Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 NCAA Bracket - Sweet 16 and Elite 8: Pomeroy + LRMC (ESPN Second Chance)

After the dust settles on the first (second) and second (third) rounds, I always go back and see how my KenPom OE/DE and LRMC profiles held up, and see how teams are trending.

If you followed my picks, you'll see that all of my Elite 8 teams are still alive! To read the "Change" numbers, if a team has a "Positive (+)" change, it means they improved their OE or DE, and vice versa.



A few items of note:

If you're partaking in ESPN's Second Chance Bracket, here would be my updated recommendations (note my only change to my own bracket would be ND over WSU):
  • East
    • Louisville over NC State
    • Michigan State over Oklahoma
      • Louisville over Michigan State (The Spartan's FTs scare me...)
  • West
    • Wisconsin over North Carolina
    • Arizona over Xavier
      • Arizona over Wisconsin
  • Midwest
    • Kentucky over West Virginia
    • Notre Dame over Wichita State (The size of ND with their outside shooting gets it done.)
      • Kentucky over Notre Dame
  • South
    • Duke over Utah
    • Gonzaga over UCLA
      • Duke over Gonzaga (Jalil Okafor)
  • Final Four
    • Kentucky over Arizona
    • Duke over Louisville
  • National Championship
    • Kentucky over Duke (69 - 64)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 NCAA Final Bracket: Picks & Thoughts (Part 6)

It's long overdue, but here's the bracket...

Items of note:

  • Sweet 16 Sleepers: NC State, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas
  • Elite 8 and Final 4 Sleeper: Louisville
Random thoughts:
  • Louisville will make me look like a genius or an idiot. My initial gut said Louisville was the play, but I changed it to have Northern Iowa in the Elite 8, only to change it back last second. I'm going to give the benefit of the tourney experience doubt that they get it together to make a run.
  • Virginia is out of contention in my opinion due to the unknown of the Anderson injury.  See Joel Embiid of last year... (Yes I know I made Virginia an Elite 8 lock, but with no better news on Anderson, I can't justify it.)
  • I originally had Notre Dame and Iowa State in the Elite 8, but I couldn't justify both of their non-Pomeroy+LRMC friendly profiles.  Also, I think those teams are getting a lot more visibility given they won their conference tourneys. 
  • I won't be surprised if UNC knocks off the Badgers.  The Tar Heels would be the first team they've faced that I think could put them in a hole by half-time and then keep the defensive pressure up on the three-point line to not let them back in it.
  • Only one expert picked Kansas in the Elite 8. Both Wichita and Kansas have a top Pomeroy + LRMC profile, but I'm leaning on the experts who favor the Shockers.
  • Just like last year when I noted that I thought the tourney would unfold like the one in 2011, I think this one will likely resemble the one of 2012 when Kentucky rolled through the field.












In the mean time, check out my other posts about the 2015 Bracket here:


Overall Bracket Strategy & Insights

How to Spot National Champion Candidates

Find the Best Elite 8 Candidates with Advances Stats (KenPom + LRMC)

Expert Bracket Picks from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC, CBS, USA Today and Bleacher Report

2015 Bracket Picks: Elite 8 Deep Sleepers (Part 5)





Last year was the first time I posted anything about deep sleepers.  Of the seven teams I identified, three of them ended up as Sweet 16 teams, with two advancing to the Elite 8.  Those teams were Baylor, Stanford and Dayton.  Here's a link to last year's post.


Unfortunately there isn't an obvious answer to even a short list of teams, given that 11 qualify based on the metrics used to identify candidates.




Despite strong OEs, I'm going to cut Indiana and Davidson because their DE is just too atrocious to overlook, down to 9. I'm going to cut Buffalo, Boise St, Oklahoma St, and Purdue because of higher LRMC ranks, their OE rating being on the higher end and their DE rating being nothing special, down to 5.


Iowa, Providence, NC State, Mississippi and Stephen F. Austin would be my best bets for Elite 8 deep sleepers.  I think for sure at least 2 of these teams make the Sweet 16, and in my opinion it's most likely SFA and Iowa based on bracket path.


It should be noted that with both Texas and BYU have a pretty strong profiles for 11 seeds, and could just as easily fall into the Deep Sleeper bucket. However, since they were each a top 30 in LRMC they were captured in that analysis.  


You check out my other posts about the 2015 Bracket here:

Overall Bracket Strategy & Insights

How to Spot National Champion Candidates

Find the Best Elite 8 Candidates with Advances Stats (KenPom + LRMC)



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2015 Bracket: Expert Picks (CBS, USA Today, SI, ESPN, NBC and Bleacher Report) (Part 4)



What I do is aggregate the picks of the top college basketball minds of ESPN, SI, Yahoo! and CBS. This is often very useful when trying to make some of the coin flip decisions of 8/9, 7/10 and 5/12 match-ups.

Highlights:
  • Total Expert Brackets: 21
  • First Round:
    • Upsets (Majority of picks for lower seeded team): Purdue, Buffalo, Texas, BYU, E. Washington (First consensus 14 seed upset), and Davidson.
    • Each of these teams received all 21 expert picks: Notre Dame, Wichita St., North Carolina, and Iowa St.
  • Elite Eight Match-ups (Based on majority of picks): 
    • Kentucky vs Notre Dame
    • Villanova vs Virginia
    • Wisconsin vs Arizona
    • Duke vs Gonzaga (Zags received tie-break vs ISU due to more Final 4 picks)
  • Final Four: 
    • Kentucky vs Arizona
    • Villanova vs Duke
  • Championship: Kentucky over Duke (The last couple of times a team was as overwhelmingly a favorite according to the expert picks, it was Louisville (2013) and Kentucky (2012)



2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket Expert Picks ESPN CNN Sports Illustrated NBC USA Today Bleacher Report



Links to the all of the expert brackets used:





**** Here is a link to last year's post for reference of how it all comes together. ****

In the mean time, check out my other posts about the 2015 Bracket here:

Overall Bracket Strategy & Insights

How to Spot National Champion Candidates

Find the Best Elite 8 Candidates with Advances Stats (KenPom + LRMC)





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2015 NCAA Bracket Picks: Pomeroy + LRMC Sokol = Elite 8 (Part 3)



The long and short of it, I combine Ken Pomeroy's and Joel Sokol's advanced stats to find teams with the right profile of an Elite 8 team.

