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Sunday, April 06, 2014

FiveThirtyEight: The Historic Rarity of a Double Bracket-Buster NCAA Championship Game

“Connecticut and Kentucky entered the NCAA tournament as No. 7 and No. 8 seeds. Participants in the ESPN Tournament Challenge weren’t wild about the Wildcats or the Huskies. Just 2.1 percent of them picked Kentucky to make it to the finals and just 0.4 percent had Connecticut. Tomorrow, these two teams will compete for the national championship. Just how unlikely is this bracket-busting matchup?

The question is a little trickier to answer than you might think….”

Fargo Posted: April 06, 2014 at 12:43 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball

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   1. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4680324)
Shouldn't this pimping of 538 go on BasketballThinkFactory instead?
   2. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4680329)
yeah.....& the OT: NBA thread's near-complete neglect for the tournament also testifies to our collective lack of giving a #### about March Madness™ right now. delete the thread, Jim!
   3. Fargo Posted: April 06, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4680332)
Nate Silver was one of the original Primates here. Probably while some of you were still in diapers.
   4. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4680368)
So? Is this the part where you tell us young whippersnappers to get off your lawn???

I just have a problem with the ever-increasing number of threads that either have or should have "OT" tacked on the front of them. Jim really needs to set up yet another category next to Newsstand for all the many, many, many, many, many off-topic discussions and leave the baseball Newsstand for...baseball. This is incredibly simple to figure out.
   5. Orangepeel Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4680374)
I don't really think there are that many threads that aren't about baseball, but complaining about one link on a site where twenty get posted a day, especially where the article in question is 1) about statistical analysis, and 2) by Nate Silver who has a significant baseball background seems a lot more "get off my lawn" than #3.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4680418)
The two teams were stronger than their seed lines might suggest, however. Before the tournament began, the FiveThirtyEight forecast model had Kentucky ranked as the 11th-strongest team nationally — equivalent to a No. 3 seed. It had Connecticut as the 22nd-best team, which would have slotted the Huskies as a No. 6 rather than a No. 7 seed.


After watching Kentucky and Connecticut at work for the past three weeks, I have a hard time thinking that these teams don't fully belong in the championship game. The real miracle was that a team like Wisconsin, with no real inside strength, was able to get as far as they did.
   7. VoodooR Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4680435)
Aaron Harrison is a baaaaaaad ############.
   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4680451)
In terms of non-baseball threads, it strikes me as infrequent enough that it is not a distraction. If I don't like a certain thread, I just ignore it.

In terms of the NCAA final:

1) These were two teams playing very well going into the tournament. Kentucky got to the SEC final, and lost to Florida by a point. Although they enter the tourney with 10 losses, those losses were pretty darned impressive, if that is possible. They lost two games by more than five points this year (both vs Florida, no less), and virtually all of their losses were to very good teams: by 4 pts to Michigan State, ranked #2 at the time; by 5 to Baylor, ranked #20 at the time; by 5 at UNC, ranked #18 at the time; you get the idea. I didn't have them getting to the Finals, but I had them going to the Elite 8 and losing to Michigan, because Wichita State was severely overrated, and because Kentucky was severely underseeded entering the tourney.

2) UConn was another team probably underseeded a bit. They went 0-3 against Louisville, but played a lot of good teams all year, including wins against Florida, Cincy, Memphis, Harvard, etc. They ended the season well, too. Getting a very questionable #2 seed in Villanova in the round of 32 was helpful, as well. Louisville was a #4, but 'Nova was a #2? The committee got some heat for the seedings, and they deserved it. These are two teams that were hot, underseeded, and got the benefit of overseeded opponents.
   9. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4680453)
Wow, Kentucky and Connecticut in the Finals! How utterly out of the ordinary!
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4680462)
Wow, Kentucky and Connecticut in the Finals! How utterly out of the ordinary!


