Basic champ check could fail for first time in 14 years

With just three teams who meet basic champ criteria left in the dance—and all of them slated to play each other before the finals—the streak of 13 straight predictions is in jeopardy. Heading into the dance, there were six squads that met these criteria:

  • A one, two or three seed
  • Member of a Power conference: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC
  • Either went to the previous year’s dance or have an All-American
  • Led by a coach with more than five tourney trips and at least one Elite Eight run
  • Averaging more than 73 points per game
  • Allowing fewer than 73 points per game
  • An average scoring margin of at least seven points per game
  • A schedule among the 75 strongest in the country

The teams were Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan and Duke. Only the Wildcats, Badgers and Wolverines remain (sounds like National Geographics death match). The odds of the basic champ check working again are diminished by the fact that Arizona plays Wisconsin tonight…and the winner would play Michigan (if it got there) in the Final Four. One thing is for sure: at least one team with basic champ cred will be alive next week.

Next year, I’ll probably do a combination of basic and advanced champ criteria. The fact is, all of the remaining teams have schedules among the 75 strongest in the country. Seven of the eight teams have an average scoring margin better than seven points a game (only Dayton falls short). Six of eight also have coaches with the requisite experience and success (only Archie Miller and Kevin Ollie are lacking). And only Kentucky, UConn and Dayton didn’t go to the previous tourney. If Florida or UConn don’t win the dance, the point-scoring threshold also remains intact. I will probably ditch the seeding requirement and replace it with KenPom offensive and defensive efficiency rankings.

Speaking of the advanced champ tests, three teams pass at least one of them. Remember: since 2003, the worst a champion has performed on offense in terms of points per 100 possessions is 112.2. That number belongs to last year’s champ Louisville. And the worst a champ has been ranked on offense is 18th (both Louisville and UConn in 2013). On defense, the most points a champ has allowed per 100 possessions is 95.4; that would be North Carolina in 2009—and they were ranked 49th in the country (of course, there offensive efficiency was through the roof).

Arizona and Florida meet the requirements for OE above 112.2 and DE below 95.4. And when it comes to the ranking comparison (top 18 offensive, top 49 defense), Florida and Michigan State make the grade.

To summarize, five teams meet at least one of the champ checks. Arizona and Florida meet two of them, and Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State meet one. That means if Dayton, Kentucky or UConn win the tourney, all bets are off… and the champ criteria will need a major overhaul.

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47 Responses to Basic champ check could fail for first time in 14 years

  1. Mike L. says:

    It may not need a major overhaul, I would go with a mere “asterisk”. Let’s face it, the selection committee did a horrendous job this year. PYTHAG 1 & 2 seeds disguised as 4 seeds. SOS (espc NOV & DEC gms) being a major factor in seeding, give me a break.

    Most telling is the underseeded/overseeded discrepancies. No way PITT was a 9, especially being seeded worse than a clearly overseeded 8 in COL. UK was better than an 8. TENN as play-in 11 was a joke. I’m probably missing some but those were the stand-outs.

    In short, the F4 champ rules would apply if this committee had kept to previous methods of former committees. In a way, the study of brackets (Bracket Science) must entail a study of the committee. After all, it was their methods that led to the madness.

    This doesn’t even begin to factor in the rule changes for this season which drastically alters the style of play and has nothing to do with freedom of movement (even though it is called that). I’ll stop here before I get worked up on this tangent. Plus, this season has witnessed a ton of conference realignments, most notably the Big East schism, but I’m not sure if this has had the effect of the aforementioned two factors.

    I also follow a few rules for CHAMP CHECK of my own.
    Since 01, every N.C. except 2004 UCONN had a 6+ consecutive game winning streak vs Power Conferences during their regular season. 04 UCONN had 5-gm streak. Essentially a Natl Championship is a 6gm winning streak, so if you’ve done it during the reg season, u’re better equipped for a 6gm win streak in the tourney. Remaining teams meeting this: FLA, WISC, MICH, MIST.

    I don’t think FLA will win because of their excessively long win streak (26) before entering the tourney.
    Here are the pre-tourney winning streaks of eventual champions by streak-length.
    0 = 2002 SYR, 2003 MD, 2005 & 2009 UNC, 2012 UK
    3 = 2004 CONN
    4 = 2007 FLA, 2010 DUKE
    5 = 2006 FLA, 2011 CONN
    7 = 2008 KU
    10 = 2013 LOU
    Note: 2012 UK had a 24win streak entering SEC Trny Title, lost to VAN in Title game may have refocused them, or else they would have entered with a 25-gm win streak. That level of consistency is hard to sustain in today’s game.

