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Premium Article Tournament Preview (03/13)

March 13, 2012
Finding Value
Underrated Teams

by Neil Paine

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This time of year, everyone is ready to offer their opinion about the NCAA tournament--predictions frequently based on superstitions, small sample sizes, or regurgitated talk-radio takes. I’m not here to present any of that; instead, I’m going to use cold, hard data to project the brackets, simulating the tournament thousands of times to find the most likely outcomes according to various rating systems.

When constructing a tournament simulation, the first step is to choose the most predictive ratings to base the game-by-game probabilities on. Statisticians have long known that ratings based on margin of victory outperform ones based solely on wins and losses, because they include more information. To that end, I selected five ratings that use point margins, are in common use, and can be used to make predictions: Ken Pomeroy’s Pythagorean ratings, Kenneth Massey’s MOV ratings, Basketball-Reference’s Simple Rating System and a Pythagorean method based on their adjusted Offensive & Defensive Ratings, and Jeff Sagarin’s Predictor rating. In addition, I ran a “control” simulation based on no information but seed differentials.

Plugging those numbers into a Monte Carlo simulator, I played the tournament’s 67 games ten thousand times apiece for each rating system and another 10,000 times using the seeds. I tracked the winner of every game in each simulated tourney, summarizing the outcomes. I’ll go through each system one at a time (teams are sorted by expected ESPN Tournament Challenge points):

Pomeroy

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Kentucky           .981   .832   .600   .479   .310   .191   199.3
Ohio St.           .949   .805   .665   .455   .305   .188   197.6
Michigan St.       .965   .652   .499   .356   .220   .127   146.9
Kansas             .916   .709   .514   .337   .172   .092   127.8
North Carolina     .900   .674   .509   .291   .143   .069   111.0
Missouri           .958   .641   .466   .230   .115   .053    94.9
Syracuse           .906   .658   .372   .178   .098   .044    81.2
Wisconsin          .871   .586   .343   .165   .094   .046    76.9
Baylor             .735   .517   .324   .113   .044   .017    52.2
Wichita St.        .778   .460   .177   .122   .058   .026    51.2
Duke               .769   .523   .286   .087   .032   .011    45.3
Indiana            .778   .414   .145   .091   .041   .018    41.5
Georgetown         .593   .422   .186   .099   .038   .014    40.3
Marquette          .694   .491   .204   .077   .028   .009    38.3
Memphis            .595   .225   .143   .087   .040   .018    35.3
New Mexico         .661   .408   .140   .069   .026   .010    33.2

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Michigan           .699   .394   .149   .054   .016   .005    29.4
Vanderbilt         .673   .288   .138   .052   .024   .009    28.7
Louisville         .711   .356   .105   .044   .015   .004    25.8
Florida St.        .662   .366   .100   .036   .014   .004    24.4
Kansas St.         .718   .263   .097   .031   .012   .004    21.9
Florida            .545   .205   .124   .040   .015   .005    21.8
UNLV               .665   .272   .134   .030   .009   .002    21.8
Purdue             .614   .184   .091   .037   .011   .004    19.5
Belmont            .407   .256   .090   .037   .011   .003    18.3
Alabama            .548   .175   .090   .031   .008   .002    17.0
Texas              .524   .268   .068   .022   .008   .002    16.8
Notre Dame         .563   .233   .095   .020   .004   .001    16.7
Temple             .502   .246   .076   .023   .006   .002    16.3
Saint Louis        .405   .120   .069   .035   .014   .005    15.9
Murray St.         .603   .235   .067   .015   .004   .001    15.3
California         .364   .195   .075   .026   .008   .002    14.6

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Cincinnati         .476   .232   .056   .018   .006   .002    14.6
Virginia           .455   .150   .080   .022   .007   .001    14.0
N.C. St.           .543   .182   .045   .015   .003   .001    12.8
Gonzaga            .563   .110   .054   .017   .006   .001    12.7
Creighton          .452   .126   .062   .020   .005   .001    12.3
Iowa St.           .544   .095   .035   .017   .006   .002    11.5
Xavier             .437   .158   .060   .010   .002   .000    11.1
San Diego St.      .457   .140   .033   .010   .002   .000     9.9
Long Beach St.     .339   .151   .031   .011   .003   .001     9.1
Saint Mary's       .386   .089   .037   .013   .002   .001     8.7
West Virginia      .437   .074   .031   .009   .003   .001     8.5
South Dakota St.   .265   .120   .046   .008   .002   .001     8.1
Connecticut        .456   .070   .022   .008   .002   .000     8.0
St. Bonaventure    .339   .135   .023   .007   .002   .000     7.9
Harvard            .328   .095   .030   .008   .002   .001     7.6
Colorado St.       .397   .118   .022   .003   .000   .000     7.5

