Friday, March 22, 2019

Elite 8 Conferences Set: Value Add Basketball Game Plays in 30-35 Minutes With New Scoresheet

We consolidated all instruction blogs for Value Add Basketball to this Master Instructions Blog.

The improved score sheet enables a Value Add Basketball game to be played in 30 to 35 minutes after 5 minutes of writing in the line-ups. The sheet below is the entire game in which the Horizon League upset the Mountain West All-Stars after Nevada's Caleb and Cody Martin both fouled out. Simply put a dash over the next number after a score, rebound, steal, blocked shot or foul while keeping the running score.

Click here for Midwest Region Results

Click here for West Region Results

Click here for South Region Results

Click here for East Region Results

At the risk of losing a big part of our audience right now, one of the most thrilling games to date was the one upset of a 1-seed. Below is the completed score sheet which sped up the time needed to play from 90 minutes to 30-minutes.

To play your own game, click on the first 2 links for instructions and scoresheets, then pick two teams from any of the links below for player cards. You need only two 6-sided dice, a 20-sided die and an 8-sided die.

The playing cards are divided into six conferences of 7 teams each.

How to Play Value Add Basketball
Value Add Game Scoresheet
Pick 2 teams, click for Player Cards
All-Conference Player Cards
Abilene Christian to BYU
Cal Baptist to Duquesne
East Carolina to Green Bay
Hampton to LSU
Maine to Notre Dame
Oakland to Syracuse
TCU to Youngstown Player Cards

The archives of early stories on the first Value Add Basketball All-Conference Tournament are here.

The Value Add Basketball Game simulates each players' ability to get the ball and get shots off,  rebound, hit from the line and inside and outside the arc, dish out great assists, guard the ball, as well as steal and block shots adjusted for the level of competition they faced. While we also calculated cards for every player who played at least 8 minutes a game for all 353 teams, we decided to start with a tournament pitting all 32 All-Conference teams during March Madness. Results to date.

1-seeds. The four conferences picked as 1-seeds each won by between 12 and 30 points against the 8-seed conferences.

2-seeds won three of four with the CAA shocking the American Athletic 90-82. However, the Mid-American barely held off Ja Morant and the Ohio Valley 78-74.

3-seeds averaged winning by 4.5 points, but that included two 6-seeds pulling out close upsets. The ASun overcame the Southern 67-60,and the Horizon League won the thrilled of the tournament with a 64-62 win over the Mountain West after superstar twins Cody and Caleb Martin from Nevada both fouled out in the final five minutes.

4-seeds went 2-2 against 5-seeds with the Big South sneaking out a 76-71 win over the Sun Belt and the Big West turning in the shooting performance of the tournament with a 94-69 blowout of the WAC.

SeedEast Region1st Round2nd RoundElite 8SemiChamp
1Atlantic Coast ConferenceACC 90-60
8Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
ACC 81-64*
4Ivy LeagueIvy 72-64*
5Patriot League
ACC 79-64*
2Big East ConferenceBE 84-68*
7Northeast Conference
BE 61-56*
3Atlantic 10 ConferenceA10 74-65*
6America East Conference
SeedMidwest Region
1Big Ten ConferenceBig Ten 74-55*
8Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
CUSA 66-62
4Conference USACUSA 77-67
5Missouri Valley Conference
Midwest Regional
2Mid American ConferenceMAC 78-74*
7Ohio Valley Conference
MAC 79-50
3Mountain West ConferenceHorizon 64-62
6Horizon League
Title Game
SeedWest Region
1Big 12 ConferenceB12 83-64*
8Southwestern Athletic Conference
B12 77-67
4Western Athletic ConferenceBig West 94-69
5Big West Conference
West Regional
2Pac 12 ConferencePac12 77-62*
7Big Sky Conference
pac12 70-51
3West Coast ConferenceWCC 82-64*
6Summit League
SeedSouth Region
1Southeastern ConferenceSEC 83-71
8Southland Conference
SEC 86-50
4Sun Belt ConferenceBig South 76-71*
5Big South Conference
South Regional
2American Athletic ConferenceCAA 90-82
7Colonial Athletic Association
ASun 75-69
3Southern ConferenceASun 67-60*
6Atlantic Sun Conference

Thursday, March 21, 2019

5 of our 8 Brackets Topped All CBS Experts

Wildcard Brackets Hot; Led by Those Based on NBA Talent and Defense

Through the first day of basketball, five of eight brackets we published in this Wildcard post registered more first day wins than any of the CBS crew, and were rated as red hot in ESPN's bracket tracking.

