Those of you who have been following our March Madness coverage over the last three years of MSF’s existence know that I have become unreasonably terrified of actually making subjective NCAA Tournament bracket predictions.
How else to explain my annual creation of a stat-based system that makes all of my bracket picks for me?
I like to think that I go with a stat-based system more because of my intellectual and statistical curiosity than any fear, but I will say that doing it this way has enabled me to enjoy the games more without the constant second-guessing I used to do when my picks would go wrong. Now I can just blame the system or the irrational and inexplicable whims of the basketball gods. It absolves me from blame (at least in my own mind). I find this to be preferable to the alternative, so I’m keeping it this way in 2012 as well.
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2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket Prediction System
The basic premise and process is the same every year:
- I choose a series of stats and compile them for every team.
- My stat choices are based on my own ever-evolving personal ideas for what numbers most closely correlate to or predict basketball success.
- As soon as the brackets are announced, I go down matchup by matchup and category by category. Whichever team wins more categories wins that matchup and moves on.
- If I have an even number of categories, I either choose a tie-breaking category or I allow myself the subjective indulgence of choosing the winner.
This year, I’ve decided that instead of using factors like senior guards and NBA prospects, I am going straight stats, homie. And since I bought a premium subscription to KenPom.com at the start of the season, I decided to get my money’s worth by basing this year’s bracket predictions on The Four Factors.
Here are the 10 stats I have chosen:
- Offensive Four Factors: eFG%; TO%; OR%; FTrate
- Defensive Four Factors: eFG%; TO%; OR%; FTrate
- Adjusted Efficiency Margin: (AdjOE – AdjDE)
- Strength of Schedule
With 10 stats, obviously several matchups could end up in a 5-5 tie. Here is how I will break ties this year:
- Adjusted Efficiency Margin will be the tie-breaking category.
- If one team’s efficiency margin is better than the other’s by 10 or more, that team wins.
- If the efficiency margin difference is less than 10, then I will break the tie and make the final choice.
A difference of 10 seemed relatively fair. For example, Kentucky has the highest efficiency margin in the nation (36.2). Teams like Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State, and even Indiana are within than difference of 10, and all, I think, could beat Kentucky. So I’d want to be able to make that choice myself without the rigidity of being forced into picking Kentucky. Teams like Duke, Marquette, Baylor, and Michigan all have efficiency margins more than 10 points less than Kentucky’s, and I wouldn’t quibble at all with moving Kentucky on in matchups with those teams.
Make sense? Good.
As soon as I’m done filling in the brackets, pairings, and TV schedule tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be getting right to work on getting these bracket predictions done. So stay tuned.
I think this is most statistically sound of all my bracket prediction systems. We’ll see if it translates into my best bracket picks ever.
Any thoughts on the system? Feel free to provide them below.