March Madness bracket advice, adjusted for 2015

Originally posted on StatsbyLopez:

It’s that time of year again, and while you can go to just about any media outlet for March Madness advice, I’m fairly confident you won’t get most of the stuff that I’m going to write about here. I think that’s a good thing?

As preliminary thoughts, feel free to check out my two posts from last year:

Value and March Madness

What are the actual odds of someone picking a perfect bracket?

Okay, here are some thoughts and general strategies.

1- Your first round choices depend on your scoring system. And maybe even your second round picks, too.

Most pools can generally be separated into one of two categories – those with upset points or those without upset points.

Strangely enough, the vast majority of people entering picks in pools with upset points pick the same way as they would in pools without upset points. This is silly. In upset pools, for example…

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Some NCAATournament Thoughts

Who is going to win this thing?


Teams not named Kentucky most likely to win







Best Double Digit Seeds

Ohio State





Upset watch

Purdue (9) over Cincinnati

Texas (11)  over Butler

UCLA (11) over SMU

Someone (11) over Xavier

Someone (11) over Providence

Ohio State (10) over VCU

Buffalo (12) over Virginia

Valparaiso (13) over Maryland

Georgia State (14) over Baylor

Bold Predictions

All four 11 seeds win in round one.

Utah to the final 4.

Notre Dame lose in the first round.

Most likely Final 4





Stretch Final 4




Iowa State

Crazy Final 4


Ohio State

Michigan State


Best X seed

1 – Kentucky

2 – Arizona

3 – Oklahoma

4 – North Carolina

5 – Utah

6 – SMU

7 – Wichita State

8 – San Diego State

9 – Oklahoma State

10 – Ohio State

11 – Texas

12 – Buffalo

13 – Harvard

14 – Georgia State

15 – New Mexico State

16 – Coastal Carolina

Worst X seed

1 – Villanova

2 – Kansas

3 – Notre Dame

4 – Georgetown

5 – Northern Iowa

6 – Butler

7 – VCU

8 – Cincinnati

9 – St. John’s

10 – Georgia

11 – Boise State

12 – Wofford

13 – Eastern Washington

14 – Albany NY

15 – Texas Southern

16 – Hampton

Some bets

Northeastern +13

Lafayette +23

Harvard +11

Utah -6.5

Arkansas -7.5

Georgetown -7

Louisville -8.5

Oklahoma State +1.5

Oklahoma -13

To win

Ohio State +10000

Texas +10000

Utah +6000

Oklahoma +6500

How did I do predicting the NCAA tournament bracket?

Number of correct teams predicted: 66 out of 68.

Number of correctly seeded teams: 29 out of 68

Number of teams correctly seeded within one seed: 60 out of 68

Teams I had OUT that made it: Cincinnati (9) and Boise State (11)

Teams I had IN that didn’t make it: Stanford and Texas A&M

Biggest discrepancies: Texas (predicted: 8, actual: 11), Xavier (predicted: 9, actual: 6),  Michigan State (predicted: 5, actual: 7), Georgetown (predicted: 6, actual: 4), Ohio State (predicted: 8, actual: 10), Dayton (predicted: 9, actual: 11), San Diego State (predicted: 10, actual: 8), LSU (predicted: 11, actual: 9)

Predicted Seed (Actual Seed)

