Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WVU-Nova Could Determine 5-Way Race for MVP; 99th Percentile Bracket Says Nova over Kentucky

In response to a request by a Senator at a speech for yesterday, below give results of the Value Add basketball bracket that is in the 99th percentile with chances for wins in 12 of the remaining 15 games including a Villanova win over Kentucky in the national championship. First, I want to detail the incredibly close 5-way race for the Most Valuable Player in the country from the 4,068 on the newly updated site.

Arizona's Deandre Ayton is first, but like Cincinnati's Gary Clark he can only wait to see how three others still playing do on the offensive and defensive side of the ball because right now those five are within 0.72 points of value per game. Here is the list, and note that while Saint Mary's Jock Landale is in the NIT, Villanova's Mikal Bridges and West Virginia's Jevon Carter could shoot up in the rankings if either can dominate against the other in Friday's Sweet 16 game:

RnkPlayerTeamNextValue Add
1Deandre Ayton #13ArizonaDone11.32
2Jock Landale #34St. Mary'sNIT vs Utah-Wed11.00
3Gary Clark #11CincinnatiDone10.80
4Mikal Bridges #25VillanovaNCAA vs WVU-Fri10.74
5Jevon Carter #2West VirginiaNCAA vs Vill-Fri10.60

Carter Dominated Defensively in Round 2

Everyone else looks at offensive stats first, so let's first look at the defense. Carter's led a West Virginia defense with four defensive rebounds and five steals, as they help Marshall to only 86% of their normal offensive production (they normally score 1.10 points per possession, and only scored on 71 of 75 possessions for 0.95 points per possession - so 0.95 divided by 1.10 is 0.86. If Carter can perform anywhere near that level against Villanova - the top offense in the country with 1.20 points per trip - then his defensive rating would improve enough to help him move up into the top three.

Bridges led and even more impressive defensive effort as Villanova held an Alabama team to only 58 points on 66 trips, which is only 0.81 of their normal offensive output of 1.09 per trip. Bridges did not have any steals, and with two blocked shots and defensive rebounds ranks just below Carter for the game's defensive effort, but we are talking an A+ vs an A.

Landale had a terrible NIT performance against Washington. Not only did Washington run all over the Saint Mary's defense that he anchors, scoring 81 points in 64 trips down the court, but Landale did not block a shot or grab a steal and only recorded one defensive rebound.

Wednesday Landale needs to redeem himself on defense against a Utah offense that is even better than Washington's (1.12 per trip vs. 1.07 per trip), while Carter tries to stop the best offense in the national and Bridges takes on a solid offense from West Virginia. Here is the summary of the defensive grades for all three players and the challenge ahead:

Best DefenseDef EffortOpp OffHow GoodDef RebBlkStl
Jock Landalevs. WashF1.271.071.18100
Wednesdayvs. Utah1.12
Mikal Bridgesvs. AlaA0.881.090.81220
Fridayvs. WVU1.20
Jevon Cartervs. MarshA+0.951.100.86405
Fridayvs. Vill1.28

Landale was solid on offense, with 7 of 12 shooting and five offensive rebounds to be worth 1.52 points per time he had the ball - however he did not have the ball that much and his 14 points performance was actually not as strong as Carter running the offense with the same 1.52 rating, or even Bridges 1.24 but handling the ball a lot more to dominate the second half against Alabama.

Carter hit 5 of 7 three-pointers en route to 28 points, and Bridges scored only one first half point before taking over to finish with 5 of 8 three-pointers for 23 points. Once again an A+ for Carter and an A for Bridges, while Landale was very efficient but just not enough touches.

Best OffenseOff GradeOffenseOpposing DefHow Good?
Jock Landalevs. WashB1.521.001.52
Wednesdayvs. Utah1.00
Mikal Bridgesvs. AlaA1.240.951.31
Fridayvs. WVU0.97
Jevon Cartervs. MarshA+1.521.031.48
Fridayvs. Vill0.95

Put it all together, and on both offense and defense, Carter and Bridges are surging heading into their showdown Friday, while Landale needs to get the ball more on offense and play tougher defense tonight to stay ahead of them in this 5-player race to determine who is the Most Valuable Player in the country.

99th Percentile Bracket

My Tuesday speech asking Senators to pass a resolution was pre-empted by a Senator shouting out, “Don’t tell me you had a basketball bracket in the 99th percentile after all these upsets!” Yes, here is the link to the bracket that is currently 150,000th out of 17.3 million and could still be correct in 12 of the final 15 games.

So here it is. Among the possible methods for approaching a bracket, we noted the most important under the header, “March Madness: Top Team Value Adds Adjusted for Injuries, Returning Players (Most Important).” This looked at all key injuries and chose games based on the Value Add of the current roster and then provided two columns with suggested picks:
  1. Overall Value/Upsets went with the higher Value Add and is currently in the 88th percentile, and
  2. “Take Upsets in tight” gave any toss-up games – within a point either way – to the worse seed to account for the “hunter” having an edge over the hunted in the toss-up games.
We plugged each option into an “8 methods” group in the ESPN bracket challenge to provide an independent tracking of where these Value Add-based and competing methods stacked up against the other 17.3 million brackets submitted.

The first column put your bracket in the 89th percentile – with 24 of 32 in the first round and 8 of 16 picks in the second round.

