Using Pomeroy's Predictor to Project a Bracket

This is my first post, so I'll try not to embarass myself.

Last night David sent me a file that can be used to predict games using Ken Pomeroy's ratings. Using this Excel spreadsheet, you can predict the winner of each game, the score, and % of the time that either team will win. There are various uses for this, obviously. What I have done is take Joe Lunardi's current projected bracket ( and figure out what percentage of the time each team will advance to each round. As this is fairly time consuming, I have only done the West region (where Kansas currently resides). Here's what I came up with:

Advances to 2nd Rd Sweet 16 Elite 8 Final Four

Wisconsin 98.7% 71.2% 51.6% 22.9%

Central Connecticut 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Jackson St. 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Kansas 98.9% 75.5% 52.0% 37.%

East Tennessee St. 1.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Georgetown 94.1% 79.6% 34.4% 21.0%

Pennsylvania 5.9% 1.6% 0.1% 0.0%

Air Force 94.7% 56.3% 20.2% 5.3%

Vermont 5.3% 0.5% 0.2% 0.0%

Virginia Tech 75.8% 37.2% 12.3% 2.9%

Santa Clara 24.2% 6.0% 1.1% 0.0%

Virginia 62.8% 13.4% 2.0% 0.5%

Winthrop 37.2% 5.4% 0.5% 0.1%

Southern California 30.6% 4.7% 1.4% 0.5%

Michigan St. 69.4% 19.8% 9.5% 4.9%

Notre Dame 67.6% 22.3% 12.4% 3.5%

Tennessee 32.4% 6.3% 2.1% 0.3%

Obviously, a lot of this depends on the draw, but Kansas will be the favorite to advance in just about any draw they have, as they are #2 in Pomeroy's ratings. What I found interesting was Wisconsin and Kansas reach the Elite 8 almost the exact same percentage of the time, although Kansas is clearly superior when they play head to head. This is a byproduct of Kansas having both Georgetown (Pomeroy #7) and Michigan St. (Pomeroy #11) in their half of the bracket. I would expect that in an average bracket, Kansas would have a greater chance of reaching the Elite 8, but if they were paired with a stronger #1 seed, their chances of winning their Regional Final game would decrease.

I'll probably do another one of these with a future Lunardi bracket, and compare the two.

Efficiency Snapshots

Recently I posted some game-by-game adjusted efficiency ratings for Kansas, derived from Ken Pomeroy's Game Plan and season efficiency ratings. The Hawks' numbers looked good, but Jeremy asked for some context on how the numbers were changing as the season progressed, and how this compared to other top teams. So I ran the game-by-game numbers for Pomeroy's top 11 teams. (Why top 11? I'll explain Michigan State's case later on.) Just showing you a mess o' single game numbers doesn't do a whole lot of good - there's a lot of game to game variation. To smooth that noise out and get a better idea of a team's general trend, we can look at a moving 10-game snapshot. Graphs after the jump...

About the graphs: Each team's line starts with its 10th game and continues through its most recent (as of Wednesday afternoon, so OSU's stinker vs. Penn St is NOT included). Each point is the average of the 10 previous games. The X-axis is "games ago." I tried to get the line colors to mostly correspond to school colors, but there are sooooo many schools that use blue or red. Anyway, here you go...

MyIMGHost - Free Image Hosting

I really like the look of this one. You can see that for the first half of the season, KU's offense wasn't at the level of the other elite teams, but over the last month it's steadily risen.

Georgetown's curve looks similar, only they start higher and finish in uber-elite territory. Interestingly, every single team on here has improved over the course of the season. I'm wondering if that's all selection bias (we're looking at the best teams as of NOW, so obviously the recent ratings will be high), or if it's also partly due to the fact that offense is just more difficult to perfect than defense. So defenses start the year already performing at a high level, and the offenses catch up over the next few months.

MyIMGHost - Free Image Hosting

[EDIT: Please note that in this graph, DOWN IS GOOD!]

This looks suspiciously like a jumbled mess. Picking out KU's line, you can see they've bounced around between 80 and 85 the whole year, always maintaining their spot as one of the top teams. For a while North Carolina seemed to be quite a bit better than everyone else, but they've fallen back to only "great." (I'm betting the same thing happens with Georgetown's offense over the next few weeks. [EDIT: I originally made a typo and said GTown's defense. This caused some confusion over on Hoya Talk. My bad.]) You can see that this graph doesn't show the consistent improvement that the offenses do.

[WARNING: If you couldn't care less about Michigan State, skip this paragraph.] I think MSU's path is the most interesting one here, and is the reason they're going to be really surprising some people over the next month. Their defense went from elite, to just better than average, back to elite. I took a look a closer look to see if there were injuries that could explain this, and it turns out they were missing freshman Raymar Morgan for most of that swoon. Judging from his scouting report, that didn't seem like such a huge loss. He's a subpar offensive player, and most of his playing time was taken up by another 6 1/2 foot freshman, Isaiah Dahlman. Problem is, Dahlman's only an inch shorter but 40 pounds lighter. He doesn't rebound, block shots, or steal the ball as well as Morgan, and I'm guessing he's easier to score on. Dahmlan played at least 18 minutes in 8 games this season, mostly while Morgan was out. In those 8 games, Michigan State's adjusted defensive rating was 93.5. In all other games, it's 83.4. I wish I would have noticed this 2 days ago, so I could feel smart for predicting a MSU victory over Wisconsin.

