Two More Brackets: Strong Predictors vs. Strong Predictors and My Instinct

Who knew analytics could be so much fun? I write about them for a living, but applying them to sports has made them come alive for me. As a result, I took the advice of the Watson Analytics March Madness Prediction worksheet I created and decided to base another bracket on what the worksheet says is a stronger predictor based on Pomeroy’s data: the combination of tempo rank and Pythagorean rank.

WAP2

Watson Analytics provided even stronger combinations, but they were all related to how losses drive wins, so I had to discard them. Anyway, 71% strong was good enough for me.

The result of applying this combination to the bracket was a lot more interesting than using Pythagorean rank alone. I now have a better understanding of why there’s a trend of a 5 seed losing to a 12 seed. My problem is that I haven’t been able to figure out which 12 seed. However, according to my prediction worksheet, Wofford’s combination of tempo rank and Pythagorean rank was more likely to lead to a win than Arkansas’s combination, so that’s where that upset could come.

I did have to make some judgment calls. Based on the statistics, Kentucky is one of four teams that have the combination most likely to lead to wins. The other three are Villanova, Gonzaga, and Notre Dame. This means that Notre Dame and Kentucky must meet in the Final Four. I went ahead and picked Kentucky to win based on the fact that Kentucky is undefeated and John Calipari’s NCAA tournament resume.

I’m also sad to report that Harvard’s combination of tempo rank and Pythagorean rank was better than UNC’s, so apparently my karma for enjoying Duke’s early exits has come due.

There were other surprises, such as UCI’s much better combination than Louisville’s. Also, the analysts who have been saying that Utah is most likely to challenge Duke are correct; Utah’s combo is just a tad less winning than Duke’s. Interestingly, Duke will be no match for Gonzaga when they meet. I’m hoping that because this is a statistical bracket, Gonzaga will make it far enough to play Duke, because usually when I have them going far, they lose early or if I have them lose early, they go far. This. Happens. Every. Single. Year. Enough whining. Here’s the bracket.

Midwest

Midwest 2

West

West2South

South2East

East2

Final Four and Champion

FF2

And finally, I decided I would also take the Watson Analytics information and combine it with some other factors such as the team’s coach’s tournament resume and my personal bias. I’m exhausted from all this cutting and pasting, so I’m just going to show my Final Four and Champion from that bracketFF3. If it turns out this bracket is more of a winner than the others, I’ll post it at the end of the tournament.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my friend Mark Buerger has suggestions for people who would like human help with their brackets. (Hi, buerg!)

Of course, if the Tar Heels would like to defy all statistics and win it all in memory of Dean, I would be content.

 

 

How I Decided to Take a Different Tack for my Brackets This Year

In 1997, I won my company’s March Madness pool and that’s the last time that one of my brackets did not turn into a sea of red by the end of the first weekend. I blame Gonzaga. Since they started getting into the tournament, they never do what I predict and the downward spiral begins. So, this year I decided to avoid going with my gut or listening to analysts, since the results have been disastrous. It is time for drastic action; it’s time to be more scientific.

My decision to try a new process coincides with my work with IBM’s cloud analytics service that anyone can use for free (with limitations) just by registering at www.watsonanalytics.com. You can upload a spreadsheet of data and get information about it with the service, which is called Watson Analytics. I’m a subscriber to Ken Pomeroy’s data (http://kenpom.com/), so I decided to use his data combined with win-loss records and upload it into Watson Analytics to help me fill out my NCAA bracket.

I uploaded the data and decided to use the predict function to see what most influenced wins. I decided to do a very simple analysis where I would simply see what 1 factor was most likely to affect wins based on Pomeroy’s data. After discarding the information that losses were a strong predictor of wins, I found that Pomeroy’s PythagRank was the next strongest predictor of wins.

WinsSo, I filled out my bracket based on Pomeroy’s Pythagorean Ranking. It’s not full of huge surprises, but it’s interesting and it has teams going far in the tournament that I would not have picked on my own. So maybe I’ll have more success with this one. I’m also considering creating another bracket based on a combination of factors such as RankPythag and RankTempo, which Watson Analytics tells me is an even stronger predictor of wins.

For now, I’m going to post screen shots of my bracket where the winners of each game was picked based on Pomeroy’s Pythagorean rank, and I’ll return after the first four and next round of games happen to see how this bracket is doing.

