CoroNCAAvirus Tournament: How 2020 Could Have Danced

General, Scouting

While coronavirus is taking over everything, including the (lack of) NCAA tournament, we’re not going to let it rob us of selection Sunday. First, a couple of notes:

  1. Virginia Tech’s tournament streak is still alive!
  2. Duke was the first team eliminated from the tournament

If you have been following us all year, we have been ranking the teams using the EVTB prediction model, with the goal of predicting the field. Last year we had great success. This year, we have nothing to compare to, but let’s play make believe to escape from quarantine cabin fever. Let’s go live to my living room to see the bracket!

 

Seed East South Midwest West
1 Dayton Baylor Kansas Gonzaga
2 Florida State Duke Oregon San Diego State
3 Maryland Louisville Creighton Michigan State
4 West Virginia Kentucky Wisconsin Ohio State
5 Villanova Auburn Utah State BYU
6 Rutgers Houston Seton Hall Arizona
7 Iowa Illinois Butler Penn State
8 Colorado East Tenn State Michigan LSU
9 Northern Iowa Texas Tech Wichita State UVA
10 Cincinnati USC Indiana Marquette
11 Miss St/Richmond Oklahoma St. Mary’s Florida
12 Yale/Arkansas Purdue Liberty Providence
13 Stephen F. Austin Akron Memphis New Mexico State
14 Vermont Belmont North Texas North Dakota State
15 Winthrop Hofstra UC Irvine Bradley
16 Robert Morris/NC Central Northern Kentucky Siena Prairie View/Boston University

The 1 Seeds: Clear, Noncontroversial and Two Mid-Majors

The 1 seeds this year are pretty clear, with just about every prediction agreeing on the four. Without the upsets of conference tournaments, there wasn’t an opportunity for this group to be broken up. It’s hard not to think that Dayton doesn’t feel a little robbed this year after getting a 1 seed.

The East: A Top Heavy Bracket with Upset Opportunities

With Dayton, best #2 seed Florida St and a deep #1-6 this is a top heavy bracket. However The likes of Cincinnati, Stephen F. Austin and Yale pose some serious upset threats! I’ll throw the ACC some love and proclaim Florida St. as the winner of this bracket, after Dayton tumbles against Villanova in the Sweet 16.

The South: Big Names and Some Rivalries

The south bracket looks pretty deep as well and presents some fan-favorite match-ups. Right away, the prospect of Kentucky v. Louisville will get any college fan excited. Big name at-large teams like USC, Texas Tech, Purdue and Oklahoma could mean some primetime match-ups at each round. Powerhouse programs of Baylor and Duke will face a hefty task to exit to the Final Four in this bracket. Riding a hot streak, we are moving Kentucky through from this bracket.

The Midwest: Easy Street for the Jayhawks

The weakest bracket of the bunch, the Midwest is lacking a big challenge for Kansas. The #2 seed Oregon is the weakest of the group, however the #3 seed Creighton could step up to the plate. This bracket has 12-5 upset written all over it, as Liberty advances for a second year in a row. Kansas dominates its way through this bracket, like it did most of the season, and awaits its first real challenge in the Final Four.

The West: Mid-Majors Take Over

The top 2 seeds are both mid-major powerhouses, joining the slew of smaller schools finding basketball success this year. Reigning (for another year now) champ UVA seems under seeded given its recent success, and ultimately knocks off #1 Gonzaga in round 2. However, the dream of a repeat flames out after falling to San Diego St. in the region final. It’s worth noting that Michigan St. continues its up-and-down season, with a big let down against a strong New Mexico St. squad. The last team to join our Final Four is San Diego St.

Who Wins 2020?

With a Final Four of #4 Kentucky, #2 Florida St., #1 Kansas and #2 San Diego State, winning it all will be a real challenge. Ultimately, Kansas wins the 2020 national championship (and has it vacated for NCAA violations 3 years from now). This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone following along all year, as Kansas sat on the top of the rankings since January.