However, the second column is above the 99th percentile with 24 of 32 in the first round but 10 of 16 in the second round for 440 points and another 1120 potential points left due to 12 more potential wins in 15 games culminating with a predicted 76-71 Villanova win over Kentucky in the championship.

We provided these three Value Add-based brackets along with several other methods in a Breitbart piece, and then in the link to that story to adjust for late-breaking injuries before the tournament started, and then plugged the final picks into the ESPN group, where you can see the rankings after future games are completed.

RANKPudner Value AddR64R32ChampPPRTOTALPCT
1Upset if lower seed close240200Villanova112044099.1
2Hottest Teams240180Villanova92042096.2
3Experienced PG/SG230180Villanova84041093.2
4Value Add All-Amer, Top 3240160Villanova80040088.8
4Value Add/Kenpom/injuries240160Villanova84040088.8
6Pudner's MASTER COMPOSITE210160Villanova80037065.7
7NBA Talent210140Duke116035043.8
7Best Coaches Pull Thru190160Villanova72035043.8
9Mismatch (3pts, OR, Stl)20080Villanova8002808.3

The two competing bracket methods that did not work were based on assuming more experience coaches can overcome a team with a little more Value Add (just below average at 44th percentile) and even worse seeing if a mismatch in one component of the game such as three-pointers, steals or offensive rebounds could lead to upsets (a pathetic 8th percentile). That mismatch also held the Composite down to the 66th percentile.

Relying on the most NBA talent yielded a below average bracket (44th percentile), HOWEVER, it could improve dramatically if it’s prediction of Duke defeating Kentucky in the championship holds true.

The other three adjustments to the bracket based on Value Add after injuries have been very strong, with a tweak for the Hottest teams currently in the 96th percentile, and tweaks for more experienced guards in the 93rd percentile, and finally going with the team with the three best Value Add players in the 89th percentile.

The lesson once again is to rely heavily upon Value Add for your brackets – and while tweaks based on experienced guards or finishing the season strong are fine – adjusting for coaches or style of play will only hurt your bracket or worse yet your favorite conference generally costs you wins. Stick with Value Add.

As for the Value Add bracket that is behind on 150,000 brackets, and ahead of 17.1 million brackets for the 99.1 percentile, here are the 12 wins still possible from the final 15 games.

Kentucky 3 More (vs. Kansas State, Gonzaga-Michigan, then Final 4)
(Did not have Loyola or Nevada)

Gonzaga 1 more (vs. Florida State)
Michigan 2 more (vs. Texas A&M then Gonzaga-FSU)

Villanova 4 more (vs. West Virginia, Texas Tech-Purdue, then 2 in Final Four)
Purdue 1 more (vs. Texas Tech)

Kansas 1 more (vs. Clemson)
(Did not have Duke or Syracuse)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bracket Factoring Injuries Based on Value Add Best Option in 92nd Percentile

Of the tens of millions of completed brackets, only 2.2 percent predicted 16th-seed UMBC would upset Virginia, who was easily the top choice (20.1% of brackets to win all six games and the title. The next most popular choice was Villanova, which was picked by eight of our nine brackets and 15.4% of all brackets to take the title. (Note after email update: We updated the screen below after the first 2nd round game, Villanova's blowout of Alabama, which put the four brackets mentioned into the 93rd percentile. Note that ESPN counts 2nd round wins as 20 points each, so that win gave those four brackets 260 points in 33 games, which is ahead of 16.1 million brackets but behind 1.2 million brackets.)

You are in the 92nd percentile of all brackets with 24 of 32 correct picks if you used one of our four brackets posted before the tournament based on; 1) Value Add/Kenpom/injuries, 2) All-American/Top 3 Value Add Players, 3) Upset only if lower seed within a point of Value Add, or 4) Hottest teams. Of these, the bracket that went with the best Value Add of healthy players and limited upset picks to when the worse seed was within a point in Value Add of the favorite is the best with the potential for up to 1580 points in the ESPN leaders list.

This is because, despite Virginia's loss, the other 15 Sweet 16 teams, seven Elite 8 teams, and three Final Four teams are all alive (see all picks below from the prediction post before the tournament.

If you went with the bracket that adjusted for the experience of the team's guards, then you are only one worse with 23 of 32 correct to place in the 81st percentile.

However, if you were lazy and just went with the first "composite" bracket or based on the most NBA talent, then you are just below average with 21 correct picks for the 43rd percentile.

The two bad brackets this year were the one based on teams pulling upsets if they had a mismatch (20 correct for 28th percentile) and the bracket that relied on the most experienced coaches to pull off close upsets (19 correct for 17th percentile).

Here are the actual results and predictions

West 8-0, all Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final Four Still Alive

Midwest 7-1, all Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 still alive

South 3-5, Except for UVa all Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 Still Alive

East 6-2, All Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4 Still Alive

All that being said, the best bracket I saw was from my Director of Scheduling, who started my day by saying, "I didn't pick Seton Hall because I had never heard of them, but I had the others right." Sure enough, I looked at her bracket and she was 15-1 despite only watching youth basketball games with her son this year :-) I will figure out her system next year.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Experienced Guards & Hottest Teams Brackets the Best on Day 1

The picks from the 9 bracket options in the previous post were plugged into an "8 methods" league (the 9th is a composite) so that we could track which was most effective.

After one day, the system that adjusts for the most experienced guards was the best method - picking 14 of 16 games correctly to land in the 99th percentile. The other big winner was the system that adjusted for the hottest teams, which picked 13 of 16 games correctly to land in the 92.7 percentile.

