Pulse check of the tourney field based on 13 disqualifiers

I’m working through the rest of the models today. The first one on tap is “Pulse Check Stats.” That one uses some basic high-seed advancement rules, then observes the following numbers to pick the rest of the bracket:


Some observations on these numbers:

  • Villanova is the only team free of any disqualifiers. Gosh, they were also the team that passed all three champ tests. The numbers are trying to tell me something…and I don’t think I’m listening.
  • Virginia has a lot of disqualifiers for a one seed.
  • Duke looks to be the only three seed worth considering.
  • Both MSU and Louisville are unusually strong four seeds…but you didn’t need the numbers to tell you that.
  • Watch out for VCU.
  • UMass…um…no.
  • Kentucky jumps out as an uncommonly strong eight seed, with just five DQs.
  • Tennessee and Iowa should not be playing the play-in game.
  • Harvard has the fewest DQs of any 12 seed.
  • Texas Southern with just eight DQs as a 16 seed. Whoa.

Here’s the legend to read this:

  • 14 – Did they go to last year’s dance? (An “N” gets a disqualifier) I should’ve made this “13,” but too much going on right now to change.
  • CY – How many tourney trips has the coach made? (Should be more than three)
  • E8 – How many times has the coach been to the Elite Eight? (At least once)
  • PASE – Is their coach a historical over- or underachiever? (A negative PASE gets a scarlet box)
  • CA – What’s their conference affiliation? (Should be a Big Six conference)
  • SOS – What’s their strength of schedule (Anything worse than 50 is bad)
  • PR – What’s their possession-based Pythag ranking (Should be top 15)
  • OE – Where do they rate for offensive efficiency? (Must be 25 or better)
  • DE – Where do they rate for defensive efficiency? (Must be 25 or better)
  • PPG – What’s their point scoring average (Should be 73 points per game or more)
  • MAR – What’s their average scoring margin (Needs to be better than 10 points)
  • MO – How’s their current momentum (any team more than four losses in the last 10 or two in a row gets a disqualifier)
  • R+T – Combined rebounding and turnover margin
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13 Responses to Pulse check of the tourney field based on 13 disqualifiers

  1. Ryan Tressler says:

    Creighton needs adjusted since they are now in a big conference

  2. John says:

    I know you’re busy, but can we get the bracket forums up soon? I know a lot of us have some ideas to bounce off each other.


  3. Phil says:

    Where can I find the LEGEND to read this? Thanks.

  4. the maven says:

    I was ready to get on the VCU bandwagon but they lost the “sixth man of the year” to injury in their last game. Sounds like he’s going to be out for a while. You can overcome one game…two games but eventually losing your stud costs you. Arizona/Syracuse/Kansas are in the same boat. New Mexico could very well beat Kansas unless the big 7-foooter gets to play this weekend.

    • Andy says:

      VCU should make the Sweet 16. They get the weakest 12 and I don’t trust Steve Alford, while although Tulsa is a potential giant killer, they aren’t cut out to beat these kind of teams twice in a row.

      I actually like Stanford over Kansas. I don’t trust a Mountain West team, let alone one with a rookie coach. Stanford in fact is my sleeper surprise for the Elite Eight, as I am not at all high on Syracuse or Ohio State, while Dayton has a ridiculously low Pythag rating.

  5. Eric says:

    Maybe Villanova’s disqualifier should be conference – is the Big East really a “Big” conference anymore? It’s too bad it was seeded like one, when the American wasn’t.

    • ptiernan says:

      Can’t disagree Eric. Louisville, the second most efficient team in the country, a four seed? What a joke. And that Midwest region seemed designed to bar Michigan, Louisville and Wichita State from a return to the Final Four. You can’t tell me the committee didn’t do that on purpose.

  6. Joamiq says:

    Have you ever had a chance to run some regressions to see how the pulse check factors might be weighted against each other? I’ve always been most interested in this model, but am wary about treating each of the factors as of equal importance. Similarly, it would be interesting to see for some of the factors whether the margin by which a team’s numbers exceed your threshholds matters.

    • ptiernan says:

      Interesting ideas Joamiq. I actually did try to assign a PASE value to each of these DQs. But I haven’t had enough time to dig into it. Actually, I was going to put together an Excel “Brack-o-matic” where you identified which factors you thought mattered most, then it grabbed PASE data, did the multiples and force-ranked the teams. One of the factors was “Chaos.” I didn’t complete the model in time.

    • Mike L. says:


      I have had the same premonitions about the Pulse Check as well. Here is a link to the 2013 Pulse Check.


      You can match it up to last year’s bracket and see how it works.

      I have back-tested a couple of strategies that I found interesting, but none we’re definitive. It is interesting that LOU and dook were the only two teams with 0 DQs, and they both met in the E8 because they were seeded in the same region.

  7. Gary Diny says:

    Wondering if you have any info on different seeds levels that have pythag efficiency numbers above/below a value that indicates potential upset victor/victim?

    Do 12 seeds with some metric in their pythag numbers fare better than other 12 seeds?
    Between seeds, if a gap of respective pythag numbers is narrow, does that increase the potential of upsets?

    Great job as always!!!


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