My reaction entirely. Normally, if two teams seeded that low made the final, I'd think it was great. But that would be more in the realm of Gonzaga and Dayton, to pick two names out of a hat. Two lower seeds who had never been this far before playing each other for a championship would be really great. But Kentucky and Connecticut? Doesn't matter what they're seeded in this particular year, those are two powerhouse programs, and I can't get behind and thought of either as underdogs.
   11. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4680475)
Those scrappy Kentucky and Connecticut teams -- this is almost as inspiring as that unimaginable Red Sox World Series appearance last year.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4680482)
"Wichita State was severely overrated,"

which explains Kentucky's blowout win over them
#notablowout
   13. Publius Publicola Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4680492)
I think the most interesting drama in the title game is how the two backcourts match up against one another. UConn has two small, scrappy ballhandling wizard types who can stop in a dime. Kentucky has big, long, super-athletic types.
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4680495)
Fargo

I have been here a decade or thereabouts. Don't recall Silver posting here either as himself or under another monicker

I would appreciate being proven wrong

Otherwise, terrible argument
   15. GregD Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4680497)
"Wichita State was severely overrated,"
I see other teams largely through UK's games, but from that limited perspective Wichita was the second-best team I saw this year, to Florida. That team had some serious offensive firepower.
   16. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 06, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4680499)
I just have a problem with the ever-increasing number of threads that either have or should have "OT" tacked on the front of them.

The best thing you can do is ignore these threads. The worst thing you can do is join such a thread and post about it.

   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:06 PM (#4680526)
Aaron Harrison is a baaaaaaad ############.

He's the Dave Henderson of March Madness.

-----------------------------------------------------

1) These were two teams playing very well going into the tournament. Kentucky got to the SEC final, and lost to Florida by a point. Although they enter the tourney with 10 losses, those losses were pretty darned impressive, if that is possible. They lost two games by more than five points this year (both vs Florida, no less), and virtually all of their losses were to very good teams: by 4 pts to Michigan State, ranked #2 at the time; by 5 to Baylor, ranked #20 at the time; by 5 at UNC, ranked #18 at the time; you get the idea. I didn't have them getting to the Finals, but I had them going to the Elite 8 and losing to Michigan, because Wichita State was severely overrated, and because Kentucky was severely underseeded entering the tourney.

I totally disagree that Wichita State was overrated---untested is a bit more to the point---but I agree about Kentucky. Why would it be that surprising that a team starting five supremely talented freshmen would tend to keep improving as the year progresses?
   18. frannyzoo Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4680527)
People who have a problem with OT threads should set up an OT thread for people who have a problem with OT threads. Another OT thread could be set up for those who like OT threads, but don't like people who don't like OT threads. Then there could be a meta OT thread discussing the merits/shortcomings of those commenting on both the OT: I HATE OT and OT: I HATE THOSE WHO HATE OT threads.

Or we could just have more Burst.net...problem solved.

   19. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4680541)
I see several people pushing back on my assertion about Wichita State being quite overrated. I had been saying this all season to my fellow college basketball-loving peers, and they had pushed back, as well. Among other things, they said, how can a team that is undefeated in 2013-2014, and was in the Final Four last season, be overrated? Well...

1) I believe they were overrated, but I am not saying that they weren't a very good team. Do I think that if they played the same schedule as, say, the top teams in the Big Ten or ACC, that they would be anything close to undefeated? No way. But that doesn't mean that they wouldn't be a nationally-ranked team this season. So the delta between mt assertion and others' pushback may not be quite as wide as it first appears. They were a very good team - but there is ZERO way they are one of the four best teams in the country this year.

2) I know it is almost a cliche at this point, but look at the schedule they played. Prior to the tourney, the last time they had played a team that also made this year's tourney was...December 22nd...and that was against North Carolina Central (RPI: 102), that only made the NCAAs as the automatic bid out of the friggin' MEAC. Most of the season, people were pointing to their 5-point win at St. Louis as their signature win, evidence of their quality. They also played four other games against teams that made the tourney: BYU, Tennessee, Tulsa, and the St. Louis win. I am decidedly NOT a Duke fan, but Duke was a #3 seed. Ask yourself: If they played on a neutral court 10 times, who would be more likely to win the majority of those games? How about Michigan State? Louisville? UConn? These teams were all seeded lower than Wichita State, but if you think any of these teams wouldn't have a shot at running the table in the MVC this year, then we'd just agree to disagree. I think there are 15-20 teams in America that would have had a legitimate chance to go 16-0 in the MVC. Wichita State was (clearly) one of those teams.

