What's in a bracket?
NCAA tournament projections weigh a variety of factors: won-loss record, strength of schedule, RPI, wins against quality teams and losses to bad teams.
And that's just for starters. The seeding committee uses most of it as a guideline to determine the 35 best teams after all the automatic bids have been won. That's it. Sometime that means passing over teams with better résumés because of some other factor.
But what if there was a more structured method to their madness? What if they simply had a formula that showed how teams fared against a standard schedule? Did they exceed expectations or fall short? That's where Vegas Watch comes in.
This excellent post tries to sort out the noise from the useful info and comes up with a slightly different take on the field of 65. I say slightly because it's not too different from projections already out there, but there are things to note. I'll let him expain.
I'd also prefer to be able to remove certain games, particularly to judge the resumes of certain teams that were missing their player of the year candidate for a significant stretch.
To solve both these issues, I used the Pomeroy ratings to see what the expected record of a bubble team (I used Old Dominion, which isn't really on the bubble, especially after Monday night's win, but is 34th in Pomeroy, which is what I was looking for) would be against each potential tournament team's full schedule. We can get a baseline winning percentage from that; for example, ODU would be expected to win 75% of their games against Kentucky's schedule.
From there, we can compare UK's actual winning percentage, .935, against that baseline. So the Wildcats' resume comes out as +0.186, 5.8 wins above expectation. I repeated this exercise for 63 teams with tournament aspirations, as well as three additional times: one looking at only Ohio St.'s games with Evan Turner, one looking at Wisconsin only when Leuer played, and a third excluding the one full game Kalin Lucas missed from Michigan St.'s schedule.
So he's adjusting for when teams don't have certain players, how they performed in that time, etc.
His No. 1 seeds: Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Kentucky. No. 2s: Purdue, West Virginia, Ohio State, Villanova. Sounds about right, right? Well, give a look at his 4-11 seeds and note that FSU, Cornell, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech are all higher than most brackets.
I can now think of four schools who might be in favor of tweaking the selection process…
(H/T: Rush the Court)
Mike Miller's also on Twitter, usually talkin' hoops. Click here for more.