Three other systems were above average with 12 of 16 correct picks, including the system that adjusts based on injuries, the system that picks a worse seed if they are only slightly behind, and the system that goes with the team with the best three Value Add players. However, that last system was incredibly damaged with the Arizona loss, as that was the only of the 9 systems that picked Arizona to win more than one or two games total. That loss is actually good for the other 8 methods because most other people had Arizona winning a number of games.

The other four systems finished just below average with 11 of 16 correct picks (the average national bracket was between 11 and 12 wins). Neither the potential NBA talent or the more experienced tournament coaches did that well. Both the composite system and the Mismatch system nearly registered a huge win having picked the 14th seed Stephen F. Austin in what I called my most stupid pick, and SFA led until there were four minutes left in the game.

If anyone based their bracket based on believing the Pac12 would make a run - they had a terrible day with all three Pac12 teams losing to teams from New York. Included was 4-seed Arizona losing by 21 points to Buffalo. ACC fans also went 1-3 on Thursday and will need to hope for wins from some of their five teams still in action tomorrow or risk repeating last year when only one of nine ACC teams made the Sweet 16 (though that one UNC did win the title).

The Big East and SEC both have four games tomorrow to try to build on their 2-0 and 4-0 starts Thursday, respectively.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March Madness 2018 Bracket Master of All Suggested Picks (Master)

Here are the recommended bracket picks with Villanova beating Virginia 61-59 in the title game. After the bracket see explanations and 8 other methods for making picks (none of Wednesday's injury upsets should change picks due to strong back-ups as Houston's VanBeck 2.34 Value Add and IL-Chic's Dixson 0.00 are out, while Kansas' Azubuike 6.53 is questionable). We covered Hunter Tuesday by updating injuries here. Three years ago the Washington Post noted I rated Justin Anderson as indispensable to UVa's run, but this year they are deep enough to potentially make the run with Hunter out.

(a decimal.5 after a number can be ignored, but it indicates it was a very close call and the team could be given one more win than indicated. The first number to the right of the team is the composite recommendation, with the other bracket scenarios given as further options.)

See Injury Updates from Tuesday 11 p.m. which results in adjustments below. Injuries to Miami, Duke, UNC, and Virginia could result in extra wins for Loyola, Michigan State, Michigan/Gonzaga and Kentucky/Arizona (respectively).

SeedSouthTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
9Kansas St.0.501000100
SouthTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
6Miami FL0102.510001
11Loyola Chicago101001220
14Wright St.000000000
15Georgia St.000000000
SeedWestTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
16North Carolina Central000000000
16Texas Southern
9Florida St.111011000
5Ohio St.11411111
12S. Dakota St.1
13UNC Greensboro
SeedWestTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
11South Dakota St.000000000
7Texas A&M011110100
2North Carolina323324244
SeedEastTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
16LIU Brooklyn
8Virginia Tech111011111
5West Virginia222120222
12Murray St.0.500002000
4Wichita St.111211111
SeedEastTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
11St. Bonav.0.500001002

3Texas Tech0221.520111
14Stephen F. Austin200002000
15Cal St. Fullerton000000000
SeedMidwestTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
8Seton Hall011010011
9North Carolina St.1.5001.502300
12New Mexico St.000000000
13College of Charleston000000000
SeedMidwestTotalValue AddTop 3NBAUpsetMismatchHotPG/SGCoach
11Arizona St.1101.511000
3Michigan St.442242224
7Rhode Island000001110

The 2018 Value Add bracket based on projects Villanova over Virginia for the title with Duke and UNC also in the Final Four. All bracket picks appear at the top of this blog. (Photo above from CBS Sports 247 site showing Nova star Mikal Bridges.)

However, variations listed in the other numbers under each heading of the table project Arizona and Ohio State to join the Final Four if it comes down to the best dominant three-player comb on the court (third number left of each team by each team). If it comes down to the most NBA talent (fourth number left of each team) then Duke over Kentucky could follow a Final Four with Villanova and Gonzaga. Michigan is the hottest team (third number from the far right), and Kansas has the best-experienced guard play for a Final Four run (2nd column from the right).

The main system clinched a victory over President Obama's (who knows his basketball) last bracket by the Elite 8 in 2016. In 2017, the Value Add All-Americans hit the 99th percentile by picking the Gonzaga vs. UNC championship game.

That being said, the 2015 bracket was a disaster, and everyone from Nate Silver to the casual fan knows that one of the many fans who take wild guesses will stumble onto wins that neither Nate, me or any basketball expert would logically choose.

Here is the story at John Dodds' 247 sites for CBS Sports as we unveil the bracket predictions at the top of this blog.

While some have credited following my picks for winning their brackets, I accept no responsibility for anyone following these picks and being destroyed in their pool :-) Like a stockbroker warns - past results do not guarantee future performance.

Nonetheless, here is the comprehensive breakdown of the factors we consider and the links to further explanation on each.

Those numbers above are based on consideration of these factors:

The total composite (1st column left of the team) Value Add projection based on all of the below is for Villanova over Virginia, UNC and Duke also in Final Four. The variations based on components are:

1. Value Add adjusted for Injuries/Returning Players (2nd column) - By far the most important single factor is ... how good the team on the floor is today. This starts with a fraction of the rating and uses Value Add to increase that rating for returning players (e.g. Michael Porter Jr. for Missouri) and subtracting for players injured with strong replacements (Auburn, Clemson, and Nevada hardest hit). Based on this the final would be Virginia over Villanova with UNC and Duke in the Final Four.

a. Upsets (5th column left of the team). This is a variation on above, except it takes a chance on the worse seed whenever they are within one point of the favorite in the Value Add Adjusted for injuries. Villanova over Virginia with Duke and Michigan in the Final Four.