    • Andy says:

      Wow, we see eye to eye on Florida, and we posted at nearly the same time! Like I said below, I just think the Gators have won too many in a row that they now have a huge target on their backs. Plus, averaging as few points per game and relying heavily on defense is usually not a recipe for a championship. If Arizona can bite the dust with its #1 rated defense by Ken Pomeroy while averaging about 73 points per game, what is going to happen to the Gators, who average only 70.4 coming into the Final Four?

      • Jeff Bessa says:

        I’m pretty excited about one of my ESPN brackets. It is my Wisconsin champ bracket that has FL in final and Iowa ST and Ville in F4 (oh well). It went 16 for 16 opening day and is sitting in 1578th place overall (100%) with 890 points right now. I also have a future wager from Jan on Wisconsin at 35-1. Go Badgers. FYI. I went to Ucla so not a Wisconsin homer

        • ptiernan says:

          Wow, Jeff. Congrats. As badly as all the models have performed, this is the first time in five years I’m in line to win a pool. It’s our Crazy Eights pool, the one we used to run on the site. I picked all the four seeds, Kentucky, Tennessee and UConn. As for the brackets…I’m wallowing slightly above the middle of the pack.

  2. Andy says:

    Dayton bit the dust, no surprise there to see Florida win. But very surprised to see Arizona lose to Wisconsin. I can now finally give some more props to Bo Ryan as being a better coach than I thought. I do think part of that was adjusting his team’s style of play to produce more offense while lightening up just a little on defense. His team that many picked to go to the Elite Eight played a slow tempo predicated on defense, but had absolutely no offense, ranking below 100 – it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they lost before the Sweet 16 last year. If he can have his teams playing like this year’s team going forward though, he can get better at winning more consistently. Big if there because it’s never seemed like his style, but sometimes a simple change that leads to bigger and better things can be what you need.

    Gotta say that Michigan State is still probably the team to beat. Yeah, they don’t meet the basic credentials, but that’s only because they are a 4 seed. Virginia did play them a lot tougher than I thought they would, but no surprise that the Spartans found a way to win. They should beat UConn, whose offense is a bit suspect for a Final Four team, but Florida will be tough. That said, Florida is in some ways like last year’s Wisconsin team. Their offense is significantly better, but I always have a tough time picking a team to win a championship averaging as few points per game as the Gators. No doubt though that they have momentum, but I am left wondering if they have so many wins in a row that they have a big target on their backs.

    I’d really like to see Michigan get another chance, but defense and rebounding remain big issues. I am not surprised that they barely scraped past Tennessee. I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat underclassman-laden Kentucky, simply because it’s not very common for a team that missed the prior tournament to make it that far. However, I have major reservations about them beating Wisconsin after watching the Badgers. Wisconsin can match Michigan’s offense, and plays much better defense.

    However, assuming Florida can’t win due to their low-scoring offense, the best coach with a team with the credentials to pull it off, in my opinion, has to be Tom Izzo. The guy just wins.

    • Ben says:

      When you think of Wisconsin you typically think of tough defense but this years Badgers squad was actually much stronger on offense than it was on defense coming into the dance. I’m a little supprised that none of the models picked Wisconsin to make it this far. Kudos to Bo Ryan for finally kicking his final four allergy!

  3. Gary Diny says:

    Think a few things need to be considered:
    1. Conference status of big East
    2. More emphasis on the Efficiency O and D numbers vs the raw ppg O and D numbers.
    3. Pending if MSU making a run and winning it all, adding the 4th seed option

  4. Paul says:

    I think its funny the champ check is so on the line because Wisconsin is part of it. You people are so ignorant its amazing. You talked about Wisconsin being the vulnerable 2 seed. You said Bo was a snake bit coach. Well the Badgers have done it and you people can eat whatever. Don’t get me wrong Pete’s great and his stuff rocks. But the rest of you pseudo experts can kiss my…

    • Mike L. says:

      I’m going to assume you weren’t talking about me either considering that I’ve never said anything about WISC or Bo Ryan in my post or any of my previous posts.