3) Nobody is suggesting that Kentucky "blew out" Wichita State. It was a great game, could have gone either way...but that is the point! There is such parity in men's college basketball that to think Wichita State's undefeated season entering the tournament was not largely a function of the schedule they played - plus being a nationally-ranked-caliber team this season is simply ignoring the state of the game right now. I am a big Syracuse fan, a double-alum, watch all the games, went to the Dome this year, blah, blah, blah. When they were ranked #1 and undefeated, did I think they really were obviously the best team in America. No way - to even win 20 in a row, it takes a lot of luck, winning a lot of close games, and being a very good team. I think too many people looked at the shiny W-L record and said, "They must be an elite team". When you play in a power conference, even when you win big games against excellent schools, the ability to survive, say, a three game road trip at Duke, Maryland, and Virginia in a week, it makes it tougher to beat easier opponents when you return home, because you just got the #### knocked out of you for a week. Wichita State never had to deal with a something like that.




   20. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4680553)
there is ZERO way they are one of the four best teams in the country this year.


Ken Pomroy had them at 5th coming into the tournament. Pardon me if I take his analysis more seriously than yours.
   21. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4680563)
Shouldn't this pimping of 538 go on BasketballThinkFactory instead?


AFAICT, the closest thing to a Basketball Think Factory was a site called Courtside Times that included bloggers such as Knickerblogger. I think it lasted from '05 to '07.
   22. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 06, 2014 at 07:19 PM (#4680571)
I see several people pushing back on my assertion about Wichita State being quite overrated. I had been saying this all season to my fellow college basketball-loving peers, and they had pushed back, as well.


There's a pretty simple explanation for that. (-:

They were definitely in the conversation for top four in the country this year. The most talented team in the country had to play its best game of the season 'til that point (and possibly its best game of the tournament) to beat them in a game it trailed most of the way.

Sure, they don't go undefeated in the Big 10 or Big 12. But they could have won either league.

They, more than anyone else, got screwed by the committee.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: April 06, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4680609)
I don't know how anyone could have watched that Kentucky-Wichita St game - to me, easily the game of the tournament played at the highest level of any of them - and thought Wichita St was not for real. They were as good as Kentucky, which was as good as Louisville, which was as good as anybody.

The one thing you are right about is that Wichita St would have had a couple of losses playing in a top-flight league - just like every other team had.

The NCAA rigged the draw to get a marquee Kentucky-Wichita St game, knowing that a 3rd-round game of Kentucky-Louisville would be a big hit and that undefeated Wich St vs Louisville would be as well.

The seeding is getting sillier and sillier. If Dayton had won another game or two, they could have been eliminated by Florida in the second round instead of the Elite 8. Does that make sense?

(and no, I'm not counting the play-in round as a "round" with 60 byes and only 8 teams playing. lol)

Given your Syracuse note, i wonder if you're realizing at 20-0 or so that Syracuse was not REALLY all that and a bag of chips soured you on the other unbeaten team, too.
   24. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 06, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4680613)
The seeding is getting sillier and sillier. If Dayton had won another game or two, they could have been eliminated by Florida in the second round instead of the Elite 8. Does that make sense?


As long as you're not reseeding after every round, which would be pretty unworkable before Rounds 2 and 4, and would seriously dampen the popularity of the event if you did it after Rounds 2 and 4, then it makes perfect sense.

WSU got screwed because Kentucky was a ridiculously talented 8 (that had just reached the SEC final where it lost by 1 to No. 1 overall), Louisville was underseeded at 4 and Michigan was among the more dangerous 2s (with Wisconsin).