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Colorado           .335   .092   .030   .005   .001   .000     6.9
Ohio               .301   .109   .020   .004   .001   .000     6.5
Davidson           .289   .086   .013   .003   .001   .000     5.6
Lehigh             .231   .086   .025   .003   .000   .000     5.4
VCU                .222   .070   .012   .005   .001   .000     4.8
So. Mississippi    .282   .058   .013   .002   .000   .000     4.8
Brigham Young      .163   .084   .022   .005   .001   .000     4.8
New Mexico St.     .222   .056   .010   .003   .000   .000     4.0
Iona               .143   .072   .016   .004   .000   .000     3.9
South Florida      .134   .056   .012   .003   .000   .000     3.2
Montana            .129   .030   .007   .001   .000   .000     2.2
Detroit            .084   .018   .005   .001   .000   .000     1.5
UNC-Asheville      .094   .020   .002   .000   .000   .000     1.4
Lamar              .059   .017   .005   .001   .000   .000     1.2
Loyola-Maryland    .051   .011   .002   .000   .000   .000     0.8
Vermont            .041   .009   .002   .000   .000   .000     0.7
Norfolk St.        .042   .004   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.5
LIU-Brooklyn       .035   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.4
Western KY         .016   .003   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.2
MS Valley St.      .004   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.0

Cinderellas (chances of #6 Seeds or Lower making the Sweet 16):

Team               Region    Sd   Odds
--------------------------------------
UNLV               South      6   .272
Texas              East      11   .268
Kansas State       East       8   .263
Belmont            Midwest   14   .256
Murray State       West       6   .235
Notre Dame         South      7   .233
Cincinnati         East       6   .232
Memphis            West       8   .225
Florida            West       7   .205
California         Midwest   12   .195

Massey

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Kentucky           .994   .865   .677   .527   .311   .190   207.1
Ohio St.           .966   .799   .643   .444   .285   .158   183.0
Michigan St.       .985   .753   .585   .406   .257   .165   174.7
North Carolina     .953   .775   .632   .422   .239   .122   161.2
Missouri           .986   .759   .600   .308   .175   .094   131.7
Kansas             .921   .715   .546   .307   .159   .073   118.7
Syracuse           .938   .711   .441   .217   .115   .046    91.8
Baylor             .800   .605   .373   .137   .049   .018    59.7
Duke               .811   .607   .355   .131   .048   .017    58.2
Vanderbilt         .756   .453   .223   .093   .042   .016    44.6
Louisville         .848   .544   .184   .088   .037   .014    44.3
Wisconsin          .855   .438   .201   .078   .032   .010    39.8
Florida St.        .736   .452   .147   .063   .026   .009    34.4
Indiana            .744   .424   .129   .070   .024   .009    33.4
Georgetown         .610   .410   .157   .063   .022   .007    31.5
Michigan           .719   .453   .146   .058   .017   .004    30.8

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Marquette          .733   .476   .154   .047   .015   .004    30.5
Wichita St.        .711   .390   .115   .061   .020   .008    30.0
Memphis            .666   .189   .109   .050   .021   .009    25.1
Kansas St.         .735   .234   .099   .031   .010   .003    20.9
Murray St.         .695   .323   .084   .018   .004   .001    19.2
New Mexico         .603   .279   .071   .028   .009   .003    19.1
Florida            .620   .169   .101   .030   .009   .002    18.2
Cincinnati         .542   .258   .063   .023   .008   .002    16.7
UNLV               .652   .230   .088   .016   .003   .000    16.5
Notre Dame         .595   .209   .081   .016   .003   .000    15.1
Gonzaga            .596   .131   .067   .024   .007   .002    15.0
Belmont            .390   .229   .072   .022   .005   .002    14.5
Temple             .535   .243   .051   .014   .003   .001    14.1
N.C. St.           .558   .214   .057   .015   .003   .001    14.0
Creighton          .552   .125   .066   .025   .007   .001    14.0
Saint Mary's       .522   .142   .072   .020   .004   .001    13.4

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Purdue             .478   .123   .059   .017   .006   .001    12.2
Texas              .458   .195   .040   .011   .003   .001    11.6
Alabama            .449   .089   .043   .013   .003   .000     9.5
San Diego St.      .442   .147   .032   .007   .001   .000     9.5
Connecticut        .505   .070   .028   .012   .002   .001     9.1
Long Beach St.     .397   .139   .026   .007   .002   .001     8.9
Iowa St.           .495   .065   .025   .009   .002   .001     8.6
Virginia           .380   .071   .035   .008   .003   .001     7.9
Xavier             .405   .105   .030   .004   .001   .000     7.8
West Virginia      .404   .062   .026   .007   .001   .001     7.3
Saint Louis        .334   .056   .022   .008   .003   .000     6.5
Colorado           .348   .076   .021   .002   .000   .000     6.0
Ohio               .281   .114   .017   .003   .000   .000     6.0
VCU                .289   .099   .015   .005   .001   .000     6.0
California         .237   .097   .021   .007   .001   .000     6.0
South Florida      .228   .092   .020   .006   .001   .000     5.5

