25 March 2013

Rating Systems Challenge: Eagles Soar, Explorers Explore, Brackets Sore

This post is one in a series investigating how the various college basketball rating systems predict the men's NCAA Tournament. Click here to read the rest.

While last night was one of the more exciting nights in recent history for the NCAA Tournament, it was not a particularly interesting night for the Rating Systems Challenge. Our leaderboard remains essentially unchanged.

How could it be otherwise? None of the systems expected a 13 LaSalle / 12 Ole Miss match-up in the Round of 32, let alone that the Explorers would advance. And they're joining Florida Gulf Coast as the first 15-seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen?! Please. If anyone picked this--human or computer--you're not smart, just lucky (or a loyal alum).

Today's leader is the same as yesterday's leader (Sports Reference efficiency rating) and today's laggard is the same as yesterday's laggard (Nolan Power Index). With all the surprises, the disparity between best and worst is only five picks out of forty-eight. Read more about those surprises after the jump.

Heading into the Round of 32, there were nineteen teams with a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen despite not being the top seed in their Super Region. Of these, only five advanced--three of which were facing a 7-seed or lower. Two of these schools were playing lower seeds than themselves.

Out of this field of potential Cinderellas, there was only one school that the systems initially and successfully picked to reach the Sweet Sixteen: 6 Arizona, who took care of 14 Harvard on Saturday. Two systems (the preseason polls) had San Diego State in the field of sixteen. And they would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for a squad of high-flying underdogs and their chicken dance.

How do the remaining systems stand to fare for the rest of the Tournament? What surprises do they expect in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight? Tune in Wednesday to find out.

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