Team Comparison


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Expert Predictions

Let's take a look at how the college basketball experts have fared over the years ...


(Click table headers to sort)
Name Company Year No. Elite Eight Correct No. Final Four Correct No. Final Two Correct Overall Winner Correct
Bing Bing Predicts 2017 Villanova, Arizona, Louisville, Kentucky Villanova
Jay Bilas ESPN 2017 UNC, Duke, Louisville, Arizona UNC
Myron Medcalf ESPN 2017 Villanova, Gonzaga, Oregon, UCLA Gonzaga
Dana O'Neil ESPN 2017 Gonzaga, Villanova, Louisville, UCLA Villanova
Joe Lunardi ESPN 2017 Gonzaga, Kentucky, Louisville, Villanova Gonzaga
Jeff Goodman ESPN 2017 Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA Kansas
Jay Williams ESPN 2017 Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UNC Duke
Andy Katz ESPN 2017 Kansas, UCLA, Villanova, Gonzaga Gonzaga
Jerry Palm CBS Sports 2017 Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Arizona Duke
Matt Norlander CBS Sports 2017 Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA Kansas
Dennis Dodd CBS Sports 2017 Villanova, Louisville, UNC, Arizona Arizona
Gary Parrish CBS Sports 2017 Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, UCLA UCLA
Chip Patterson CBS Sports 2017 Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UNC Kansas
Stephen Oh SportsLine 2017 Unknown Unknown
Jeff Eisenberg Yahoo Sports 2017 Duke, Kansas, UNC, Arizona Duke
Henry Bushnell Yahoo Sports 2017 Duke, Notre Dame, Kansas, UCLA Kansas
Malika Andrews Yahoo Sports 2017 Duke, Gonzaga, Louisville, UNC Duke
Matt Fortuna Yahoo Sports 2017 Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA Duke
Bing Bing Predicts 2016 3 Kansas, Duke, UNC, Virginia 1 N
Seth Davis Sports Illustrated 2016 N/A 0 0 N
Pete Thamel Sports Illustrated 2016 N/A Mich St, Kansas, Oklahoma, UNC 2 UNC
Dennis Dodd CBS Sports 2016 N/A 1 0 N
Jerry Palm CBS Sports 2016 N/A 2 1 UNC
Gary Parrish CBS Sports 2016 N/A 2 0 No
Andy Katz ESPN 2016 N/A 1 0 N
Dana O'Neil ESPN 2016 N/A 3 N/A N/A
Dick Vitale ESPN 2016 N/A 1 0 N
Jay Bilas ESPN 2016 N/A 1 1 N
Joe Lunardi ESPN 2016 N/A 1 N/A
Nate Silver Fivethirtyeight 2016 N/A Mich St, Kansas, UNC, OK 1 N
Nicole Auerbach USA Today 2016 6 1 1 UNC
Andy Katz ESPN 2015 2 N
Dana O'Neil ESPN 2015 3
Jay Bilas ESPN 2015 3 N
Rece Davis ESPN 2015 2 N
Dick Vitale ESPN 2015 1 N
Gary Parrish CBS Sports 2015 39 2 N
Dennis Dodd CBS Sports 2015 39 2 Y
Jerry Palm CBS Sports 2015 35 3 N
Seth Davis Sports Illustrated 2015 2 N
Pat Forde Yahoo Sports 2015 2 N
Brad Evans Yahoo Sports 2015 2 N
Fivethirtyeight Fivethirtyeight 2015 2 N
SBNation SBNation 2015 1 N
Prediction Machine Prediction Machine 2015 44 3 N
Andy Katz ESPN 2014 1 N
Dana O'Neil ESPN 2014 N
Jay Bilas ESPN 2014 1 N
Rece Davis ESPN 2014
Dick Vitale ESPN 2014 1 N
Gary Parrish CBS Sports 2014 0 N
Dennis Dodd CBS Sports 2014 1 N
Jerry Palm CBS Sports 2014 0 N
Seth Davis Sports Illustrated 2014 2 N

