Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 NCAA Tournament: Historical Analysis of Top Seeds (1 through 4)

Once again, I will be writing a series of posts analyzing the NCAA tournament based on Ken Pomeroy's Efficiency Ratings. I am going to be updating the historical posts with the 2009 NCAA Tournament data and also analyzing the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Here's the schedule for the analysis I will be doing and links as I post each Part:

Part I: Historical Analysis of Final 4 Teams (Offensive & Defensive Efficiency Ratings)
Part II: Historical Analysis of Top Seeds (1 through 4)
Part III: Historical Analysis of Upsets (5 vs 12 & 6 vs 11)
Part IV: 2010 NCAA Tournament Game by Game Analysis & Possible Upsets

In this post, I am going to do a Historical Analysis of the tops seeds by year and what the Overall Efficiency Ranking is of the teams they lose to. Overall Efficiency rankings are in parenthesis after the team name. I will be adding my analysis once the top seeds are announced for this year's tournament.

Part II: Historical Analysis of Top Seeds (1 through 4)


1 Seeds: North Carolina(2) won championship, UConn(3) lost to Michigan State(13), Louisville(4) lost to Michigan State(13), and Pitt(6) lost to Villanova(19)

Analysis: In 2009, only 2 of the 4 number 1 seeds made the Final 4. However, all of them made the Elite 8 and didn't lose to bad teams once they got there. Losing to Villanova and Michigan State is nothing to be ashamed of. This is the second year in a row that the # 1 seeds performed admirably in the tournament.

2 Seeds: Memphis(1) lost to Missouri(10), Duke(7) lost to Villanova(19), Michigan State(13) lost to UNC(2) and Oklahoma(17) lost to UNC(2)

Analysis: Again nothing to be ashamed of here for the 2 seeds. Michigan State and Oklahoma lost to the eventual National Champs and Duke & Memphis lost to a pair of #3 seeds who were both ranked in the Top 20. Plus, all of them avoided getting knocked off in the second round vs. the 7/10 winner.

3 Seeds: Missouri(10) lost to UConn(3), Kansas(11) lost to Michigan State(13), Syracuse(15) lost to Oklahoma(19), and Villanova(19) lost to UNC(2)

Analysis: All 4 of the 3 seeds made the Sweet 16 with 2 of them making the Elite 8 and one even advancing to the Final 4. That's a solid showing for them, since usually at least one #3 seed gets knocked off by a #6 seed in the second round. It's also pretty rare to see a #3 seed in the Final 4.

4 Seeds: Gonzaga(5) lost to UNC(2), Washington(16) lost to Purdue(14), Wake Forest(21) lost to Cleveland State(68), and Xavier(24) lost to Pitt(6)

Analysis: Finally an upset from the top 4 seeds in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Wake Forest(21) lost to a Cleveland State(68) team that probably should have been an #11 or #12 seed instead of a #13. They were coming off a Horizon League Tourney Championship and had won 12 of their last 14 games. Wake Forest on the other-hand had serious turnover(214th overall) and 3-Point shooting(264th overall) issues. The other 4 seeds did well with 2 of them making the Sweet 16(Gonzaga & Xavier) and Washington losing to a higher rated Purdue team.


1 Seeds: Kansas(1) won championship, Memphis(2) lost to Kansas(1), UCLA(3) lost to Memphis(2), and UNC(4) lost to Kansas(1)

Analysis: In 2008, the best four teams in efficiency were also the 4 number 1 seeds, which meant the committee did a good job in seeding them. Not only did these 4 teams all make the Final 4, but once they got there, the higher rated team in efficiency won each time. You won't see the top 4 teams in efficiency all making it this year, because over the past 5 seasons, these 4 teams had some of the best efficiency ratings and in other years they probably all could have won the title. Chances are the top 4 teams this year will not be as strong as these teams were.