Team Conf Record Seed
KENTUCKY* sec 33-0 1 (1)
VILLANOVA bigeast 32-2 1 (1)
WISCONSIN* big10 30-3 1 (1)
ARIZONA pac10 31-3 1 (2)
DUKE acc 29-4 2 (1)
VIRGINIA acc 29-3 2 (2)
GONZAGA wcc 32-2 2 (2)
KANSAS big12 26-8 2 (2)
NOTRE DAME acc 29-5 3 (3)
IOWA STATE big12 25-8 3 (3)
LOUISVILLE acc 24-8 3 (4)
NORTH CAROLINA acc 24-11 3 (4)
MARYLAND big10 27-6 4 (4)
OKLAHOMA big12 22-10 4 (3)
BAYLOR big12 24-9 4 (3)
ARKANSAS sec 26-7 4 (5)
UTAH pac10 24-8 5 (5)
MICHIGAN STATE big10 23-10 5 (7)
WEST VIRGINIA big12 23-9 5 (5)
NORTHERN IOWA mvc 30-3 5 (5)
BUTLER bigeast 22-10 6 (6)
WICHITA STATE mvc 28-4 6 (7)
GEORGETOWN bigeast 21-10 6 (4)
IOWA big10 21-11 6 (7)
SMU*  aac 26-6 7 (6)
VA COMMONWEALTH* atlantic10 25-9 7 (7)
OREGON pac10 25-9 7 (8)
PROVIDENCE bigeast 22-11 7 (6)
ST JOHNS bigeast 21-11 8 (9)
OHIO STATE big10 23-10 8 (10)
TEXAS big12 20-13 8 (11)
PURDUE big10 21-12 8 (9)
DAYTON atlantic10 25-7 9 (11)
NC STATE acc 20-13 9 (8)
DAVIDSON atlantic10 24-7 9 (10)
XAVIER bigeast 21-13 9 (6)
BYU wcc 25-9 10 (11)
SAN DIEGO ST mountwest 26-8 10 (8)
GEORGIA sec 21-11 10 (10)
OKLAHOMA STATE big12 18-13 10 (9)
OLE MISS sec 20-12 11 (11)
LSU sec 22-10 11 (9)
STANFORD/INDIANA pac10/big10 19-13 11 (OUT/10)
UCLA/TEXAS A&M pac10/sec 20-13 11 (11/OUT)
STEPHEN F AUSTIN southland 29-4 12 (12)
VALPARAISO  horizon 28-5 12 (13)
BUFFALO mac 23-9 12 (12)
WYOMING mountwest 25-9 12 (12)
HARVARD ivy 22-7 13 (13)
UC IRVINE bigwest 21-12 13 (13)
WOFFORD southern 28-6 13 (12)
GEORGIA ST* sun belt 23-9 13 (14)
 NEW MEXICO STATE  wac 23-10 14 (15)
 NORTHEASTERN  colonial  23-11 14 (14)
EASTERN WASH  big sky  26-8 14 (13)
ALBANY  ameast  24-8 14 (14)
UAB  confusa  19-15 15 (14)
N DAKOTA ST  mcc  23-9 15 (15)
COASTAL CAROLINA  big south  24-9 15 (16)
NORTH FLORIDA  asun  23-11 15 (16)
BELMONT  ovc  22-10 16 (15)
MANHATTAN  maac  19-13 16 (16)
LAFAYETTE/TEXAS SOUTHERN  patriot/swac  20-12/22-12 16 (16/15)
ROBERT MORRIS/HAMPTON  northeast/mideastern  19-14/16-17 16 (16/16)

NCAA basketball week in review

NCAA Tournament Stuff

Here are my updated tournament projections with seedings.  I’ve got Kentucky (obviously), Villanova, Virginia, and Duke as my top 4.

Conference Breakdown

I’m pretty sure this won’t really happen, but if I was selecting the teams for the bracket, I’d take 7 teams from the Big 12 (Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma State).  It’s a really good conference.

Also with 7 teams is the Big Ten (Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, Ohio State, and Indiana).

I’ve got 6 teams each from the Big East (Villanova, Butler, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, and Xavier), SEC (Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss) and ACC (Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Louisville, North Carolina, and NC State).  Though I think the committee is going to have a hard time letting in NC State over Miami, if it let’s either of these teams in at all.

I have the Pac 12 with 5 tournament qualifiers: Arizona, Utah, Oregon, UCLA, and Stanford.  Though Stanford still has quite a bit of work to do in this tournament to be that fifth team.