There is a certain profile that Elite 8 teams have when looking at their composition of Ken Pomeroy's offensive and defensive efficiency (OE & DE), as well as the LRMC model.  

In the last three years I've posted on the blog, this model has helped me pick 15 of the 24 Elite 8 teams
, and I was 9 for 11 on the teams I identified as my most confident picks. 

Here is what an ideal candidate profile looks like:

  • LRMC ranking of 30 or less
  • OE and DE rankings of 40 or less
Each of the teams who fit that profile are highlighted in green.  As an update to the ranking this year, I have added teams from year's past that had a similar to the teams this year:

* Edit: Please note Michigan State should be a yellow highlight because their DE is above 40, but below 60 *

2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket Picks KenPom Pomeroy LRMC Joel Sokol



Applying the info above to a bracket, here's my first take on the Elite 8 picks based on the profiles (Please note that my final bracket may have alternate picks due to further analysis):

Midwest: Kentucky (1) & Notre Dame (3)

South: Duke (1) & Iowa St (3)  I couldn't give it to the Zags because Iowa and Davidson both have Deep Sleeper profiles

West: Wisconsin (1) & Baylor (3) The Baylor pick is purely based on the historical success of the profile

East: Louisville (4) & Virginia (2) On paper Nova looks like the safe pick, but I believe their profile is inflated due to their schedule

I know, I know, three 1 seeds in my mix of most confident picks... 



Here is a link to last year's analysis

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Pick the 2015 NCAA Tournament Champion: Top 10 Stats - (Part 2)

2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket National Champion Picks



Here's the criteria I look at when reviewing the candidates for a NCAA Tournament Champion:
  1. First, the champion has been a 1, 2, or 3 seed for 31 of the last 36 years (86%), so that narrows it down to 12 teams.  
  2. From there, the past 13 National Champions have finished in the top 10 in at least one of the stat categories listed below. I use ESPN's stats, and that's as far back they post stats. Overlap those two and you get the list of teams highlighted in green for who you should consider for your championship pick:
Find 2015 NCAA National Champion with Top 10 Stats

Reviewing the stats, I'm not buying Gonzaga's overload of top 10's given they just dominate a mid-major conference. 

IMO: It's the obvious play based on an undefeated season, but I think this just solidifies Kentucky as the National Champion pick.

FWIW: Texas, as an 11 seed, with two top 10 stat rankings appears to have the  most UConn-like profile (26 LRMC, 80 OE + 11 DE, two top 10 stat ranks) when you factor in their OE rank of 42 + DE rank of 19 and an LRMC of 21. 


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2015 Bracket Picks Strategy: Pomeroy, LRMC, Stats & Experts (Part 1)

2015 NCAA Tournament Bracket Picks Strategy


Welcome back to the fourth year of my NCAA Basketball bracket analysis. 

If you're just checking the blog out for the first time, my basic strategy is to simplify the advanced stats from sources such as Ken Pomery and Joel Sokolexpert picks and on-going stats trends


Here are my 2014 Bracket Pick Results:
  • National Champion: 0/1
  • Championship Match-up: 0/2
  • Final Four: 1/4 (#WouldaCouldaShoulda on the Badgers)
  • Elite Eight: 5/8 (Included Kentucky!)
  • Sweet 16: 11/16 (Dayton and Stanford both qualified as Deep Sleepers, but I didn't pick them.) 

Here are the details from my original 2012 bracket strategy post with the key metrics I track...

Updating the Ken Pomeroy + LRMC + Elite 8 numbers through 2014
Elite 8 ranking trends of Pomeroy's and Sokol's numbers...

OE/DE Profiles of Elite 8 teams since 2003:


  • All 96 teams have had at least one OE or DE rank less than 60
  • 93 of 96 teams had a pre-tournament OE less than 60
  • 86 of 96 teams had a pre-tournament DE less than 60
Pre-tournament stats over the past six years (2009 - 2014):
    • National Champions Averages: 20 OE and 15 DE (The OE is now greatly skewed by UConn's OE of 80 last year. Without UConn it is an average of 8.)
    • Final Four Teams Averages: 27 OE and 27 DE (No change from last year.)
    • Elite Eight Teams Averages: 25 OE and 31 DE
    • 30 teams (63%) featured an OE and DE equal or less than 40

LRMC Highlights over past six years of Elite 8 teams:


  • 41 of 48 (85%) teams had ranking lower than 25 (2014: UConn 26, Dayton 50)
  • 44 of 48 teams had ranking lower than 30
  • 21 of 24 Final Four teams had rankings lower than 25
  • National Champions Average: 9 (The 2011 and 2014 UConn teams increase this average significantly at an 18 and 26 ranking respectively.)
  • Final Four Teams Average: 16
  • Elite Eight Teams Average: 15

Top 10 Stats Rank for National Champ Pick
The good news for this theory is that UConn was top 10 in FT% and Blocks/Game, however, given they were a 7 seed, they weren't identified as true candidate.


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