      I always leave an open door to criticism because I always want to do better the next year, but that door is only open to constructive criticisms. Calling people ignorant and pseudo experts and telling them to K.U.A. doesn’t sound like anything an expert himself would say. I also don’t think that’s anything Pete wants in his forums or his website.

      So Paul, Just like the majority of brackets, the same applies to your posts: Try to do better next time.

      • Paul says:

        You should do more of your homework. Go read my posts for the West bracket and Midwest bracket where I picked Wisconsin and Kentucky. In fact I am looking at getting all 4 of the final 4 teams. Don’t call me out about doing better next time when you don’t have a clue about my selections or the fact few if any are going to get all 4 of the last teams.

        As for what Pete wants in his forum you are correct. I don’t like calling people out but when everyone disses Wisconsin they need to be held accountable. Call Wisconsin what you will but when they win call it like it is. Also don’t forget we Stomped Michigan (the preferred team of most people here) at their place and if you luck out over Kentucky (one of their best players just got hurt) I can’t wait for us to take you out by even more.

        • Mike L. says:

          You’re the one that should be reading posts because you clearly haven’t read mine.

          You said: “Don’t call me out about doing better next time”
          I said: “Just like the majority of brackets, the same applies to your posts”
          Clearly, I was talking about your insults, not your picks. Honestly, I could care less what your picks are. They are irrelevant to me just as everyone else’s picks are irrelevant to me.

          You said: “when everyone disses Wisconsin”
          You said: “Call Wisconsin what you will but when they win call it like it is.”
          I said:
          Up to this point, I still haven’t said anything about WISC or Bo Ryan so I don’t know why you continue to say I do. Since you want me to call it like it is, I will, the Gasser Hip Check came before the Johnson push-off. Keep in mind, I have no partiality to WISC or ARI.

          You said: “if you luck out over Kentucky”
          You said: “I can’t wait for us to take you out by even more”
          I said:
          Again, I’m not on MICH’s train, I’m not on UKs train, or LOU or TENN’s train. I may know nothing about your picks and I certainly don’t care about them, but you clearly know nothing about me or my team yet you proceed to attack assumptions made about me. If anything could be labelled ‘ignorant’, that would be a strong candidate.

          It sounds like you’ve had a good year that could get better tomorrow night, so how does it make your year any better by stomping everybody else down? You should be celebrating your accomplishment, not running others down. I hope that’s not a reflection on the type of person you are. It doesn’t really accomplish anything to troll around on forums and throw out insults at people you probably haven’t met. Your picks are “your” picks and their picks are their picks, for better or for worse. BOTTOMLINE: EVERYBODY and NOBODY is an EXPERT after the fact, including you.

          • Paul says:

            If I get all 4 final 4 teams I am kind of an expert. Especially when it goes 1,2, 4, 8. As for the rest of it I apologize if I offended anyone. Wisconsin deserves the props it has earned. Niff said.

        • Gary Diny says:

          Maybe you should read your own posts from the West region discussion. Seems to me what you wrote is not what you are saying now. So which is it???

          Paul says:

          March 19, 2014 at 4:44 am


          CHAMP GAME: Arizona over Wisconsin. Gotta agree with this region as mostly chalk. Arizona will get through without too much trouble. There are some bumps. Okie State can be good at times and SDSU plays some great D. As for Wisconsin I feel they are being very underrated here. Oregon is getting all the buzz but like I said the Badgers can be beat if you pound it inside. That’s not Oregon. And if they foul like they do they are in for a long slow down type of night.

          UPSET ALERT: I watched Nebraska down the stretch and I was very impressed. They handled Wisconsin at home and they were blasting Ohio State by 20 in Indy when things fell apart for them. If they can get over that I think they have the team to beat Creighton.

          Don’t forget Wisconsin was unbeaten outside of the Big Ten against a pretty good line up of teams. And Arizona’s injury takes away some inside presence.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Relax, children. Paul, unless you are physically a member of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, you shouldn’t say “we” and “us”.

    • Paul says:

      I stand by what I have to say. “We”, “us” I’m proud to be a Badger and so are a lot of the rest of us umami. I know this forum is Michigan and I am going to be ridiculed. Our results against Michigan speak for itself. The end.