Controversial Seeds and Snubs

If you compare to other brackets out there, there are some surprises here. First, let’s start with the snubs. In our ranking the teams just missing out are Stanford, Furman, Arizona St., and Minnesota. North Carolina St. was deserving of some love, but missing out on the chance to rack up another win or 2 in the ACC tournament cost the Wolfpack a spot. The teams we included that Bracketology didn’t are Northern Iowa (our model liked this team all year), Wichita St., Mississippi St., Purdue, Arkansas (fun fact, this team was #1 in our first 2 weeks of the season), and Memphis. Outside of Northern Iowa and Arkansas, the rest were all strong bubble candidates. It would have been fun to see which prediction was closer.

Once we finish debating who is in and out, seeding becomes the next debate. Right away, Oregon sticks out, as almost nowhere else has the Ducks on the 2 line. After that Utah St. has a strong showing in our bracket, but is much lower in other brackets. On the other hand, we have Providence much lower than others.

Week 10: Last Week of Regular Season Bringing Seeding Drama

General, Scouting

Do you smell that? It’s not what The Rock is cookin’; it’s MARCH! We are in the last week of the regular season, with most teams having 1 game left. Next week starts conference tournaments, giving hope to Cinderellas for one last shot at dancing. This week’s top 25 will focus on the teams that are squarely into the dance. Next week, expect a conference tournament preview and a discussion of the bubble.

Rank School EVTB Score Eff Rank SOS Rank MOV Rank Luck Rank
1 Kansas 26.469 1 2 6 179
2 Gonzaga 24.994 2 111 1 168
3 Baylor 23.495 5 35 14 149
4 Dayton 23.227 8 93 3 131
5 San Diego State 23.075 9 102 2 106
6 Duke 22.751 3 46 5 298
7 Florida State 21.258 16 50 33 154
8 Oregon 20.983 12 31 34 232
9 Michigan State 20.913 4 8 20 336
10 Louisville 20.871 11 55 23 254
11 Maryland 20.188 14 13 58 175
12 Ohio State 20.137 7 18 30 330
13 Brigham Young 20.073 17 71 17 287
14 Creighton 20.056 21 26 40 194
15 Arizona 19.210 6 42 13 346
16 Villanova 19.086 18 17 61 159
17 Kentucky 19.025 27 61 37 176
18 West Virginia 18.901 13 11 48 323
19 Auburn 18.652 35 57 57 102
20 Houston 18.506 23 74 27 315
21 Utah State 18.280 38 97 8 327
22 Seton Hall 18.261 15 19 49 239
23 Wisconsin 18.248 26 4 96 228
24 Penn State 18.086 19 25 53 271
25 Northern Iowa 17.990 60 122 18 214

Kansas’ stranglehold on the #1 spot continues, and the Jayhawks are going to be a number 1 seed, even with an early conference tournament loss. After that, the other #1 seeds get muddier. The field of potential 1s is not large though, consisting of Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor, Dayton, San Diego St and Florida St and Louisville. The shocking part of this list is the strong showing of 3 mid-major programs. If all three skate through conference tournaments, don’t rule out 3 mid-major #1 seeds. On the other side, a bad loss in conference play will derail and chance at a #1 or even #2 seed. As major programs go, a conference championship will slot any of these teams into a #1 seed. Notice how tight #8-20 are, meaning teams could easily jump around the 2 to 5 lines based on conference play.Please note, that these rankings will jump around a little as we give Power 5 a bump and conference champions a bump in seeding. That has not been done at all this season yet. 

Hokies Continue to Learn in 2020 for a Bright 2021

Hokies closed out their home slate with an impressive win against the Clemson Tigers. In addition to celebrating Senior (singular) night, the Hokies locked the already closed door on the Tigers tournament chances. The Hokies ranking status improved slightly to #110 in the EVTB rankings, #82 in NET and #97 in Kenpom. If you have been under a rock, we are not a bubble team for once, but you never know what conference play can bring. Hokie Nation will be hoping for a miracle tournament run, or start looking forward to next season.

What Is The State of Postseason ACC?

