Monday, March 17, 2014

How Should You Fill Out These Brackets?

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in it"

Is there, though?

Picking NCAA tournament winners is harder than finding the Yellow King. Warren Buffet certainly doesn't like your chances. Personally, I like to look at a few numbers before I donate my $5 to whoever picked Louisville because they once visited there. It's surprisingly difficult, though, to find all the stats you want for all the tournament teams in one place.

Until now.

Below are two charts, one with a variety of win-loss splits, the other with a few calculated numbers and also the team mascot included for those that like to take that route. Far be it from me to tell you what will be a good predictor of success in the tournament, but hopefully if you like one particular number or trend, here you can take it and run with it.

All records are from the regular season, conference tournaments not included, unless otherwise noted.

Open Win-Loss Trends in a new window

Download as an Excel and filter the data

Open Numbers & Mascots in a new window

Download as an Excel and filter the data

What does everyone like? Some people throw the Away Record out and look at Home and Neutral only. Others love Away Record as an indicator of ability to handle adversity and execute under pressure. Some people just like to stare at all the numbers until their eyes bleed and then fill the bracket out deliriously.

A few notes on the categories:
  • Assit-to-Turnover ratio is just how many assists a team averages for every 1 turnover it averages. 
  • ESPN's BPI explained here
  • "Last 10" doesn't include conference tournament games, because every conference winner would have a 3-0 or 4-0 run added onto their last 10, and even most at-large teams will have at least one or two wins in their conference tourney. So this category is a snapshot of how a team finished off its regular season in conference. 
  • Mid-majors "Last 10" were pulled on March 4th, when most of those conferences had finished their season but had yet to begin tournament games. If a regular season games seems omitted for any of these teams, my sincerest apologies. 
  • For "As a Favorite" and "As an Underdog", certain schools or conferences might get a "n/a", or only have 3 total games entered between the two categories. Certain leagues or teams don't always get a "line", so the data sometimes just isn't there. 
  • ESPN's BPI and Team ATR were pulled March 14th, so if a team was in a conference semifinal or final the last two nights before Selection Sunday, those games won't be reflected in the number shown. 

Further reading:

-TeamRankings' NCAA Tournament section

-Drew Magary's Idiot's Guide to Bracketology

-Sports Illustrated NCAA Tournament Preview's Tournament Predictions

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Follow FranT on Twitter at @frantweet and follow Brian Kavanaugh at @btkav

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