      • ptiernan says:

        Come on guys. We’ve never had this sort of sniping on the comments section. And we shouldn’t start now. I’ll say that nobody ever called Ryan snakebit–because he’s not by the definition. It’s true, though, that he hasn’t had a good record against higher seeds in the dance–until this year. I congratulate him on his performance. I’ll also say that, even though I went to Michigan, I hope nobody considers this a Michigan site. I had to go somewhere.

        • Mike L. says:

          Pete, I do apologize for keeping it going. It bothers me when a lot of people on this site do some really good work (you, Tressler, Gary Diney, Blazers, etc) and some random guy comes in here and trashes on everyone/everything. I should have realized he was trying to be the home town hero and just let it slide. Discretion may be the better part of valor. I believe this site to be about the facts, the data, and the exchange of ideas. I also realize that from these three comes a multiplicity of interpretations and opinions. I just felt that all of his insulting was unjustified, and from the looks of it, they were based on his own false assumptions of this site. I’m a UNC fan, clearly not MICH, nor did I hate on WISC; another guy was OHST (definitely not MICH, LOL). But, I do apologize for keeping it going, and just like the brackets, I will do better next time.

          • Gary Diny says:

            Paul… you need to relax. Easy on the “we” and ‘us” talk. You are talking about your home town team, from a fan’s perspective I am happy for you. This site is not the Pro Michigan you suspect it is. As noted above by Mike, many different home team rooting interests. I am glad you still have your final 4 intact (pending results of today’s games). maybe next year you can come back and join our Bracket Science exclusive tourney pool ( I will take the initiative to set one up from bragging rights).

            FYI, I am a UW grad and cheer for the Badgers, but have been burned by the badgers many a year in the tourney when picking them to advance. Just do a little analysis of the track record and see that UW has not met expectations more often than not and have bowed out to lower seeded teams more often that they have beat higher seeded teams. Congrats to them and getting that accomplished this year.

  6. This is only my second year really trying to understand, and apply, “bracket science” and kenpom numbers. I’m finishing worse in the 2 pools at work than I did before I “got serious”. I’m wondering if I should try to become even more of a “stat nerd” . This is a real question.

    Was this year’s tournament abnormal in some way that could have been predicted? Is this year best viewed as an “outlier”? I was looking for some way to apply the standard “1.5 times the interquartile range tests” to any of the numbers, but do not see a way. If there is not one, how can I just call this an “outlier”? That feels like “cheating”.

    A “noob” asking for help.

    • Red-Blazers! says:

      First of all, no more using -> “quotation”. Secondly, stats are very handy but not your ultimate answer. Your best chance is to understand how every teams play, watch more games. Also, there are also some tricks you can pick up (such as advancing every power house conference champ [ACC, SEC, PAC-12, BIG TEN, BIG 12] to atleast the round of 32). Third, never trust the Selection Committee when it comes to seeding teams, they always underseed and overseed. For next year, get more involve here and talk out. Hopefully, next year there is a chatroom on this site.

    • ptiernan says:

      Mitlon – This year could turn out to be historically awful. I’d have to take more time to analyze why. We’ve had 12 upsets and a 19.5% variability from high seed dominance…so that’s part of the issue. But last year was worse, and the models performed better. Curiously, nearly every “system” is sucking wind at the moment. Sometimes it just happens that way. Let’s see how the dust settles and we’ll do a more complete post-mortem.

        • ptiernan says:

          The fact is, there are limits to what basketball stats can foretell. I consider this more of a quest–to find even a few statistical guidelines that can help improve bracket picking. I’ve been in this long enough to know that some years, this happens. 2006 and 2011 were the other two years of the dance where numbers didn’t do a very good job of foretelling outcomes. Next year, we’ll have a nice round number of 30 tourneys to draw from. Let’s see what we can make of it.