2 Seeds: Georgetown(7) lost to Davidson(20), Duke(8) lost to West Virginia(19), Texas(9) lost to Memphis(2) and Tennessee(14) lost to Louisville(6)

Analysis:For 2 seeds, Texas losing to Memphis and Tennessee losing to Louisville were not upsets. In the case of Georgetown and Duke, they had the unfortunate luck of playing two teams that were underseeded. Davidson and West Virginia were both in the Top 20 teams overall in efficiency, but were a 10 and 7 seed respectfully. Teams that are underseeded are the most likely to pull off "upsets" in the tournament. In the case of Davidson, they entered the tourney with a 21 game winning streak, which is also another key indicator of teams pulling off upsets and having that Stephen Curry guy didn't hurt either. Also, the Hoyas weakness was turnovers on both side of the ball and Davidson was able to exploit that since they were rated highly in both areas. Meanwhile, West Virginia was able to destroy Duke on the offensive boards, which exploited Duke's 131st ranking in defensive rebounding.

3 Seeds: Wisconsin(5) lost to Davidson(20), Louisville(6) lost to UNC(4), Stanford(12) lost to Texas(9), and Xavier(18) lost to UCLA(3)

Analysis: Only one "upset" here with Davidson knocking out Wisconsin. The Badgers were an extremely slow placed team ranking 318th in the country and they also had problems forcing turnovers, which leads me to believe they weren't the most athletic group. That made the playing field more level for Davidson who was the far better offensive time ranking 27th in Eff. FG% vs. Wisconsin's ranking of 140th.

4 Seeds: Washington State(10) lost to UNC(4), Pitt(21) lost to Michigan State(15), UConn(22) lost to San Diego(113), and Vanderbilt(53) lost to Siena(99)

Analysis: Vanderbilt was a fraud as a 4 seed and was lucky to even be in the tournament with an overall efficiency ranking of 53, which would project as a 13 seed. The only decent team they beat all season was Tennessee, which is how they racked up 25 wins. Their main weakness was defense(in any category you could name) and it showed against a highpowered Siena team. It wasn't that Siena was all that great, since they later lost to 12th seeded Villanova, but Vanderbilt was just really awful on defense, so when you combine that with an overseed, they were just ripe for the picking. There's no reason to go into the UConn upset loss to San Diego, since they probably would have won if A.J. Price didn't get hurt after playing just 9 minutes. Price was their PG and best 3-Point shooter, so that was obviously a big loss.


1 Seeds: Florida(2) won championship, UNC(1)lost to Georgetown(7), Ohio St(4) lost to Florida(2), and Kansas(3) lost to UCLA(6)

2 Seeds: Georgetown(7) lost to Ohio St(4), Memphis(9) lost to Ohio St(4), Wisconsin(8) lost to UNLV(42) and UCLA(6) lost to Florida(2)

3 Seeds: Oregon(18) lost to Florida(2), Pitt(13) lost to UCLA(6), Wash St(29) lost to Vanderbilt(35), and Texas A&M(7) lost to Memphis(9)

4 Seeds: Maryland(10) lost to Butler(25), S. Illinois(28) lost to Kansas(3), Texas(21) lost to USC(27), and Virginia(45) lost to Tennessee(31)

Analysis: In 2007, there were really no major upsets among the top seeds, except for UNLV over Wisconsin. UNLV was ranked 35 in Offensive Efficiency and 42 in Defensive Efficiency so I'm not sure how they were only 42 overall. Also, Wisconsin is a slow paced team just like UNLV, so Wisconsin's main edge was probably nullified there.


1 Seeds: Duke(5) lost to LSU(10), Memphis(9) lost to UCLA(3), UConn(4) lost to George Mason(23), Villanova(7) lost to Florida(1)

2 Seeds: Texas(2) lost to LSU(10), UCLA(3) lost Florida(1), Tennessee(22) lost to Wichita St(32), Ohio St(18) lost to Georgetown(14)

3 Seeds: Iowa(19) lost to Northwestern St.(105), Gonzaga(41) lost to UCLA(3), UNC(8) lost to George Mason(23), Florida(1) won championship

4 Seeds: LSU(10) lost to UCLA(3), Kansas(6) lost to Bradley(26), Illinois(11) lost to Washington(13), Boston College(24) lost to Villanova(7)

Analysis: The main thing that jumps out here is how poorly seeded the # 1 seeds were. Texas, Florida, and UCLA all probably should have been # 1's along with UConn. This is probably why there were some many "upsets" in this tournament. Tennessee as a # 2 was way overseeded since they were ranked 22 overall, so it's no surprise they got bumped early by # 32 Wichita St.