Bracket Tips + Facts

March Madness Application

Bracket Tips

  • First, remember that there is no "magic" statistic (or ranking system) that will predict the winners of every game. Don't assume that numbers are the fail-safe way to make your picks. Remember, too, that the odds of picking a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are 1 in 9 quintillion.
  • Strategy based on pool size... If you're in a relatively small pool (less than 100 entries), you can afford to play things pretty safe. If you pick the Final Four and champion correctly, you'll be in great shape. However, your bracket needs to be more of an outlier in a larger pool. In other words, the more people in the pool, the crazier you should get with your picks.
  • The initial key is having access to two data sets... the "wisdom-of-the-crowds" data from the national bracket and a table of more objective statistics. By comparing the two, you'll be able to assess whether you're getting bang for your buck when you throw your lot in with an underdog team. Your overall strategy should be to look for situations where the national bracket values a team much higher than the objective statistics. It's important to "zig while everybody zags". Use data such as Ken Pom's log5 data to make such an evaluation, as well as Yahoo's 'Pick Distribution' and 'Popular Picks Bracket' tools.
  • There are several indicators of success to look at to see how a team will perform in the tournament, including:
    • The "recency effect" - teams that are playing well heading into the tournament (conference champs?), even if they struggled early in the season, are smart picks. Since 1985, no team has ever won the NCAA title after losing its opening-round conference tournament game.
    • A team's overall record - especially taking into account SOS and road record
    • A team's longest winning streak
    • Dean Oliver's 4 Factors To Success - shooting (40%), turnovers (25%), rebounding (20%), and free throws (15%). Creating extra possessions through turnovers and rebounds is key.
    • BPI ranking is a much better indicator than RPI
    • Talent, leadership, and experience (especially in the backcourt) are key to winning games
    • Coach experience - Final Four coaching experience has become a strong predictor of future success as only two of 17 champions this century were led by a coach who had never been to the Final Four before winning it all.
    • Team balance and depth may be the most crucial, though - to be successful, a team must be able to perform well on both ends of the court. Thirteen of the past 14 national champions finished in the top 20 of kenpom.com’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. Since 2003, 80% of the Final Four teams were top 20 in defensive efficiency.
  • Pay close attention to injuries and suspensions before the tourney starts - both can have a big impact on a bracket's outcome.
  • It is important to pick a handful of upsets but just don’t go overboard.
  • Over the years, a few general trends have emerged when it comes to filling out your bracket. Always having the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds winning in the first round is one of them.
  • The NCAA tournament is entirely about matchups each round, overall. It’s all about who has the favorable pairings along their path to the Final Four. That means the best way of figuring out who might beat whom may be to look at key statistics and apply them to the way you view a certain game.



Bracket Facts & Trends



"Let the past show you the future"

Certain trends have emerged over the years that should be considered. Let's take a look at some of these.

Add Up Your Final Four Seed Numbers

The total of the four semifinalists' seeds has been higher than 14 only six times since 1979. The average sum of the seeds to advance to a Final Four since 2005 is 13.95. Thus, aim for a combination of seeds that is around this number.

Year Sum of Final 4 Seeds
Average 13.95
2016 15
2015 10
2014 18
2013 18
2012 9
2011 26
2010 13
2009 7
2008 4
2007 6
2006 20
2005 11

More Facts About Seeding ..
  • No 16th seed has ever beaten a #1 seed
  • The 15th seed has only ever beaten the #2 seed six times
  • No team seeded 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 has ever reached the Final Four (Three #11 seeds have made it)
  • The worst seeded team to win it all was No. 8 (Villanova, 1985)
  • Seven teams seeded 7 or lower have made the Final Four since 2011. Over the past six years, there have been more No. 7 or No. 8 Final Four teams than No. 3, 5 or 6 seeds. 76% of all upsets are by 10, 11 or 12 seeds (not counting 8-9 games), according to a Davidson University study.
  • In the past 36 tournaments, a No. 2 seed has made the Final Four 25 times
  • Your best long-shot bet is No. 5 vs. 12 where the winning percentage is .633. The 2007 tournament was the last one in which at least one No. 12 didn't win. A 12 seed has defeated a 5 in 25 of the past 28 years.
  • There have been only three tournaments in which a No. 1 didn't make the Final Four, however, only once (in 2008) since 1985 have all four #1 seeded teams made it to the Final Four (choose accordingly). A #1 seed has won seven of the past 10 championships and 12 of the past 18. At least one #1 has made the Final Four every year except 1980, 2006 and 2011.
  • 23 of the 30 National Champions have been No. 1 or No. 2 seeds (77%)



It's all about TEAM BALANCE ..