Let’s start at the top, the ACC still has a shot at a #1 seed in Florida St and Louisville. I do think that it would require winning the conference tournament for that to happen. Despite their ranking, I am going to rule Duke out #1 contention after their last few games. Moving to the next level, UVA is in, probably in the 7-9 range. They have had an impressive finish to the season. I am capable of giving props when props are due, although they are a snoozefest to watch. Next, comes the bubble. The bubble consists of 3 teams; NC State, Syracuse and ND, with NC State being the most likely 5th team. Aside from winning their last regular season game (sorry ND), these teams will need to rack up at least 2 wins in the ACC tournament to have a decent shot. Don’t forget about a possible miracle run, because mathematically, every team is still alive in the tournament hunt.

ACC Rank Team EVTB EVTB Δ AP NET Kenpom Bracketology
1 Duke 6 -1 12 6 6 3
2 Florida State 7 1 7 11 17 2
3 Louisville 10 0 10 8 9 2
4 Virginia 39 5 22 48 45 7
5 NC State 66 0 59 55 Last 4 Out
6 Notre Dame 73 -14 58 61
7 Syracuse 86 -7 66 54
8 Georgia Tech 95 12 74 68
9 Clemson 98 -3 81 69
10 Virginia Tech 110 5 82 97
11 Wake Forest 126 2 102 94
12 Miami (FL) 128 -9 105 105
13 North Carolina 130 21 84 84
14 Pittsburgh 144 -4 110 113
15 Boston College 216 -9 151 177

 

Team Eff Rank SOS Rank MOV Rank Luck Rank
Duke 3 46 5 298
Florida State 16 50 33 154
Louisville 11 55 23 254
Virginia 48 58 100 124
NC State 57 60 120 231
Notre Dame 63 78 97 285
Syracuse 49 59 105 301
Georgia Tech 64 30 168 215
Clemson 64 47 156 273
Virginia Tech 74 77 139 290
Wake Forest 87 40 236 142
Miami (FL) 102 38 266 39
North Carolina 71 20 224 202
Pittsburgh 97 64 231 105
Boston College 134 54 302 4

EVTB Rankings Week 1: Rebuilding Hokies Start the Year on Bubble, ACC Struggles

Scouting

By: Eric Eichelberger

Welcome to the first week of our EVTB rankings. Hopefully you checked out the introduction article last week. If you didn’t, read it, we want to remind everyone that the point of this model is to learn about teams as we progress towards projecting the NCAA tournament field. The model can bounce around more than episode of Baywatch early in the season, so we will try to explain what’s going on each week. Let’s jump right into this weeks top 25.

Introducing the EVTB Predictor: A Stat-Driven Ranking Model Trying to Make Sense of the Madness

Scouting

By: Eric Eichelberger

Why bother making a computer ranking system? Aren’t there tons out there?

Rankings have always fascinated me. I used to check up on my favorite football and basketball teams weekly to see how the polls shifted and, normally, how my team got shafted. The BCS brought light to the era of computer ranking systems, and I have been following them for years, trying to understand what makes for a solid ranking. Last year, I undertook a project of making my own stat-based NCAA basketball ranking system. Honestly, the Hokies played a large part, because of all the preseason hype and regular season success they enjoyed, which motivated me to track their progress. I tweaked the ranking system throughout the beginning of the season, with the goal of figuring out a formula that would accurately predict the NCAA field of 68. For this season, the model will be doing the same, and from here forward will be named the EVTB Predictor.

Scouting the Opponent: The Clemson Tigers

Scouting

Written by: Rodrigo Aviles

   The Clemson Tigers enter the 2019-20 season in a rebuilding phase where they have recruited the talent to build a strong team moving forward. Head Coach Brad Brownell has shown that he has the potential to coach with the best of them. Brownell lead the Tigers to their best season in recent memory in 2018 when Clemson finished the year 25-10 and made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 before getting eliminated by Kansas. That season also saw the Tigers get their most ACC wins in history during a regular season with 11. Since then, Brownell has taken some criticism. His team was unable to reach the NCAA Tournament last year and lost to Wichita St. in the 2nd round of the NIT. If this season goes poorly, he could firmly be on the hot seat.