The biggest upset here is Iowa losing to Northwestern St who was a #14 seed. Iowa probably should have been a # 5 seed, and while they were 1st in Defensive Efficiency they also were ranked 129 in Offensive Efficiency, so they probably were even worse than 19 overall.

George Mason's string of upsets doesn't look as flukey when you look at their Overall Efficiency ranking of 23, they probably should have been a 5 seed. The other big upset here is Kansas losing to Bradley. Bradley was ranked 11 in Defensive Efficiency that year and actually was a faster paced team than Kansas.


1 Seeds: UNC(1) won championship, Illinois(2) lost to UNC(1), Duke(3) lost to Michigan St(7), and Washington(15) lost to Louisville(4)

2 Seeds: Oklahoma St(8) lost to Arizona(12), Wake Forest(9) lost to West Virginia(28), UConn(14) lost to North Carolina St(20), and Kentucky(10) lost to Michigan St(7)

3 Seeds: Gonzaga(32) lost to Texas Tech(30), Kansas(13) lost to Bucknell(91), Oklahoma(11) lost to Utah(22), and Arizona(12) lost to Illinois(2)

4 Seeds: Boston College(25) lost to Wisc.Milw.(42), Louisville(4) lost to Illinois(2), Florida(6) lost to Villanova(5), and Syracuse(18) lost to Vermont(62)

Analysis: Two big upsets here, Kansas losing to Bucknell and Syracuse losing to Vermont. Kansas lost to a Bucknell team ranked 33 in Defensive Efficiency. I also noticed that Kansas was in the middle of the pack as far as the pace they played at, so maybe they weren't as athletic of a team in 2005 as normal. Vermont had a decent rank of 55 in Offensive Efficiency, but this upset is hard to explain.


1 Seeds: St Joe's(6) lost to Oklahoma St(3), Kentucky(9) lost to UAB(42), Duke(1) lost to UConn(2), and Stanford(14) lost Alabama(29)

2 Seeds: UConn(2) won championship, Oklahoma St(3) lost to Georgia Tech(7), Gonzaga(17) lost to Nevada (22), and Mississippi St(18) lost to Xavier(16)

3 Seeds: Pitt(4) lost to Oklahoma St(3), Georgia tech(7) lost to UConn(2), Texas(15) lost to Xavier(16), and NC State(8) lost to Vanderbilt(24)

4 Seeds: Wake Forest(20) lost to St Joe's(6), Kansas(13) lost to Georgia Tech(7), Cincinnati(12) lost to Illinois(11), and Maryland(19) lost to Syrace(25)

Analysis: Only one big upset here, Kentucky losing to UAB. UAB was ranked 27th in Defensive Efficiency and was one of the fastest paced teams out there. Their pressing fast paced style was a good matchup for them against a slower paced Kentucky team and this is what led to the upset here.

Overall Analysis:
Through 2008, you rarely saw a # 1 seed ranked in the top 10 overall efficiency lose to another team who isn't in the top 10 overall. However in 2009, both Louisville(4) & Pitt(6) lost to teams outside the top in overall efficiency: Michigan State(13) & Villanova(19). These weren't terrible losses, but they did go against the trend. Also, if there is a # 1 team who is outside the Top 10 in overall efficiency this season, you can be pretty sure they will lose within the first 3 rounds.

In general, when a high seed loses a game, it is due to either them being seeded to high for their efficiency rating or if a change of pace is forced upon them from another good defensive minded team.

If looking for upsets, it might be best to see which teams are seeded too high and which are seeded too low based on overall efficiency. For instance, in 2006 #7 seed Georgetown had an overall efficiency rank of 14 and the knocked off # 2 seed Ohio St, which had an overall efficiency rank of 18.

