Some Foolishly Precise Predictions About the Bracket

March 15, 2009

Last year, I ran some numbers on teams from one year and where they return to the next. Some of the work, updated with last year’s tournament, went into my 5 Things You Should Consider When Filling Out Your Bracket post.

I used some aspects of that in order to make some projections about the tournament. It was based on historic trends, patterns, and a three-year moving average. As it turned out, they were pretty good.

I came up with 16 to 18 teams from the ’07 second round making the ’08 second round, and 17 ended up doing it.

I projected nine teams from the ’07 second round making the ’08 Sweet 16, and 10 did. I projected that from four to six teams (and most likely six) from the ’07 Sweet 16 would make it that far in ’08, and five did.

It didn’t work so well when it came to the Elite Eight, since I had fewer than three Elite Eight teams from ’07 making it back in ’08, and four teams did. In my defense, the back-to-back years of zero returners in ’05 and ’06 messed up the moving average analysis, and it was the first time that the number of repeat Elite Eight teams increased after having been three or more the previous season.

Anyway, I decided to do the same thing again this year. I am also publishing the projections this time just in case it turns out to be good again. I also applied the same analysis to seed in the first round, so we’ll see how this goes.

It could be that this is snake oil and I got lucky last year, or it could be really close again. We’ll have to see. Anyway, here’s what I got for this year:

  • 15 teams from the ’08 second round in the ’09 second round
  • From seven to nine (likely eight) teams from the ’08 second round in the ’09 Sweet 16
  • Five to seven (likely six or seven) teams from the ’08 Sweet 16 in the ’09 Sweet 16
  • Between one and three (likely one) teams from the ’08 Elite Eight in the ’09 Elite Eight
  • One team from the ’08 Elite Eight in the ’09 Final Four
  • Either five or six (likely six) upsets in the ’09 first round

If there are five first round upsets, the second round will have four ones, four twos, four threes, three fours, three fives, three sixes, two sevens, one eight, three nines, two tens, zero elevens, three twelves, one thirteen, and zero each of fourteens, fifteens, and sixteens.

If there are six first round upsets, the second round will have the same as above only with one five, four sixes, three twelves, and zero elevens.

As the post title indicates, I have a feeling that this is probably a fool’s errand. However, I’m hoping when the brackets come out that the combination of the returners and seeds will put together a pretty accurate projection of the field. I think it’s probably more likely that it will be impossible to meet all of the above conditions.

After all, if there’s one thing that I know about the tournament, it changes everything up the moment you think you have it figured out.


I Guess This is What Playoff Opponents Are Afraid Of

March 10, 2009

The Onion strikes again. I think it’s kind of funny that the Onion can put together a more credible set for its sports “coverage” than Fox can, but sometimes, that’s the way it goes.

Just a Thought

November 5, 2008

It would never happen, but just imagine it for a second.

Auburn fires Tuberville at the end of the season. The boosters there don’t like him anyway, and the community thinks he betrayed their values by going after Tony Franklin and selling out to the spread. They want a return to pound-the-rock football. They want a guy who can recruit and raise money. They want someone Alabama hates.

So they hire… Phil Fulmer.

It would never happen of course. Phil is too close to UT I’ll bet to forsake it for another SEC school that quickly. Still though, what could be a bigger sideshow than Fulmer coaching inside the state of Alabama? Oh please, make it so.

Some Things Never Change

September 18, 2008

In this ever-changing world, where the giants of finance can collapse overnight, it’s great to know that some things don’t change:

Coach Ron Zook is clear about what must happen for Illinois to get off to a fast start in the Big Ten.

“That’s my biggest challenge as a coach,” Zook said Sunday. “The good guys have to play good, and the other guys have to play to their level.”

The Zooker was always good for a few forehead slap-inducing quotes in his day, wasn’t he? Don’t worry Illinois fans; the problems are correctable, so as long as they ignore the noise in the system they’ll get better and better.

(Found via Doc Saturday)

Weekend’s Best Game May Have Just Ended

September 13, 2008

Kansas and South Florida may have just turned in the best game of the weekend. Todd Reesing and Matt Grothe each played well, both teams racked up points, and even as USF’s defense was crumbling down the stretch, Georgie Selvie finally stepped up and made his presence felt.

Kansas owned the first half as USF’s offense had trouble getting going. The script was flipped in the third quarter as USF shut down the Jayhawks’ offense and the Bulls went on a scoring spree. USF would take a 34-20 lead at one point.

KU came roaring back using both sides of the ball, and Reesing made some incredible plays while just scrambling around looking for an open man. The announcers said he was like Fran Tarkenton, but since I’m a Gator and as such the world expects me to think football began in 1990, I’ll say he was like a miniature Matt Jones. I do mean miniature – Jones is 6’5″, while Reesing is 5’11” in cleats.

Just as it appeared Kansas was driving down for the winning field goal with under a minute to go, Reesing made his first mistake. He heaved one deep ball to many, and USF picked it off and returned it to within field goal range. After winding the clock down, the Bulls just barely put it through the uprights as time expired.

This was a magnificent game, and the only turnover was the one interception at the end.

I still don’t fully trust Grothe after seeing this one though. He made a freshman mistake by throwing the ball after passing the line of scrimmage on USF’s second to last drive, something that led to a punt that set up Kansas’ final drive. A great quarterback doesn’t make that kind of mistake in crunch time.

Still, it was a highly entertaining game, perhaps more so than anything we get on Saturday. Let’s hope not, but it set the bar pretty high for entertainment and excitement factor. Almost as exciting as a hurricane to a bear:

Happy Week 2!

September 5, 2008

Hopefully Hanna doesn’t wobble to the west in the middle of the night and knock a branch down on any power lines around here, otherwise I’m going to be one unhappy Gator.

Random updates coming all Saturday and who knows? Maybe a liveblog of the Miami game if I’m feeling up to it.

And as always, please make sure the Joker is not in your broadcast booth. You never know when he might show up.