   25. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 06, 2014 at 08:52 PM (#4680623)
All of a sudden it seems ludicrous that they do the seeding based on the team's record, who beat who, etc. For a lot of these teams it's like the NBA, they know they'll be in the tournament whether they lose 3 games or 8 games. And a lot of the teams are at totally different skill levels in March compared to November.
   26. Pirate Joe Posted: April 06, 2014 at 08:58 PM (#4680628)
Duke was a #3 seed. Ask yourself: If they played on a neutral court 10 times, who would be more likely to win the majority of those games? How about Michigan State? Louisville? UConn?


Of the half dozen or so sets of advanced metrics for college basketball that I pay attention to Wichita is in the top five of all of them except Sagarin. If they were playing on a neutral court at the end of the regular season Wichita would have clearly been favored over Duke and UConn and clearly an underdog to Louisville. For Michigan State, they were 5-7 over their last 12 heading into the Big Ten tournament and still had health issues, so I would think that Wichita would have been favored over them too. Now if they were playing now when Michigan State is pretty healthy and playing better, Michigan State might be favored, but either way it would be very close.

   27. GregD Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:00 PM (#4680629)
I think the one legit gripe Wichita State has is that the committee should have considered the SEC tourney. Going into it, UK as an 8 was tough but fair. Coming out of it, UK should have been a 6 or something even with the close loss.

I understand why the committee doesn't discount potential #1 seeds for losing the conference tourney, but I think they've gone too far in not counting good performances for middling teams. UK didn't earn a 3 or 4 seed, but no one thought they were actually an 8 side after that Florida game.

Wichita deserved an easier second-round game. They still would have had to get through Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen...
   28. Howie Menckel Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4680644)

UMass, which finished 6th in the Atlantic 10, got a 6 seed in the NCAAs and didn't win a game.

The dishonesty of the seedings is becoming more and more of an issue.
   29. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4680646)
Given your Syracuse note, i wonder if you're realizing at 20-0 or so that Syracuse was not REALLY all that and a bag of chips soured you on the other unbeaten team, too.


With Syracuse, even though they were winning all their games, there were too many games where you knew they were not the best team in the country. They were struggling for much of their game at Boston College before pulling it out. They won at Pitt on a miracle 40-footer at the buzzer. They struggled to beat Miami at home, 49-44. The home game against Duke was one of the most entertaining games in the country the whole year...but they easily could have lost that one, too. They beat friggin' St. Francis (NY) by six. They beat NC State at home by a point...you get the idea. A little less luck, and they are 21-4 instead of 25-0. Eventually, the breaks evened out. (I had them losing in the Round of 32, anyway.)

With Wichita State, very different situation. They didn't go through the rigors of a tough schedule to be ready for what you experience in the tourney. Even in the 2012-2013 season, when they reached the Final Four, they had to deal with legitimate teams during the conference season (indeed they only went 12-6 during the conference schedule, and had to deal with a very good Creighton team, among others). With Syracuse (and many other major conference teams), you can go beyond the W/L record to evaluate the quality of the team in a knock-out environment. With the Shockers, you could tell they were a good team, but what would they look like when they had to play back-to-backs against high-quality teams? What about in a nail-biter down the stretch? The media were trying to make their games against Indiana State sound like legit tests, but unless Larry Bird was coming back to campus to lace 'em up that day, that doesn't pass the straight-face test.
   30. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:00 PM (#4680650)
doesn't the committee still purport to seed based on achievement thus far? so that seeding is a reward, rather than being predicative?

or maybe I'm wrong.....since I remember various mini-controversies over how the late-season loss of a key player should affect a seed....
   31. Pirate Joe Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:01 PM (#4680651)
I would say that a big problem with the seeding is that too many teams have figured out how to "game" the RPI and that the committee uses the RPI way to much (I would argue using the RPI at all is a mistake, but that's a rant for another time). This year the teams in the A10 figured out how to schedule to get RPI's that were better than they "should have" been. And then that starts compounding on itself, because the committee also looks at things like record against RPI top 50 teams and if a team has an unrealistically high RPI then if you beat them that makes you look even better.