Since 2000, all of the teams that have made it to the Final Four have averaged inside the top 20 in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency.

According to KenPom.com, the average efficiency differential of championship teams from 2002-2015 was -5.7 (off 7.21, def 12.91)





Efficiency stats in basketball do their best to break everything down (offensively and defensively) into possessions. Let's take a look at the efficiency stats of the Final Four teams since 2012:

(Click table headers to sort)
Year Team Off PPP Def PPP Total Reb. % Off TO% Def TO% Off eFG% Def eFG% Off FT Rate Def FT Rate PACE KenPom Rank
2015 Duke 1.178 0.958 54.3 16.4 18.4 56.9 47.4 40.2 25.0 68.4 7
2015 Wisconsin 1.179 0.917 55.3 12.2 16.3 54.6 46.7 35.5 21.2 60.8 3
2015 Kentucky 1.126 0.808 55.4 15.8 21.3 51.8 39.7 43.5 31.6 66.5 1
2015 Mich St. 1.079 0.943 54.9 17.4 16.7 53.8 45.7 32.3 37.6 66.7 17
2014 UConn 1.054 0.926 48.7 17.1 18.9 51.4 43.9 38.6 35.5 65.9 8
2014 Kentucky 1.100 0.962 56.1 17.7 15.9 50.0 45.0 53.8 37.9 66.6 11
2014 Florida 1.096 0.893 53.5 17.5 21.6 52.8 45.1 43.7 32.1 64.6 3
2014 Wisconsin 1.129 0.991 50.4 12.4 15.2 53.1 47.5 44.1 25.9 63.5 6
2013 Louisville 1.061 0.836 52.5 18.3 26.9 49.5 44.0 38.1 33.2 67.5 1
2013 Wichita St. 1.046 0.914 56.0 19.3 19.9 50.2 46.0 35.8 37.4 64.8 17
2013 Syracuse 1.053 0.875 52.8 18.6 22.9 49.2 43.6 34.9 34.7 65.6 10
2013 Michigan 1.133 0.959 52.1 14.0 18.5 54.4 47.9 28.7 22.9 64.7 4
2012 Kentucky 1.135 0.875 55.1 16.7 17.3 53.8 41.7 40.1 25.5 66.3 1
2012 Ohio St. 1.102 0.870 56.0 17.3 21.6 52.5 46.1 37.2 29.0 66.8 2
2012 Kansas 1.086 0.895 54.1 19.1 19.8 53.9 43.6 41.2 33.9 67.5 4
2012 Louisville 0.988 0.878 51.3 20.5 21.9 47.6 42.7 37.8 34.9 67.8 14
- -


Only TWO Final Four teams had a pace under 63.5.

Last season marked the NINTH STRAIGHT Final Four in which the four participating teams combined to average at least 1.10 points per possession.

ZERO teams have advanced to a Final Four over the last five years while averaging 69 or more possessions per 40 minutes.

Since 1987, only six teams have shot less than 35% on three-pointers and won the title

Recency Factor
YearTeamCloseTourneyL10
15Duke3-1No9
15Wisconsin2-1Yes9
15Kentucky2-0Yes10
15Michigan State4-5No7
14Florida6-1Yes10
14Kentucky2-8No5
14Wisconsin5-2No8
14UCONN7-3No8
13Wichita State5-5No7
13Syracuse4-3No5
13Michigan4-3No5
13Louisville5-4Yes10
12Kansas3-1No9
12Ohio State3-5No6
12Louisville4-4Yes6
12Kentucky3-1No9


Key

OFF/DEF PPP = Total Points / Total Possessions. What we can expect a team's offensive and defensive output to be.

OFF/DEF TO% = Turnovers Per Possession (TO/Possessions). Percent of possessions that result in a turnover.

eFG% = Effective Field Goal %. Shooting percentage that gives a bump to 3 pointers (FGM+(3PM x 0.5) / FGA).

FT Rate = Free Throws Attempted / Field Goal Attempted. This tells us how often a team is getting to the free throw line.






Credits

  • teamrankings.com/ncb/stats
    Statistics
  • mcubed.net/ncaab/seeds.shtml
    Seeding
  • sportslogos.net
    Team Logos
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