Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

March 19, 2014

Statistics the best guide to filling in your NCAA bracket

The NCAA Tournament is a great event because fans get heavily involved in trying to pick the winners. They invest time and money in trying to make sense of 67 games.

Nobody gets them all right – Warren Buffet didn’t make his billions by placing sucker bets – but selecting the survivor of three weeks of play can be done.

There is no guaranteed way of picking winners. Some like going with the coolest mascot or neatest uniforms. Analyzing records and statistics may be a better option.

Here’s a valuable nugget: Nine of the past 11 champions entered the field as a No. 1 seed. That means this year’s beauty pageant comes down to Virginia, Florida, Wichita State and Arizona.

Another way to predict the eventual champion is looking at one phase of the game: Nine of the past 11 national champions ranked among the top 20 in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to college basketball statistics guru Ken Pomeroy. That’s an assessment of how many points a team scores, on average, per possession. Among the top seeds, Wichita State comes in 8th and Florida 16th. Creighton, a third seed, is tops in the country.

As one would expect, tough defense is another key. Using the same adjusted factor for limiting the opposition’s ability to score, Pomeroy finds Arizona at 1st, Virginia at 3rd, Florida 5th, Louisville 6th and Wichita State at 10th.

Winning the championship means rolling off six victories over three weeks, generally against good-to-tough competition. This requires a balance of depth and star talent.

Strength of schedule offers a glimpse of how well teams are prepared. None of the top seeds could be accused of burdening itself with an unbearable schedule. Arizona’s ranked 13th toughest, according to Pomeroy, with Wichita State’s coming in at 128th. Of the teams voted into the tournament, Kansas’ schedule was the toughest. Wisconsin's was 3rd and Michigan's was 5th.

It’s imperative to have a star player when time is running out and points are in high demand. Creighton’s Doug McDermott gives the No. 3 seed the top offensive player in the country. Duke’s Jabari Parker is only a freshman who is likely making his first and only NCAA tournament appearance.

Russ Smith, a senior, is back leading Louisville to a possible repeat championship. Cincinnati plays games close but Sean Kilpatrick has scored more than 2,000 career points, and Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier leads the Huskies in points, rebounds and assists.

Others certainly to excel are Arizona’s Nick Johnson, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, Wichita State’s Fred Van Vleet, Michigan’s Nick Stauskas and New Mexico’s Cameron Bairstow, to name a few.

A team’s health is an uncontrollable factor. In 2000, Cincinnati looked like a possible champ until consensus player-of-the-year Kenyon Martin went down with a broken leg in the opening minutes of the conference tournament, and the nation’s No. 1 ranked team saw its dreams die.

It was the same thing in 1975 when Indiana entered the tournament unbeaten but Scott May, who had suffered a broken arm just weeks earlier, was ineffective and the Hoosiers got bounced by Kentucky.

Kansas, which comes into the tournament with a 24-9 record and a No. 2 seed in the South Region, might feel more secure if the Jayhawks were certain that 7-foot center Joel Embiid would play. A back injury is likely to sideline him during the first weekend of the tournament. Taking out a player who shoots 62 percent and grabs more than 8 rebounds a game is a huge disadvantage.

Coaching is a major plus, and that’s where Florida enhances the chances of another Gator championship. Billy Donovan has won two national championships and coached Florida to an unbeaten record in the Southeastern Conference this year.

Of the three other top-seeded teams, Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Arizona’s Sean Miller and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall have racked up a combined 18 tournament appearances. Only Marshall has coached a team to the Final Four, though.

Add these factors together and Florida looks to be the best pick. Now it’s time for the fun part – watch the games and find out.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only
Get the scoop!
  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 14, 2014

  • An alternative diagnosis to ADHD: Schoolchildren need more time to move

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that in recent years, there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2011.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

Do you believe marijuana should be legalized in Oklahoma?

Absolutely not.
No, but it should be decriminalized.
Yes, but only for medicinal purposes.
Yes, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Stocks