2. NBA Talent.  (4th column left of the team) Duke over Kentucky, with Villanova and Gonzaga in the Final Four.

3. All American/Top 3 dominant players (3rd column left of the team). See also the original All-American Announcement). Villanova over Arizona with Duke and Ohio State in the Final Four.

4. Upset Mismatches. (6th column left of the team) Chances for upsets due to one of these three areas of mismatches; Three-point Shooting, Steals or Offensive Rebounding. A lot more first-round upsets, but still Virginia over Villanova with Duke and UNC in the Final Four in the end.

5. Coaching/Senior Guards/Hot Streaks. A final piece covers three other factors:

a. Coaching (furthest column right). Villanova over Virginia with UNC and Duke in the Final Four.

b. Experienced Guards (2nd column from right). Virginia over Villanova with UNC and Kansas in the Final Four.

c. Hot Teams (third column from right). Virginia over Villanova with Duke and Michigan in the Final Four.

To go beyond the Final Four scenarios spelled out by each method, the number by each team in each scenario indicates how many times you should write in the team name. For example, the top team listed Virginia is either the National Champion (6 lines) or Runner Up (5 lines) in all but two scenarios. In these two scenarios, Virginia would lose after two games to either Arizona or Kentucky. If it comes down to the most dominant trio on the court they would lose to Arizona (whose top three players are better than Virginia's top three players), and if it came down to the most future NBA talent dominating then they would lose to Kentucky after two wins.

March Madness: Coaching, Senior Guards, and Hot Streaks

The final factors to consider when filling out your bracket are the experience of the team's coach in making NCAA runs, if they have upperclassmen point guard who can steady the team under the pressure of the tournament, and if the team closed the season playing well or not.

The first three numbers left of the team gives the prediction of how many games they would win with an emphasis on any of these three areas.

The first number (Hot) is based on how many they would win based on how "hot" they are which corresponds to the movement in the team's KenPom rating since Feb. 1. Virginia projects as the national champion (6 lines) based on their overall top rating plus being hot as they moved from 2nd to 1st in KenPom.

The second column (PG/SG)  is wins adjusted for the experience of the Point Guard (primarily) and the Shooting Guard (secondary). Virginia projects as the National Champion under that scenario as well, with their Point Guard Hall (senior) and shooting guard Guy (sophomore) getting a "7 of 10" for the experience.

The third column (Coach) projects Virginia being nudged out by Villanova. Virginia has small edge over Villanova overall, but Jay Wright has gone further than Tony Bennett so far with the national title two years ago, so Villanova gets a slight advantage on this category.

(Marquette Note: Andrew Rowsey's status as a senior point guard (6 points) and Markus Howard's as a sophomore shooting guard (1 point) gives Marquette a 7 of 10 rating on the experienced backcourt. That would project to be a big enough gap to shift one regoinal match against a 6-seed (Miami with freshman point guard Lykes and sophomore shooting guard Vasiljevic) for a win. Since February 1 Marquette dropped from 50th to 53rd to rate as slighly cold, and Coach Wojo's inexperience would not have provided a win based on either of those two categories).

SeedSouthHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since Feb
Coach Tour Exp
1Virginia6652nd to 1st8Hall & Guy7Tony Bennett6
16UMBC192nd to 184th6Maura & Lyles9Ryan Odom1
8Creighton1123rd to 27th4Foster & Mintz8Greg McDermott7
9Kansas St.142nd to 44th5Stokes & Diarra5Bruce Weber7
5Kentucky21227th to 18th9Gilgeous-Alexander & Green0John Calipari9
12Davidson70th to 43rd9Gudmundsson & Grady2Bob McKillop6
4Arizona12120th to 21st5Jackson-Cartwright & Trier9Sean Miller8
13Buffalo81st to 77th6Clark & Caruthers8Nate Oats3
SouthHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
6Miami FL132nd to 36th4Lykes & Vasiljevic1Jim Larranaga7
11Loyola Chicago2255th to 41st8Custer & Richardson7Porter Moser2
3Tennessee1128th to 11th5Bone & Bowden3Rick Barnes8
14Wright St.121st to 135th3Gentry & Hughes4Scott Nagy6
7Nevada117th to 24th3Martin & Cooke7Eric Musselman2
10Texas1147th to 39th7Coleman & Jacob1Shaka Smart9
2Cincinnati3335th to 4th7Broome & Cumberland5Mick Cronin7
15Georgia St.116th to 96th7Simonds & Williams6Ron Hunter6
SeedWestHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
1Xavier21213th to 14th5Goodin & Mancura5Chris Mack8
16North Carolina Central281st to 309th3Perkins & Gardner0LeVelle Moton3
16Texas Southern232nd to 249th3Jefferson & McClelland2Mike Davis8
8Missouri12143rd to 38th7Geist & Robertson7Cuonzo Martin7
9Florida St.25th to 35th3Forrest & Savoy4Leonard Hamilton7
5Ohio St.11113th to 15th4Jackson & Williams7Chris Holtmann7
12San Diego St.63rd to 50th7Watson & Kell7Brian Dutcher0
4Gonzaga3337th to 8th5Perkins & Melson7Mark Few8
13UNC Greensboro115th to 82nd9Troy & Miller4Wes Miller0
SeedWestHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
6Houston11138th to 17th9Gray & Robinson8Kelvin Sampson8
11South Dakota St.84th to 75th7Key & Jenkins4T.J. Otzelberger3
3Michigan42223rd to 10th10Simpson & Abdur-Rahkman6John Beilein9
14Montana71st to 71st5Rorie & Oguine6Travis DeCuire0
7Texas A&M133rd to 30th5Starks & Gilder2Billy Kennedy6
10Providence1161st to 63rd6Cartwright & Lindsey10Ed Cooley8
2North Carolina24414th to 7th8Berry & Williams9Roy Williams10
15Lipscomb179th to 165th6Cooper & Buckland3Casey Alexander0
SeedEastHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
1Villanova5561st to 2nd5Brunson & Booth7Jay Wright9
16LIU Brooklyn284th to 251st6Batts & Agosto3Derek Kellogg4
16Radford176th to 170th5Jones & Fields1Mike Jones0
8Virginia Tech11139th to 32nd7Robinson & Wilson7Buzz Williams8
9Alabama60th to 51st7Sexton & Petty1Avery Johnson4
5West Virginia22218th to 13th7Carter & Miles10Bob Huggins10
12Murray St.60th to 59th5Morant & Stark3Matt McMahon0
4Wichita St.11120th to 20th5Frankamp & Reaves7Gregg Marshall8
13Marshall131st to 114th7Elmore & West4Dan D'Antoni0
SeedEastHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
6Florida2228th to 23rd7Chiozza & Allen9Michael White5
11St. Bonaventure275th to 69th6Adams & Mobley10Mark Schmidt3
11UCLA254th to 48th6Holiday & Ali5Steve Alford8
3Texas Tech11112th to 12th5Evans & Culver7Chris Beard4
14Stephen F. Austin126th to 111th7Augustin & Bogues4Kyle Keller0
7Arkansas1148th to 37th7Macon & Beard9Mike Anderson9
10Butler121st to 25th5Baldwin & Jorgensen4LaVall Jordan0
2Purdue3333rd to 5th5Edwards & Thompson6Matt Painter8
15Cal St. Fullerton171 to 153rd7Smith & Allman4Dedrique Taylor0
SeedMidwestHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
1Kansas1437th to 9th6Graham & Newman8Bill Self9
16Penn152nd to 127th8Foreman & Woods8Steve Donahue7
8Seton Hall1129th to 26th6Carrington & Powell6Kevin Willard6
9North Carolina St.364th to 42nd9Johnson & Beverly2Kevin Keatts6
5Clemson22116th to 19th4Mitchell & Reed6Brad Brownell6
12New Mexico St.40th to 55th3Harris & N'Dir4Chris Jans0
4Auburn1129th to 16th2Harper & Brown4Bruce Pearl10
13College of Charleston147th to 120th8Chealey & Pointer8Earl Grant0
SeedMidwestHotPG/SGCoachKenPom since FebPG/SG ExpCoach Tour Exp
6TCU11119th to 22nd4Robinson & Bane5Jamie Dixon8
11Arizona St.27th to 45th1Martin & Evans3Bobby Hurley7
11Syracuse47th to 54th3Howard & Battle5Jim Boeheim10
3Michigan St.2226th to 6th5Winston & McQuaid4Tom Izzo10
14Bucknell107th to 100th6Brown & Mackenzie6Nathan Davis3
7Rhode Island1134th to 49th3Garrett & Dowtin7Dan Hurley7
10Oklahoma126th to 47th0Young & McGusty1Lon Kruger8
2Duke4344th to 3rd6DuVal & Allen3Mike Krzyzewski10
15Iona123rd to 134th4"McGill & Casimir
"6Tim Cluess5

March Madness: All-Americans and 3 Star Domination

Al McGuire said a team needed three-and-a-half stars to win a championship. It is hard for us to measure the hustler who can be the third star, but sometimes the team with the most dominant All-American level player on the court or a team with three great options as stars can beat more balanced teams with a longer bench during March Madness.

The Value Add All-American list was the most accurate last year, and if that happened this year it would be Villanova over Arizona in the title game - who feature the two most dominant All-Americans in the tournament and the most dominant trio.

Villanova (26.98 Value Add of top 3 stars) is led by the 1st team All-American swingman Mikal Bridges (10.75) and just missed a second All-American in the close race between four point guards including Jalen Brunson (11th best in the country, 9.59 Value Add). Omari Spillman (6.64, 109th of more than 4,000 players) gives Nova a third player in the top three percent of all players.

Arizona (24.63) is led by the only player in the tournament more dominant than Bridges this year - center Deandre Ayton (11.64 Value Add) who scored over 30 points in consecutive Pac-12 games to surge into 1st at Arizona was the only team with two All-Americans Allonzo Trier, though he fell off slightly during the conference tournament. They then have the unbelievable luxury of a second dominant seven-footer who can be on the court at the same time as Ayton in Dusan Ristic.

The other Final Four teams under this scenario would be Ohio State (All-American Keita Bates-Diop, 114th ranked Kaleb Wesson and 218th ranked Jae'Sean Tate) and Duke only team with three players in the top 1% in Marvin Bagley, Wendall Carter and Grayson Allen).

