Friday, March 18, 2011

Bracketology-ology: a Report Card

Selection Monday revealed that the selection committee this year was a little bit more closely aligned with RPI than in years past. Unlike last year's at-large picks of UA Little Rock and UW Green Bay (two teams that received automatic bids this year), there weren't any teams selected that one could really argue were long shots. The team with the lowest RPI selected for an at-large bid was Purdue (49).

So how did the S-Factor stack up this year to the experts?

The S-Factor missed only three teams this year (Dayton, Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt), which isn't too bad. But of course total number of teams in the tournament is only part of the mission of the S-Factor.

The S-Factor was better at predicting seeds than any other predictor, human or computer. Charlie Creme, ESPN's legendary bracketologist, correctly predicted the seeds of 31 teams, but the S-Factor did him one better with 32.

Other metrics of comparison are shown in the tables below. There were 21 predictions that I could find this year. I assigned a point total to each prediction corresponding to its ranking for each category. The point system works similar to the AP poll: the first place prediction gets 21 points, the second gets 20, and so on. These points were then tallied to determine an overall bracketology champion, shown at the end of this post.

The 21 bracket predictions are as follows:

1. Rating Percentage Index. Compiled by Jerry Palm.
2. Jeff Sagarin ratings; a synthesis of the ELO CHESS and PURE POINTS models. Compiled by Jim Sukup.
3. Sagarin ELO CHESS (see above)
4. Sagarin PURE POINTS PREDICTOR (see above)
5. Kenneth Massey's ratings
6. Stephen Jens
7. Sonny Moore's computer power rankings
8. Cody Kirkpatrick's ratings using David Wilson's method (
9. Sportheory
10. - RPI rankings (which differ from Palm's)
11. - power rankings
12. pilight's points only - pilight's field of 64 model without the exceptions, such as for teams that are sub .500 in conference
13. Warren Nolan's power index
14. The S-Factor

Actual bracket predictions:

15. Charlie Creme
16. Jerry Palm
17. pilight's field of 64
18. RealTimeRPI's bracket
19. my bracket prediction

Polls - including the additional votes

20. AP poll
21. ESPN Coaches poll

Metric 1: predicted teams that actually made the tournament:

1RealTime RPI (RPI)6398.4%21
2College Women's Hoops official bracket6296.9%20
2Jerry Palm6296.9%20
2RPI (Palm)6296.9%20
5Charlie Crème6195.3%17
5RealTime RPI bracket6195.3%17
5College Women's Hoops S-Factor6195.3%17
5Ken Massey6195.3%17
5pilight points only6195.3%17
10pilight's field of 646093.8%12
10Sagarin ELO Chess6093.8%12
10Cody Kirkpatrick (
14Stephen Jens5992.2%8
14Sonny Moore5992.2%8
17RealTime RPI (Power)5890.6%5
17Sagarin Pure Points 5890.6%5
19Warren Nolan5585.9%3
naAP pollnana0
naESPN/Coaches pollnana0

Metric 2: predicted teams correctly seeded (entire field)

1College Women's Hoops S-Factor3250.0%21
2Charlie Crème3148.4%20
3College Women's Hoops official bracket2945.3%19
5Jerry Palm2843.8%17
5Ken Massey2843.8%17
5Sagarin ELO Chess2843.8%17
5Stephen Jens2843.8%17
9Cody Kirkpatrick (
10RealTime RPI (RPI)2539.1%12
10RPI (Palm)2539.1%12
12pilight points only2437.5%10
14Sonny Moore2132.8%8
15Sagarin Pure Points 1929.7%7
16pilight's field of 641828.1%6
17ESPN/Coaches poll1523.4%5
17RealTime RPI bracket1523.4%5
17RealTime RPI (Power)1523.4%5
20AP poll1218.8%2
20Warren Nolan1218.8%2

Metric 3: predicted teams seeded within one seed of actual result (entire field)