          • larry k says:

            Couldnt agree more… actually, let me add one more thing… i attempted to get people interested in
            a thread here discussing “game theory” and how it applied to this whole intellectual exercise. this
            year couldnt have been anymore of an example which identified the absolute need to apply such
            ‘theory’ to help solve these problems.. you can watch all the games in the world, and have all the statistics at your
            touch, but if you dont understand HOW to approach ‘beating the game’, then you have nothing…
            this year’s parity and volatile seeing screamed for the use of multiple brackets spreading one’s opinions over a much wider base than in other years… nor your opponents in your pools… study their selection trends… then base yours on the areas of weakness that you can exploit… in the poker world, we call it identifying the ‘holes’ or ‘leaks’ in the opponents game and exploiting them… the same can be applied here

            Thanks Pete for all you do… and all the insiders here who discuss things with patience and reason. without you, none of this would be possible……


  7. Red-Blazers! says:

    Have Wisconsin on elite eight losing to Arizona. Oh well, looks like history comes in handy (Wisconsin only win on a number 1 seed was to Arizona back in 2000). Bo Ryans did it again. I see his team on the championship as neither Kentucky nor Michigan will defeat them. Big Ten can have three Final Four teams. Has anyone notice with the recent correlation between Final Four and being booted out the previous year?

    Butler & West Virginia: booted out in the round of 64 in 2009; made to the final four in 2010
    Louisville: booted out in the round of 64 in 2011; made to the final four in 2012
    Wichita State & Michigan: booted out in the round of 64 in 2012; made to the final four in 2013
    Wisconsin: booted out in the round of 64 in 2013 made to the final four in 2014

    There’s probably more but I can’t think of it now. Who’ll be the next on the list? Duke? Oklahoma? VCU? Cincinnati? UMass? Ohio State?

    • Red-Blazers! says:

      Updated list starting 2005 of march to 2006 of march:

      LSU & UCLA: booted out in the round of 64 in 2005; made to the final four in 2006
      2006-2007 [Absence]
      2007-2008 [Absence]
      Connecticut: booted out in the round of 64 in 2008; made to the final four in 2009
      Butler & West Virginia: booted out in the round of 64 in 2009; made to the final four in 2010
      2010-2011 [Absence]
      Louisville: booted out in the round of 64 in 2011; made to the final four in 2012
      Wichita State & Michigan: booted out in the round of 64 in 2012; made to the final four in 2013
      Wisconsin: booted out in the round of 64 in 2013 made to the final four in 2014

      There’s probably more but I can’t think of it now. Who’ll be the next on the list? Duke? Oklahoma? VCU? Cincinnati? UMass? Ohio State? I like Duke, assuming these guys live up to the hype for next season:

  8. Zeke says:

    Grow up Paul. A lot of us have predicted the final four teams remaining in one given year or another. That hardly makes us an expert. Do it 10 years in a row and then you can call yourself that. Wisconsin has underachieved in the tourney for the past 8 years. Despite an average seed of 5.38, they’ve only managed 1.13 wins per tourney with a negative PASE value. This doesn’t make any of us Wisconsin haters, they’ve just let us down too many times for us to predict they’ll make a deep tourney run. Best of luck to the Badgers this year and to you as a fan of their team.

  9. Matt says:

    How much of the issue with MIchigan State’s numbers is the result of injuries? Several of MSU’s worst defensive games were when Dawson was on the sidelines.

    • ptiernan says:

      Matt – it’s probably a big issue…and I wish I had good injury data going back to 1985. As you can see, injuries cut both ways: helping MSU with all the players returning; hurting the likes of Kansas and Iowa State.

  10. Andy says:

    Wow…..shocked by this. Michigan State losing to UConn, never would have seen this one coming.

    This is clearly an “I like their colors! I like their mascots!” kind of year. Wisconsin or Michigan wins it all now most likely.

    • Mike L. says:

      LOL I completely agree. Since UK upset MICH, I think WISC is in the driver’s seat.

      I know it would be a lot of work for Pete, but I’d love to the results of a Doomsday Report. Maybe even some of us can contribute to it like a Bracket-Science-Fairwell to 2013-2014 Tourney. As for the Doomsday Report, it would be a compilation of everything at stake for the 8 possible remaining outcomes of the Tourney.

      For example, if FLA wins it all over WISC, Champ Check A & B hold, Mad-o-meter would be xx.x%, and winning streaks entering the tournament do not matter since FLA entered with a 26-gm winning streak, and 2014 upset count would stop at 12, plus FLA would have the opportunity to avenge both of its in-season losses (how ironic would that be).

      If FLA wins it all over UK, then Champ Check A & B hold, Mad-o-meter would be slightly higher at xx.x%, and upset count would be 13 (since UK would have upset WISC), not to mention the implications of 2 teams from same conference meeting in title game and one team getting the 4-gm sweep over an opponent in a season.