2010 NCAA Tournament Analysis of Top Seeds:

1 seeds:

Overall Efficiency: Kansas(2), Kentucky(6), Duke(1), Syracuse(5)

Offensive Efficiency: Kansas(2), Kentucky(18), Duke(1), Syracuse(9)

Defensive Efficiency: Kansas(5), Kentucky(10), Duke(4), Syracuse(20)

Off. Effective FG%: Kansas(12), Kentucky(32), Duke(95), Syracuse(2)

Def. Effective FG%: Kansas(3), Kentucky(8), Duke(12), Syracuse(61)

Off. Turnover Rate: Kansas(81), Kentucky(167), Duke(10), Syracuse(210)

Def. Turnover Rate: Kansas(189), Kentucky(213), Duke(77), Syracuse(50)

Off. Rebounding Rate: Kansas(32), Kentucky(7), Duke(10), Syracuse(30)

Def. Rebounding Rate: Kansas(108), Kentucky(116), Duke(159), Syracuse(282)

Off. Free Throw Rate: Kansas(68), Kentucky(55), Duke(162), Syracuse(178)

Def. Free Throw Rate: Kansas(47), Kentucky(14), Duke(104), Syracuse(6)

Analysis: I have no beef with any of these teams being #1 seeds, but if you look at efficiency ratings then Wisconsin(3) & Ohio State(4) would replace Syracuse(5) & Kentucky(6). However, it's really close and considering Syracuse's and Kentucky's records it makes sense that they are the # 1 seeds.

Kansas(2) gets a raw deal considering they are the # 1 overall seed and will have the toughest road to the Final 4. In their bracket, they have Ohio State(3), Maryland(10), Georgetown(11), & Michigan State(24). Definitely a few teams that could knock them off.

Kentucky(6) has Wisconsin(3), West Virginia(8), Clemson(16), Texas(17), & Temple(18) in their bracket. These teams are mostly strong defensively, which could give Kentucky problems since they are a young team. Kansas would probably plow right through this group of teams.

Duke(1) doesn't even have to face a Top 10 team in efficiency in their bracket. Baylor(12) is their toughest draw along with a banged up Purdue(13), California(14), Villanova(15), & Utah State (20). I only see Baylor & Villanova having any chance to knock off Duke. Although Cal might give Duke a tougher game then many would expect in the 2nd round.

Finally, Syracuse(5) has to deal with BYU(7), Kansas State(9), Florida State(19), & Xavier(22). I can't see Florida State doing much against the Syracuse zone considering the only shoot the three at 33.5%. Syracuse might have the easiest road to the Final 4, since BYU and Kansas State would meet in the second round, so Syracuse might only have to play one of them.

It almost seems like Duke & Syracuse have easier roads then the top 2 #1 seeds Kansas & Kentucky.

2 seeds:

Overall Efficiency: Ohio State(4), West Virginia(8), Kansas State(9), Villanova(15)

Offensive Efficiency: Ohio State(7), West Virginia(11), Kansas State(16), Villanova(8)

Defensive Efficiency: Ohio State(22), West Virginia(24), Kansas State(19), Villanova(62)

Off. Effective FG%: Ohio State(4), West Virginia(143), Kansas State(91), Villanova(33)

Def. Effective FG%: Ohio State(102), West Virginia(118), Kansas State(85), Villanova(95)

Off. Turnover Rate: Ohio State(36), West Virginia(60), Kansas State(174), Villanova(92)

Def. Turnover Rate: Ohio State(81), West Virginia(138), Kansas State(23), Villanova(134)

Off. Rebounding Rate: Ohio State(265), West Virginia(2), Kansas State(5), Villanova(27)

Def. Rebounding Rate: Ohio State(33), West Virginia(92), Kansas State(195), Villanova(117)

Off. Free Throw Rate: Ohio State(227), West Virginia(149), Kansas State(3), Villanova(51)

Def. Free Throw Rate: Ohio State(10), West Virginia(232), Kansas State(316), Villanova(330)

Analysis: Ohio State(4), West Virginia(8), & Kansas State(9) are solid 2 seeds, but Villanova(15) might be slightly over-seeded.

I really like Ohio State(4), but they have their work cut out for them having to go through Georgetown(11) and Kansas(2) to get to the Final 4. In any other bracket, I'd have them in the Final 4 for sure and it's possible they still get there.