Midwest

MidwestEast

EastWest

WestSouthSouth

Final Four and Champions

FF

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my friend Mark Buerger has suggestions for people who would like human help with their brackets. (Hi, buerg!) After all, the human element is rarely more evident than during March Madness.

2014 Selection Show Live Blog

 

Bracketology 2-20-13

Midwest Regional(Indianapolis, IN)   East Region(Washington, DC)
1. INDIANA(B1G) 1. MIAMI(Fl)(ACC)
16. NU(CAA) SOUTHERN(SWAC) 16. NIAGARA(MAAC)
- Dayton Arena(Dayton, OH) - Rupp Arena(Lexington, KY)
8. UNLV 8. OREGON(PAC 12)
9. Oklahoma 9. Creighton
5. Colorado State 5. Illinois
12. Iowa State/Villanova 12. MTSU(SUN BELT)
- Sprint Center(Kansas City, MO) - HP Pavilion(San Jose, CA)
4. KANSAS STATE(BIG 12) 4. MARQUETTE(BIG EAST)
13. LOUISIANA TECH(WAC) 13. Temple
3. Louisville 3. Kansas
14. MONTANA(BIG SKY) 14. NORTHWESTERN ST(SLAND)
- Dayton Arena(Dayton, OH) - Sprint Center(Kansas City, MO)
6. Minnesota 6. Missouri
11. Charlotte/Arizona State 11. California
7. San Diego State 7. Cincinnati
10. VCU 10. North Carolina
- Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia, PA) - Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI)
2. Syracuse 2. Michigan
15. VERMONT(AM. EAST) 15. DAVIDSON(SOUTHERN)
West Regional(Los Angeles, CA) South Regional(Arlington, TX)
1. GONZAGA(WCC) 1. Duke
16. ROBERT MORRIS(NEC) 16. NSU(MEAC)HPU(Big. So.)
- Energy Solutions Arena(SLC, UT) - Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia, PA)
8. Colorado 8. LaSalle
9. WICHITA ST(MVC) 9. UCLA
5. Oklahoma State 5. Wisconsin
12. BUCKNELL(PATRIOT) 12. Baylor
- Frank Erwin Center(Austin, TX) - Energy Solutions Arena(SLC, UT)
4. Butler 4. Georgetown
13. VALPARAISO(Horizon) 13. AKRON(MAC)
3. NEW MEXICO(Mtn. WEST) 3. Arizona
14. SOUTH DAKOTA ST(SUMMIT) 14. HARVARD(IVY)
- Frank Erwin Center(Austin, TX) - HP Pavilion(San Jose, CA)
6. Notre Dame 6. NC State
11. BELMONT(OVC) 11. Ole Miss
7. Ohio State 7. Cincinnati
10. MEMPHIS(C-USA) 10. ST. LOUIS(A-10)
- Rupp Arena(Lexington, KY) - Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI)
2. FLORIDA(SEC) 2. Michigan St.
15. MERCER(A-SUN) 15. LONG BEACH ST(BIG WEST)

Last 4 IN: Iowa State, Charlotte, Villanova, Arizona State
Last 4 OUT: Kentucky, St. Mary’s, Virginia, Boise State
Next 4 OUT: Maryland, Massachusetts, Alabama, St. John’s
Next in Line: Iowa, Southern Mississippi, Indiana State, Arkansas

Bids by Conference:
(8) Big East
(7) B1G
(6) A-10, Big 12, Pac 12
(4) ACC, Mtn. West
(3) SEC
(2) MVC

