After a very successful inaugural year, TeamRankings’ Stat Geek Idol competition is back!
Last March, Jeff Haley captured the crown with his analysis of play-by-play data showing the impacts of pace, drawing rave reviews for his work from SGI final round judges including Mark Cuban, Dean Oliver, Ken Pomeroy, and Jeff Ma.
Who’s going to impress the judges and bring home the greenbacks this year? If you’re an armchair stat geek, this is your big chance to get your work noticed by some of the biggest names in basketball analytics and media!
Since last year’s contest was so successful, we’re doubling the prize for the 2013 winner to two grand. We were inspired by last year’s response and want to raise the bar even higher.
- Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks – Shark #1, Shark Tank
- Dean Oliver, Director of Production Analytics, ESPN – Author, Basketball On Paper
- Ken Pomeroy, Owner, KenPom.com – College basketball team consultant
- Jeff Ma, Founder, TenXer & Citizen Sports – Former member, MIT Blackjack team
- Ben Alamar, Professor, Menlo College – Author, Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision Makers
- Luke Winn, Senior college basketball writer, Sports Illustrated
- John Gasaway, College basketball analyst, ESPN Insider
- John Stasko, Professor & Associate Chair, Georgia Tech – Faculty, CS 4801 SA, Sports Analytics
- Tobias Moskowitz, Professor, University of Chicago – Author, Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won
- Jeff Haley, Founder, Hoop-Math.com - Stat Geek Idol champion 2012
So, which teams should you pick for an early round upsets this year in your 2013 NCAA bracket?
If you’re in a traditional bracket pool with no upset bonus in the scoring system, the first answer is probably “not many.” People tend to agonize over the Round of 64 games because there are so many of them, but for the majority of bracket pickers, those games are worth next to nothing in terms of points.
Especially if you’re in a smaller bracket pool, the risk of picking lots of upsets simply doesn’t justify the reward. In most cases, you’re better off taking measured risks on later round games, where a game that swings your way can really differentiate your bracket from the pack.
In the East Region of 2013′s NCAA Bracket, Indiana stands out as a clear favorite.
2013 has been a topsy turvy year in NCAA Basketball, but Indiana has been near the top throughout. The Hoosiers’ play, thanks to high shooting percentages on offense and low shooting percentages on defense, has been strong all year. They rank #3 in our predictive ratings, a bit lower than most; our consensus adjusted rating places them second in the country behind Louisville.
In an unremarkable 2013 NCAA Tournament West Region, Gonzaga looks like the top team.
The Zags, because of a relatively weak WCC schedule, are tougher to evaluate than many teams: they have by far the nation’s best record, but have played few games against top competition. However, the consensus is fairly clear: they’re #2 in our predictive power ratings, and rank between #4 and #6 in the other major ratings (our new ratings, Pomeroy, BPI, and Sagarin). Las Vegas gives them about a 30% chance to win the region — better than Ohio State and New Mexico, but not by a lot. Their implied odds to win it all also vary widely — placing them anywhere between #3 and #7 in the country.
A-10 Bracket Predictions & Tournament Preview
2013 Atlantic 10 tournament site & location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
2013 Atlantic 10 tournament dates: March 14th-17th, 2013
The Atlantic Ten is a somewhat competitive league at the top, with no team holding better than a 40 percent chance of winning the conference tournament, according to our models. 2-seed VCU, powered by their pressing defense and three point shooting, is our tournament favorite, with a 37 percent chance of winning the A-10 postseason championship. 1-seed St. Louis actually gets a lower 24 percent chance of winning both regular and postseason titles.
Big Ten Bracket Predictions & Tournament Preview
2013 Big Ten tournament site & location: United Center, Chicago, IL
2013 Big Ten tournament dates: March 14th-17th, 2013
Indiana is the favorite in the Big Ten tournament, with our models predicting a 43 percent chance of a Hoosier victory. A 43 percent chance hardly makes Tom Crean’s team a lock, and the Big Ten bracket certainly has the potential to be as competitive and interesting as the Big Ten regular season was.
ACC Bracket Predictions & Tournament Preview
2013 ACC tournament site & location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
2013 ACC tournament dates: March 14th-17th, 2013
The Miami Hurricanes beat out Duke for the ACC regular season title, but our models give the edge to the Blue Devils in the conference tournament. Over the course of the season and factoring in non-conference performance, Duke has been the best team in the ACC. Led by Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, and a now healthy Ryan Kelly, the Blue Devils have the ACC’s best offense, scoring 1.14 points per possession, and their defense is pretty good, too.
SEC Bracket Predictions & Preview
2013 SEC tournament site: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
2013 SEC tournament dates: March 13th-17th, 2013
It hasn’t been the best season for the SEC. When we consider both that the SEC appears down, and Florida is one of the very best teams in the nation, the SEC tournament is Florida’s to lose. Even though the Gators just lost to conference rival Kentucky in Rupp, our models still give Florida a 69 percent chance of claiming the SEC bracket title
Pac-12 Bracket Predictions & Tournament Preview
2013 Pac-12 tournament site: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, NV
2013 Pac-12 tournament dates: March 13th-16th, 2013
While UCLA won the regular season conference championship, no Pac-12 team really separated itself from the competition. The Bruins’ 13-5 record only put them a game ahead of Arizona, Oregon, and California in the end of the season standings. Our models indicate that this Pc-12 conference tourney title is up for grabs this week in Las Vegas.
Big 12 Bracket Predictions & Tournament Preview
2013 Big 12 tournament site & location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
2013 Big 12 tournament dates: March 13th-16th, 2013
Kansas is the clear favorite to win the Big 12 tournament, but the odds are better than 50 percent that another team will cut down the nets in Kansas City. If Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey, and the Jayhawks do not win their sixth Big 12 postseason title in eight years, then Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Iowa State all look to have a decent shot.