Archeology: Dropping the NCAA Field and the Missouri Tigers

If you write about college basketball online, but don’t have your own show, do you even cover college basketball? Nothing goes together like rankings and the World Wide Web. We here at Rock M have officially entered the fray.

Why is this different: Several years ago, I had a brilliant (read: time consuming) idea to study the selection committee’s decision-making process as it relates to the team’s “squad paper.” For starters, the team sheet is just a resume of the team’s qualifications for inclusion in the annual March tournament. Being the curious one by nature, I logged every metric on the team sheets over several seasons and where that team ended up in the category.

After a lot of trial and error in Excel, I think I’ve found a formula that’s fairly predictive of whether certain domain teams will be included, and if so, where they’ll be ranked. It’s not perfect because you simply can’t use mathematics to predict human behavior with a high level of certainty. However, I feel quite confident that this system knows what was important to the selection committee in years past when it came time to bracket the difference.

How it works: At this juncture of the season, we’ll just be looking at the potential big teams and where they are in the ‘S-Curve’. The only consideration given to the automatic qualifiers – the winners of the conference tournaments – would be to “expand” the large pool. This means that there are 32 automatic exposures and 36 general exposures. When a team thinks of a “lock” for inclusion that wins their league’s automatic bid, an extra-large team grows its wings. As we get into the season, we’ll start looking at potential conference championship winners as well.

This arc projection is 100% retrospective. Meaning: looks at what the bow would be like if the season ended today. Many arc predictions look at expected outcomes. this, no. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. I chose to live in the present for the sake of accuracy.

This is not necessarily where I might expect this difference. Rather, whatever format is broadcast, you see.

How do you read a projection?: Teams are broken down by baseline with S-Curve standings in parentheses. Bold teams are automatic qualifiers based on having the highest formula rank in their respective league. List “snakes”, to show matches before bracketing principles. Any highest rated 8 seed faces the lowest rated 9 seed.

Rock Mology bracketology


January 9, 2023, the S-Curve is dropped

  1. Kansas (1) | Connecticut (2) | Bordeaux (3) | Houston (4)
  2. Arizona (8) | University of California (7) | Tennessee (6) | Alabama (5)
  3. Gonzaga (9) | Texas (10) | Kansas State (11) | Xavier (12)
  4. Marquette (16) | Virginia (15) | Iowa (14) | Arkansas (13)
  5. Auburn (17) | Duke (18) | St. Mary’s (19) | Ohio (20)
  6. Providence (24) | Florida Atlantic (23) | North Carolina (22) | San Diego Street (21)
  7. Miami FL (25) | TCU (26) | Rutgers (27) | West Virginia (28)
  8. Mizu (32) | Indiana (31) | Baylor (30) | North Carolina Street (29)
  9. Creighton (33) | Maryland (34) | Wisconsin (35) | Northwestern (36)
  10. Oklahoma (40) | Nevada (39) Iowa (38) | Illinois (37)
  11. Boise Street (41) | UCF (42) | Michigan State (43) | Memphis (44) | Clemson (45) | Utah Street (46)

Last four teams in: Utah State, Clemson, Memphis, Michigan State

LAST FOUR BYES SESSIONS: UCF, Boise Street, Oklahoma, NV

First Four Out: Mississippi State (47), Oklahoma State (48), Kentucky (49), Arizona Street (50)

Next four out: Virginia Tech (51), UNLV (52), Charleston (53; AQ), Pittsburgh (54)


NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-UC Santa Barbara at Creighton

Christopher Hanwinkel – USA Today Sports


picture curve Ranking of teams 1-68 by the NCAA selection committee. They evaluate the difference in this way before bracketing it. There are several bracket rules (eg, close to home, avoiding back-to-back games in conference, etc.) that will affect a team’s final seed. But this is the holy grail of how the committee viewed the team previously and is the basis of my hostility. This is what I’m trying to replicate.

As a whole – A team voted on by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee

Automatic qualificationr – The team that wins an automatic bid from the respective conference.

team paper – A “biography” that includes a set of classifications and criteria used by the tournament selection committee to classify teams. It includes current team sheets information such as: NET Rankings, Ken Pomeroy Rankings, ESPN BPI Rankings, Sagarin Rankings, ESPN Strength of Record Rankings, KPI Rankings, Team Record, Conference Record, and Quadruple Scores.

Predictive metrics – Ken Pomeroy, ESPN BPI, and Sagarin ratings are “predictive measures.” That is, they “predict” how good the team will be based on previous information. They measure the strength of a team, not their resume. It is based on “efficiency”. It’s very similar to the way Las Vegas defines the lines of a game. Every possession matters. The margin of victory/defeat is a major consideration.

CV metrics – ESPN’s relative scoring strength and KPIs measure only the quality of wins and losses accrued by a team. They are retroactive. It doesn’t matter if you defeat a team by 1 or 100, you will get the same credit. Teams that get a lot of wins by close margins will have a better resume rating and predictive rating. Teams that lose a group of close matches? the opposite.

metric mix – The grid is a combination of biographical and predictive components. The margin of victory is important, but so are the results. No one in the public domain really knows the formula for that, we only know that it’s used as a classification tool, but primarily as a quaternary system’s gains and losses sorting tool.

Quad system – The network ranks the team’s opponents into four groups to come up with “Quadruple Records”. Teams are sorted as follows:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs 1-30 in ranking; neutral for 1-50; away for 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75; neutral vs. 51-100; away vs. 76-135
  • Quad 3: Home vs. 76-160; neutral vs. 101-200; away vs. 135-240
  • Quad 4: Home vs. 161-363; neutral vs. 201-363; away vs. 241-363

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