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
South Dakota St.   .201   .089   .030   .005   .001   .000     5.5
Harvard            .244   .085   .022   .005   .001   .000     5.5
Colorado St.       .305   .090   .010   .001   .000   .000     5.5
St. Bonaventure    .264   .095   .013   .002   .000   .000     5.4
New Mexico St.     .256   .087   .011   .003   .000   .000     5.1
Lehigh             .190   .079   .021   .002   .000   .000     4.5
So. Mississippi    .266   .045   .009   .002   .000   .000     4.1
Brigham Young      .134   .058   .009   .001   .001   .000     3.1
Iona               .133   .054   .009   .001   .000   .000     2.8
Davidson           .153   .039   .003   .000   .000   .000     2.5
Montana            .145   .025   .004   .001   .000   .000     2.1
Detroit            .079   .021   .005   .000   .000   .000     1.5
UNC-Asheville      .062   .011   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.9
Lamar              .034   .010   .003   .000   .000   .000     0.7
Loyola-Maryland    .034   .007   .002   .000   .000   .000     0.6
LIU-Brooklyn       .015   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.2
Vermont            .014   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.2
Norfolk St.        .014   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.2
Western KY         .005   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
MS Valley St.      .001   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.0

Cinderellas:

Team               Region    Sd   Odds
--------------------------------------
Murray State       West       6   .323
Cincinnati         East       6   .258
Kansas State       East       8   .234
UNLV               South      6   .230
Belmont            Midwest   14   .229
N.C. State         Midwest   11   .214
Notre Dame         South      7   .209
Texas              East      11   .195
Memphis            West       8   .189
Florida            West       7   .169

SRS

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Kentucky           .997   .872   .637   .507   .345   .207   214.8
Ohio St.           .991   .866   .729   .495   .322   .198   210.9
Kansas             .974   .796   .627   .395   .202   .109   149.5
North Carolina     .975   .777   .638   .375   .195   .107   146.2
Michigan St.       .992   .708   .545   .355   .193   .099   136.7
Missouri           .992   .678   .511   .277   .133   .061   106.9
Syracuse           .968   .751   .482   .233   .123   .060   101.6
Duke               .916   .706   .432   .147   .064   .023    69.9
Wisconsin          .919   .637   .304   .128   .059   .025    61.9
Indiana            .850   .512   .182   .112   .055   .022    50.8
Baylor             .831   .549   .296   .091   .037   .012    48.1
Marquette          .726   .585   .233   .093   .035   .010    44.5
Wichita St.        .845   .425   .134   .077   .035   .012    37.7
Georgetown         .670   .480   .173   .073   .021   .007    34.5
New Mexico         .734   .432   .144   .061   .019   .006    31.5
Louisville         .782   .423   .129   .049   .013   .004    28.7

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Florida            .652   .242   .153   .064   .023   .007    28.7
Michigan           .771   .448   .124   .036   .009   .002    26.7
UNLV               .754   .344   .152   .034   .011   .003    25.8
Florida St.        .763   .417   .101   .032   .010   .003    25.1
Memphis            .605   .193   .114   .054   .020   .007    24.1
Vanderbilt         .781   .312   .108   .032   .012   .003    23.9
Kansas St.         .759   .218   .094   .027   .009   .003    20.0
Texas              .567   .308   .068   .024   .006   .002    17.9
California         .427   .241   .068   .023   .006   .002    15.1
Purdue             .611   .138   .068   .022   .006   .001    14.7
Notre Dame         .579   .172   .063   .010   .003   .000    13.1
N.C. St.           .577   .215   .046   .011   .001   .000    13.0
Alabama            .512   .114   .059   .020   .004   .001    12.1
Creighton          .488   .106   .058   .018   .004   .000    11.6
Cincinnati         .433   .213   .037   .010   .003   .000    11.4
Temple             .454   .200   .040   .008   .002   .000    11.1

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Saint Louis        .395   .098   .051   .019   .005   .001    10.4
Murray St.         .546   .149   .019   .003   .000   .000     9.6
Belmont            .330   .177   .039   .010   .002   .001     9.6
Iowa St.           .527   .070   .023   .009   .002   .001     8.9
Gonzaga            .503   .066   .031   .009   .002   .001     8.7
Virginia           .348   .079   .040   .014   .004   .001     8.6
West Virginia      .497   .067   .030   .008   .002   .001     8.6
San Diego St.      .423   .128   .021   .004   .000   .000     7.9
Xavier             .421   .101   .029   .003   .001   .000     7.8
Connecticut        .474   .058   .018   .007   .002   .000     7.4
Colorado St.       .454   .103   .011   .001   .000   .000     7.2
Saint Mary's       .389   .062   .026   .006   .001   .000     6.7
Brigham Young      .192   .122   .026   .006   .001   .000     6.1
Long Beach St.     .266   .095   .013   .003   .001   .000     5.5
Colorado           .246   .056   .013   .001   .000   .000     4.2
Ohio               .229   .070   .007   .001   .000   .000     4.1

