Thursday, March 14, 2013

Comparisons to Charlie Creme's Bracketology

The penultimate run of the S-Factor changed little from Monday's run since most conference tournament games happened over the weekend.  It should be even less volatile for the last run, excepting Delaware, St. Joseph's, Green Bay, Creighton, and other teams from conferences whose tournaments have not yet been completed.

This is as good a time as any to point out the major differences between the S-Factor and Charlie Creme's bracketology, which has become the industry standard. 

S-Factor: Duquesne in, West Virginia second out
Creme: West Virginia in, Duquesne first out

The S-Factor favors Duquesne due to a better RPI ranking (41 to 52), fewer losses (7 to 13), and conference tournament wins (1 to 0). This outweighs West Virginia's better conference RPI and record against top 50 teams in my model. When weighted against conference RPI, 9-9 in the Big 12  is about equivalent to 11-3 in the Atlantic 10.

S-Factor: 4-seed
Creme: 7-seed

5% of the S-Factor score comes from conference tournament performance. Winning the Big Ten tournament bumped Purdue from a 7-seed to a 4-seed in the S-Factor. Tournament games also bumped SEC-winning Texas A&M from a 5-seed to a 3-seed in the S-Factor, which is where Creme has them.

Michigan State
S-Factor: 5-seed
Creme: 8-seed

The S-Factor has been a little more bullish on Michigan State since February when they beat Purdue, a team high in RPI and low in respect.

S-Factor: 7-seed
Creme: 11-seed

The West Coast Conference is in 7th place out of 31 conferences in terms of RPI, ahead of even the Atlantic 10. It has four teams in the top 75 in RPI and no teams with a strength of schedule in the bottom half of the country, which makes Gonzaga's current 15 game winning streak more impressive than similarly positioned teams like Delaware and Green Bay. That would be my pitch to the selection committee to give Gonzaga the 7-seed rather than a 10- or 11-seed (as a host school it is unlikely to get an 8- or 9-seed because that would involve a 1-seed playing an away game in the second round.).  

Green Bay
S-Factor: 10-seed
Creme: 7-seed

It's hard to feel confident in an evaluation of a team when that team plays few marquee games. An impressive 26-2 record is hedged by the fact that all we really know is that Green Bay is the best team in Wisconsin. 

Texas Tech
S-Factor: 10-seed
Creme: 6-seed

As much as conference RPI plays a role in the S-Factor (and therefore teams in the Big 12, the nations top RPI conference, get a slightly larger boost than other major conferences), a team's RPI  counts for more, as do top 25 and top 50 wins. The entire non-Baylor Big 12 has no non-Iowa State top 25 wins (Iowa State is 22nd in RPI but has been in and out of the top 25 all season).

Texas Tech doesn't even have an Iowa State win. The Red Raiders have a 48th ranked RPI, which is solidly in the  bubble team zone historically.  I'm not saying there's a chance Tech will miss the tournament (a Big 12 team missing the tournament after winning more than 60% of their games would be an outrage). I'm just saying that everything besides conference winning record (three straight losses to unranked opponents, no conference tournament wins, ten losses on the season, soft non-conference schedule coupled with an unimpressive performance, best win all season was against the Big 12's 5th place team) points to a 10-seed or worse (like Gonzaga, Tech is a host school unlikely to be an 8- or 9-seed even if their resume was up to that level)

S-Factor: 12-seed
Creme: 9-seed

I'd like to say Princeton's downfall in the S-Factor was their loss to Harvard, the lone blemish against a dominating Ivy League performance, but it would be untrue: the S-Factor has never had Princeton higher than a 12 seed. Princeton's impressive 26th ranked RPI is offset by the Ivy League's unimpressive 18th (of 31) conference RPI. 

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