Four conference tournaments begin today.
Below you will find our 2015 conference tournament projections for the Atlantic Sun, Big South, Horizon League, and the Patriot League tournaments.
All projections were generated before the first games tipped.
Atlantic Sun Tournament Predictions
Our 2015 Atlantic Sun bracket projection sees the North Florida Osprey as the conference champion more than half the time.
If they do win their conference tournament, our North Florida bracketology projection sees them as a likely 16 seed.
The heart of the NCAA basketball conference tournament season might not start until the Wednesday before Selection Sunday (the ACC is the only power conference to start their early round games on Tuesday), but conference tournaments begin today.
Conference Tournaments Starting First
- The Atlantic Sun tournament, Big South tournament, Horizon League tournament, and Patriot League tournament all start on Tuesday March 3rd.
- The Ohio Valley tournament, Northeast tournament, and America East tournament begin on Wednesday March 4th
- The Missouri Valley tournament and the MAAC tournament start on Thursday March 5th. (The MVC tournament is the first conference tourney for a conference that is likely to send multiple teams to the 2015 NCAA tournament.)
Conference Tournaments Ending First
- The Ohio Valley tournament is the first to conclude as they crown their champion on Saturday March 7th.
- The Ivy League can also punch their champion’s ticket to the big dance that day as well, but Harvard and Yale are currently tied for 1st place and may need a playoff.
Texas has been in a tailspin lately, losing their last four games. However, while they may be on NCAA tournament life support, the Longhorns aren’t dead yet.
20 Wins Gives Texas A Shot At An NCAA Bid
Three of Texas’s last four losses were on the road, and they were only favored to win one, their loss at home against Iowa State.
The Longhorns are favored by the betting markets tonight when they host Baylor, and should also be favored when they host Kansas State to close out the regular season on Saturday. If they win both games as expected, they’ll have 19 wins on the regular season.
They’ll then have a chance to reach 20 wins as heavy favorites in their opening round tournament game (see all Big 12 tournament predictions), where they are currently projected to play TCU in an 8/9 matchup.
Wednesday afternoon we published our initial 2014-2015 college basketball preseason ratings, which means we now have full preseason projections for all teams, including:
- College Basketball Projected Conference Standings. Projected conference records and full regular season records, plus win odds for both the conference regular season title and the postseason tournament.
- Bracketology Projections. Odds to make the NCAA tournament, plus projected seeding, and lots more details. (One of our faves is the Bracketology By Conference page.)
- NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions. Round by round advancement odds, including probability of a team making the Sweet 16, making the Final Four, or winning the championship
This is all data-driven, and automated, so it will update every day throughout the season.
Below you’ll find our full conference standings projections, along with projected regular season records, and each team’s odds of winning their conference regular season and conference tournament.
In the wee hours Wednesday morning, we finished crunching the numbers, and loaded our official preseason team ratings for the 2014-2015 college basketball season into our database. These are the ratings that drive our preseason projections, and serve as the Bayesian priors for our predictive ratings as the season progresses.
(Translation: our preseason ratings still impact our team ratings even months into the season, because that has shown to be more predictive than not.)
Below you’ll find a preseason top 25 comparison between TeamRankings, Ken Pomeroy, the AP poll, and more. We’ve also posted the full rankings and ratings for all 351 Division I teams.
As long time TR users know, our “New Ratings” have been around a for a while, and aren’t exactly “new” at this point. In fact, they were announced three years ago today.
To celebrate their birthday, and because we’re now confident that they’re ready for prime time, we’re making a few changes.
1. We’re removing “(Beta)” from the end of their name.
It’s like moving from a learner’s permit to real driver’s license.
2. We’re now using them on team and matchup pages.
Our new default power rating for team pages and matchup pages is the Predictive Rating from our New Ratings suite, so you’ll now see “Predictive Rank” where you used to see our old “Overall Rank”.
Unlike our previous Overall rankings, the new Predictive Rating is designed to be the best predictor of future games, so it relies heavily on margin of victory, and virtually ignores a team’s win-loss record.
A lot of people will read our bracket picking guide and say, “Whatever. Winning a bracket pool just comes down to luck anyway. Last year Sally in accounting won the March Madness office pool picking by team colors, and my great grandmother knows more about college basketball than her. Research like this doesn’t mean squat in the end, it’s all a crapshoot anyway.”
We would never argue that winning a bracket pool in any given year doesn’t require luck. It’s ridiculous to imagine anyone, even with the best bracket research at their disposal, being 25 or 50 times better at making picks than all the other people in their pool — in other words, good enough to expect to win a smaller sized pool each and every year.
As a result, paying some money to enter a bracket pool will always be a very risky use of your money. On the grand scale of risk, let’s consider two extremes of what you could do with $25 this month:
Step 5: Think About Hedging Your Bets
With most standard scoring systems, the following two areas of the bracket can play a big role in determining who wins the office pool:
- The games in the final few rounds (all the time)
- The middle seeded early round games (sometimes)
Early round games involving mid-seeded teams (say, 5-seeds through 12-seeds) can be important because there are many of those games, and on account of the voodoo inherent in the NCAA tournament selection process, higher performing teams often hide behind worse seed numbers. So these games often present opportunities to gain a little bit of ground, primarily if you find some good Sweet 16 value picks among this group.
The flip side, though, is that early round victories usually count for very little in most scoring systems. In fact, Round of 64 winners are only worth one measly point in most bracket pools. So there is a limit to the impact great picking can have in early round games. Even if you have the luck of your life and correctly pick six or seven first round upsets, the points you earn will be less than getting one more Final Four pick right.
Step 3: Get Smart About Defining And Picking Upsets
Conventional wisdom regarding upset picking strategy is all over the map. “Always pick a 12 seed over a 5 seed,” right? Not so fast. It’s true that since 1985, an unexpectedly high percentage of 12 seeds have won a Round of 64 game. But that doesn’t mean you should blindly follow the historical trend.
Here’s a quick probability study. Let’s assume that in fact, out of every four games between 5 and 12 seeds, one 12 seed will win. Based on that assumption, if you blindly pick one 12 seed to beat a 5 this year, what is the expected outcome?
- There’s a 25% chance that you choose the right 12 seed to win, and you get all four of the 5 vs. 12 seed games right. As a result, You would earn 4 points in most scoring systems.
- There’s a 75% chance you pick the wrong 12 seed, meaning you only get two of the four 5 vs. 12 games right. As a result, you would earn 2 points in most scoring systems.
You would therefore expect to score 2.5 points on average by following this strategy of randomly guessing one 12 seed to beat a 5 seed.
Step 1: Know Your Enemy
Odds are that you know most, or at least some, of the people in your bracket pool. You know where they live. You know where they hang out. You probably have a sense of which of them are avid followers of college hoops.
These are your enemies.
As with any tactical operation, you’re only as good as your intel. So you need to gather it. Buy your office pool opponents a beer and ask them what teams they like, which they think are the can’t-miss picks. Find out who they think the sleepers are, and especially, what teams they think will go deep in the tourney.