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
St. Bonaventure    .237   .063   .005   .000   .000   .000     3.9
Davidson           .219   .051   .004   .001   .000   .000     3.4
South Dakota St.   .169   .051   .011   .001   .000   .000     3.2
So. Mississippi    .241   .027   .006   .001   .000   .000     3.2
Harvard            .220   .037   .005   .001   .000   .000     3.2
New Mexico St.     .150   .033   .004   .001   .000   .000     2.4
South Florida      .119   .042   .006   .001   .000   .000     2.3
VCU                .155   .030   .003   .001   .000   .000     2.3
Iona               .082   .041   .006   .001   .000   .000     2.0
Lehigh             .084   .022   .003   .000   .000   .000     1.4
Montana            .082   .014   .001   .000   .000   .000     1.1
UNC-Asheville      .032   .004   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.4
Detroit            .026   .004   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.4
Lamar              .019   .003   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.3
Loyola-Maryland    .009   .001   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
LIU-Brooklyn       .008   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
Vermont            .007   .001   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
Norfolk St.        .008   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
Western KY         .002   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.0
MS Valley St.      .001   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.0

Cinderellas:

Team               Region    Sd   Odds
--------------------------------------
UNLV               South      6   .344
Texas              East      11   .308
Florida            West       7   .242
California         Midwest   12   .241
Kansas State       East       8   .218
N.C. State         Midwest   11   .215
Cincinnati         East       6   .213
Memphis            West       8   .193
Belmont            Midwest   14   .177
Notre Dame         South      7   .172

S-R/CBB Pythagorean Ratings

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Kentucky           .987   .849   .633   .508   .349   .206   214.7
Ohio St.           .975   .837   .700   .472   .327   .204   209.9
Michigan St.       .976   .702   .543   .389   .223   .126   152.5
Kansas             .949   .764   .580   .384   .192   .102   141.9
North Carolina     .942   .686   .522   .289   .126   .062   107.0
Wisconsin          .916   .692   .405   .202   .119   .063    94.4
Syracuse           .943   .706   .403   .182   .103   .050    86.6
Missouri           .971   .613   .441   .206   .097   .040    84.4
Duke               .879   .626   .371   .125   .048   .016    59.0
Baylor             .795   .526   .305   .098   .039   .011    48.3
Georgetown         .718   .523   .213   .111   .037   .014    45.5
Indiana            .813   .458   .157   .090   .044   .018    43.4
Marquette          .717   .552   .237   .083   .031   .009    42.1
Wichita St.        .795   .440   .152   .092   .039   .014    40.9
Louisville         .805   .461   .143   .072   .026   .008    35.6
New Mexico         .726   .395   .124   .059   .021   .008    30.9

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Michigan           .761   .428   .151   .049   .013   .003    29.2
Florida St.        .753   .428   .115   .041   .015   .004    27.7
UNLV               .701   .319   .148   .036   .010   .002    24.5
Memphis            .544   .172   .103   .054   .023   .008    23.5
Florida            .527   .205   .122   .043   .014   .004    21.3
Alabama            .589   .199   .112   .040   .011   .003    20.4
Kansas St.         .746   .244   .088   .025   .010   .002    20.1
Vanderbilt         .716   .236   .084   .025   .009   .003    19.7
Virginia           .474   .180   .105   .035   .012   .004    18.5
California         .436   .253   .094   .031   .007   .002    17.5
Texas              .556   .288   .066   .020   .006   .001    16.9
Purdue             .591   .149   .070   .027   .007   .002    15.7
Notre Dame         .583   .216   .084   .015   .003   .000    15.3
Saint Louis        .456   .124   .065   .034   .012   .003    15.2
N.C. St.           .547   .191   .041   .011   .002   .000    12.2
Cincinnati         .444   .205   .039   .009   .003   .002    11.8

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Temple             .430   .195   .047   .012   .002   .000    11.5
Murray St.         .573   .181   .038   .006   .001   .000    11.4
Gonzaga            .545   .090   .043   .013   .004   .001    10.7
Creighton          .411   .106   .049   .014   .002   .000     9.8
San Diego St.      .453   .139   .029   .008   .001   .000     9.4
Iowa St.           .516   .081   .025   .011   .003   .001     9.3
Xavier             .417   .129   .044   .008   .001   .000     9.3
Belmont            .282   .147   .035   .011   .002   .000     8.4
Connecticut        .484   .070   .022   .009   .002   .001     8.3
West Virginia      .455   .069   .029   .006   .001   .000     7.9
Saint Mary's       .409   .079   .031   .008   .001   .000     7.8
Colorado St.       .427   .109   .019   .003   .001   .000     7.5
Brigham Young      .205   .125   .033   .009   .002   .000     6.9
Colorado           .299   .083   .023   .003   .001   .000     6.0
Long Beach St.     .274   .096   .015   .004   .001   .000     5.7
St. Bonaventure    .247   .080   .009   .002   .000   .000     4.6

