22 March 2014

Rating Systems Challenge: Grin and Bear It

This post is part of a series tracking the successes and failures of various NCAA Men's Basketball ranking systems and bracket models throughout the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Click here to check out the full series.

There was quite a bit of movement in the Rating Systems Challenge after the second full slate of NCAA Tournament contests. Today's standings are just as much a result of yesterday's surprising upsets as much as the upsets that didn't happen. When all the dust settled, the Nolan Power Index slipped into a tie for second place with the revered Pomeroy system, while the Survival Model sits atop the leaderboard.

The Survival Model was smart enough to pick 11 Tennessee's upset of 6 Massachusetts, but then again so were eleven other systems. What gave them a boost over the competition was not biting on almost-as-tempting 9 Oklahoma State. Though ten systems picked the Cowboys to upset 8 Gonzaga, Oklahoma State failed to live up to their end of the bargain. And while yesterday's surprising leader, Nolan Power Index, slipped out of the top spot, that system stayed in the hunt by correctly picking an upset that no other system wanted any part of: 12 Stephen F. Austin over 5 VCU.

For the second time in two days, all eighteen non-chalk systems missed a big upset: 14 Mercer's upending of 3 Duke. The damage is minimal; Duke's exit took out a few systems' Elite Eight picks, but no system picked the Blue Devils to win their region.

As a group, the systems picked three upsets for today's slate. Both of the brackets derived from the preseason polls pick 7 Connecticut and 7 Oregon to advance past 2 Villanova and 2 Oregon, while the Nolan Power Index picks 12 Harvard to overcome 4 Michigan State on the way to the Sweet Sixteen.

What surprises will the first day of the Round of 32 spring on us, and how will they affect each system's success in the Tournament? Check back tomorrow—or follow along on Twitter—to find out.

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