The bracket based on the "Healtiest" team was correct on 14 of 16 Thursday games to land in the 97th percentile of the millions of brackets submitted.

However, the brackets based on which teams the site calculates has the most NBA talents and the bracket based on the teams with the best DEFENSIVE Value Add rankings picked 13 of 16 correctly and have the highest ceiling with a total of 1890 total points based on ESPN's calculations of how man possible points the bracket could yield.

The Value Add bracket adjusted by where games are played, and the one weighted toward the most experienced point guards also was correct on 13 of 16 picks.

The four CBS commentators doing the night's wrap up revealed that their four experts on set all had either 11 or 12 correct.

That was the same as the bracket based purely on Value Add ratings with none of the adjustments above (12 of 16) and the purely subjective picks (11 of 16).

the one bracket rated "ice cold" by ESPN was the bracket based on which team had the best player on the court, which was correct only 10 of 16 games for 100 points - or the 19th percentile.

The following is the calculation by ESPN of each of the brackets, what percentile that places each bracket, and how many total MAX points the bracket could yield (lower if teams picked in later rounds were already eliminated.

Healthiest Team14097%1760
Pudner's Most NBA Talent13087%1890
Defensive Value Add13087%1890
Adjust Value Add by Venue13087%1850
Experienced Guards13087%1750
Value Add Master12066%1880
Just for Fun Big East/SEC12066%1660
Subjective Picks11037%1770
Best Player on Team10019%1740

The following the actual photo of the ESPN calculations for each of our brackets.

The following shows the average number of wins selected from the millions of brackets this year. For example, Duke is listed on an average of 4.36 lines per bracket, while North Dakota State squad that was listed on an average of 0.05 lines per bracket. They were actually picked on only one in 40 brackets to win the first game, but then a few picked them to go deeper into the tournament.

Fans who submitted brackets should understand that they should root against teams that they pick IF most fans picked them in more games than they did. For example, if someone picked North Carolina to win only two games and they were losing the second game, the person who put them on only two lines would want them to lose since it will hurt their average competition more because they were listed on an average of 3.75 wins. Yes, the person doesn't get their second win from North Carolina, but their competition is eliminated from getting wins in the third and fourth round, which count for many more points than the 10 points per win in the opening two days.

The following table shows if the team has been eliminated (Done), which team has wins to date, and how many lines the team appeared on in the average bracket.

TeamDone? Wins Ave. Lines/Wins
North Carolina3.75
Gonzaga1 3.12
Kentucky1 2.83
Michigan State1 2.80
Michigan1 2.64
Texas Tech1.97
Florida St1 1.77
Purdue1 1.68
LSU1 1.65
Virginia Tech1.64
Kansas1 1.52
Villanova1 1.39
Auburn1 1.39
Kansas State1.33
Iowa State1.12
Mississippi St1.03
Maryland1 0.98
Marquettedone - 0.90
Louisvilledone - 0.86
Syracusedone - 0.83
Nevadadone - 0.71
Wofford1 0.70
Florida1 0.63
Murray State1 0.61
Ole Miss0.59
Utah State0.56
Seton Halldone - 0.53
Belmontdone - 0.46
Baylor1 0.42
Ohio State0.41
Minnesota1 0.40
Saint Mary'sdone - 0.34
UC Irvine0.30
Arizona State0.29
New Mexico Stdone - 0.27
Yaledone - 0.25
Saint Louis0.19
Vermontdone - 0.17
Northeasterndone - 0.16
Old Dominiondone - 0.14
Georgia State0.14
N Kentucky0.12
Montanadone - 0.08
Bradleydone - 0.08
Abil Christiandone - 0.07
F. Dickinsondone - 0.06
North Dakota St0.05
Total Games16 63.00

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Bracketology: Prediction for all 63 Winners

I'm getting a lot of last minute calls about the brackets, so please see my explanation for my brackets in this Western Journal piece. If you are up against the Thursday noon Eastern deadline, you can go down the first column for the number of lines/wins I had for each team (e.g. Duke 6 lines for the championship, then one win for VCU, one for Mississippi State, two for Virginia Tech etc.).

