2015 Selection Sunday Teams
In our last post “March Madness – The Tournament Begins” we showed a comparison of top 8 teams for 2013 – 2015. The good news is there are no upsets here!! No surprise that Kentucky remained number 1 and most of the remaining were regional winners. It seems the inconsistencies come in the “lower” ranked teams.
In 2014 and 2013, we reviewed the data for all the teams to see where some of the inconsistencies were coming from. We wanted to see if this was an anomaly or the “norm”. Well after looking at the 2015 data, it seems like we have some of the same issues. As usual there is only an issue with the “at large” selections.
Of the 36 At Large teams:
- 9 were runner’s up in their conferences
- 80.6% came from 6 conferences:
Looking at all the “at large” teams selected from the 6 conferences above, there were 6 teams from other conferences that had as good as or better RPI’s than from what I will call the “Big 6”. Teams selected are highlighted in green; while teams not selected are highlighted in red. These teams also had good poll rankings from the Associated Press and the Coaches polls but they were not selected.
Of the Big 6, two of the conferences had 6 teams each selected, the Big 12 and the Big 10 for at large selection. Texas and Oklahoma State both lost in the quarter finals. Oklahoma State had a lower RPI than Old Dominion but Old Dominion was not selected. Old Dominion also had a higher poll rank than Oklahoma State. So why did Oklahoma State get selected?
For those teams that made it through to the semi-finals; Ohio State was chosen over Temple. Purdue was chosen over Tulsa and Indiana was chosen over Richmond. In all these cases, the teams not chosen had better rankings, better RPIs, and made it to the same rounds before losing out. So (at least on the surface) it seems that the central theme here is the conference the teams are in.
Temple was ranked 32nd, with a RPI of .5889; while Georgia was ranked 37th with a RPI of .5806. So was Georgia selected because it was in the Southeastern conference? These same questions can be asked for Colorado State, Tulsa, Old Dominion, Iona, and Richmond. Why do some conferences only get to send the regional winners, while other conferences have more than 10% of the total at large teams selected?
If some of these teams were not included, would it give other conferences a chance to be included? There are 4 teams: Green Bay, Murray State, Illinois State, and Central Michigan that were runners up in their conferences but were not selected. While they did have lower RPI’s than other teams selected, it does not appear that a team’s RPI is the basis of selection.
Not included in the 36 At Large: (All had RPI’s higher than other At Large selections)
- Colorado State: (Mountain West)
- Had a higher RPI than Boise St. (.5935 vs .5777) (which was included)
- Ranked 28th by AP and Coaches as of 3/14; Boise St. was ranked 42nd
- Lost in the semi-finals – same as Boise St.
- Temple: (AAC Tournament)
- Had a higher RPI than Cincinnati (.4889 vs .5804) (which was included)
- Ranked 32nd by AP and Coaches as of 3/14; Cincinnati was ranked 38th
- Went to the semi-finals; Cincinnati lost in quarter-finals
- Old Dominion: (Conference USA Tournament)
- Has a RPI of .5741
- Ranked 46nd by AP and Coaches as of 3/14
- Lost in quarter-finals; same as many other at large teams
- Iona: (Metro Atlantic Tournament)
- Has a RPI of .5673
- Ranked 50th by AP and Coaches as of 3/14
- Runner-up; same as 9 other at large teams
So what does this mean…
If you look at the statistics from Las Vegas, even money says the Kentucky Wildcats will win the tournament.
Ed Salmons, the SuperBook’s head college basketball oddsmaker and a 20-plus-year Las Vegas veteran, said Kentucky is the first team he remembers entering the tournament at even money in at least 20 years. Kentucky is looking to become the first team to finish the season undefeated since the Indiana Hoosiers ran the table in 1975-76 under coach Bob Knight.
These same odd makers give Eastern Washington and Valparaiso the biggest listed odds of 1000 to 1. Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology was the first shop to post point spreads for the opening NCAA tournament games Sunday. No. 2-seeded Arizona opened as the biggest favorite on the board. The Wildcats are 23-point favorites over Texas Southern. Villanova is a 22-point favorite over Lafayette.
That will change, however, after Kentucky’s opponent is decided. The Wildcats will be massive favorites over the winner of Manhattan-Hampton in the first round. Duke was a 47-point favorite over Florida A&M in a 1999 first-round game, the largest NCAA tournament point spread in the past 20 years.
Ten teams — Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Villanova, Georgetown, Iowa State, Arizona, Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wisconsin — opened as double-digit favorites, not including the matchups awaiting winners from the First Four games. Double-digit favorites are 64-7 straight-up in the first round and 81-9 straight-up overall in the past six NCAA tournaments, according to Spreadapedia.com.
Ohio State, the 10th seed in the West Region, is the only team to open as a favorite against a lower-seeded team. But that could change. The Buckeyes opened as 1-point favorites at CG Technology. No. 11 seed Texas is a pick-‘em against No. 6 Butler. The Purdue-Cincinnati matchup also opened at pick-‘em. This information was taken from espn.go.com as they seem to have an inside track.
The same philosophy applies – lead with your head not your heart when picking your brackets. However, keep in mind this is a single elimination tournament. Some dark horse contenders could be Gonzaga, North Carolina, or Iowa State. While Kentucky is the odds on favorite, anything can happen.
Good luck and we hope you have enjoyed our series. Here at Screamin Designs we are dedicated to the sports enthusiasts and hope you’ll come back to see us soon. Remember even if you can’t be in the tournament, you can have your own “3 Pointer” custom made from Screamin Designs.