Sunday, March 28, 2010

NCAA Tournament Splits

The Final Four is now set. Here is how each participant has performed in the NCAA tournament:

Adj Off - Adj Def - Team
127.7 - 83.0 - Duke
116.1 - 77.5 - West Virginia
114.5 - 80.6 - Butler
121.8 - 96.4 - Michigan St.

Virtually every stat is better than in the regular season. Again, this isn’t a surprise because these teams have been playing good teams and winning. (When Duke puts up those kind of points against a stout Baylor defense, or when Butler holds an impressive Kansas St. offense to that few points, the adjusted stats are going to look great.)

The one notable exception is Michigan St.’s defense which is much worse than in the regular season. Perhaps this is explained by the loss of Kalin Lucas or the injuries to Chris Allen and Delvon Roe. Regardless, if you believe in picking the hot team, don’t be afraid to choose West Virginia and Butler next weekend.

Here are the log5 numbers once again:

Duke and Michigan St. improved their odds by winning, but since the favored teams won both games, the results of “other” games were negative for everyone.

Like many things I do on this blog, the log5 odds tracker has been a bit of an experiment this year. My goal was to separate out each team’s own wins (Self) and how the results of other games impacted the odds (Other). But the problem is that there is a 3rd update to the odds each night. Each night, because of the margin-of-victory and because of results in other games (like the NIT and CBI) each team’s evaluation changes slightly. Thus, as I was flipping over to Ken Pomeroy’s twitter feed, I again noticed that my numbers were out of date. Perhaps I’ll add the 3rd column to the chart next year to reflect changes to the Pythagorean Winning Percentage. This chart used Friday’s Pythagorean Winning Percentage.

Regardless, the whole point is that not only do the pure wins and losses change a team’s odds, the outcomes of games also changed our impressions of various teams. Prior to the tournament, if you had given me a Final Four of Michigan St., Butler, West Virginia, and Duke, I would have said Butler had the least chance of winning:

Duke 58.8%
West Virginia 18.1%
Michigan St. 11.7%
Butler 11.4%
(Odds using pre-tournament Pythagorean Winning Percentage.)

But we did learn something from the outcomes in this tournament. While Butler beat Syracuse and Kansas St. and significantly improved their overall profile, Michigan St. was squeaking by Tennessee and Maryland, and avoided Kansas. Today, the odds say Butler has a better chance of winning it all.

Duke 56.3%
West Virginia 19.4%
Butler 15.3%
Michigan St. 9.0%
(Odds using current Pythagorean Winning Percentage.)

And yes, this can still change between now and Saturday. North Carolina plays in the NIT among other inter-connected results.

Monday Night Viewing

-The wonders of cable channels will never cease. The best of three CBI final will not (as I expected) be played in an empty arena in Wichita, Kansas. Instead it will be televised on HDnet starting Monday night.

-You can also watch Baylor’s Brittney Griner try to earn a Final Four bid in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. In case you’ve missed it, Griner is the rare player who could fill a whole PTI show. At 6’8”, she was a youtube phenom in high school with a parade of crazy dunks. Then she punched a player in a game and was suspended. Now, as a college freshman, she has been carrying her team in the NCAA tournament with her incredible defensive presence in the paint. She has 24 blocks in the last two games including 10 in the upset of 1 seed Tennessee on Saturday. Really, if you are going to watch one Elite Eight game in the Women’s tournament, Baylor vs Duke is the game to watch.

-On the other hand, now would be a good time to stop obsessing about college basketball. My staircase is now partially painted.