A few weeks back, I took the new KenPom data using his “mismatch-free” formula and compared the average efficiency values of the top 13 seeds for the chalkiest dance of the 64-team era (2007, 4.1% Madometer reading), the craziest dance (2013, 20.8% mad), and the average for the last 11 years.
I promised that I would load in the 2014 Pythag values once they became available. Well, I’ve done that—and the results are pretty illuminating. First the chart, then my comments:
It looks like this year’s top seeds are slightly better than average and just a tick below the quality of last year’s one seeds. Remember: only Louisville got to the Final Four last year.
The big surprise comes with two and three seeds. They are both weaker than their historical counterparts—and significantly worse than last year. This could spell more upsets in the second round, particularly for two seeds. They’re much worse than 2013, not to mention the 2003-13 average. Meanwhile, this group of seven seeds is stronger than average, though weaker than last year.
The seed position that really sticks out is the four seed. I thought last year’s group—with Syracuse and Michigan—was imposing. This year’s bunch, led by Louisville and Michigan State, but also including dangerous UCLA and San Diego State squads, is significantly better. Their average Pythag is just .0004 lower than that of the two seed group and solidly ahead of the two seeds.
As for the 5v12 and 6v11 upset match-ups, the numbers indicate that five seeds are more vulnerable than average or last year, but 12 seeds are weaker. Meanwhile six seeds, while slightly better than the 2013 class, are still below average. And 11 seeds are well above average. Is this the year when 11 seeds take over the mantle of Cinderella from 12 seeds?