MAILBAG: Answering some key reader questions…

Running a website about tourney bracket prediction is not a good business model. About two-thirds of my sign-ups come in a four-day period, from Selection Sunday to Wednesday. And with the sign-ups come a ton of questions and comments. I have to admit that I can’t keep up with all the comments on the blogposts, but I’m happy that so many Insiders are picking up the slack with great dialogue.

As for the e-mails, I do try to respond to every one—even the guy who asked me to fill out his billion-dollar bracket for him (just a tad busy for that level of service). Some of the e-mails are topics that everyone should know about. Here are some of the questions that have rolled in over the last couple days?

A BUNCH OF READERS: When are you posting your Keeper bracket?

I will post two Keeper brackets this year—one for small pools and another for “shoot-the-moon” contests. (Gimme that billion dollars!) They’ll probably come later tonight, after the results of the play-in games. That Tennesse/Iowa tilt affects a number of the bracket models. In fact, when I post the next wave, that will be the final PDF you’ll get on the models. NOTE: If you haven’t seen the message late last night on an important Outcome Matching model change, make sure you’re up to speed. Duke and Michigan fans will not be happy.

DON N: KenPom adjusted his rankings after last night play-in games.  I assume he will again after today’s games. Will you produce a revised chart for his bracket?

Yes. I will revisit the KenPom bracket model and update it in case the reordering has changed picks. However, I’m not going to readjust the Excel stats sheet. You’ll have to do that on your own after tonight’s games. That said, when I load the data into my main database, I will use KenPom’s most recent numbers before the “true tourney” tips off tomorrow. It just makes sense to use the latest numbers in my analysis.

DENNIS: Where can I find your bracket models?

In the old days, I used to spend more time on fancy graphics for the home page, which made the location of the models butt simple. Not so much anymore. They’re under the TIPS+ section. Look for the link that starts “2014 Models.”

ANDREW: Where can I find your Pulse Check of the top 13 teams?

One of the problems with the WordPress blog application is that it shoves old posts onto other pages than the home page. I’ve had a couple of requests for the final Pulse Check. So here’s the link.

COMISHKAUF: Is there a glossary for the stats spreadsheet?

I posted on this last year, and should’ve pointed you to it. Here’s what the columns in the stats sheet mean.

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20 Responses to MAILBAG: Answering some key reader questions…

  1. larry k says:

    Pete,
    dont discount the ‘alternative service’ of filling out people’s brackets for them… it actually has some ‘business model’ merit if you think about it… in fact, should you like to enter into a business agreement with me, we can discuss the
    ‘model’ and my part in the whole scheme of things..

    anyway, thanks for all you do for us insiders each year :-)
    larry

  2. Frankie says:

    Hey Peter, not sure if this is more scientific then anything else. But since 1998 the tourney champ has had atleast 30 wins.

    • ptiernan says:

      That’s post tourney. S0 in other words, they would need at least 24. Last year, Louisville was 29-5 heading into the dance. In 2011, UConn was just 26-9.

  3. BoDEAN says:

    Great post btw! I have a question. What are users looking for when they look at all the brackets that you have provided? Are they looking for one that fits what THEY think will happen? Are they looking for the one with the highest ESPN percentage? Or are they looking at all the brackets, and looking for trends (say 80% of the brackets have TENN winning their first 2 games, so they make that pick on their bracket)….

    • ptiernan says:

      Hey BoDEAN, good question. I think it’s all of the above. A lot of people will come back to me and say, “I used your model x, tweaked a few picks and won my pool.” I think that’s the ultimate goal. If anyone is coming here for insight on how to build the billion-dollar bracket, they’re probably better off not reading anything.

      • Gary Diny says:

        As a someone that has been NCAA tourney fan since the early 80′s…I remember the ’82 final when Ewing was blocking/goal tending 4-5 shots in the first few minutes of the game as shown on the ESP 30 for 30 on SUnday evening….I come for the information and analysis of Pete and others.. There is so much info to dig into, it is a bit of a shame that you only have a shade over 72 hours to do it all. Factoring in sleep and work, family….not enough time.