Eric D’s Bracketology 2-11-13

East Region(Washington, DC) South Regional(Arlington, TX)
1. Duke 1. MIAMI(Fl)(ACC)
16. NSU(MEAC)UNC-ASH(Big. So.) 16. NIAGARA(MAAC)
- Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia, PA) - Rupp Arena(Lexington, KY)
8. Oklahoma 8. Oregon
9. UCLA 9. VCU
5. Wisconsin 5. Pittsburgh
12. Temple 12. Umass/Baylor
- Energy Solutions Arena(SLC, UT) - Dayton Arena(Dayton, OH)
4. Georgetown 4. Ohio State
13. AKRON(MAC) 13. MTSU(SUN BELT)
3. Louisville 3. Kansas
14. HARVARD(IVY) 14. SF-AUSTIN(SOUTHLAND)
- Frank Erwin Center(Austin, TX) - Sprint Center(Kansas City, MO)
6. NC State 6. Notre Dame
11. Boise State 11. Ole Miss
7. UNLV 7. San Diego State
10. WICHITA ST(MVC) 10. Kentucky
- Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI) - Energy Solutions Arena(SLC, UT)
2. MICHIGAN ST(B1G) 2. GONZAGA(WCC)
15. VERMONT(AM. EAST) 15. DAVIDSON(SOUTHERN)
West Regional(Los Angeles, CA) Midwest Regional(Indy, IN)
1. Michigan 1. Indiana
16. NU(CAA) SOU.(SWAC) 16. BRYANT(NEC)
- Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI) - Dayton Arena(Dayton, OH)
8. Colorado 8. Creighton
9. LaSalle 9. North Carolina
5. Oklahoma State 5. Colorado State
12. BUCKNELL(PATRIOT) 12. St. Mary’s/Virginia
- Frank Erwin Center(Austin, TX) - Sprint Center(Kansas City, MO)
4. BUTLER(A 10) 4. KANSAS STATE(BIG 12)
13. VALPARAISO(Horizon) 13. LOUISIANA TECH(WAC)
3. NEW MEXICO(Mtn. West) 3. ARIZONA(PAC 12)
14. FCGU(A SUN) 14. MONTANA(BIG SKY)
- HP Pavilion(San Jose, CA) - HP Pavilion(San Jose, CA)
6. Minnesota 6. Cincinnati
11. BELMONT(OVC) 11. Iowa State
7. Missouri 7. Illinois
10. MEMPHIS(C-USA) 10. Indiana State
- Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia, PA) - Rupp Arena(Lexington, KY)
2. SYRACUSE(BIG EAST) 2. FLORIDA(SEC)
15. WESTERN ILLINOIS(SUMMIT) 15. LONG BEACH ST(BIG WEST)

Last 4 IN: Umass, St. Mary’s, Virginia, Baylor
First 4 OUT: St. John’s, Southern Mississippi, Stanford, California
Next 4 OUT: Arizona St, Charlotte, Villanova, Wyoming

Eric D’s Bracketology 1/31/13

South Regional(Arlington, TX)                              Midwest Regional(Indianapolis, IN)
1. KANSAS(Big 12)                                                  1.MICHIGAN(B1G)
16. NORTHEASTERN(CAA)                                   16. NSU(MEAC)/ FCGU(A-SUN)
-Sprint Center(Kansas City,MO)                                – Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills,MI)
8. Pittsburgh                                                              8. Colorado
9. UCLA                                                                     9. North Carolina

5. Marquette                                                              5. Kansas State
12. Virginia                                                                12. SOUTHERN MISS(C-USA)
- Energy Solutions Arena(Salt Lake City,UT)             -Frank Erwin Center(Austin,TX)
4. OREGON(PAC 12)                                               4. Michigan State
13. MTSU(SUN BELT)                                           13. VALPARAISO(Horizon)

3. GONZAGA(WCC)                                                 3. Louisville
14. SF-AUSTIN(SOUTHLAND)                              14. WESTERN ILLINOIS(Summit)
- Energy Solutions Arena(Salt Lake City,UT)            - Rupp Arena(Lexington, KY)
6. San Diego State                                                    6. UNLV
11. BELMONT(OVC)                                               11. Arizona State/UMASS          

7. Colorado State                                                       7. Wisconsin
10. Baylor                                                                  10. Oklahoma State
- Dayton Arena(Dayton, OH)                                    - Frank Erwin Center(Austin,TX)
2. Indiana                                                                   2. MIAMI(ACC)
15. MONTANA(BIG SKY)                                       15. NIAGARA(MAAC)

East Region(Washington, DC)                               West Regional(Los Angeles, CA)
1. Duke                                                                       1. Arizona
16. SOUTHERN(SWAC)/CHAR. SO.(Big. So.)      16. RMU(NEC)
- Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia,PA)                       – HP Pavilion(San Jose,CA)
8. Notre Dame                                                             8. VCU
9. Missouri                                                                   9. Ole Miss