From the Atlantic 10, I’m taking 3 teams: red hot Davidson, Dayton, and VCU.  Rhode Island is going to be pissed if they get left out, but they don’t have any really good wins.  They are 0-4 against top 50 teams and 0-1 against the top 25.  VCU, however, is 3-3 against the top 50 and 1-2 agains the top 25 including wins over Tennessee, Oregon, Northern Iowa, and Cincinnati.  The Rams haven’t beaten Dayton, Davidson, nor VCU this year.   In fact you have to look really hard to find their best win.  Maybe Richmond? or Nebraska?  It’s really hard to see ANY quality wins on their schedule.

Rounding out the multi-team conferences I have two each from the Mountain West (Boise State and San Diego State), the West Coast (Gonzaga and BYU), and the Missouri Valley (Northern Iowa and Wichita State). Basically everything I read has BYU as a bubble team.  I’m couldn’t disagree with this more.  If they don’t get a bid, I’m going to lose my mind a little bit.  Not only do I have them in, I have them as a 9 seed and ranked 36th.  And don’t just take my word for it, Sagarin has them ranked 34th and Pomeroy has them ranked 29th (that’s one spot AHEAD of Arkansas who is a virtual lock.)  Unfortunately, if you live in the dark ages (like the committee) and you use the RPI, they are ranked 44th, which does put them on the bubble.

Good Weeks

Davidson has now won 8 in a row and this last week they beat VCU and Duquesne to take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10.  I’ve got Davidson as an 8 seed right now (I had them as an 11 seed last week), but if they keep winning a 6 or 7 seed could reasonably happen.

NC State won both of it’s games this week over Clemson and the Syracuse Orange Cheaters.  They finish with a record of 19-12 and 10-8 in the ACC.  As long as nothing disastrous happens in their tournament, I think they are in. Last week I had them as a 12 seed, but I’ve moved them up to a 9 seed.  This jump has a lot more to do with teams ahead of them falling (e.g. LSU, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Indiana) than them doing something impressive.

Oregon won last Sunday at Stanford in a game that both teams really needed. Add in a win this week against Oregon State and that equals Oregon moving up to a 7 seed from a 9 seed where they were last weekend.

Other teams that moved up at least one seed this week include Iowa State, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Ohio State, Iowa, Providence, Texas, Xavier, San Diego State, and UCLA.

Bad weeks

Stanford, unlike Oregon, did not have a good week.  Last Sunday they lost at home to Oregon and since then have lost two more games.  Since then, they have also lost to Arizona and Arizona State.  Losing to Arizona isn’t that big of a deal, but they absolutely had to have that win over Arizona State.  This all leads to a 3 game losing streak.  It is not a good time to be riding a 3 game losing streak. They are also 2-5 in their last 7 games.  Not a good look if you’re trying to get into the tournament.  Last week I had Stanford as an 8 seed, but I’ve dropped them all the way to 11 and are one of the last 4 in.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the committee leaves them out.

I dropped Oklahoma State down to an 11 seed from a 9 seed.  They beat TCU this week and lost to West Virginia.  Realistically, I don’t see the committee taking a team that is 8-10 in conference and 18-12 overall.  This team is somewhat of an enigma.  On the one hand they beat Kansas once and Baylor twice, but they also lost to TCU and Texas Tech.   I don’t know what the committee will do with that.

LSU got a big win over Arkansas yesterday, but any gain from that win is over shadowed by their home loss to Tennessee on Wednesday.  The Vols are 7-11 in conference and 15-15 overall.  That’s a bad March loss.  I dropped LSU down two seeds to a 10.

Purdue lost to Ohio State and Michigan State this week leaving them at 12-6 in conference and 20-11 overall.  I had Purdue as high as a 6 seed, but I’ve knocked them down to an 8 after back to back losses.

Other teams that fell at least one seed this week included Wichita State, SMU, VCU, Georga, Ole Miss, and Indiana.