        I have my preferences, but I do not have the time to dig and retrieve all the stat info that Pete provides. I generally tweak some picks for my entries into pools.

  4. BoDEAN says:

    Another question. Are some of your model/brackets good for different size pools? I’m in a few pools that range from 10-35 people, and wondering what the mindset is with pools of that size and picks. Not sure what models to use as a rough template based on pool size. (Ie. Outcome and ESPN BPI good for large pools?)

    • ptiernan says:

      Generally speaking, the smaller the pool, the closer you can play it to the vest. If you’re trying to win a large pool, you probably make to do a few more picks that step out on a ledge. Many of the metrics-driven brackets are inherently safe. That said, Silver did quite well. It’s usually critical to nail the champion to win a pool. That’s because points graduate with each round. We only increment the point value for correct points by one each round. But some pools, like the ESPN Challenge, double the point values. So you get as many points for picking the champion as you would for picking every single first round game correctly That ain’t right.

      • Gary Diny says:

        Pete is spot on with the above thoughts. More people means it is more important to get more of the outlier/upset games correct. In almost all pools, you need to get the champion correct and/or several final 4 and elite 8 teams. With ESPN, getting the champ correct is like getting the first round 32 for 32. It is very heavy weighted to the end.

        For me, knowing how the pool is set up, point scoring, weighted per round, points for upsets will dictate how some of the picks will be made. 1 pool I am in offers point differential for the seed upsets (12 beat a 5, you get 7 points over the regular 1 point for first round win). Thus it pays to take more early round upsets as you can earn more points.

        Gary

  5. Jon says:

    Regarding selecting the Final Four candidates, you say this in your Final 4/Champ TIPS+ section

    That’s a lot of numbers to chew through—but don’t worry. After Selection Sunday, I’ll do this heavy lifting for you. I’ll post a stats model on in the Tips+ section listing the teams that these and all the other rules identify. At this point, just remember this: historically, applying these guidelines to the multi-candidate regions gives you a 16-5 record in pegging the right Final Four contender.

    First of all, what Final 4 teams did you identify using this method. I went through the rules and got Florida, Arizona, Michigan St. and Louisville.

    Is that correct according to the rules?

    • ptiernan says:

      Answers in the TIPS+ section with all the Bracket models. “2014 Models Wave 4.” The model you want is #2.

      • Gary Diny says:

        I may be missing something, but what DQ’s Michigan State from the final four/champ model? Is it the starting 5 age item? Clarification appreciated!!!

        Gary

        • Dave says:

          i think assist/fgm ratio but not 100% sure

        • ptiernan says:

          MSU was evaluated by the multi-candidate rules, since Villanova and NC both qualified. And the very first eliiminator is:

          • Eliminate any team with fewer than seven wins in their last 10 pre-tourney tilts or a losing streak of two or more games entering the dance.

  6. John says:

    Hey Pete or Anyone…

    How do I calculate this?

    An offensive efficiency rating less than 1.07 points per possession

    I see the offensive efficiency number but not per possession…

  7. John says:

    Hey Pete or Anyone…

    How do I calculate this?

    An offensive efficiency rating less than 1.07 points per possession

    I see the offensive efficiency number but not per possession…

  8. V says:

    Hi there,
    Will you be getting the 2 Keeper Brackets posted before the 1 am EST deadline for entry into the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge? Thanks!

    • ptiernan says:

      Sorry, I won’t. I just realized that they’re closing it at 1am. What’s with that? Won’t have finals until tomorrow at 8ish. On the billion dollar, I just used the Brack-o-Matic and submitted the first bracket with two top seeds in the F4 and two double digit seeds in the S16.

  9. chrism says:

    Pete i believe thats just a sign up deadline. the deadline to complete a bracket is still 12:15 est

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