23 March 2014

Rating Systems Challenge: Pomeroy Bracket Flying High

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.

It was a day of dizzying highs and heartbreaking lows in the Round of 32, one that sent 11 Dayton and 7 Connecticut on to the Sweet Sixteen and Pomeroy to the top of the Rating Systems Challenge leaderboard. Losses by 3 Syracuse and (to a lesser extent) 3 Duke yielded serious bracket implications for the nineteen systems in the later rounds. The potential for more bracket-busting today is high, as the systems predict five individual upsets in total.

Pomeroy's chalkiness in the Round of 64 served it well in the first day of the Round of 32. That system's picking 4 San Diego State to reach the Sweet Sixteen helped it supplant the Survival bracket (which picked 5 Oklahoma) atop the leaderboard. The preseason poll brackets stayed in the hunt by predicting Connecticut's upset of Villanova, but they—along with most of the systems now—are failing to outperform Pure Chalk. Many of those brackets are positioned well for the late rounds, however, and this contest is far from over.

The systems expect more upsets today than yesterday, with the most striking being Nolan Power Index's infatuation with 12 Stephen F. Austin. The preseason polls all preferred 6 Baylor, 6 UNC, 8 Kentucky and 8 Memphis to their opponents. Sonny Moore joins them in picking UNC, while Sports Reference is all in on Kentucky.

Some of these upsets would have major Final Four implications for the systems under review. A win by Kentucky would knock off 1 Wichita State, eliminating six Final Four picks and one prospective National Championship. A win by Memphis would knock off 1 Virginia, which ten brackets have in the Final Four. An improbable win by Stephen F. Austin would knock off top-seeded Florida and the National Championship picks of six different systems.

How will today's games affect the rating systems' chances going forward? Check back on Wednesday—or follow along on Twitter—to find out.

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