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Brackets and Rankings Madness: How Well Do Various Rankings System Predict the Tourney?

I was wondering about how well the various computer rankings would do if they had to fill out a bracket, so I found a bunch of them and did so.  The rankings I found were Sagarin (3 versions), KenPom, Massey (3 versions), transitive (2 versions), Bradley-Terry (2 versions) and RPI.  Then I thought I should add some human polls, so I added the AP poll, coaches poll, ESPN power rankings, SI power rankings, and the Yahoo Fan Ranking.  Then I remembered this article, so I added the preseason AP and Coaches polls.  Then I thought that there wasn't enough craziness for March Madness, so I added my own bracket, got my wife to fill out a bracket, and then filled out other brackets based on student body size, total tournament wins for the school, and basketball expenses for last year.  I also filled out brackets based on KenPom's offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.  (I contemplated filling out a few others for KenPom's stats, but I decided a Belmont-Missouri national title game was too far).  

I'll put out a chart of the standings after each weekend.  

 

The Contestants:

 

 

Massey Margin-Based

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Richmond over Vanderbilt


Massey Margin-Free

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Marquette over Xavier

 

RPI

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Kansas over Ohio State

Strange Prediction: Utah State in the Sweet Sixteen


Massey Comparison

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Utah State over Kansas State.  This is the only upset in the entire bracket.

Massey also puts out an amalgamation of a wide variety of other rankings.

 

Transitive Margin Free

Bracket

Championship Game: San Diego State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Not much other than championship game


Transitive Margin-Based

Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Wisconsin in the Final Four

 

KenPom

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Not much, but he has Purdue in the Elite Eight


Sagarin-Predictor

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Washington in the Elite Eight


Sagarin-Elo

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: San Diego State in the Final Four


Sagarin-Composite

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Syracuse in the Elite Eight

Sagarin has three different rankings: the "Predictor" which only considers margin, "Elo" which only considers wins and losses, and "composite" which mixes the two.  I've included all of them.

 

Bradley-Terry Basic

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: BYU in the Final Four


Bradley-Terry Margin Aware

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Utah State over Kansas State (but almost all the computer rankings have this)


SpartanDan has been producing his rankings for both football and basketball.  He even put out a team-by-team probability for each team reaching each round.  



Final AP Poll

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game:  Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Only upsets are BYU over Florida and a couple 9-8 games


Final Coaches Poll

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: None

 

SI Power Rankings

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: None particularly

SI's Luke Winn was my favorite power ranking throughout the season, but his rankings are largely indistinguishable from chalk

 

Yahoo Fan Rankings

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Kansas over Ohio State

Strange Prediction: UConn in the Final Four

These rankings are compiled from self-selected internet users.  They probably are a good proxy for the fan on the street.

 

 

ESPN Power Rankings (Final Poll March 3.)

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Kansas

Strange Prediction: Missouri over Cincinnati 

 

AP Preseason

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Duke over Michigan State

Strange Prediction: MSU vs Gonzaga for an Elite Eight spot

Ken Pomeroy is on the record in supporting the AP preseason as better than even the AP postseason rankings, so it will be interesting to test if that holds this year.  

 

Coaches Poll Preseason

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Duke over Michigan State

Strange Prediction:  Missouri in the Elite Eight

Arguably the most widely mocked rankings throws in.  

 

Tourney Wins

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Kentucky over UCLA

Strange Prediction: Villanova keeping Ohio State out of the Sweet Sixteen

It wouldn't be a pool without that one guy that just picks the biggest names.  For this bracket, I used the all-time tournament wins rankings as a measure of the most historically successful programs. 

 

Wife

Bracket

Championship Game: Florida over Ohio State

Strange Prediction: UConn in the Final Four

Every pool needs someone who has no idea about basketball.  She will probably win.

 

Alumni Rankings

Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Florida

Strange Prediction: Too many to list

Every group has the "alumni guy" who picks alma mater to win regardless of reality.  This bracket picks the school with the larger student body as the winner, which leads to 6 Big Ten teams in the Sweet Sixteen and the top two seeds in the Southwest (Kansas and Notre Dame) losing in the first round.  

 

My Bracket

Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Wisconsin

Strange Prediction: Too many to list

This bracket is my annual "pick who I'd like to win if it's not completely crazy" setup.  It usually doesn't do very well... 

 

Basketball Expenses

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Duke over Michigan State

Strange Prediction: Marquette in the Final Four

 

KenPom Offensive Efficiency

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Wisconsin

Strange Prediction: It's not that crazy, but this is the only bracket that has Notre Dame in the Final Four

 

KenPom Defensive Efficiency

Rankings and Bracket

Championship Game: Texas over Florida State

Strange Prediction: Clemson and Utah State in the Final Four

 

Chalk

Bracket

Championship Game: Ohio State over Pitt

Strange Prediction: None by definition

Ohio State was designated the overall top seed and I presume Pitt is the second best #1 seed since they play a play-in game opponent.  

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