(Marquette note, Marquette's trio has a total Value Add of 20.22, which would have been strong enough to win two games in the South before a loss to Cincinnati, two wins in the West until losing to Ohio State or one win in the east before losing to Texas Tech. The only bracket in which Marquette's trio would not calculate as an 11-seed is the Midwest, where they would have been projected to lose to TCU.)

SeedSouthTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
9Kansas St.20.571
SouthTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
6Miami FL15.96
11Loyola Chicago16.6311
14Wright St.11.56
15Georgia St.13.03
SeedWestTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
16North Carolina Central6.43
16Texas Southern8.29
9Florida St.15.241
5Ohio St.22.2241
12San Diego St.15.42
13UNC Greensboro6
SeedWestTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
11South Dakota St.16.19
7Texas A&M18.921
2North Carolina21.8434
SeedEastTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
16LIU Brooklyn
8Virginia Tech16.351
5West Virginia22.212
12Murray St.20.332
4Wichita St.18.3111
SeedEastTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
11St. Bonaventure15.71
3Texas Tech22.412
14Stephen F. Austin11.772
15Cal St. Fullerton14.47
SeedMidwestTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
8Seton Hall18.541
9North Carolina St.16.252
12New Mexico St.15.72
13College of Charleston14.51
SeedMidwestTop 3 Value AddTop 3 winsMismatch
11Arizona St.15.811
3Michigan St.21.6322
7Rhode Island15.741

The college basketball world spent half a season wondering, "Is there any way to stop Trae Young," and now the same people are asking, "Is there any way to stop Deandre Ayton?" While Young led the ratings most of the year with his Steph Curry-like range and release for Oklahoma, it has been Arizona's Deandre Ayton who shows an amazing skill set at 7-foot-1 en route to the Pac-12 title and taking over the No. 1 spot with an 11.64 Value Add as of Selection Sunday.

You can go to to see the values of all 4,000 players, and most importly who good the top three stars are on each team - which is the basis of a teams "All-American" projection for wins in March Madness. Here are the top 50 plus some stars who were also named All-American but in some cases had their Value Add held down because of injuries.

We focused another post on the chance that a team can score a March Madness upset by dominating a favored team via Offensive Rebounds (OR%), Steals (Stl%) or 3-point shorts (3PM-3PA). For these top stars we added their figure from for these three states, while the number between their name and team is their Value Add - or how many points a game they are worth beyond a replacement player.

1Deandre Ayton #1311.64Arizona13.41.012-337' 1FrAll-Amer 2nd C^ 34 Gms
2Jock Landale #3411.18Saint Mary's12.00.83-96' 11SrAll-Amer 1st C^ 33 Gms
3Mikal Bridges #2510.75Villanova5.52.888-2036' 7JrAll-Amer 1st SF-3^ 34 Gms
4Gary Clark #1110.59Cincinnati12.33.224-556' 8SrAll-Amer 1st Team PF-4 ^ 33 Gms
5Yante Maten #110.30Georgia11.80.829-856' 8SrAll-Amer 2nd Team PF-4^ 33 Gms
6Keita Bates-Diop #3310.09Ohio St.5.61.858-1626' 7JrAll-Amer 3rd Team PF-4^ 32 Gms
7Jevon Carter #210.04West Virginia2.54.671-1836' 2SrAll-Amer 2nd PG^ 34 Gms
8Dean Wade #329.95Kansas St.5.02.840-916' 10JrAll-Amer 3rd C^ 32 Gms
9John Konchar #559.81Fort Wayne6.33.960-1556' 5JrAll-Amer 3rd SF-PF (tied+1.3)^ 28 Gms
10Trae Young #119.71Oklahoma1.32.5115-3186' 2FrAll-Amer 1st PG^ 31 Gms
11Jalen Brunson #19.59Villanova1.11.574-1796' 2JrAll-Amer HM^ 34 Gms
12Devonte' Graham #49.53Kansas1.62.598-2386' 2SrAll-Amer 3rd PG^ 34 Gms
13Juwan Morgan #139.44Indiana10.72.416-536' 7JrAll-Amer HM^ 31 Gms
14Devon Hall #09.43Virginia1.51.857-1266' 5SrAll-Amer HM^ 33 Gms
15Marvin Bagley #359.40Duke13.71.520-546' 11FrAll-Amer HM^ 29 Gms
16Trevon Bluiett #59.14Xavier3.01.2101-2396' 6SrAll-Amer 2nd SF-3 (+1.2)^ 33 Gms
17James Thompson #29.06Eastern Michigan13.91.30-06' 10JrAll-Amer HM^ 29 Gms
18Luke Maye #329.02North Carolina10.21.748-1096' 8JrAll-Amer HM^ 35 Gms
19Jonathan Stark #28.88Murray St.1.32.0103-2546' 0SrAll-Amer 1st Team SG-2 (+1.))^ 29 Gms
20Jeff Roberson #118.79Vanderbilt6.61.562-1536' 6Sr32 Gms
21Keenan Evans #128.72Texas Tech1.42.443-1376' 3SrAll-Amer HM (+.1)^ 32 Gms
22Wendell Carter #348.71Duke13.01.619-416' 10Fr33 Gms
23Peyton Aldridge #238.64Davidson5.00.776-1926' 8Sr31 Gms
24Mohamed Bamba #48.51Texas12.11.514-506' 11FrAll-Amer HM^ 29 Gms
25Dylan Windler #38.29Belmont6.31.769-1626' 7JrAll-Amer 3rd SF-PF (tied +.4)^ 33 Gms
26Carsen Edwards #38.10Purdue1.72.389-2166' 1SoAll-Amer HM^ 34 Gms
27Ethan Happ #228.09Wisconsin9.73.01-116' 10JrAll-Amer HM^ 33 Gms
28Michael Oguine #08.00Montana8.02.642-1196' 2JrAll-Amer HM^ 31 Gms
29Reid Travis #227.98Stanford10.21.317-576' 8Jr33 Gms
30Mike Daum #247.95South Dakota St.7.20.985-1986' 9Jr30 Gms
31Anthony Cowan #17.93Maryland0.72.352-1406' 0So31 Gms
32Rob Gray #327.93Houston2.22.251-1476' 1Sr31 Gms
33Marcquise Reed #27.88Clemson2.62.965-1796' 3Jr32 Gms
34Cassius Winston #57.75Michigan St.0.91.371-1356' 0So33 Gms
35Kenrich Williams #347.73TCU9.62.945-1106' 7Sr31 Gms
36Tyler Davis #347.73Texas A&M13.20.77-256' 10Jr32 Gms
37Elijah Bryant #37.73BYU1.72.282-1996' 5Jr34 Gms
38Allonzo Trier #357.70Arizona1.41.170-1796' 5JrAll-Amer 2nd Team SG-2^ 32 Gms
39Grayson Allen #37.68Duke1.82.790-2396' 5Sr33 Gms
40Moritz Wagner #137.68Michigan6.42.252-1326' 11Jr32 Gms
41Justin Bibbins #17.66Utah1.32.282-1825' 8Sr30 Gms
42Dakota Mathias #317.65Purdue0.62.490-1946' 4Sr34 Gms
43Landry Shamet #117.65Wichita St.1.61.384-1836' 4So31 Gms
44Daryl Macon #47.57Arkansas1.41.884-1966' 3Sr34 Gms
45Zhaire Smith #27.56Texas Tech9.92.413-316' 5Fr33 Gms
46Tookie Brown #47.48Georgia Southern2.13.049-1015' 11Jr30 Gms
47Jacob Evans #17.46Cincinnati5.02.658-1526' 6JrAll-Amer HM^ 33 Gms
48TJ Shorts #07.44UC Davis1.63.610-285' 9Jr30 Gms
49Noah Dickerson #157.41Washington12.51.42-56' 8Jr32 Gms
50Sam Hauser #107.38Marquette3.81.791-