1College Women's Hoops official bracket5687.5%21
2Charlie Crème5484.4%20
3Cody Kirkpatrick (
4College Women's Hoops S-Factor5179.7%18
4Sagarin ELO Chess5179.7%18
6Jerry Palm5078.1%16
7Ken Massey4671.9%15
7RPI (Palm)4671.9%15
9RealTime RPI (RPI)4570.3%13
9RealTime RPI bracket4570.3%13
12Sagarin Pure Points 4367.2%10
14pilight points only4164.1%8
14pilight's field of 644164.1%8
16Stephen Jens3960.9%6
17Sonny Moore3656.3%5
18RealTime RPI (Power)3148.4%4
19AP poll2945.3%3
20Warren Nolan2742.2%2
21ESPN/Coaches poll2234.4%1

Metric 4: predicted teams correctly seeded (top 12 seeds)

1Charlie Crème2654.2%21
2College Women's Hoops S-Factor2347.9%20
2College Women's Hoops official bracket2347.9%20
4Ken Massey2245.8%18
6Jerry Palm2143.8%16
6Sagarin ELO Chess2143.8%16
6Stephen Jens2143.8%16
6Cody Kirkpatrick (
10RPI (Palm)1939.6%12
11RealTime RPI (RPI)1837.5%11
11pilight points only1837.5%11
14ESPN/Coaches poll1531.3%8
15Sonny Moore1429.2%7
16Sagarin Pure Points 1327.1%6
17pilight's field of 641225.0%5
17AP poll1225.0%5
19RealTime RPI bracket1122.9%3
19RealTime RPI (Power)1122.9%3
21Warren Nolan816.7%1

Metric 5: Predicted teams within one seed of actual result (top 12 seeds)

1College Women's Hoops official bracket4287.5%21
2Charlie Crème4083.3%20
2Cody Kirkpatrick (
4College Women's Hoops S-Factor3879.2%18
4Sagarin ELO Chess3879.2%18
6Jerry Palm3675.0%16
7Ken Massey3368.8%15
7RPI (Palm)3368.8%15
7RealTime RPI (RPI)3368.8%15
7RealTime RPI bracket3368.8%15
13pilight points only3164.6%9
13pilight's field of 643164.6%9
15Sagarin Pure Points 3062.5%7
16AP poll2960.4%6
17Stephen Jens2858.3%5
18Sonny Moore2756.3%4
19ESPN/Coaches poll2245.8%3
20RealTime RPI (Power)1939.6%2
21Warren Nolan1837.5%1

Metric 6: predicted teams correctly seeded (top 6 seeds)

1College Women's Hoops official bracket1770.8%21
1Charlie Crème1770.8%21
3Ken Massey1666.7%19
3Stephen Jens1666.7%19
5RPI (Palm)1562.5%17
7Sagarin ELO Chess1458.3%15
7Jerry Palm1458.3%15
9ESPN/Coaches poll1354.2%13
10College Women's Hoops S-Factor1250.0%12
10Sonny Moore1250.0%12
12RealTime RPI (RPI)1145.8%10
12AP poll1145.8%10
15Cody Kirkpatrick (
15pilight points only1041.7%7
15pilight's field of 641041.7%7
15RealTime RPI (Power)1041.7%7
19RealTime RPI bracket833.3%3
19Sagarin Pure Points 833.3%3
21Warren Nolan729.2%1

Metric 7: predicted teams seeded within one seed of actual result (top 6 seeds)

1College Women's Hoops official bracket24100.0%21
1Charlie Crème24100.0%21
3Sagarin ELO Chess2395.8%19
3Jerry Palm2395.8%19
3AP poll2395.8%19
6College Women's Hoops S-Factor2291.7%16
6RealTime RPI (RPI)2291.7%16
6Cody Kirkpatrick (
9RPI (Palm)2187.5%13
11pilight points only2083.3%11
11pilight's field of 642083.3%11
11RealTime RPI bracket2083.3%11
14Ken Massey1979.2%8
16Stephen Jens1875.0%6
16ESPN/Coaches poll1875.0%6
18RealTime RPI (Power)1770.8%4
18Sagarin Pure Points 1770.8%4
20Sonny Moore1666.7%2
21Warren Nolan1458.3%1


The overall winner? My bracket guess! Bested Charlie Creme by 3 points.

And once again, the College Women's Hoops S-Factor beats all other computer predictions.