      So forth and so forth for WISC winning over FLA, over CONN; CONN winning over WISC, over UK; UK over FLA, over CONN.

    • Mike L. says:

      Here are my counts, if I missed one or got one wrong, please correct me:
      Upsets (by round)
      R64 = 6 : STFA over VCU, DAY over OHST, HARV over CIN, NDST over OKLA, TENN over MASS, MERC over dook
      R32 = 4 : DAY over SYR, STAN over KU, CONN over NOVA, UK over WICH
      R16 = 2 : CONN over IAST UK over LOU
      R8 = 1 : UK over MICH
      R4 = Potential 2
      R2 = Potential of 1 if and only if exactly 1 upset occurs in R4
      Currently, we are at 13 upsets (ignore the upset counts in my previous post, I was just throwing in random #s).
      FLA over WISC = 0 upsets
      FLA over UK = 1
      WISC over FLA = 0
      WISC over CONN = 1
      CONN over WISC = 2
      CONN over UK = 1
      UK over FLA = 2
      UK over CONN = 1

      Upsets in R4 since 1985 = 2 (1988 KU over DUKE, 1985 NOVA over MEM)
      Other chances in R4 = 2013,2006,2000,1987,1986
      Upsets in R2 since 1985 = 2 (1988 KU over OU, 1985 NOVA over GTWN)
      Other chances in R2 = 2011,2010,2002,2000,1992
      Both R4 upsets happened over 2 seeds — 6KU over 2DUKE & 8NOVA over 2MEM.
      Both R2 upsets happened over 1 seeds from same conference — KU over 1OU (B12) & NOVA over 1GTWN (BEC)
      Kentucky fits this mold, 2-seed in R4 and 1-seed conf. foe in R2.

      • Andy says:

        You’re right, 13 upsets.

        Have to admit I was going through the stage of not knowing what the heck would happen since my bracket busted when I made that comment above. I actually posted my own analysis of some theories as to how we could have gotten this Final Four in another thread. But one thing hasn’t changed from that post above, and that is I think Wisconsin will sneak through and win the title.

        Now watch Kentucky beat them and UConn win the title just to prove me wrong.

        • Gary Diny says:

          Based on the FF/champ rules…once we get down to this level (as noted below and following the rules)
          Florida gets eliminated due to scoring average less than 71.5.
          KY is eliminated due to winning percentage of less than .785 and no AA (surprised Randle was not selected)
          Wisconsin winning percentage at .788 and UConn with 1 AA
          UConn gets 64.7% points from Guards eliminating them (UW at 55.3%)

          SOOOOO we shall see if the stats hold true for the Badgers!!!

          Picking your champion

          Given the model’s performance in identifying semi-finalists, the best result we can expect is to correctly identify 27 of the 29 champs. What’s the best way to decide who will cut down the nets? Follow these rules in order, slotting in your champion once they’re the only squad left in a year:

          • Eliminate teams that score fewer than 71.5 or allow more than 79 points a game.
          • Eliminate teams with a winning percentage lower than .785 and no All-Americans
          • Eliminate teams with fewer than seven wins in their last ten pre-tourney games and worse than a five-game winning streak
          • Eliminate Mid-Majors with coaches that haven’t been to the Elite Eight before
          • Eliminate teams that have won more than seven in a row heading into the dance
          • Eliminate teams that get fewer than 29% or more than 59% of their points from guards
          • Eliminate top seeds with rookie tourney coaches
          • Eliminate teams without an All-American
          • Eliminate any remaining teams with fewer than nine wins in their last ten pre-tourney games
          • Take any team with an average margin greater than 18 points
          • Eliminate snake-bit coaches (more than five tourney appearances without an Elite Eight run)
          • Take any team with more than a four-point average margin advantage over its remaining contenders.
          • Take the hungrier team with fewer consecutive March Madness appearances
          • Take the team with the best Pythag

          • Andy says:

            Plus the Badgers meet the basic rules for a champion. Plus UConn has the weakest offense per possession, Kentucky reminds me of the Fab Five (which likely means they lose), and Florida has a huge target on their back and this is the worst Final Four for them. Wisconsin will be the overlooked 2 seed, if that’s possible, and play to it well. Their defense may rank #45 right now on, but make no mistake. Bo Ryan does coach defense very well, as evidenced in their game against Arizona on Saturday.