Saturday, March 10, 2018

March Madness: Top Team Value Adds Adjusted for Injuries, Returning Players (Most Important)

Tuesday, March 13, 11 p.m. Injury Update
RnkKey Players Lost LateTeamValueHurt Team
82Jordan Barnett #21Missouri6.97-6
174De'Andre Hunter #12Virginia5.93-4
755Bruce Brown #11Miami FL2.94-1.6
1943Bruce Moore #13Bucknell0.7-0.3
RnkOther possible lost playersTeamValueHurt Team
8Dean Wade #32Kansas St.9.95-9.6
22Wendell Carter #34Duke8.71-7
51Donta Hall #0Alabama7.33-6
395Cameron Johnson #13UNC4.38-3.5
674Trevon Duval #1Duke3.21-3
963Wes VanBeck #12Houston2.34-1
1284Jarred Vanderbilt #2Kentucky1.64-0.5

The late-breaking injuries wreak havoc. In the bracket based on Value Add and Health/Injuries Virginia drops to a projected runner-up (5 wins) and in the "slight" upset bracket down to 3 wins as either Arizona or Kentucky could easily beat them now in the Sweet 16. De'Andre Hunter has a 5.93 Value Add and despite some solid backups, being replaced by the 8th best player leaves Virginia 4.0 points worse. Kentucky also has a potential injury in Jarred Vanderbilt, which would cost them half a point, but we just take half off for a player who just misses. That actually nudges them below Arizona, but Kentucky is so close that if we go with slight upsets for a worse seed that is close then Kentucky beats Arizona and Virginia.

Dropping half of the three potential injuries for Duke and UNC could create Final Four runs for Michigan State and possibly even Michigan.

Original Selection Sunday Article Here

The team Value Add Ratings at the end of the season indicate how many points a team is better or worse than average. We have the raw Value Add, and then the injury adjustments to add for returning stars like Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) and Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri) as well as players that were lost.

This is the most important rating for determining bracket picks - who has the best team on the floor right now based on their season-long value adjusted for current personnel changes. All teams that were still alive Saturday evening, because they were still in their conference tournament or because they are viewed as in the tournament or on the bubble, are listed.

First, here are the brackets you would use if you stuck with this, the most important factor - how good is the team right now. Virginia is the best team right now, a healthy team with a 21.7, so they would logically be the most likely to win the title. However, because it takes picking some upsets to have a chance to win, we do a second bracket that takes the worse seed if they are within 1 point in this important rating - for example, Villanova is within one of Virginia so we give them the title in the "Take upsets in tight match-ups."

The teams with the most damaging injuries were Nevada, Auburn, and Clemson - but ironically Auburn would play Clemson in the second round. The team helped the most was Missouri with the return of Michael Porter Jr. to take them to another level. Notre Dame would have been the other team helped to that degree as the 15th best team in the country adjusted for Colson's return (11.4+3=14.4), but they lost their spot in the tournament when Davidson stole a bid.

