Two Potential NCAA Upset Picks, with supporting math

Perusing the NCAA brackets, I have spotted two potential upsets, Harvard over Vanderbilt and Texas over Cincinnati.  Each upset pick is based on “Point Value over Average” meaning the teams ability to play above their opponents offensive and defensive efficiency averages.

I provide the supporting math for each pick.

Harvard over Vanderbilt

Harvard 103.8 85.9
Opp 96.9 95.3
PVOA 6.9 9.4
Vandy 106.5 94.8
Opp 95.7 100.1
PVOA 10.8 5.3
Harvard 98.5 96.7
Vandy 97.1 101.7
Harv 100.1 59.9
Vandy 96.9 40.1

Texas over Cincinnati

Texas 103.8 94.2
Opp 94.4 100.4
PVOA 9.4 6.2
Cinn 101.7 91.8
Opp 96.3 97.9
PVOA 5.4 6.1
Texas 97.7 99.6
Cinn 95.5 101.2
Texas 99.4 55.8
Cinn 97.5 44.2


Here’s what I did.  The first column for each team shows the team’s offensive and defensive efficiency per 100 possessions.  The next column shows the offensive and defensive efficiencies allowed by their opponents.  The third column is their offensive and defensive PVOAs, the amounts they play above and below the given efficiencies.  I then applied each team’s PVOA to the other team’s offensive and defensive efficiencies. Those are the third set of numbers.  Finally, I took the averages from each and projected an efficiency “Score” for each team in the matchup.  Meaning, for instance, Harvard’s “Score” was the average of Harvard’s “Vandy Adjusted” Offensive efficiency and Vandy’s “Harvard Adjusted” Defensive Efficiency, which equaled 100.1, and Vandy’s “Score” was just the opposite calculation, which equaled 96.9.

The final number next to each team’s likely offensive efficiency was the likelihood of victory, which is computed according to the likelihood of a team with the given offensive and defensive efficiency average prevailing in the game.  Harvard’s likelihood of victory, according to PVOA, is 59.9%.  Texas’ likelihood of upsetting Cincinnati is a bit less at 55.8%.


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2 Responses to “Two Potential NCAA Upset Picks, with supporting math”

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