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
South Dakota St.   .205   .072   .019   .002   .001   .000     4.5
Ohio               .239   .070   .011   .002   .000   .000     4.4
Harvard            .284   .051   .010   .001   .000   .000     4.4
So. Mississippi    .254   .041   .006   .001   .000   .000     3.7
VCU                .206   .054   .006   .002   .000   .000     3.7
Davidson           .195   .049   .006   .001   .000   .000     3.3
South Florida      .134   .054   .013   .003   .000   .000     3.2
New Mexico St.     .187   .048   .004   .001   .000   .000     3.1
Lehigh             .121   .030   .006   .000   .000   .000     2.1
Iona               .079   .034   .006   .001   .000   .000     1.7
Montana            .084   .021   .003   .001   .000   .000     1.4
UNC-Asheville      .057   .010   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.8
Detroit            .051   .009   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.8
Lamar              .039   .006   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.5
Loyola-Maryland    .026   .004   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.4
Norfolk St.        .029   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.3
LIU-Brooklyn       .024   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.3
Vermont            .019   .003   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.3
Western KY         .010   .001   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
MS Valley St.      .002   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.0

Cinderellas:

Team               Region    Sd   Odds
--------------------------------------
UNLV               South      6   .319
Texas              East      11   .288
California         Midwest   12   .253
Kansas State       East       8   .244
Notre Dame         South      7   .216
Florida            West       7   .205
Cincinnati         East       6   .205
Alabama            Midwest    9   .199
N.C. State         Midwest   11   .191
Murray State       West       6   .181

Sagarin

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Ohio St.           .975   .843   .699   .483   .329   .207   212.0
Kentucky           .994   .838   .599   .461   .304   .178   193.2
Michigan St.       .976   .680   .519   .354   .203   .112   140.7
Kansas             .950   .750   .557   .358   .182   .100   136.7
North Carolina     .940   .710   .552   .319   .155   .079   121.4
Missouri           .981   .648   .471   .249   .127   .059   100.7
Syracuse           .937   .699   .416   .196   .108   .055    90.5
Wisconsin          .898   .639   .356   .160   .085   .042    75.9
Duke               .825   .608   .357   .130   .057   .021    61.0
Baylor             .758   .504   .305   .106   .045   .016    50.5
Indiana            .806   .454   .169   .105   .049   .020    46.4
Wichita St.        .793   .444   .166   .102   .050   .021    46.2
Marquette          .681   .494   .210   .081   .028   .008    38.7
Georgetown         .598   .437   .185   .085   .029   .011    37.0
New Mexico         .669   .401   .141   .066   .021   .008    31.4
Louisville         .732   .378   .116   .048   .015   .004    27.1

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Florida            .587   .225   .140   .058   .024   .008    26.8
UNLV               .726   .330   .159   .041   .013   .003    26.5
Michigan           .698   .383   .129   .045   .011   .003    25.9
Memphis            .562   .191   .113   .058   .025   .010    25.8
Florida St.        .706   .392   .104   .037   .014   .004    25.6
Vanderbilt         .668   .254   .098   .030   .012   .004    21.3
Kansas St.         .721   .238   .096   .029   .011   .003    20.9
Texas              .576   .312   .078   .027   .008   .002    19.2
Belmont            .402   .256   .083   .035   .008   .002    17.2
Alabama            .519   .151   .083   .031   .009   .002    16.2
California         .405   .228   .076   .026   .007   .002    15.6
Saint Louis        .438   .127   .070   .031   .013   .004    15.4
Purdue             .578   .148   .069   .027   .007   .002    15.3
Temple             .491   .249   .065   .019   .003   .000    14.6
Murray St.         .608   .226   .051   .009   .002   .001    13.9
Notre Dame         .552   .192   .070   .012   .003   .001    13.7

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Creighton          .481   .128   .067   .022   .005   .002    13.2
Virginia           .413   .126   .066   .022   .007   .002    12.8
N.C. St.           .551   .179   .041   .012   .002   .000    12.0
Cincinnati         .424   .195   .036   .010   .002   .001    10.9
Gonzaga            .527   .086   .039   .012   .003   .001    10.4
Iowa St.           .527   .090   .030   .014   .004   .001    10.3
Xavier             .448   .134   .047   .008   .002   .000    10.1
Saint Mary's       .422   .091   .039   .012   .002   .001     9.1
Long Beach St.     .331   .147   .030   .009   .003   .000     8.8
San Diego St.      .449   .128   .024   .006   .001   .000     8.6
West Virginia      .473   .067   .031   .008   .002   .001     8.6
Connecticut        .473   .071   .024   .009   .003   .001     8.4
Colorado St.       .393   .100   .015   .002   .000   .000     6.7
Harvard            .332   .082   .021   .004   .001   .000     6.4
Brigham Young      .197   .115   .030   .007   .001   .000     6.3
South Dakota St.   .242   .098   .031   .005   .001   .000     6.2