MyIMGHost - Free Image Hosting

Since around the first week of January, North Carolina has, from an efficiency standpoint, looked like the team to beat. Wisconsin approached their level for a while, as did Texas A&M, Ohio St, and Florida, but nobody else had managed to crack the 0.99 barrier, while UNC had been staying comfortably above it. Well, congrats to Kansas on joining them up there. This is a nice looking graph for Kansas, showing that they seem to be putting it all together. Only problem is, most of this nice rating has come from beating up on lesser opponents. Not bad opponents, necessarily, but lesser. They let up and gave Acie Law IV the win in Lawrence in their one chance to prove they could play elite ball against an elite opponent. Still, the stats are what they are, and they make Kansas look good.

OK, I've got nothing more to add right this moment. I'll probably be doing some kind of individual team graphs for KU game previews in the future. If anybody has any ideas on ways to slice these numbers, or different graphical displays that you think might be interesting or useful, feel free to mention them.

Ken Pomeroy on the Oakland Bracket.

Friend of Phog Blog Ken Pomeroy breaks down the Bracket today, using his efficiency numbers, and I think Jayhawks will be pleased:

Seed Team         Round 2 Round 3 Regionals Semis  Finals Champion
  4  Kansas        78.93%  54.37%   38.45%  25.92% 14.72%   9.01%
  2  UCLA          95.39%  70.86%   53.75%  29.49% 14.80%   8.09%
  5  Pitt          81.35%  34.47%   19.87%  10.81%  4.64%   2.19%
  1  Memphis       86.40%  52.89%   22.30%  11.60%  4.70%   2.10%
  8  Arkansas      72.27%  36.08%   13.45%   6.32%  2.26%   0.90%
 11  San Diego St. 55.81%  34.29%   12.35%   4.17%  1.25%   0.42%
  7  Marquette     62.35%  19.94%   11.30%   3.88%  1.18%   0.40%
  6  Indiana       44.19%  24.66%    7.68%   2.23%  0.57%   0.16%
  3  Gonzaga       56.26%  24.58%    7.06%   1.88%  0.44%   0.11%
 13  Bradley       21.07%   8.23%    3.31%   1.25%  0.34%   0.10%
 10  Alabama       37.65%   8.61%    3.81%   0.93%  0.20%   0.05%
 14  Xavier        43.74%  16.47%    3.97%   0.88%  0.17%   0.04%
  9  Bucknell      27.73%   8.15%    1.58%   0.42%  0.08%   0.02%
 12  Kent State    18.65%   2.93%    0.73%   0.17%  0.03%   0.00%
 16  Oral Roberts  13.60%   2.88%    0.32%   0.05%  0.01%   0.00%
 15  Belmont        4.61%   0.58%    0.08%   0.00%  0.00%   0.00%

The most interesting thing about these numbers to me is that we're not the most likely Final Four team in this bracket, but that we are the most likely Champion. That says a lot about the difficultly of our draw.

However, the good thing about our draw is that - to wax Physics 102 - it's big on amplitude, but not on frequency. By this I mean that our draw is steadily difficult, that it doesn't contain a single shrill note of window cracking difficulty. According to Ken, we should be favored all the way to the Final Four. And that's not such a bad thing.

Still plenty of time to throw down your picks at the Phog Blog Pickem

Reminder on how to win that bracket...

Once again, I repeat: You could go on gut instinct, and lose, or spend hours and hours poring over endless statistics.

Or if you're smart, you could spend a few bucks to have access to the same proprietary tools that Vegas uses to pick games. I know I'll be using the BracketBrains tool this year, and I recommend you do the same. Click on the banner below to check it out, but I'm pretty sure you'll be as impressed as I am, and if you end up signing up, a little bit of dough will go to keeping the Phog Blog's server's running.

RPI Watch

Ken Pomeroy's latest RPI projection has KU at 38th, which is important since we've now passed that mythical 40th parallel. We're up to 9th overall in his season-long ratings and nestled comfortably at 5th in his last 5 games rating (oddly enough, UNC is number 1 in that rating - good job Roy). By the way, KP's now predicting 13-3 in conference, with a lone loss at UT.

Dunkel has us at 4th in the country in his latest index, behind Duke, UT and UConn (before last night's game).

We're up to 19th overall and 6th in the pure points rating over at Jeff Sagarin's place (the pure points is more important to Vegas).

Dolphin hasn't updated yet, but I'll try to remember to update that later.

You might be interested to know that the composite of bracket projections has us at a #6 seed. Most of the latter day brackets have us as a #5, but some of the less frequently updated brackets have us as an #8 or #9, so we're averaged up a little. I think if we win out while losing impressively at UT, we have a very good shot at a #4. If we beat UT, I think a #2 is still *possible, but very very unlikely. A 4-6 is most likely at this point. I would almost prefer a #6 at this point to avoid a possible run-in with UConn, Duke or Villanova.


Tourney Pick'em Results are up

One game left. The game that most everyone has wanted to see since December. Will Roy emerge victorious for the first time with a team he took from his buddy Matt Dougherty or will Bruce Weber win with a team composed of 90% of Bill Self's recruits? It's an interesting, if pretty disgusting storyline for Kansas fans: our former coach against our Coach's former players.

Who who who who to root for? I honestly don't know if I'll watch.

But for those who are interested in such things, the tourney results are up. If you look close enough, you might find something...