SeedEastMy picksValue AddHealthDefExp PGNBAVenueTop Player
16North Carolina Central00000000
16North Dakota St.00000000
5Mississippi St.11111111
4Virginia Tech22225222
13Saint Louis00000000
2Michigan St.33333333
SeedWestMy picksValue AddHealthDefExp PGNBAVenueTop Player
16Fairleigh Dickinson00000000
16Prairie View A&M00000000
12Murray St.00000100
4Florida St.12121211
11Arizona St.00000110
11St. John's00000110
3Texas Tech22222221
14Northern Kentucky00000000
SeedMidwestMy picksValue AddHealthDefExp PGNBAVenueTop Player
1North Carolina24444344
8Utah St.11101011
12New Mexico St.00000020
6Iowa St.11101211
11Ohio St.00010000
14Georgia St.00000100
10Seton Hall20002003
15Abilene Christian00000000
SeedSouthMy picksValue AddHealthDefExp PGNBAVenueTop Player
16Gardner Webb00000000
4Kansas St.11011111
13UC Irvine00100000
11Saint Mary's00000002
14Old Dominion00000000

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Bracket for Dummies as Seton Hall's Powell and Duke's Williamson Surge

This is my morning email for Selection Sunday ...

Yes, today is not only St. Patrick's Day, but also the day you need to fill out your basketball brackets for the office - which also makes it the one day a year most of you get a sports email from me.

Last night after wading through the Madison Square Garden confetti drop blocks from where the Empire State Building was lit up for the Big East tournament, I interviewed Villanova's Phil Booth about defending the second hottest player in the country on the last second shot that decided the Big East title. I then ran the calculations at (which you can click on to sort by teams) to update the rankings on all 4,000 players and put together the grid below of each team from the March Madness basketball brackets, with explanations and details on my interviews below the table to help you use this to to fill out your brackets even if its the only time all year you pay attention to college basketball.

Team in BracketHighest Ranked PlayerTeam RankNBA RankingLost to Injury NBATop 100Top 400
Abilene Christian396, BJ Maxwell73No NBA-0.55   1
Alabama82, Donta Hall54230.00 412
Arizona St.248, Remy Martin5370.00 6 2
Auburn47, Jared Harper14110.00 623
Belmont15, Dylan Windler43450.00 113
Bradley623, Nate Kennell75No NBA0.00    
Buffalo10, CJ Massinburg20No NBA0.00  15
Cincinnati63, Jarron Cumberland34390.00 214
Clemson16, Marcquise Reed28470.00 122
Colgate539, Jordan Burns70No NBA0.00    
Creighton149, Martin Krampelj47400.00 1 3
Duke1, Zion Williamson130.00 737
Fairleigh Dickinson418, Darnell Edge79No NBA0.00    
Florida127, Kevarrius Hayes3031-0.92 3 5
Florida St.85, Mfiondu Kabengele16170.00 423
Furman3, Matt Rafferty52No NBA0.00  12
Gardner Webb300, David Efianayi76No NBA0.00   1
Georgia St.335, Malik Benlevi67410.00 1 2
Gonzaga6, Brandon Clarke320.00 734
Harvard481, Bryce Aiken69530.00 1  
Houston36, Corey Davis12No NBA0.00  13
Indiana30, Juwan Morgan40300.00 222
Iona374, EJ Crawford77No NBA0.00   1
Iowa183, Joe Wieskamp32380.00 2 4
Iowa St.109, Marial Shayok2624-3.54 3 5
Kansas5, Dedric Lawson448-6.15 513
Kansas St.59, Barry Brown19220.00 314
Kentucky34, Tyler Herro91-0.98 725
Liberty97, Scottie James55No NBA0.00  12
Lipscomb147, Garrison Mathews50No NBA0.00   3
Louisville100, Jordan Nwora21280.00 315
LSU45, Skylar Mays15190.00 424
Marquette18, Markus Howard24270.00 322
Maryland29, Bruno Fernando2290.00 513
Michigan48, Jon Teske6140.00 446
Michigan St.2, Cassius Winston426-2.17 335
Minnesota22, Jordan Murphy4525-0.51 413
Mississippi119, Breein Tyree37360.00 2 3
Mississippi St.31, Quinndary Weatherspoon1760.00 713
Montana343, Ahmaad Rorie71No NBA0.00   2
Murray St.14, Ja Morant46370.00 112
Nevada98, Caleb Martin25150.00 415
New Mexico St.294, Eli Chuha49No NBA0.00   2
North Carolina24, Cameron Johnson540.00 726
North Carolina Central682, Raasean Davis82No NBA0.00    
North Carolina St.224, Torin Dorn33330.00 2 4
North Dakota St.505, Vinnie Shahid78No NBA0.00    
Northeastern178, Jordan Roland56No NBA0.00   3
Northern Kentucky144, Drew McDonald64No NBA0.00   2
Ohio St.129, Kaleb Wesson42No NBA0.00   3
Oklahoma120, Christian James38No NBA0.00   3
Old Dominion124, Ahmad Caver65No NBA0.00   2
Oregon102, Payton Pritchard6810-9.94 7 1
Prairie View A&M761, Gary Blackston81No NBA-1.96    
Purdue46, Carsen Edwards10350.00 215
Saint Louis65, Javon Bess74No NBA-0.88  11
Saint Mary's20, Jordan Ford29No NBA0.00  23
Seton Hall8, Myles Powell48510.00 112
St. Bonaventure168, Kyle Lofton66No NBA0.00   2
St. John's21, Shamorie Ponds6020-0.28 312
Syracuse80, Tyus Battle31160.00 414
TCU40, Desmond Bane5148-1.99 113
Temple84, Shizz Alston58420.00 112
Tennessee4, Grant Williams7130.00 415
Texas60, Jaxson Hayes2750.00 813
Texas Southern330, Jeremy Combs80490.00 1 1
Texas Tech26, Jarrett Culver8320.00 234
UC Irvine302, Jonathan Galloway63No NBA0.00   2
UCF101, Aubrey Dawkins39500.00 1 3
UNC Greensboro131, Isaiah Miller61No NBA0.00   1
UT Arlington424, Brian Warren72No NBA0.00    
Utah St.17, Sam Merrill35No NBA0.00  12
VCU64, Marcus Santos-Silva36520.00 114
Vermont33, Anthony Lamb59No NBA0.00  12
Villanova77, Phil Booth23180.00 415
Virginia7, Kyle Guy2120.00 435
Virginia Tech39, Nickeil Alexander-Walker11290.00 225
Washington74, Matisse Thybulle41210.00 323
Wisconsin13, Ethan Happ13460.00 114
Wofford42, Fletcher Magee18440.00 123
Xavier150, Zach Hankins57340.00 3 3
Yale327, Miye Oni62430.00 1 2
As an example of how to use the table when you pick, let's take the top team Abilene Christian against Duke going through each item from left to right. Abilene's top player BJ Maxwell is the 396th most valuable player (of more than 4,000) based on our ratings, while Duke's Zion Williamson shot way ahead of everyone else again since returning from injury to rank No. 1. The "Team Rank" indicates Duke also has the highest team rating at Value Add of healthy players (we do not count any players injured) while Abilene is ranked 73rd. Next is the NBA ranking, which ranks every NBA prospect on a team from 150 points (Zion gets this as the top ranked prospect) down to 51 for players at least good enough to be considered. Duke ranks third in overall NBA talent behind Kentucky and Gonzaga, while Abilene has no NBA prospects.