Bracketology-ology Final Summary

rankmetric no.--->1234567sum of pts
1College Women's Hoops official bracket20192120212121143
2Charlie Crème17202021202121140
3College Women's Hoops S-Factor17211820181216122
4Jerry Palm20171616161519119
5Sagarin ELO Chess12171816181519115
6Ken Massey1717151815198109
7RPI (Palm)20121512151713104
8Cody Kirkpatrick (
10RealTime RPI (RPI)2112131115101698
11Stephen Jens817616519677
12pilight points only1710811971173
14RealTime RPI bracket1751331531167
15pilight's field of 6412685971158
16Sonny Moore8857412246
17AP poll02356101945
18Sagarin Pure Points 5710673442
19ESPN/Coaches poll0518313636
20RealTime RPI (Power)554327430
21Warren Nolan322111111

Monday, March 14, 2011

Final 2011 S-Factor

The final College Women's Hoops S-Factor is now up. I can assure you it will not be 64 for 64 this year. Old Dominion leaped back up into the predicted at-large bids due to James Madison poking into the top 25 of RPI rankings, and thus giving ODU another top 25 win, which was just enough to give them the second-to-last at-large spot in the S-Factor despite their abyssmal RPI (70th).

The most likely team to replace them will be Vanderbilt. The Commodores never quite impressed this season, but their 30th RPI combined with the fact that they went 10-6 in the SEC conference ought to be enough to assure them a spot in the field.

There will likely be a few other replacements between the S-Factor's predicted brackets and the actual brackets to be announced tonight, but Old Dominion-for-Vanderbilt is one I'm 99.9% positive about.


Now in: Old Dominion
Now out: Arizona

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 4
PAC-10: 3
Atlantic 10: 2
Conference USA: 2
WAC: 2
Colonial: 2

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Final Bracket Guess

The final bracket guess is up on the Bracket Prediction page.

Penultimate S-Factor

The penultimate College Women's Hoops S-Factor is up. It includes all the correct automatic bids and only lacks the final RPI numbers for the season.


Now in: Prairie View A&M, Fresno State, Hartford, Montana, Gardner Webb, Utah, UC Davis, Central Florida, Bowling Green
Now out: Southern U, Boston U, Northern Colorado, Cal Poly, Liberty, BYU, Toledo, TCU, Old Dominion

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 4
PAC-10: 4
Atlantic 10: 2
Conference USA: 2
WAC: 2

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11 Bracket Prediction

There's a new bracket prediction up. It takes into account Friday afternoon's upsets of Toledo, BYU and Houston.

The final bracket prediction will probably be up on Monday morning.

Pac 10 Tournament Chances

The Pac 10 tournament is down to the semifinals. Arizona will face top seeded Stanford, while California will face second seeded UCLA. As for the Pac 10's third and fifth seeds, they lost last night. Layshia Clarendon of California had 46% of her teams points (22) as the Bears beat third-seeded Arizona State 48-43. Senior Ify Ibekwe got a double-double and was one of three Wildcats to score in double figures as Arizona took down USC 72-61.

The rest of the Pac 10's tournament prospects break down like this. Most bracketologists put Stanford in the tournament as a No. 1 seed and UCLA in as a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.

The third place finisher in the regular season, Arizona State, has looked really bad recently. But it would be hard to deny a team that finished 11-7 in conference with an RPI of 39 and a victory over DePaul earlier in the season, despite the fact that in three of their last five games they have been unable to score more than 50 points.

USC has had a relatively high RPI for most of the season, but the glory days of 2010 led to a disappointing conference season in 2011. And 10-8 in the Pac 10 is about equivalent to 7-9 in the Big 12. They needed to at least get to the semis to have a decent shot at the NCAA Tournament.

California, at 7-11 in conference, lost way too many games that they should have won, and so an at-large bid is probably not in their future.

Three teams may be all the Pac 10 gets. But the College Women's Hoops S-Factor now puts Arizona in the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid for the first time since January 6, 63 days ago! (Check the chart out). No other team with a predicted at-large bid even comes close in terms of most time spent below the at-large line after having been above the line previously (Kansas State's 38 days in purgatory is second). And of all the non-Stanford, non-UCLA teams in conference, Arizona has had the best run over the last month, winning eight out of their last nine games. Which is a huge turnaround from having gone 2-7 in the nine games previous to that. They are peaking at exactly the right time.


