After day 1, the Madometer is on record pace

The Harvard upset of New Mexico turned what was going to be a fairly tame first day into ┬árecord-pace madness. In the Bad Coaches Region, a couple of all-time underachievers did not disappoint–by reliably disappointing. Jamie Dixon can’t drop much further on the coach ratings list (check out Ratings+; he’s third from the bottom), but his PASE will get slightly worse. And then there’s Steve Alford. I knew New Mexico was a fraud (reserving judgment on the whole MWC), but the first round? To Harvard? Yikes.

One chic Cinderella pick fell a basket short on a hellavudellavadova comeback. And another one duck-walked to victory over a rattled-looking Oklahoma State. No doubt today will bring more surprises. We’ll know tonight if the first was an aberration, of we truly are on the path to record madness.

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40 Responses to After day 1, the Madometer is on record pace

  1. Alex says:

    Pete – Why did you think new Mexico was a fraud and why didn’t the models and formulas and seed by seed guide get the Harvard over NM correct? I know ssometimes things are unpredictable but did Harvard have anything to them that showed they were a Giant Killer or did New Mexico have anything that shows they were a Fake Giant?

    • ptiernan says:

      I never advocate picking a 3v14 upset in round 1. That’s the primary reason. But, of course, efficiency data, BPI, Nate Silver…pretty much every measure had New Mexico advancing. I think what the result of this shows (and maybe the Pitt game too) is that coaching might have a bigger impact than game play statistics.

      • Alex says:

        You are absolutely right. However we must keep in mind the power of the 3 pointer in this college game. New Mexico is one of the worst teams in allowing opponents to score a bulk of their points from three point land and Harvard was Top 10 in the nation from bombs away land. Plus New Mexico relies heavily on FT’s for points and that’s always dangerous in these games. If you ask me Harvard may end up surprising again this weekend. Dont you think?

        • ptiernan says:

          Harvard against suspect Pac-12 team? I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset. Hope not though. I think my keeper liked AZ in the Sweet 16. Just checked ESPN…only about 100 people in 10 million still have a perfect bracket. That’s really low.

          • Alex says:

            Hey Peter… Arizona is one of the worst teams in the country in defending the three point shot. If those three’s are falling again. This game is going to be about who is most successful – Harvard with the 3’s or Arizona with the inside game. usually I’d go with the most efficient way of scoring with the inside game, but something tells me Harvard is about to be this year’s Cinderalla. Mark my words Peter!

          • ptiernan says:

            Alex – Check out Ken Pomeroy’s recent article about 3-point shooting defense on He’s done a lot of research into the issue and his contention is that you can’t really affect a team’s three shooting percentage. What you can do is limit the number of threes they take. On that score, Arizona is much better than New Mexico. They’re 19th best in the tourney field (limiting teams to 28.3% of shots from 3). New Mexico was a shocking 67th best out of 68…allowing teams to shoot 39.1% of their shots from three.

          • Alex says:

            Peter for the record. Minnesota over UCLA today and I am calling it now FGCU over Georgetown and if FGCU does not win. It will be a less than 5 point loss.

          • Alex says:

            Derrick… Belmont averages 22.5 3PT attempts a game over the regular season. They shot just 5 more 3PT than their average. You have a valid point. But Belmont was 2-13 in the 1st half from 3 point land and 6-14 in the 2nd half. As I said before Belmont chucks em and Harvard makes em. Harvard will lose if they cant connect.

        • Alex says:

          Absolutely right Peter. But let’s not forget one thing Peter. Arizona gave up 27 3 pt attempts to Belmont. 27!!! Only 8 fell. If Arizona allows 27 3 point attempts again to Harvard I dont think they will be as lucky. Remember Belmont chucks em. Harvard makes em!

          • ptiernan says:

            Fair enough. Let’s put it this way: it wouldn’t shock me to see Harvard win. And I always have a perverse desire to see the Cinderella win–brackets be damned.

          • ptiernan says:

            I hear you Alex. We shall see. You know me: I always want the upset…love to see that Madometer go bonkers.

          • cderrick77584 says:

            Belmont had to jack 3’s. They got down early and for the most part stayed down. One of the only ways to get back in the game was to shoot a high amount of 3’s.

            It reminds of a football game where a team may give up 300 yards passing but they won by 30. It is a misleading stat.

