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Finding Value in the NCAA Tournament (Last Minute Edition)


Ahh the memories. 

In a matter of hours, millions of fans around the country will be glued to the TV for the official tip of March Madness. Snack foods are being devoured, beers are being consumed by the dozens, and more importantly, brackets are being finalized all around the nation. Filling out NCAA brackets is a yearly tradition for many around the country because it combines so many random factors. Bragging rights over your horrible co-workers? Check. Actual incentive to cheer for a random SWAC team? Check. Potential to win tons of money? Big Check.  It’s this factor that drives a majority of the people around the nation to fill out a bracket, and everyone has their trademarked way of victory. Some pick by seed, some pick by streak, and others even pick by mascot, but there’s a growing trend among the prediction world; computer simulations. In recent years, numerous statisticians have created complex computer rating systems that have predicted outcomes with great success. However, many dispute which system is the most accurate in predicting the future.

Since so many nerds like myself cannot seem to decide which set of ratings reigns supreme,  I’ve combined the most popular systems. Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, ESPN’s BPI, and Georgia Tech’s LRMC ratings all have their strengths and weaknesses, but most agree these are the most reliable systems available in predicting future performance. Since these systems use margin of victory in their calculations, the NCAA cannot use them to seed teams (although some on the committee admit to examining them). Because of this, there’s often a discrepancy between seeding and actual skill level. So in order to find out who’s over and underrated, I’ve combined these systems and created a power ranking list to see where a team theoretically “should” be seeded. The below chart contains the remaining 64 teams and shows if they’re overvalued, undervalued, or rated accordingly.

(Teams highlighted in green are undervalued, teams highlighted in red are overvalued, and un-highlighted teams are accurately seeded.)


Interestingly enough, the three schools representing the SEC (Florida, Mizzou, and Ole Miss) are all undervalued by seeding. St. Mary’s and Pittsburgh are also vastly underrated by their seed.   Teams on the opposite end of the spectrum like Butler, UCLA, and Illinois are all highly over-seeded according to the computer rating average. While some are “incorrectly” seeded, for the most part, the committee did an outstanding job placing teams where they belong.

It may be last minute, but these seeding discrepancies may just be what your bracket needs to be taken over the edge this year. However, be careful when making your selections. Ole Miss may very well be an underrated team according to this model, but they’re taking on a (perceived) much better Wisconsin team in their first  second round game. Beware of match-ups like these and your bracket may actually stand a chance after all.


Article written by Jonathan Schuette

18 Comments for Finding Value in the NCAA Tournament (Last Minute Edition)

    11:14 am March 21, 2013 Permalink


    11:15 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    SCHUETTE?? whatever……

  3. schusucks
    11:16 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Schuette sucks

  4. roydillard
    11:31 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I want be glued to my tv! If my cats ate playing i ate watching……

  5. roydillard
    11:31 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    sotty won’t be glued!!

  6. roydillard
    11:32 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    oops sorry won’t be glued

  7. SanDiegoDave
    11:47 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve got Louisville over Kansas, 69-64. Keep the championship in the state, baby! Go Cards!

  8. John Ellis
    11:53 am March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Gonzaga is undervalued in the media. If there were great teams they’d be a shaky one, but there aren’t. Miami over Gonzaga in the title game.
    So many teams to root against, only one remote.

  9. bleedblueky
    12:02 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Jonathan – could KSR crew help us out to post the teams playing and where to watch daily during this NCAA Tourney period? Thanks a Bunch 🙂

  10. Wiltjer to Gonzaga
    12:04 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Wiltjer is transferring to Gonzaga. heard it here first

  11. Rick
    12:05 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    The SEC schools were undervalued in the NIT too……..

  12. Brink
    12:07 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    10 people have been saying that here for 2 days. Your alot late.

  13. SanDiegoDave
    12:09 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    10 – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wiltjer go somewhere else. His playing time will be seriously curtailed if he stays. But his leadership would be sorely missed.

  14. Brink
    12:10 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    7 I would rather die a million painful deaths than root for loserville.

  15. Confirmed
    12:11 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    10. Agree, heard it was done deal this morning. No more speculation. Announcement shortly

  16. mike
    12:31 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    Jonathan-Very interesting how perception can even skew the numbers. The perception is Missouri is undervalued as a nine, but loking at their schedule this year they were awful. Does there not have to be a human baseline set by all these computer ratings? How else would Louisville be a better win than Montana State? We know it is but a computer doesn’t. Thank You

  17. Rae
    1:52 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    8. However, they haven’t really played against comparable talent.

  18. Chris
    4:26 pm March 21, 2013 Permalink

    well there goes PITT. Too bad they didn’t get that 3 seed. haha