(Note for Marquette fans: Marquette was an 11.4 with no major personnel changes to calculate as the 48th best team in the nation - which would not have calculated high enough to win a game as the 11-seed in any of the four regions.)

SeedSouthOverall Value/ UpsetsTake upsets in tightValue AddInjury/ ReturningAdjusted Value Add
9Kansas St.
6Miami FL1
11Loyola Chicago110.30.010.3
14Wright St.1.9-1.00.9
15Georgia St.
SeedWestOverall Value/ UpsetsTake upsets in tightValue AddInjury/ ReturningAdjusted Value Add
16North Carolina Central-9.50.0-9.5
16Texas Southern-6.00.0-6.0

9Florida St.1110.70.010.7
5Ohio St.1114.30.014.3
12San Diego St.
13UNC Greensboro6.10.06.1
11South Dakota St.
7Texas A&M1111.5-2.09.5
2North Carolina2216.9-1.715.2
SeedEastOverall Value/ UpsetsTake upsets in tightValue AddInjury/ ReturningAdjusted Value Add
16LIU Brooklyn-5.30.0-5.3
8Virginia Tech1111.30.011.3
5West Virginia2215.10.015.1
12Murray St.
4Wichita St.1113.80.013.8
11St. Bonaventure8.00.08.0
3Texas Tech2215.10.015.1
14Stephen F. Austin3.60.03.6
15Cal St. Fullerton0.00.00.0
SeedEastOverall Value/ UpsetsTake upsets in tightValue AddInjury/ ReturningAdjusted Value Add
8Seton Hall1111.80.011.8
9North Carolina St.
12New Mexico St.
13College of Charleston3.20.03.2
11Arizona St.
3Michigan St.4417.90.017.9
7Rhode Island9.90.09.9

And here are the overall rankings of the final 91 teams competing for bids and notes on how much a player's injury or returning player helped or hurt their strength as of Selection Sunday.

RankTeamValue AddInjury/ ReturningAdjusted Value AddNotes on significant personnel changes
6Michigan St.
7North Carolina16.90.016.9Healthy
10West Virginia15.10.015.1Healthy
11Texas Tech15.10.015.1Keenan Evans fine
14Missouri10.54.014.5No. 1 NBA draftee Michael Porter Jr. is back.
15Notre Dame11.43.014.4D.J. Harvey (knee) is out for the season but the return of National POY candidate Bonzie Colson back.
16Ohio St.
18Wichita St.
19Kansas15.40.015.4If Udoka Azubuike not back, then -2.0.
23Miami FL10.72.012.7If Bruce Brown not back then -2.
25Seton Hall11.80.011.8Healthy
26Saint Mary's11.60.011.6Healthy
27Virginia Tech11.30.011.3Healthy
30Creighton11.8-1.010.8Martin Krampelj ACL is out for season.
32Florida St.
33Loyola Chicago10.30.010.3Healthy
34North Carolina St.
35Auburn14.1-3.011.1NBA prospects Purijoy and Wiley,Auburn 2-4 w/oAnfernee McLemore.
36Kansas St.
37UCLA10.10.010.1Ikenna Okwarabizie Concussion indefinite.
39Nevada13.0-3.010.0L. Drew was 4.50 Value add.
40Arizona St.
41Rhode Island9.90.09.9Healthy
42TCU12.9-3.09.9Jaylen Fisher (5 value add), RJ Nembhard Ankle.
44Clemson13.8-3.010.801/22/18 F Donte Grantham ACL is out for season, may be biggest loss of any team.
45USC10.2-0.59.7Good backups for Bennie Boatwright.
46Texas10.6-1.09.6Andrew Jones (5 value add) and Eric Davis 2.5.
47Texas A&M11.5-2.09.5Wilson 2.0 VA, Caldwell 1.0.
49Middle Tennessee9.40.09.4Healthy
50Syracuse9.20.09.2Thorpe, Washington out.
52Oklahoma St.
54New Mexico St.
55Maryland10.0-1.09.0Bender, Jackson out.
56Boise St.
57San Diego St.
58Western Kentucky8.70.08.7Healthy
59Murray St.
60Penn St.11.6-3.08.6Watkins, Knee, worth 7.0.
61St. Bonaventure8.00.08.0Healthy
63South Dakota St.
66UNC Greensboro6.10.06.1Healthy
67Georgia St.
68Bucknell4.6-0.44.2Newman Suspension.
69New Mexico4.20.04.2Healthy
70Stephen F. Austin3.60.03.6Healthy
73Grand Canyon3.40.03.4Healthy
74College of Charleston3.20.03.2Healthy
75Eastern Washington2.70.02.7Healthy
76UT Arlington2.40.02.4Healthy
77UC Irvine2.20.02.2Healthy
80Wright St.1.9-1.00.9Justin Mitchell 2.4 out indefinitely.
83Cal St. Fullerton0.00.00.0Healthy
85Georgia Southern1.2-2.0-0.803/10/18 F Montae Glenn Knee is out indefinitely.
86Southeastern Louisiana-1.60.0-1.6Healthy
88LIU Brooklyn-5.30.0-5.3Healthy
89Texas Southern-6.00.0-6.0Healthy
90North Carolina Central-9.50.0-9.5Healthy
91Arkansas Pine Bluff-11.00.0-11.0Healthy