5. WICHITA STATE(MVC)                                         5. NC State
12. Memphis/Iowa State                                            12. LOUISIANA TECH(WAC)
- Dayton Arena(Dayton,OH)                                      -Sprint Center(Kansas City,MO)
4. Butler(A 10)                                                           4. Ohio State
13. AKRON(MAC)                                                     13. BUCKNELL(PATRIOT)

3. Minnesota                                                               3. NEW MEXICO(Mtn. West)
14. HARVARD(IVY)                                                   14. DAVIDSON(SOUTHERN)
- Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI)                       – HP Pavillion(San Jose, CA)
6. Cincinnati                                                                6. Georgetown
11. Indiana State                                                         11. Kentucky

7. Creighton                                                                  7. Oklahoma
10. Illinois                                                                     10. LaSalle
- Rupp Arena(Lexington, KY)                                       - Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia,PA)
2. FLORIDA(SEC)                                                       2. SYRACUSE(BIG EAST)
15. STONY BROOK(AM. EAST)                               15. LBSU(BIG WEST)

Last 4 IN: Memphis, Arizona State, UMASS, Iowa State
Last 4 OUT: Villanova, Temple, St. John’s, Boise State
Next 4 OUT: St. Mary’s, BYU, Wyoming, Charlotte

Bids by Conference:
(7) B1G, Big East
(6) Big 12
(5) ACC, Pac 12
(4) A 10, Mtn. West, SEC
(3) MVC
(2) Conf. USA,

Eric D’s First Bracketology of 2013

East Region(Washington, DC)                               West Regional(Los Angeles, CA)
1. DUKE(ACC)                                                          1. ARIZONA(PAC 12)
16. CAL-POLY(Big West)/UNC-Ash(Big. So.)      16.)SOUTHERN(SWAC)
- Wells Fargo Arena(Philadelphia,PA)                       – HP Pavilion(San Jose,CA)
8. UCLA                                                                      8.Temple
9. Kentucky                                                                 9.OhioState

5. Notre Dame                                                            5. Wichita State
12. Indiana State/Florida State                                  12.Oregon
-DaytonArena(Dayton,OH)                                        - HP Pavilion(San Jose,CA)
4. BUTLER(A-10)                                                      4. NEW MEXICO(Mtn. West)
13. CANISIUS(MAAC)                                              13. UTAH STATE(WAC)

3. Indiana                                                                    3. Illinois
14. HARVARD(IVY)                                                  14. TULSA(C-USA)
-DaytonArena(Dayton,OH)                                       -SprintCenter(Kansas City,MO)
6. VCU                                                                        6. Miami(Fl)
11. ColoradoState                                                     11. BYU

7. KansasState                                                           7. UNLV
10. BUCKNELL(Patriot)                                          10.St. Louis
- WellsFargoArena(Philadelphia,PA)                        - Energy Solutions Arena(SLC,UT)
2. SYRACUSE(BIG EAST)                                        2. GONZAGA(WCC)
15. VERMONT(AM. EAST)                                      15. WAGNER(NEC)

South Regional(Arlington, TX)                               Midwest Regional(Indianapolis, IN)  1. Kansas                                                                    1. MICHIGAN(B1G)
16. TOWSON(CAA)                                                  16. NSU(MEAC)/ USC UPST.(ASUN)
- SprintCenter(Kansas City, MO)                               – Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI)
8. Marquette                                                                8. Baylor
9. Maryland                                                                  9. BoiseState

5. MichiganState                                                         5. Cincinnati
12. OKLAHOMA(BIG 12)                                         12. DAVIDSON(Southern)
- Energy Solutions Arena(Salt Lake City,UT)             -FrankErwinCenter(Austin,TX)
4. NC State                                                                 4.Missouri
13. TENNESSEE STATE(OVC)                              13. DETROIT(Horizon)

3. FLORIDA(SEC)                                                     3. CREIGHTON(MVC)
14. SF-AUSTIN(SOUTHLAND)                               14. WESTERN MICHIGAN(MAC)
- Rupp Arena(Lexington,KY)                                     -FrankErwinCenter(Austin,TX)
6. Wyoming                                                                6. San Diego State
11. Pittsburgh/Memphis                                            11. MTSU(SUN-BELT)

