
10 Villanova 20 11 44 40 47 40 234 167 29 65 3/13 Georgetown
11 Kansas St 19 10 40 41 43 41 166 77 46 41 3/14 Texas A&M/Iowa St
11 Ohio State 19 12 41 42 22 42 25 13 48 45 3/14 Michigan St
11 Mississippi St 21 9 42 43 84 43 221 131 52 43 3/14 Alabama/Florida
11 Massachusetts 21 9 45 44 92 44 138 83 36 58 3/13 Charlotte/Rhode Island
12 Syracuse 19 13 52 45 33 45 189 17 31 78 None
12 Mississippi 21 9 46 46 101 46 268 121 41 60 3/13 Georgia
12 Arkansas 20 10 49 47 80 47 168 84 43 63 3/14 Auburn/Vanderbilt
Dayton 21 9 50 48 104 48 160 33 38 66 3/13 Xavier
South Alabama 24 5 43 49 208 49 123 72 82 28 None
Kentucky 18 11 51 50 49 50 133 92 49 57 3/14 Georgia/Mississippi
Florida St 18 13 54 51 27 51 187 123 40 70 3/13 Wake Forest
Creighton 20 10 48 52 75 52 183 101 62 50 None
UNLV 22 7 47 53 147 53 217 54 74 38 3/13 TCU
VCU 24 7 58 54 190 54 78 78 55 62 None
Saint Joseph's 18 11 61 55 72 55 134 108 37 89 3/12 Fordham
New Mexico 24 7 57 56 179 56 310 264 76 48 3/13 Utah
Virginia Tech 18 12 59 57 51 57 167 126 69 59 3/14 Miami/NC State
Florida 21 10 56 58 95 58 329 273 75 49 3/13 Alabama
Nebraska 18 11 60 60 65 60 277 312 70 56 3/13 Missouri
Maryland 18 13 68 62 59 62 229 68 42 99 3/13 Boston College
Wake Forest 17 12 62 63 53 63 225 268 57 72 3/13 Florida St
Washington 16 15 64 64 6 64 209 226 59 68 3/12 California
Texas Tech 15 14 63 65 8 65 81 27 66 67 3/13 Oklahoma St
Southern Illinois 17 14 66 66 42 66 14 5 51 103 None
California 15 14 65 67 9 67 293 183 58 69 3/12 Washington
Oklahoma St 15 14 69 68 14 68 174 122 64 82 3/13 Texas Tech
Temple 18 12 70 69 82 69 65 26 50 106 3/13 LaSalle/Duquesne
Georgia Tech 14 16 74 70 3 70 27 48 44 112 3/13 Virginia
Rhode Island 21 10 67 71 123 71 260 192 67 77 3/12 Charlotte
Wright St 21 10 71 72 129 72 193 109 61 87 None
Cleveland St 19 12 77 73 96 73 110 45 53 111 None
UAB 22 9 72 74 153 74 252 151 81 64 3/13 Tulsa/E Carolina
 
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