Two years ago some of the Mountain West teams realized that if you had a choice between playing a crappy D1 team or any D2 team, decent or crappy, it was better to play the D2 team. D2 games don't count in your RPI. Wins over bad D1 teams count, and they hurt your RPI. A system that says that merely playing a game, no matter how well you play or how many points you win by, means that you are a lesser team is absurd.

This was the worst seeding year in a long time. Maybe ever.

   32. Howie Menckel Posted: April 06, 2014 at 10:49 PM (#4680666)

"With Wichita State, very different situation. They didn't go through the rigors of a tough schedule to be ready for what you experience in the tourney."

I would not dismiss the value of last year's Final Four run for the returning players, though.
   33. Shredder Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:28 PM (#4680682)
I have been here a decade or thereabouts. Don't recall Silver posting here either as himself or under another monicker

I would appreciate being proven wrong
I'm not exactly sure how any can prove that you actually remember something you say you don't remember. But Nate used to post here. I'd venture to guess the majority of his posts (under his own name) came prior to selling PECOTA to BP. You may not remember it, or maybe it was before you were here, but I first met Nate in probably 2002/2003 at a BP Pizza Feed before he was working for BP. I knew who he was at that time because he posted on Primer.
   34. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:39 PM (#4680686)
But Nate used to post here. I'd venture to guess the majority of his posts (under his own name) came prior to selling PECOTA to BP.


He has one post post-registration.

   35. The District Attorney Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4680693)
I don't see how it's relevant either way. Yes, Nate is a product of the sabermetric community; yes, Nate does statistical analysis. If those are sufficient criteria, then everything from 538 can be posted here, right?

I mean, at least basketball is a sport, rather than an artistic, political or medical issue. (Although, I would point out, a subject for which we already have a thread.) And I really don't want to get into a dumb meta-argument anyway; it's pointless. But, yeah.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4680697)
Finally got around to seeing Glory Road for the first time, the story of the 1966 Texas Western championship team. I remember that final game as if it was yesterday, but when I think of Kentucky basketball today I still find it hard to believe that less than 50 years ago the SEC was still an all-white conference.
   37. theboyqueen Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4680702)
Re Witchita St.:

They were a very good team - but there is ZERO way they are one of the four best teams in the country this year.


Nobody is suggesting that Kentucky "blew out" Wichita State. It was a great game, could have gone either way...but that is the point! There is such parity in men's college basketball...


These two statements from the same post are completely contradictory. Given the parity of which you speak, it is easily possible Wichita St. is the BEST team in the country this year.
   38. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 07, 2014 at 05:23 AM (#4680737)
After watching Kentucky and Connecticut at work for the past three weeks, I have a hard time thinking that these teams don't fully belong in the championship game. The real miracle was that a team like Wisconsin, with no real inside strength, was able to get as far as they did.

The real miracle is Kentucky getting to this point. They should have lost pretty much every game.

I know it is almost a cliche at this point, but look at the schedule they played.

They passed the eyeball test. The real crime was the coach drawing up that last play and not getting the ball Cleanthony Early. He was f'ing unstoppable.

The dishonesty of the seedings is becoming more and more of an issue.

Not really. The idea is to get roughly the right teams into the brackets and come up with some interesting matchups. The seeds are just there to get the ball rolling.

   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:40 AM (#4680752)
After watching Kentucky and Connecticut at work for the past three weeks, I have a hard time thinking that these teams don't fully belong in the championship game. The real miracle was that a team like Wisconsin, with no real inside strength, was able to get as far as they did.

The real miracle is Kentucky getting to this point. They should have lost pretty much every game.


Well, every team except Florida that reached the Final Four could have lost at least once along the way. But with the game on the line, Kentucky has always risen to the occasion. Of course this year you've got a case where half a dozen teams would make perfectly legitimate champions.
   40. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 07, 2014 at 08:04 AM (#4680759)
Re Wichita St.:

They were a very good team - but there is ZERO way they are one of the four best teams in the country this year.