Now in: Arizona
Now out: Southern California

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 4
PAC-10: 4
Atlantic 10: 2
Colonial: 2
Mountain West: 2

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Host Schools and the Mountain West Tournament

In the Mountain West tournament, there are four teams remaining: conference leader BYU, conference contender TCU, and New Mexico and Utah. If there was a pre-season poll picking the top four in the Mountain West, these teams would probably have been on that list. But New Mexico and Utah have already had to win two games in the staggered-format Mountain West tournament just to get to this point.

Utah, the 5-seed in the Mountain West tournament, is 14-16 this year (7-9 in conference). New Mexico, the 7-seed, is 13-17 and only won five conference games heading into the tournament.

Needless to say, both teams are ineligible for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

But both teams play host to NCAA first and second round games this year. It is common now to have host teams that don't make the NCAA tournament, but the relative geographic isolation of these two schools makes for a real problem in terms of attendance. By comparison the first and second round host site at the University of Virginia, another host school that will not get an at-large bid to the tournament, has the potential to draw a few teams within a couple hundred miles of the site: Hampton, Liberty, Georgetown, West Virginia, Navy, maybe some North Carolina teams. The nearest likely tournament eligible team to Albuquerque is probably Texas Tech, 320 miles away. And besides BYU, the next nearest likely tournament eligible team to Salt Lake City is probably Northern Colorado at nearly 500 miles. And it's not like Bears fans are known for traveling in large numbers for long distances.

But what luck for tournament organizers should New Mexico win the MWC Tournament! A home game for one of the best-attended sites in women's basketball would mean the potential for profit. Even in this less-than-stellar year for the Lady Lobos, the Pit has not hosted a game attended by fewer than 7,000 people. Now all that New Mexico has to do is win two more games...


Now in: (same as yesterday)
Now out: (same as yesterday)

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 4
PAC-10: 4
Atlantic 10: 2
Colonial: 2
Mountain West: 2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Small Conference Power Teams

Ain't it funny how the teams from small conferences that always get into the tournament ... always get into the tournament? The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are in the tournament once more despite finishing four games behind conference regular season champ Oral Roberts. South Dakota State beat Oakland in the Summit League championship last night 61-54.

But maybe the perception that power teams from small conferences always get into the tournament ... is merely a perception. UC Santa Barbara has gone to the NCAA tournament for 11 out of the last 14 years. The Gauchos came into the Big West tournament as the top seed. In tournaments past, the top seed would get a two round bye and would only need to win two games in order to win the tournament, like how the Mountain West Conference and the West Coast Conference do it. This year the Big West tournament went back to a more traditional structure where the winner would need three wins regardless of seeding. Unfortunately for UC Santa Barbara, they would not even get one win, as the 8th-seeded Pacific Tigers took the Gauchos out of the tournament early.

And in other conference tournaments, Connecticut was able to wrap up the top #1 seed in the NCAA tournament by beating Notre Dame last night in the Big East tournament championship.


Now in: South Dakota State
Now out: Oakland

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 4
PAC-10: 4
Atlantic 10: 2
Colonial: 2
Mountain West: 2

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Will Middle Tennessee Get Left Out?

With the exception of the Ivy League, regular seasons are now all over, and many conference tournaments have already concluded. We've already had some conference tournament upsets and at least one spectacular half-court game-winning buzzer-beater (Stetson). But we've also had teams crushing all conference opposition (Marist, Gonzaga).

But Middle Tennessee State isn't among the winners this week. The team is still mourning the loss of Tina Stewart, their junior guard who got stabbed to death by her roommate. The Blue Raiders lost in the first round of the Sun Belt tournament to Arkansas State 72-66. In ordinary situations, Middle Tennessee State would be at risk of being left out of the NCAA tournament with a resumé like theirs (RPI 46, 14-2 in the Sun Belt conference, best wins are James Madison and Kansas State). But I think they have a good chance of landing an at-large bid this year, in part because the selection committee is made up of humans with hearts rather than computers with cold hard data.


Now in: Boston University, TCU, Southern Cal, Samford, UT-Martin, Oakland, Stetson
Now out: UMBC, Duquesne, Vanderbilt, Appalachian State, Tennessee Tech, Oral Roberts, East Tennessee State

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 4
PAC-10: 4
Atlantic 10: 2
Colonial: 2
Mountain West: 2

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's March: Bubbles are Already A-Poppin'

Sometimes the bubble just takes care of itself.