West Virginia(8) makes their living on the boards and with DeSean Butler making big shots. Their offensive & defensive effective FG% aren't the strongest though, which is my main concern with them. Luckily for them they get the weakest of the 3-seeds in New Mexico(47).

Kansas State(9) is certainly a sleeper in the sense that nobody really expects them to make the Final 4, but they have a very talented team. BYU(7) & Xavier(22) are their only obstacles in getting to the Elite 8.

Villanova(15) could be in trouble if they face off with Baylor(12) in the Sweet 16. Richmond(48) would give them a game in the 2nd round as well. Villanova is a tough team to call since they could lose in the 2nd round or just as easily make a return trip to the Final 4.

3 seeds:

Overall Efficiency: Georgetown(11), Baylor(12), Pitt(30), New Mexico(47)

Offensive Efficiency: Georgetown(10), Baylor(5), Pitt(41), New Mexico(21)

Defensive Efficiency: Georgetown(33), Baylor(52), Pitt(34), New Mexico(87)

Off. Effective FG%: Georgetown(6), Baylor(13), Pitt(137), New Mexico(80)

Def. Effective FG%: Georgetown(82), Baylor(25), Pitt(24), New Mexico(186)

Off. Turnover Rate: Georgetown(191), Baylor(177), Pitt(115), New Mexico(15)

Def. Turnover Rate: Georgetown(224), Baylor(309), Pitt(333), New Mexico(160)

Off. Rebounding Rate: Georgetown(194), Baylor(24), Pitt(47), New Mexico(65)

Def. Rebounding Rate: Georgetown(148), Baylor(152), Pitt(94), New Mexico(5)

Off. Free Throw Rate: Georgetown(186), Baylor(182), Pitt(66), New Mexico(26)

Def. Free Throw Rate: Georgetown(81), Baylor(110), Pitt(75), New Mexico(129)

Analysis: Georgetown(11) & Baylor(12) are solid # 3 seeds, but Pitt(30) & New Mexico(47) are way over-seeded based on their efficiency ratings. Both could struggle in their 1st round matchups and then Xavier(22) could be waiting for Pitt and Marquette(28) will be the possible 2nd round opponent for New Mexico. I would be shocked if both Pitt & New Mexico made it to the Sweet 16.

4 seeds:

Overall Efficiency: Wisconsin(3), Maryland(10), Purdue(13), Vanderbilt(36)

Offensive Efficiency: Wisconsin(13), Maryland(6), Purdue(49), Vanderbilt(25)

Defensive Efficiency: Wisconsin(7), Maryland(40), Purdue(6), Vanderbilt(64)

Off. Effective FG%: Wisconsin(57), Maryland(53), Purdue(138), Vanderbilt(38)

Def. Effective FG%: Wisconsin(57), Maryland(20), Purdue(41), Vanderbilt(88)

Off. Turnover Rate: Wisconsin(3), Maryland(17), Purdue(14), Vanderbilt(111)

Def. Turnover Rate: Wisconsin(191), Maryland(88), Purdue(21), Vanderbilt(243)

Off. Rebounding Rate: Wisconsin(239), Maryland(77), Purdue(234), Vanderbilt(190)

Def. Rebounding Rate: Wisconsin(1), Maryland(313), Purdue(99), Vanderbilt(249)

Off. Free Throw Rate: Wisconsin(296), Maryland(273), Purdue(115), Vanderbilt(12)

Def. Free Throw Rate: Wisconsin(151), Maryland(21), Purdue(170), Vanderbilt(114)

Analysis: 4 seeds generally have a tough time making it to the Elite 8 since they have to beat # 1 seeds to get there. I think Wisconsin(3) has the best chance to make the Elite 8 from this group, because they play at one of the slowest paces in the country (340 out of 347), which could give a young # 1 seeded Kentucky problems. Maryland(10) will be a tough out as well, but they have the misfortune of being in the same bracket as Kansas(2). If those two teams meet in the Sweet 16 that could be one hell of a game. Purdue(13) could be in trouble in the first round against Siena(65) and I expect Vanderbilt(36) to bow out early to Murray State(57).

More: March Madness

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