Nobody is suggesting that Kentucky "blew out" Wichita State. It was a great game, could have gone either way...but that is the point! There is such parity in men's college basketball...


These two statements from the same post are completely contradictory. Given the parity of which you speak, it is easily possible Wichita St. is the BEST team in the country this year.


I don't think so - unlike the women's college game right now, where a small number of teams stand head-and-shoulders above the rest of the country (UConn over the last 20 years, Tennessee during the Summitt Era, a few other examples), the men's game has enough teams that could win a single game against another team in the top 40 that it makes the NCAA tourney pretty wild. Wichita State was in the Final Four last year, and they clearly earned by winning their first four tourney games...but over the body of work of the season, they clearly were not one of the four best teams in America. This is why they were not a #1 seed entering the tourney (or anything close to that). They were clearly playing like one of the best teams in America at the right time - the tournament - and they doubtless got lucky, like all teams in a long, single-elimination format must.

So, do I think that Wichita State was one of the four best teams over the course of the season, entering the tournament? No, I don't (as noted above, some really smart people who cover the sport do...just giving my thoughtful opinion), and thus, I do not think they should have been a #1 seed. But they were good enough to belong in the mix of teams that were capable of going deep in the tourney. That is where the parity comes in.

As it relates to the weakness of their schedule, I believe one of the drawbacks of not playing a team better than Indiana State since early December is that you are generally less prepared for the rigors of the NCAA tourney than a "power conference" team that may play several nationally-ranked opponents in a short amount of time.
   41. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:00 AM (#4680776)
To be fair on the strength of schedule issue, Wichita State has had difficulty in getting better teams to schedule them on fair terms, since they're a dangerous opponent without much name value. They've been trying to set up a home-and-home with Kansas for years, for example.
   42. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4680782)
shredder

I think when a poster writes a putdown as in post 3 the assertion should have some means of validating if challenged.

otherwise, it's just being rude for rudeness' sake
   43. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4680784)
Single elimination tourneys are great and as mentioned above, the parity in the men's game allows for "upsets." With the parity, you're always going to have draws that are tougher than others. Schools are going to play against teams with varying differing styles. For instance, just in the midwest regional, prior to going into the tourney not many thought Duke was overseeded and Tennessee was underseeded. Yet Duke goes out in the first round and Tennessee barely loses to Michigan (Kenpom was high on both Duke and Tennessee). Also, if Louisville is a three and Kentucky is a six (or Louisville is a two and Kentucky is a seven), maybe they play in the second round instead of the third then Wichita State.

Kentucky shot 7-for-11 on threes against Michigan. That's how they beat Michigan. Sure they destroyed Michigan on the boards - but Michigan had more second chance points than Kentucky that game. Then one game later, Kentucky makes two threes - their first and last made shots of the game. Talent wins games, but Kentucky has also gotten lucky - which is what you need in the tournament.
   44. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4680788)
Pirate Joe has it correct that RPI is the problem. UMass was #21 in RPI, compared to 49 in Sagarin and 54 in KenPom.
   45. BDC Posted: April 07, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4680798)
I remember thinking before this year's tournament that seeding controversies are much of a muchness: as #43 implies, you still gotta win every game, and you've got to beat both low and high seeds to get to the final. I follow Michigan State to the exclusion of anybody else, and I was thinking in March that there wasn't a heck of a difference between a #1 and a #4 seed; as it turned out #4 State had an "easier" first weekend than #1 Virginia, because of the Harvard upset (though not that #### easy, as it turned out!) and then had to beat UVa anyway … and then lost to the #7, who are going into the final tonight (U-Conn). Stir up the initial seeding in some other mix and you just get a different sequence of interesting results; I don't think it matters much where you start from, within a broad range of reason.
   46. GregD Posted: April 07, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4680821)
Talent wins games, but Kentucky has also gotten lucky - which is what you need in the tournament.
Yeah I don't think the run "proves" the committee got UK wrong. I think the SEC tourney run should have slotted them at #6, and that would have helped Wichita. But they were not a good team at all in February, so slotting them high on talent alone doesn't make sense.