Third and perhaps most important is the injury report. A negative numbers shows how much of a team's Value Add is with players they lost for the season, so the bigger the negative number the worse - and Kansas,Oregon and Michigan State are among the teams who lost major players. Finally we list the number of NBA prospects on the team (7 for Duke, none for Abilene), Top 100 players (three for Duke and none for Abilene) and and top 400 players (in the top 10% of all players) which includes seven Duke players and just Maxwell for Abilene. I'm comparing Duke to Abilene party because the Abilene fans were waving signs last night in jest saying Zion was scared of Abilene, but in other cases you might see a match-up that makes you think upset.
For example, Seton Hall is just 48th based on their team Value Add link, and only 51st in NBA talent based on one prospect Myles Powell. However, Powell is the second hottest player in the country behind Williamson, rising almost 20 spots in the rankings during the Big East tournament and is now the 8th best player in the country, and if you couple on unstoppable player like that on a team that started the year by beating Kentucky and finished by beating Marquette twice and falling just short of beating Villanova for a second time to claim the Big East title.
After meeting with Powell and doing a story on him a few days ago (see Western Journal story here), I tracked down Villanova's two-time national champion Phil Booth in the locker room last night to ask about the perfect defense he played when Powell got the ball with a few seconds left to try a game-winning shot.
"We practice contesting and not fouling in those situations for hours and hours. Powell can make ANY shot so you just need to get as tight on him as you can to try to make it as hard as you can," Booth told me, before I asked what he honestly thought would happen when Powell let go of the shot, and he continued. "Man, it looked like it was going in when I turned around." It hit centimeters too deep on the rim and bounced out, the difference between a 75-74 Seton Hall championship and the actual 74-72 Villanova win.
I will update brackets at or just email back if you want to be added to my normal sports update list or just call 404.606.3163 with any questions.

Have fun with your bracket! - John Pudner