  11. Paul says:

    Well I hang my head in shame. I apologize profusely to everyone on this board. If I am going to make a statement I better double check what I wrote to begin with. And more importantly not post at 2:00 in the morning after celebrating the big win.

    I am the complete idiot here and deserve all your abuse. Its even tougher knowing its Michigan fans coming off a tough loss.

    • ptiernan says:

      No worries Paul.

      • Paul says:

        Sorry Pete it won’t happen again thats a promise.

        I look forward to next year! As always I will be knocking on the door November 1. Thanks again for all the work you do.

    • The Blazer! says:

      Two words for you: Mitch McGary. When he comes back, Michigan will head to the Final Four, the Final Four team that should’ve make a back-to-back appearance for this season had he not sat out due to injury.

      • Tommy says:

        If McGary is given a clean bill of health, why go back? Enter the NBA draft now before that back flares up again.

        • ptiernan says:

          I think McGary only comes back if he learns he’s late second round. That’s a possibility. Who would take a chance on him now based on a magical tourney run a year ago?

  12. The Blazer! says:

    Well, atleast one of my rule remains consistent: advance two teams to the FF that has a veteran coach. I had Izzo and Donovan, but it turns out to be Donovan and Calipari. Here’s something interesting to consider (you can go further back to prove my point):

    Final Four since 2006:

    2006 – Florida, George Mason, LSU, UCLA
    2007 – Florida, UCLA, Georgetown, Ohio State
    2008 – Kansans, North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis
    2009 – North Carolina, Connecticut, Villanova, Michigan State
    2010 – West Virginia, Michigan State, Duke, Butler
    2011 – Kentucky, Connecticut, VCU, Butler
    2012 – Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville
    2013 – Michigan, Syracuse, Wichita State, Louisville
    2014 – Wisconsin, Florida, Kentucky, Connecticut Kentucky, 4 Louisville (number 1 overall seed in 2009 and they came out of the fourth number 1 seed region), 2 Kansas (number 1 overall seed in 2010 and they came out of the third number 1 seed region), and 2 Ohio State (number 1 overall seed in 2011 and they came out of the second number 1 seed region).

    • The Blazer! says:

      There’s a mistake here. My point was that ever Final Four has atleast one school named after a US State and 2014 has all four Final Four named after a US State. Aside from that, back in 2012, the Final Four can be called “The rise and the fallen of the monarchs”. Here’s why:

      The Final Four teams of 2012 were: Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville

      Number one overall seed Kentucky made it to the Final Four (the rise of a new monarch). The fallen were: Louisville (number 1 overall seed in 2009 and they came out from the fourth number 1 seed region), Kansas (number 1 overall seed in 2010 and they came out of the third number 1 seed region), and 2 Ohio State (number 1 overall seed in 2011 and they came out of the second number 1 seed region).

  13. Tommy says:

    So, UConn-Kentucky guarantees that no one met champ criteria. But then again, who the heck would’ve picked a championship game featuring 7 and 8 seeds? Just a bizarre season. And Peter, you were right: The numbers did show madness was coming with this tournament, and we got it.

    Did UConn’s 2011 run foreshadow some of this on the horizon?

    • ptiernan says:

      Interestingly, two days after Selection Sunday, I compared the quality curve of 2014 to past dances–and it most resembled 2011. Of course, I had no idea just how closely it would resemble it in terms of UConn.

  14. Gary Diny says:


    Great job as always!!! I feel this year you had it correct in how crazy it could get. When that is the case, it makes it that much harder to determine just who is going to get to the FF and potentially win it all. Both KY and UConn have won several games that have been close. Certainly KY having won 4 consecutive last posession games, all against very talented and quality teams with experience (3 of last year FF teams and WI…who generally has a veteran team).

    As for UConn, they were essentially beat in the 1st round game against St Joe’s, survived and forced OT and pulled out a great win. Things kept rolling for them since then.

    Over 30 years of data, there is going to be that outlier that cannot be explained. Maybe if will happen every 30 years or so (Villanova in 1985 and now either KY or UConn).

    • Andy says:

      Is this going to be a repeat of the 80’s? Not only Villanova, but two 6 seeds also won championships in that decade, NC State off that famous alleyoop in 1983, and Kansas in 1988.

      What a tournament!

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