7. OklahomaState                                                      7.Georgetown
10. Colorado                                                              10.North Carolina
-Rupp Arena(Lexington,KY)                                      – Palace Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills,MI)
2.Louisville                                                                 2.Minnesota
15. MONTANA(BIG SKY)                                        15. WESTERN ILLINOIS(Summit)

Last 4 IN: Pittsburgh, Indiana State, Florida State, Memphis
Last 4 OUT: Tennessee, Massachusetts, Murray State, California
Next 4 OUT: Wisconsin, Belmont, La Salle, Ole Miss

Bids By Conference:
(7) Big East
(6) ACC, B1G, Mtn. West
(5) Big 12
(4) A-10, Pac 12
(3) MVC, SEC
(2) C-USA, WCC

 

Eric D’s First Bracketology

East Region(Washington, DC)                         West Regional(Los Angeles, CA)
1. DUKE(ACC)                                                    1. Arizona
16. WILLIAM & MARY(CAA)/PV A&M(SWAC)  16. UC-SANTA BARBARA(Big West)
- WellsFargoArena(Philadelphia,PA)                   – HP Pavilion(San Jose,CA)
8. Pittsburgh                                                          8. VCU
9. Xavier                                                                9. Maryland

5. Creighton                                                           5. GONZAGA(WCC)
12.Iowa                                                                 12.Wyoming
- HP Pavilion(San Jose,CA)                                  - Energy Solutions Arena(SLC,UT)
4. BUTLER(A-10)                                                 4. NEW MEXICO(Mtn. West)
13. CANISIUS(MAAC)                                         13. LOUISIANA TECH(WAC)

3. Indiana                                                               3. Minnesota
14. HARVARD(Ivy)                                              14. SOUTHERN METHODIST(C-USA)
-DaytonArena(Dayton,OH)                                    - Palace at Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills,MI)
6. Notre Dame                                                       6. North Carolina
11. BYU/Stanford                                                  11.Charlotte

7. Miami(Fl)                                                            7. MURRAY ST(OVC)
10. BUCKNELL(Patriot)                                      10.California
-SprintCenter(Kansas City,MO)                            - Rupp Arena(Lexington,KY)
2. Kansas(Big 12)                                                  2. Louisville
15. SF-AUSTIN(Southland)                                 15. GARDNER WEBB(Big South)

South Regional(Arlington, TX)                          Midwest Regional(Indianapolis, IN)
1. SYRACUSE(Big East)                                      1. MICHIGAN(B1G)
16. MOUNT ST. MARY’S(NEC)                          16. NSU(MEAC)/WEBER ST(Big Sky)
- Wells FargoArena(Philadelphia, PA)                   – Palace at Auburn Hills(Auburn Hills, MI)
8. Kentucky                                                             8. Temple
9. Oregon                                                                9. Alabama

5. COLORADO(PAC 12)                                        5. OklahomaState
12.BoiseState                                                         12. Northwestern
- Energy Solutions Arena(Salt Lake City,UT)          -Frank Erwin Center(Austin,TX)
4. Georgetown                                                         4. Missouri
13. DAVIDSON(Southern)                                    13. WESTERN KENTUCKY(Sun Belt)

3. Ohio State                                                            3. Cincinnati
14. ALBANY(Am. East)                                          14. CENTRAL MICHIGAN(MAC)
-Dayton Arena(Dayton,OH)                                     -Frank Erwin Center(Austin,TX)
6. NC State                                                               6. WICHITA STATE(MVC)
11. ILLINOIS-CHICAGO(Horizon)                        11. Wisconsin/St. Louis

7. Michigan State                                                       7. San DiegoState
10. Baylor                                                                 10. Marquette
-Rupp Arena(Lexington,KY)                                     -Sprint Center(Kansas City,MO)
2. FLORIDA(SEC)                                                    2. Illinois
15. FGCU(A-SUN)                                                   15. WESTERN ILLINOIS(Summit)

Last 4 IN: BYU, Stanford, Wisconsin, St. Louis
First 4 OUT: Memphis, UCLA, Ole Miss, Virginia
Next 4 OUT: Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech

Bids By Conference:
(9) B1G
(6) A 10
(5) ACC, Pac 12, Big East, Mtn West
(4) SEC
(3) Big 12
(2) WCC, MVC