This weekend I did a statistical analysis of every team in this year’s NCAA Tournament, except for the teams that are the 16th seeds or are playing for the right to be the 16th seed. The only way those teams would advance past Round 2 is if the 1st seeds did not show up.
The table with the statistics is at the bottom of the post. First I will explain my approach so you can decide whether you might find my work useful or not in determining your selections.
Since the best predictor of a basketball team’s future success is the team’s offensive and defensive efficiency averages, the evaluation I did was centered on two different approaches that basically look at adjusted efficiency, adjusted for strength of schedule.
Adjusted Marginal Win Score
First, I calculated each team’s adjusted Marginal Win Score, using the offensive and defensive statistics provided by Statfox.com. Win Score is (Pts + Rebs + Stls + .5Ass + .5Blks – FGAs – TOs – .5FTAs – .5PFs). Marginal Win Score is the Team’s Win Score – the Team’s Opponents’ Win Score divided by 2.
The Win Score calculation accounts for the first four columns of the table (not including the column with each team’s name). The first column is the Team’s Win Score. For an NCAA Champion, you generally want that above 42.00. The second column is Opponent Win Score. For an NCAA Champion, you generally want that below 20.00. The third column is the Team’s Raw Marginal Win Score. I included this number to show how successful each team has been, regardless of schedule.
The fourth column is the Team’s Adjusted Marginal Win Score. Adjusted Marginal Win Score is simply the Marginal Win Score of the team’s collective schedule plus the team’s raw Marginal Win Score. Some teams — like Illinois — didn’t post the greatest Win Score differentials, but their numbers improve because of massive adjustments brought on by brutal schedules. In college basketball, you have to adjust for schedule because different team’s play vastly different levels of competition.
At the same time, I get a little skittish with huge adjustments. At some point, a team has to actually win games, not just play well against strong competition. I included each team’s raw Marginal Win Score for this reason. Yesterday Digger Phelps made a sound point. He said teams that are successful during the season, regardless of schedule, tend to do better than teams that played well but lost a lot of games against a tough schedule (Georgetown, for example). I don’t know if that is true, but you have the information to factor that in if you wish.
Adjusted Efficiency Differential
Adjusted Efficiency Differential measures the same thing as Adjusted Marginal Win Score, but does it in a more straightforward manner.
Adjusted Efficiency Differential is simply a team’s Efficiency Differential (Points per 100 possessions) plus their collective Opponents Efficiency Differential. As an example, Missouri posted an offensive efficiency average of 113.0 and a defensive average of 97.8 (+15.20). Their collective schedule posted an offensive efficiency average of 105.4 and a defensive average of 98.8 (+6.60). Therefore, Missouri’s Adjusted Efficiency Differential was (+21.80).
The thinking is, Adjusted Efficiency Differential levels the playing field by measuring each team’s performance against the performance that a vast collection of other teams put up against the same schedule. Its not perfect, but I don’t think you can do much better without getting into more complex math.
Effective Field Goal Differential
I added this number to this year’s analysis because Dean Oliver found that it was by far the most important of his “Four Factors”. Effective Field Goal Differential is simply a team’s Effective Field Goal percentage minus their Opponents Effective Field Goal Percentage. There is no adjustment made to this number.
Below I have the table with the statistics. Its long. I ordered each team according to the sum total of the last three columns. That doesn’t make it a perfect ordering, but it gives some indication.
2011 NCAA TOURNAMENT
|Long Bea St||33.71||28.95||4.76||8.64||7.3||0.6|
Some potential second round upsets that stand out:
Gonzaga over St Johns
Utah St over Kansas St
Florida St over Texas A&M
Mich St over UCLA (shaky, though)
Marquette over Xavier
Possible Third Round Upsets
Washington over UNC
Gonzaga over BYU
Utah St over Wisconsin (gut feeling)
Possible 4th Round Upsets
Washington over Syracuse (very close)
Texas over Duke (gut feeling)
Gonzaga over Florida (Flor is way overseeded)
Wild Card Final Four Team
San Diego State
Kansas over Ohio St (zzzzz…)