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Ohio               .302   .103   .017   .003   .000   .000     6.1
St. Bonaventure    .294   .102   .012   .003   .001   .000     5.8
Colorado           .274   .068   .018   .002   .000   .000     5.0
Davidson           .268   .074   .010   .002   .000   .000     4.9
So. Mississippi    .279   .049   .010   .001   .000   .000     4.4
Lehigh             .175   .067   .015   .002   .001   .000     4.0
VCU                .208   .056   .008   .003   .001   .000     3.8
Iona               .122   .066   .016   .003   .001   .000     3.6
New Mexico St.     .195   .046   .005   .001   .000   .000     3.2
South Florida      .105   .038   .007   .001   .000   .000     2.2
Montana            .103   .025   .003   .000   .000   .000     1.7
UNC-Asheville      .063   .014   .001   .000   .000   .000     1.0
Detroit            .050   .010   .002   .000   .000   .000     0.8
Lamar              .042   .008   .003   .000   .000   .000     0.7
Loyola-Maryland    .025   .004   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.4
LIU-Brooklyn       .024   .002   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.3
Vermont            .018   .002   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.2
Norfolk St.        .019   .001   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.2
Western KY         .005   .001   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.1
MS Valley St.      .001   .000   .000   .000   .000   .000     0.0

Cinderellas:

Team               Region    Sd   Odds
--------------------------------------
UNLV               South      6   .330
Texas              East      11   .312
Belmont            Midwest   14   .256
Kansas State       East       8   .238
California         Midwest   12   .228
Murray State       West       6   .226
Florida            West       7   .225
Cincinnati         East       6   .195
Notre Dame         South      7   .192
Memphis            West       8   .191

Pure Seeds

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Michigan St.       .935   .732   .493   .306   .179   .102   129.3
Kentucky           .932   .738   .490   .298   .176   .101   128.0
Syracuse           .935   .730   .481   .295   .172   .095   124.7
North Carolina     .934   .725   .484   .292   .168   .096   124.1
Duke               .904   .681   .424   .234   .125   .067    99.8
Kansas             .906   .673   .416   .226   .121   .068    98.4
Missouri           .910   .667   .406   .221   .122   .062    95.7
Ohio St.           .909   .670   .405   .220   .121   .061    95.1
Florida St.        .870   .592   .327   .171   .085   .040    73.6
Marquette          .876   .603   .326   .164   .081   .040    72.6
Baylor             .874   .599   .316   .162   .082   .039    71.9
Georgetown         .866   .592   .320   .164   .079   .037    70.9
Michigan           .831   .504   .235   .118   .057   .024    53.8
Wisconsin          .827   .497   .233   .113   .051   .024    52.4
Louisville         .823   .494   .223   .110   .050   .022    50.9
Indiana            .826   .495   .230   .111   .048   .020    50.3

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Temple             .777   .404   .170   .077   .033   .014    38.7
Vanderbilt         .772   .399   .170   .075   .032   .015    38.3
Wichita St.        .777   .400   .170   .074   .031   .013    37.6
New Mexico         .763   .400   .166   .073   .029   .010    36.0
San Diego St.      .701   .299   .125   .048   .017   .007    26.7
Cincinnati         .701   .295   .121   .047   .019   .006    26.5
Murray St.         .702   .292   .123   .046   .018   .006    26.3
UNLV               .704   .292   .119   .045   .015   .006    25.5
Florida            .632   .222   .092   .033   .011   .003    20.0
Gonzaga            .622   .213   .091   .030   .011   .004    19.5
Notre Dame         .629   .209   .086   .032   .009   .004    19.1
Saint Mary's       .629   .214   .086   .027   .009   .003    18.7
Creighton          .542   .148   .053   .019   .006   .003    13.9
Memphis            .549   .147   .059   .020   .007   .001    13.9
Kansas St.         .543   .143   .056   .018   .005   .001    13.2
Iowa St.           .545   .140   .052   .016   .006   .001    13.0

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
So. Mississippi    .457   .112   .037   .012   .004   .001    10.3
Saint Louis        .452   .106   .038   .014   .004   .001    10.1
Alabama            .458   .112   .038   .012   .003   .000    10.0
Connecticut        .455   .108   .037   .012   .003   .001     9.9
West Virginia      .378   .096   .028   .008   .002   .001     7.9
Purdue             .371   .091   .025   .007   .002   .000     7.5
Virginia           .368   .089   .026   .005   .002   .000     7.3
Xavier             .371   .089   .026   .007   .001   .000     7.2
Texas              .299   .079   .020   .005   .002   .000     6.1
Colorado           .296   .076   .019   .004   .001   .000     5.8
N.C. St.           .299   .076   .020   .003   .001   .000     5.7
Colorado St.       .298   .073   .019   .004   .001   .000     5.6
Long Beach St.     .237   .063   .013   .002   .001   .000     4.4
VCU                .223   .059   .012   .003   .000   .000     4.1
Harvard            .229   .057   .012   .002   .000   .000     4.1
Montana            .173   .047   .008   .002   .001   .000     3.3

