20 March 2015

Rating Systems Challenge: Panthers, Blazers Bust Brackets

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 2015 NCAA Tournament. Check out the full series.

It wasn't long before the first round of NCAA Tournament play put the Madness in March. The Georgia State Panthers (14) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (14) upset three-seeds Baylor and Iowa State, respectively, early in the afternoon. As for the Rating Systems Challenge, however, these upsets had little effect: not one of the twenty-two systems picked either upset. Most systems did have Iowa State reaching the Sweet Sixteen, however. The only system that didn't put Iowa State in the Sweet Sixteen was the oft-chancy Nolan Power Index, which has already dug itself into its perennial hole.

As you can see in the table above, none of the systems is outperforming Pure Chalk just yet, and none has fallen significantly behind in total points or possible points remaining; the field is very much wide open. This is largely due to the poor performance of the various systems when it came to picking upsets on the first day.

Altogether, the twenty-two systems picked seven upsets for the first day of play. Only one of those upsets came to fruition: Ohio State (10) took down VCU (7). The most popular minor upset pick, Purdue (9) over Cincinnati (8), looked like a good bet until the Boilermakers faltered late in regulation, handing the game over to the Bearcats in overtime. In addition to the big wins by UAB and Georgia State, none of the systems picked the day's other big upset, UCLA (11) over SMU (6).

Today, the systems are forecasting another seven upsets. Ten systems are expecting Oklahoma State (9) to pull out the minor upset of Oregon (8), while there is some confidence in Dayton (11), Davidson (10) and St. John's (9) moving on to the second round. The Nolan Power Index goes out on a limb again today, picking Valpo (13) to overcome Maryland (4).

Stay tuned for updates as the 2015 NCAA Tournament progresses, and follow me on Twitter to see which systems picked (or missed) the big upsets in the second day of opening round play.

Programming note: I'll be on vacation this weekend and may be without internet. If you'd like to follow along between posts, check out the Rational Pastime Tournament Challenge Group.

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