Sunday, March 15, 2015

Complete 2015 NCAA Tournament Analysis

Bookmark this page (or remember to look for it in the upper right hand corner of this blog) for links to all of my 2015 NCAA Tournament previews. It is all going to be here. Now you'll notice if you are reading this page the day it was posted that not all of the previews below have live links. It will take some time for me to finish all of my previews, but they should be up in plenty of time to fill out your bracket. As they are posted, the links will go live.

What will I be breaking down? I'll be filling in every game in the bracket, and giving my reasons why. As always, I will also include multiple possible match-ups. For example, if I have a 4 seed beating a 5 seed, I will break down how I think both the 4 and 5 seed would fare against the 1 seed.

In this way, you can feel free to take or ignore whichever of my advice that you want. After all, we're all going to end up with broken brackets, most likely. It's the nature of a one-and-done tournament.


What are the basic tools I am using to break down the bracket in general?

1) Advanced Stats That primarily means tempo-free stats. If a team doesn't score many points per game it might be because their offense sucks (as tv announcers tend to always assume), but it also could be that their defense is pretty darn good but just plays at a very slow tempo (I'm looking at you, Virginia). So this means that you look at offensive and defensive rebounding percentages rather than rebounding margins. Look at turnover percentages rather than turnovers per game. And so on.

2) Luck The bracket is put together based on resumes. You are who you beat and who you lost to, and how good your team actually is doesn't matter. Texas would be favored over Maryland on a neutral court, but luck in close games is why Maryland is a 4 seed while Texas is an 11 seed. However, if you're trying to pick who is going to win each game, you want the best teams, not the best resumes. If you have had good luck in close games, you are generally overrated, and vice versa. And yes, I know, your team is different because they won a ton of close games only because they "knew how to win" and "close games well". Sure.

3) Recent Play To be clear, I'm not talking about #momentum. A three game winning streak isn't proof that a team has "momentum" any more than a roulette wheel hitting red three times in a row is proof that the color red has "momentum". What I mean is, teams do get better or worse throughout the season because of injuries, suspensions, transfers, and more. If you can find those teams, then you will find teams who are underrated or overrated by the computer ratings.


One other note is that for the sixth straight year I will be picking all 67 games of the NCAA Tournament against the spread. Each day I will post my picks against the VegasInsider consensus line.  To be clear, the primary purpose of posting the lines is as an excuse to break down each game. I'll give you my thoughts on key things to look for and what I think will happen. The fact that I've done better than the vig (on average) in the past is not guarantee that I will do so in the future. To me, gambling is about throwing a few bucks on the game to add excitement and interest. Never put yourself in a situation where have real significant amounts of money on a sporting event.


Now, let's get to the previews:

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