Team               Rd32   Sw16    El8    F4    Title  Champ  TCPts
------------------------------------------------------------------
Davidson           .177   .044   .008   .002   .000   .000     3.2
New Mexico St.     .174   .046   .007   .001   .000   .000     3.1
Ohio               .169   .040   .008   .002   .000   .000     3.0
South Dakota St.   .126   .033   .006   .001   .000   .000     2.3
St. Bonaventure    .130   .033   .006   .001   .000   .000     2.3
Belmont            .134   .033   .005   .001   .000   .000     2.3
California         .110   .026   .005   .002   .000   .000     2.0
South Florida      .114   .026   .005   .001   .000   .000     2.0
Detroit            .094   .023   .003   .001   .000   .000     1.6
Lehigh             .096   .021   .004   .001   .000   .000     1.6
Loyola-Maryland    .091   .021   .003   .001   .000   .000     1.5
Norfolk St.        .090   .022   .003   .000   .000   .000     1.5
Iona               .060   .015   .003   .001   .000   .000     1.1
Brigham Young      .064   .016   .002   .000   .000   .000     1.1
UNC-Asheville      .065   .015   .002   .000   .000   .000     1.0
LIU-Brooklyn       .065   .014   .002   .000   .000   .000     1.0
Lamar              .034   .007   .002   .000   .000   .000     0.5
MS Valley St.      .035   .007   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.5
Vermont            .033   .007   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.5
Western KY         .033   .007   .001   .000   .000   .000     0.5

Arbitrage Opportunities

The key to success in any NCAA pool is to identify undervalued teams, and that often means finding schools the committee underrated on Selection Sunday. According to each rating metric, here were the teams whose expected Tournament Challenge points exceed their projected points based on seeding alone:

Team              ExpPts   KPom   Mass   SRS    SR     Sag    Avg     Diff
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ohio St.            95.1  197.6  183.0  210.9  209.9  212.0  202.7   107.6
Kentucky           128.0  199.3  207.1  214.8  214.7  193.2  205.8    77.8
Kansas              98.4  127.8  118.7  149.5  141.9  136.7  134.9    36.5
Michigan St.       129.3  146.9  174.7  136.7  152.5  140.7  150.3    21.0
Wisconsin           52.4   76.9   39.8   61.9   94.4   75.9   69.8    17.4
Memphis             13.9   35.3   25.1   24.1   23.5   25.8   26.8    12.9
California           2.0   14.6    6.0   15.1   17.5   15.6   13.8    11.8
Belmont              2.3   18.3   14.5    9.6    8.4   17.2   13.6    11.3
Texas                6.1   16.8   11.6   17.9   16.9   19.2   16.5    10.4
Missouri            95.7   94.9  131.7  106.9   84.4  100.7  103.7     8.0
Purdue               7.5   19.5   12.2   14.7   15.7   15.3   15.5     8.0
Kansas St.          13.2   21.9   20.9   20.0   20.1   20.9   20.8     7.6
N.C. St.             5.7   12.8   14.0   13.0   12.2   12.0   12.8     7.1
North Carolina     124.1  111.0  161.2  146.2  107.0  121.4  129.4     5.3
Virginia             7.3   14.0    7.9    8.6   18.5   12.8   12.4     5.1
Alabama             10.0   17.0    9.5   12.1   20.4   16.2   15.0     5.0

Team              ExpPts   KPom   Mass   SRS    SR     Sag    Avg     Diff
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brigham Young        1.1    4.8    3.1    6.1    6.9    6.3    5.4     4.3
Wichita St.         37.6   51.2   30.0   37.7   40.9   46.2   41.2     3.6
Florida             20.0   21.8   18.2   28.7   21.3   26.8   23.4     3.4
St. Bonaventure      2.3    7.9    5.4    3.9    4.6    5.8    5.5     3.2
South Dakota St.     2.3    8.1    5.5    3.2    4.5    6.2    5.5     3.2
Long Beach St.       4.4    9.1    8.9    5.5    5.7    8.8    7.6     3.2
Saint Louis         10.1   15.9    6.5   10.4   15.2   15.4   12.7     2.6
Ohio                 3.0    6.5    6.0    4.1    4.4    6.1    5.4     2.4
Xavier               7.2   11.1    7.8    7.8    9.3   10.1    9.2     2.0
Lehigh               1.6    5.4    4.5    1.4    2.1    4.0    3.5     1.9
Iona                 1.1    3.9    2.8    2.0    1.7    3.6    2.8     1.7
Harvard              4.1    7.6    5.5    3.2    4.4    6.4    5.4     1.3
Colorado St.         5.6    7.5    5.5    7.2    7.5    6.7    6.9     1.3
South Florida        2.0    3.2    5.5    2.3    3.2    2.2    3.3     1.3
Davidson             3.2    5.6    2.5    3.4    3.3    4.9    3.9     0.7
New Mexico St.       3.1    4.0    5.1    2.4    3.1    3.2    3.6     0.5