            Harvard had 15.85 attempts a game from the 3 point line. If they are shooting 27 something tells me they aren’t in the game. Belmont shot 5 more shots from the 3 than the usually do. I assume you are saying that is due to the AZ defense instead of the fact that they weren’t really ever in the game.

          • ptiernan says:

            My man Alex calls it! FGCU downs Georgetown! Alex–time to open!

  2. PH says:

    All of us who follow Bracket Science are not too surprised by New Mex losing. Well done Pete!

  3. Justin says:

    I think it helps that there were 3 5/12 matchups and 3 6/11 matchups yesterday, along with the Harvard win.

    If only Gonzaga had been knocked off, sigh.

    • ptiernan says:

      Yeah, four 2v15’s on the docket doesn’t bode well for Madometer spiking. Then again, there was last year… I’d say the more vulnerable twos are Georgetown and Miami. The numbers said Miami/Pacific had the bigger potential of an upset.

    • Tom says:

      We’ll see in the second round. I don’t think any 2s will lose today, but they might lose on Sunday.

  4. Joel says:

    First day underachiever report:
    #3 Michigan St – won easily vs Valpo, but we will see if they can make it past Memphis to underachieve
    #4 St Louis – won easily vs NM St and bucked the model (failed because of their awful rebounding, hence they were outrebounded by 11 but it doesn’t matter if your opponent shoots < 30% from the field)
    #3 Marquette – I was there. Davidson was the much better team and should have won. Marquette won't last long
    #5 OK St – Finally! Oregon handled this underachiever
    #3 New Mexico – Another zinger even if it happened a round earlier than expected

    Final result – Underachieving Seeds #4, #5, #6 – 1/2 (expected to lose first day)
    Underachieving Seeds #2 and #3 – 1/3 (not expected to make S16, so we have another chance to get these guys)

  5. Tom says:

    I think New Mexico shows why identifying underachievers is more important than identifying upsets.

    There wasn’t much to like about Harvard, but a lot not to like about UNM. I had Arizona beating them so… I lost one point.

    • Joel says:

      I agree and that’s why the underachiever qualities are the most valuable thing I take away from Pete’s analysis along with the Final 4 and champion model. I always get stuck having teams go too far and flame out.

      • Tom says:

        Other thing to note: Pete’s notes about the 5 and 6 seeds being of unusually low quality was based on their Pomeroy rankings rather than their seeds.

        New Mexico was 17th in Pomeroy. So they were more like a 5 seed in disguise.

        • Joel says:

          KenPom isn’t perfect either. They had Pitt has the #7 team and they couldnt win a single game in the tourney.

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            I wonder, at what point does Jamie Dixon’s seat begin to get hot. He has done A LOT of good for that program, but at some point, he has to start winning in the tournament. I’m not calling for his job or anything and I don’t wish him to lose it, but it makes you wonder, coaches have often lost their jobs in the past for failing in the post-season

          • Tom says:

            Pomeroy does have a tendency to overrate teams like Pitt and Wisconsin. It seems to be a rather consistent bug.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Any chance we’ll see some sort of info regarding the best performing bracket models thus far?

  7. Joel says:

    Wisconsin just fell, another of the underachievers because of their lack of offense.

    • ptiernan says:

      Glad I went to Gonzaga on my Keeper bracket. Mulled Wisconsin. Then again, the Zags looked very, very beatable. The Shockers could shock.

  8. Dan says:

    According to the seed guide, K State was at risk of a first round upset and are getting smacked around by La Salle at half.

    • ptiernan says:

      I think LaSalle was also on the Outcome Matching model. I wish the models were better on the 8v9 coin flips though. So far 0-3.

      • Nick says:

        It was actually Boise Pete…but you were on the right track. This has been an unbelievable 24 hours.

        • ptiernan says:

          Did you see my update to the Outcome Matching bracket after the Boise loss? Wrote a blog post about it. The guidance was to have LaSalle replace Boise as one of the first round’s five upsets.

          • Nick says:

            Ah, yes…my apologies.

            No matter how loud I am yelling at the TV for Illinois to NOT shoot a 3 its not working.

  9. chisox says:

    Chitwoodin’ Madness!

  10. Joel says:

    Our first #2 seed underachiever has fallen in Georgetown! Now just need Duke and Miami to fall in their second games…

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