Kentucky may have the best talent in the country--I personally think it was Kansas before the injury. Kentucky was nowhere near the best team in the country. There was no way to predict when or if they would congeal. The 2011 team played sloppy most of the year and came together to get within a 3-ball of the final game. The 2012 team was ridiculous from start to finish. The 2013 team never came together and wouldn't have done anything even if Noel was injury-free. I don't fault the NCAA for not figuring out UK was about to hit a run. And I don't think UK is the best team this year.

But flags fly forever, whether you deserve them or not. The 2010 team was right there with the best teams in the country and fell apart against West Virginia. (The 2003 UK team was amazing, and Keith Bogans rolled his ankle and they got drilled by Marquette.)
   47. Shredder Posted: April 07, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4680839)
I think when a poster writes a putdown as in post 3 the assertion should have some means of validating if challenged.
Well great. It's been validated.
   48. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4680849)
And I don't think UK is the best team this year.


Of course not. The Razorbacks beat them twice.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4680858)
All of a sudden it seems ludicrous that they do the seeding based on the team's record, who beat who, etc. For a lot of these teams it's like the NBA, they know they'll be in the tournament whether they lose 3 games or 8 games. And a lot of the teams are at totally different skill levels in March compared to November.


I seem to remember the Committee saying they do factor things like "record in your last X number of games" and I know they factor in whether you've had an injury or suspension that dramatically changes your chances going forward.

I think Kentucky was underseeded, but they lost 3 of their last 4 heading into the SEC tournament, including lackluster losses at South Carolina and Arkansas at home. I don't think anyone really saw this coming.
   50. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4680871)
BTW Silver's model takes into account preseason ranking (which Kentucky was ranked #1). I think he says that it has been found to be a good stand-in for talent on the team.

The SEC was extraordinarily top-heavy this year. Three teams in the KenPom top 10, then the next ranked team is Arkansas at 52 (this is after all the tournament games played so far). Tennessee is actually ahead of Kentucky.
   51. bibigon Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4680886)
BTW Silver's model takes into account preseason ranking (which Kentucky was ranked #1). I think he says that it has been found to be a good stand-in for talent on the team.


I assume that's based on something like this KenPom post: http://kenpom.com/blog/index.php/weblog/entry/the_pre-season_ap_poll_is_great

Six times the preseason #1 has won the national title compared to three for the top-ranked team at the end of the regular season. The preseason #1 has made it to the title game a total of 10 times compared to just six for the final #1. It’s stunning to me that armed with 25-30 games of additional information, the writers’ ability to identify the nation’s best team* gets worse!
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4680898)
And I don't think UK is the best team this year.


Of course not. The Razorbacks beat them twice.

Well, Texas A&M beat Arkansas, North Texas beat Texas A&M, Columbia beat North Texas, Bucknell beat Columbia, and the Fairfield Stags beat Bucknell before being clobbered by an SUV on the Merritt Parkway.
   53. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4680908)
on a vaguely related topic as someone fortunate enough to be at the game just further confirmation that the telecasts can be deceiving.

at 'jerryworld' there was a heavy, heavy presence of Wisconsin fans as evidenced by the sea of red in about a third of the stadium (arena?)

and the crowd was heavily rooting for Wisconsin. that and the remaining florida/UConn fans were also rooting against Kentucky given the noise being made at every call against Wisconsin or every Wisconsin basket.

I learned later that none of this was very much in evidence via the broadcast

for example, the Kentucky team was heavily booed when they were introduced beginning the game.

anyway, it was fascinating comparing the live experience with the broadcast version. very, very different
   54. GregD Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4680920)
on a vaguely related topic as someone fortunate enough to be at the game just further confirmation that the telecasts can be deceiving.
Cool that you were there! Tough one for your boys. I liked the outcome, but feel in my heart for Jackson. That's a lot of burden to carry.
   55. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4680925)
Of course not. The Razorbacks beat them twice.

