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Wildcats Basketball: The Road to Houston, By The Numbers

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So now we have the brackets out, and what is facing Kentucky in their quest for yet another Final Four and a possible shot at #9?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

In most years, The Big Blue Nation will sit around and watch the NCAA Selection show in anticipation of our match-ups.  We want to see who could post a big threat to a championship run.  This year feels different, this year feels like all of BBN does not care about our match-ups, we just want to get to Thursday and start being straight up nightmares for other teams.

I wanted to look at our bracket and see just what that road to Houston entailed. Everyone will have their opinions and will base them off the eye-test, other people's opinions, or using the transitive property of past match-ups.  I wanted to look at four different rating methods and see how our competition stacked up.

I looked at KenPomBPIRPI, and Team Rankings.com.  Here is what each brings to the table:

  • Ken Pomeroy

The front page ranks the teams 1-345. These are not meant to quantify how a team has played, it's meant to predict how they good they will be moving forward. It answers the questions: which team would win on a neutral court tomorrow?

What you'll want to pay attention to here is AdjO and AdjD, which ranks teams in terms of their offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency. Also pay attention to Pyth under Strength of Schedule, which measures the quality of that team's opponents based on how they're expected to perform.

  • BPI (Basketball Power Index)

Other power rankings already exist, the most prominent being the RPI, Sagarin Ratings, Massey Ratings and Ken Pomeroy's ("Kenpom") ratings. All of these methods are based upon the outcomes of games, their location -- home/road/neutral -- and the quality of opponents. Each one basically puts these together in slightly different ways and arrives at slightly different results.

On top of this, we decided to incorporate a little bit more information than the other power ranking systems use. In particular, we added a way of accounting for missing players.

If a team or its opponent is missing one of its most important players (determined by minutes per game) for a contest, that game is less important for ranking the teams compared to games in which both teams are at full strength.


  • RPI (Ratings Percentage Index)

The Rating Percentage Index, commonly known as the RPI, is a quantity used to rank sports teams based upon a team's wins and losses and its strength of schedule.

  • Team Rankings.com Power Rankings

Our mission is to provide sports fans with 100% objective insights and analysis. If you want to hear a former player's opinion on locker room chemistry, you can go elsewhere. If you want to know how a statistical model that leverages 10 years of historical data would predict the final score of tonight's game, you're in the right place.

We aggregate a vast repository of sports stats and data, publish it all on the site, and use it to power proprietary power ratings systems and algorithmic models.

So, what does the East bracket containing our 'Cats have in store for us this March and hopefully April?  Below is the bracket,and after that is the bracket's compilation of rankings.

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So, right off the bat we have Stony Brook, followed by a likely meetup with hated Indiana in a battle of top-5 Point Guards in Yogi Ferrel and Tyler Ulis. That would likely lead us to a match-up with a very talented North Carolina.  If we are still chugging along my guess is we would be meeting West Virginia for a trip to the Final 4.

That would be intriguing as it seems we play West Virginia every year but it could be another shot at disposing them to reach the final 4 (I know we've beaten them twice in the tourney since the 2010 frustration, but this would be a repeat with the Final 4 on the line).

So, what would those match-ups look like in a head to head ranking on paper, you can see the entire bracket above, but below is going to be what it might look like head to head on paper.  Granted, they do not call it March Madness for no reason, so these are likely to be way off, except for the Stony Brook match-up, lol.


STONY BROOK:

This is a game that we should win, they are a decent team and could pull an upset of other #4 seeds, but UK is playing well, and as long as they play their game we should handle them by double digits

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INDIANA

This could be the Dan Dakich bowl, he has to be having a heart attack seeing us as the 2nd round option.  We actually matchup VERY WELL with Indiana and should handle them.  Having said that, if they get off from three it could be a long night.  Considering the way teams have shot from three against us lately, this is scary.

One thing is for certain, Tyler Ulis would absolutely ball out in this game.  He would be up against a fellow top Point guard in Ferrel and I am guessing he would be reminded of comments that he was not a top 5 point guard by someone very close to the IU program.

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NORTH CAROLINA

And here we go having to run through blue bloods once again, a la 2011.  North Carolina is a bad matchup for us and it would be as tough if not tougher than the Kansas game at Allen Field house.  I really hope they get beat before us because I am worried about their match-ups.

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WEST VIRGINIA

I know that Xavier is a higher seed, but West Virginia should be the 2-seed in this bracket.  This is a very good West Virginia team and could be a fantastic game.

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It is going to be a fun ride and we have the best backcourt in America, guard play wins tournaments and we just witnessed that over the last three days and we are a straight up nightmare for other teams right now.