The beginning of the major conferences' tournaments occured last night with the start of the ACC, Big Ten and SEC tournaments. While the top teams all had byes, many bubble teams had the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of NCAA tournament inclusion. And of those teams, many that were on the backside of the bubble to begin with played their way right out of contention.

In the ACC, Boston College was likely not going to be seventh team in the conference to get a bid, but the Eagles sealed their own fate by losing to upstarts N.C. State 71-70.

In the Big Ten, Wisconsin, a team whose conference record was tied for third best in conference but had a miserable non-conference season and craptacular RPI, lost to the worst team in the Big Ten, Illinois, 63-56.

In the SEC, Arkansas was a team opposite of Wisconsin; that is, a team whose non-conference season was stellar, but only managed to win 6 out of 16 games in the SEC. The Razorbacks popped their own bubble for good by losing to Florida 68-59.

All three of these games were upsets that showed why Boston College, Wisconsin and Arkansas were considered outsiders to the NCAA tournament to begin with. Arkansas coach Tom Collen stated that the Razorbacks "are going to benefit from games like this somewhere down the line." The only remaining stops down the line (besides a Tarheel-style pre-tournament tune-up game against SIU-Edwardsville) are in the WNIT.


Ooh, let's add Michigan to this list. Illinois up and beat the Wolverines this afternoon.

Now in: Vanderbilt, Old Dominion
Now out: Michigan, Arkansas

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 5
SEC: 5
PAC-10: 3
Atlantic 10: 3
Colonial: 2

Thursday, March 3, 2011

K-State Finally Wins an Important Game

The penultimate round of regular season games in the Big 12 featured a surprise upset from Bramlage Coliseum: Kansas State gave Texas A&M their only non-Baylor loss of the regular season by beating the Aggies 71-67. And while it was senior night, the star of the game was sophomore Brittany Chambers who scored a career-high 35 points, the most for a Wildcat in a single game since Nicole Ohlde in 2000.

The huge win rocketed the Wildcats up into tournament contention according to the College Women's Hoops S-Factor, which now shows Kansas State in as a #9 seed. Next up for the Wildcats is a winnable game at Kansas on Saturday and the chance to go to a hard-to-deny record of 10-6 in conference, followed by what's likely to be a date with the worst team in the league, Nebraska, to open the Big 12 tournament. Kansas State should now be able to control their own tournament destiny by simply winning the games they should win, something that K-State has done quite well in conference season.

For Texas A&M, the loss meant the drop of one position in the S-Factor, but in reality it just means that their predicted #2 seed is not to be taken for granted. A first-round loss in the Big 12 tournament could result in the loss of that #2 seed.


Now in: Kansas State, Texas
Now out: Vanderbilt, Kansas

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
Big 12: 7
ACC: 6
Big Ten: 6
SEC: 5
PAC-10: 3
Atlantic 10: 3

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Unusual Night in the Big East

The Big East wrapped up its regular season last night, and what a finale it was! The highly-predictable, highly-stratified Big East experienced its first real bout of entropy of the season. South Florida (2-13 in conference before the game) beat 17th-ranked Georgetown. Cincinnati (1-14 in conference before the game) beat 20th-ranked Marquette. These were the margins of victory in five of the eight Big East games last night: 1, 2, 2, 3, 5.

One game that was not close was West Virginia's win over St. John's, 69-49. One day after dropping out of the AP rankings, and two days after head coach Mike Carey got T-ed up berating a female referee, the Mountaineers finally grabbed a win against a somewhat decent opponent and made it to 8-8 in conference (although they still only have three wins in their last ten games). They had a great run to start the season, and I think they did just enough in conference to keep their spot in the NCAA tournament, although a first round loss to Cincinnati would put that spot in jeopardy. The College Women's Hoops S-Factor puts West Virginia in as a 7-seed.


Now in: Kansas
Now out: Old Dominion

Conferences with multiple bids:
Big East: 10
ACC: 6
SEC: 6
Big Ten: 6
Big 12: 6
PAC-10: 3
Atlantic 10: 3