Well, Texas A&M beat Arkansas, North Texas beat Texas A&M, Columbia beat North Texas, Bucknell beat Columbia, and the Fairfield Stags beat Bucknell before being clobbered by an SUV on the Merritt Parkway.


Well, yeah, but I don't come from the states where all those other schools are based, so I'm claiming the title for Arkansas.
   56. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4680927)
CBS (and its sister stations) are terrible at conveying the in-game crowd noise, while OTOH, ESPN cranks it to 11.
   57. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4680930)
greg

he was the only badger player who could remotely be termed as not playing well. and that is tied to the 6 turnovers. not the missed free throw or the missed final shot (which was right there but alas, missed)

i thought the greatest achievement of the season was Wisconsin’s response to that 15-0 run. sure allowing it to happen is not a credit to the team but it was fueled some by bad play but also by unlucky bounces and dubious officiating. that the team regrouped, clawed back to TAKE THE LEAD was just amazing. the ky fans in the area thought the game was OVER. they were stunned when Wisconsin hitched up their britches and came back

that will be my memory of not just the game but the season. when Wisconsin took a great team’s best punch, a haymaker to the jaw, shook their head and came back with a flurry of body punches and jabs.


   58. spike Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4680932)
But flags fly forever, whether you deserve them or not.

I don't think you meant it this way, but for the record, the strength of opposition Kentucky has faced in the tournament makes a flag, if won, eminently deserved.
   59. GregD Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4680936)
i thought the greatest achievement of the season was Wisconsin’s response to that 15-0 run. sure allowing it to happen is not a credit to the team but it was fueled some by bad play but also by unlucky bounces and dubious officiating. that the team regrouped, clawed back to TAKE THE LEAD was just amazing. the ky fans in the area thought the game was OVER. they were stunned when Wisconsin hitched up their britches and came back
Yes it did seem like it was a sequence or two from turning into a blowout Quite a run. UK also bounced back from some good punches from Wisconsin. Both teams played to win; tough that only one of them can come out with the w. I was amazed that Wisconsin could hang so tough with Kaminsky neutralized for a chunk of the game
   60. GregD Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4680942)
I don't think you meant it this way, but for the record, the strength of opposition Kentucky has faced in the tournament makes a flag, if won, eminently deserved.
Absolutely! I just meant that UK is really not the best team in the country this year, but that's the way the tourney goes. There have been other years when UK was the best team and didn't get the crown.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4680944)
And I don't think UK is the best team this year.


Of course not. The Razorbacks beat them twice.

Well, Texas A&M beat Arkansas, North Texas beat Texas A&M, Columbia beat North Texas, Bucknell beat Columbia, and the Fairfield Stags beat Bucknell before being clobbered by an SUV on the Merritt Parkway.

Well, yeah, but I don't come from the states where all those other schools are based, so I'm claiming the title for Arkansas.


And I'm claiming the title for that SUV.
   62. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4680947)
Absolutely! I just meant that UK is really not the best team in the country this year


Who are the worst champions ever? 'Nova in '85? KU in '88? '83 NC State?
   63. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 07, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4680952)
greg

Wisconsin has a very efficient offense. it's just not reflected in their per game scoring average. that and the team has a very sensible approach. kaminsky can typically get a better shot so why have a Bronson Koenig shoot the ball? but if kaminsky cannot then a dekker or whoemever will take a quality shot.

that is what made the final shot so peculiar. bo HATES the mid-range jump shot because it's recognized by all analysis as being the worst shot to take. that or the long 2. a lined up 3 has better return so if the choice is something further from 5 feet bo has his team take 3 pointers.

for some reason bo has it that Jackson takes all last second shots. me, I would have had Jackson push and then dish to brust or Koenig. brust is a senior, the all time leader in school history for 3 pointers made and shoots almost 40 percent from 3. he's better lining up then a running bank shot from 12 feet

oh well

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