Team              ExpPts   KPom   Mass   SRS    SR     Sag    Avg     Diff
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Virginia        7.9    8.5    7.3    8.6    7.9    8.6    8.2     0.3
Lamar                0.5    1.2    0.7    0.3    0.5    0.7    0.7     0.2
VCU                  4.1    4.8    6.0    2.3    3.7    3.8    4.1     0.0
UNC-Asheville        1.0    1.4    0.9    0.4    0.8    1.0    0.9    -0.1
Colorado             5.8    6.9    6.0    4.2    6.0    5.0    5.6    -0.2
Vermont              0.5    0.7    0.2    0.1    0.3    0.2    0.3    -0.2
Western KY           0.5    0.2    0.1    0.0    0.1    0.1    0.1    -0.4
MS Valley St.        0.5    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    -0.5
Detroit              1.6    1.5    1.5    0.4    0.8    0.8    1.0    -0.6
LIU-Brooklyn         1.0    0.4    0.2    0.1    0.3    0.3    0.3    -0.7
Loyola-Maryland      1.5    0.8    0.6    0.1    0.4    0.4    0.5    -1.0
Norfolk St.          1.5    0.5    0.2    0.1    0.3    0.2    0.3    -1.2
Montana              3.3    2.2    2.1    1.1    1.4    1.7    1.7    -1.6
Connecticut          9.9    8.0    9.1    7.4    8.3    8.4    8.2    -1.7
Creighton           13.9   12.3   14.0   11.6    9.8   13.2   12.2    -1.7
UNLV                25.5   21.8   16.5   25.8   24.5   26.5   23.0    -2.5

Team              ExpPts   KPom   Mass   SRS    SR     Sag    Avg     Diff
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Iowa St.            13.0   11.5    8.6    8.9    9.3   10.3    9.7    -3.3
Notre Dame          19.1   16.7   15.1   13.1   15.3   13.7   14.8    -4.3
So. Mississippi     10.3    4.8    4.1    3.2    3.7    4.4    4.0    -6.3
New Mexico          36.0   33.2   19.1   31.5   30.9   31.4   29.2    -6.8
Indiana             50.3   41.5   33.4   50.8   43.4   46.4   43.1    -7.2
Gonzaga             19.5   12.7   15.0    8.7   10.7   10.4   11.5    -8.0
Saint Mary's        18.7    8.7   13.4    6.7    7.8    9.1    9.1    -9.6
Vanderbilt          38.3   28.7   44.6   23.9   19.7   21.3   27.6   -10.7
Murray St.          26.3   15.3   19.2    9.6   11.4   13.9   13.9   -12.4
Cincinnati          26.5   14.6   16.7   11.4   11.8   10.9   13.1   -13.4
San Diego St.       26.7    9.9    9.5    7.9    9.4    8.6    9.1   -17.6
Louisville          50.9   25.8   44.3   28.7   35.6   27.1   32.3   -18.6
Baylor              71.9   52.2   59.7   48.1   48.3   50.5   51.8   -20.1
Temple              38.7   16.3   14.1   11.1   11.5   14.6   13.5   -25.2
Michigan            53.8   29.4   30.8   26.7   29.2   25.9   28.4   -25.4
Georgetown          70.9   40.3   31.5   34.5   45.5   37.0   37.8   -33.1
Marquette           72.6   38.3   30.5   44.5   42.1   38.7   38.8   -33.8
Syracuse           124.7   81.2   91.8  101.6   86.6   90.5   90.3   -34.4
Duke                99.8   45.3   58.2   69.9   59.0   61.0   58.7   -41.1
Florida St.         73.6   24.4   34.4   25.1   27.7   25.6   27.4   -46.2

The best value in the entire tournament is Ohio State--despite being a #2 seed, every rating system ranked the Buckeyes either first or second in the country. They also received a very favorable draw from the committee, sitting in a region with a relatively weak #1 seed (in spite of a gaudy 31-2 record, Syracuse was not even regarded as a top-5 team by any system but Massey’s), in a half-bracket with relatively non-threatening 3 and 6 seeds.

Other values include fellow 2-seed Kansas, a team considered superior to Midwest #1 North Carolina by four of the five rating systems; Memphis, an underrated 8-seed who could very well give Michigan State issues in the round of 32; and Texas, a tempting 11-seed in the Syracuse bracket (although pick a Rick Barnes team to overachieve at your peril). Even California, who needs to beat South Florida just to make the field of 64, could add value to your bracket--assuming they win the play-in game, they look like an easy 12-over-5 pick vs. Temple (the Bears rank in the mid-20s by most ratings; the Owls rank in the high 30s).

Of course, this method isn’t foolproof. Kentucky is considered a value pick here as well, since the “pure seeds” method gives the combatants an equal chance in any matchup between #1 seeds, but in reality your average pool opponent would likely choose Kentucky on name recognition and reputation alone. Still, it’s a nice way to mark down teams as overvalued (cough, FSU, Duke, Marquette, & Georgetown) or undervalued (watch out for Belmont as a potential 14-seed in the Sweet 16).

And the consensus most likely Final Four according to all of the rating systems? Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Kansas, with UK & OSU advancing to the title game and the Wildcats winning it all. But don’t bet the farm just yet--even though they’re the favorites, Kentucky came out on top in just 19.4% of all simulations, proving that nothing is certain in a 68-team single-elimination basketball tournament.

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Neil Paine is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Neil by clicking here or click here to see Neil's other articles.

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