Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Bracket Outlier Five-Pack ... and then some

This week, PHSports drew some ire for having a few unwelcomed predictions this week. Some of it was deserved. Some of it was passion-filled conjecture.

In this post, we look at our outliers and see how they stack up nearly a week following our predictions. Just so that we're all on the same page, our operational definition for an outlier will be a seed line difference of two or more in comparison with the average seed on the Bracket Matrix, brought to you by The Bracket Project (BPBM).

PHSports's outliers currently bears a very high number. Therefore, we will profile five and summarize the others.

BPBM Seed: 4
PHSports: 6
How we stack up? PHSports looks fairly prophetic. In our January 11 predictions, we docked Tennessee 3 seed lines for dismissing their best player. Since what was perhaps the biggest upset of the season against Kansas, the Vols have come down to earth and lost two games that they may not have with the services of Tyler Smith. The truth is, this is a team which will struggle away from Thompson-Boling, and they'll have to will their way just to be a 6 seed.
Decision: PHSports

BPBM Seed: 4
PHSports: 6
How we stack up? Pitt has a very impressive wins, but their loss to Seton Hall should have let you know that they were wildly overperforming and that the home loss to Georgetown let the air out of their tires. While I was not betting on South Florida, I was not shocked to see the scoreline.
Decision: PHSports

BPBM Seed: 5
PHSports: 3
How we stack up? If BYU is to earn a protected seed (i.e., 4 or better), then they need to win games like Wednesday's tussle at The Pit against the New Mexico. For those that were too engrossed with The State of the Union speech and the choreographed waste that came on after it to see the game, good job. That said, they were outplayed and lost.
Decision: The Field

BPBM Seed: 5
PHSports: 8
How we stack up? The Commodores are better than an eight seed after a series of wins in a row, which came to a screeching halt in Lexington yesterday. They have a tricky next 6 games ahead of them that will ultimately decide their fate.
Decision: The Field (by a whisker)

Ohio State
BPBM Seed: 6
PHSports: 4
How we stack up? With Evan Turner, Ohio State is a 4 seed or better. Without him, they are in the NIT (and generally look lost). And they'd be higher had they not blown a double-digit in Morgantown.
Decision: PHSports

They Are Who We Thought They Were:

UAB (BPBM: 8; PHSports: not seeded): Perhaps, we were harsh and short-sighted to think UAB did not deserve a bid. Or, we thought they would start losing games now that they have the target on their chest. UAB can still make the tournament, but they will not make it as an 8 seed. That's ludicrous.

Butler (BPBM: 6; PHSports: 8): If you look at their resume, you will agree with me. And if you know that they beat Turner-less Ohio State, you'll really agree. If they win their BracketBuster, we'll talk, but the Bulldogs will not go undefeated in conference play.

We Should Re-Think Our Decision:

UConn (BPBM: 7; PHSports: 4): We thought they had turned the corner following a victory against Texas. We were very wrong. Despite having watched this team several times (once live), UConn is an unknown quantity, because you don't know what team is stepping onto the floor.

New Mexico (BPBM: 6; PHSports: 11): To be honest, I'm not sure how good this team is. They have one of the biggest home court advantages in college basketball, and their best win away from The Pit is against the 7th best team in the Big XII. If the Lobos lose 2 or 3 more games in conference play (@ UNLV, @ BYU, plus 1), they may candidates for an 8/9 game.

Mississippi State (BPBM: 10; PHSports: 5): At any moment, this team can get hot. That has not occurred and they will be lower than a 5 seed.

Memphis (BPBM: unseeded; PHSports: 11): The loss to SMU was a wake-up call. Gonzaga's loss to San Francisco was a compounder. Why? If Memphis defeats the Bulldogs (a win we still predict), then their win carries less value.

Let February Play Out:

Missouri (BPBM: 8; PHSports: 5): When you look at their resume right now, it's insane to think they're a 5 seed. The truth is, the Tigers' style, depth, and ability to play defense make them a chic pick to flourish in February.

Xavier (BPBM: 8; PHSports: 10): The Musketeers have a critical 5-game stretch (@UMass, @ Dayton, @ Florida, v. St. Joe's, @ Charlotte) that will determine what type of team this is. This program has a taking-all comers mentality, and that will help with seeding, but how much if they don't win them?

North Carolina (BPBM: 10; PHSports: 7): Yes, the Tar Heels have disappointed. And it's been public. More than anything, this was a good faith pick, because Roy Williams knows how to win games. On Tuesday night, the Heels took it to their in-state rivals at the defensive end -- something that has been foreign to UNC's arsenal all season. I think some of my colleagues forgot about their early season wins versus Ohio State and Michigan State. If they can hold form tonight against Virginia, then they will be on the better side of the 7/10 game.


Mark G said...

Nice work on the whole. You must've bit your tongue when Carolina took a nosedive on Sunday.

Paymon said...

It wasn't that they lost. It was that they arrived to the game without a gameplan and a desire to win.