Monday, January 16, 2017

NCAA Tournament Bracket Simulations: Post-2016 "Standards" Update

As I've written previously, in order to do my NCAA tournament bracket simulations, I use "standards" I've identified that say either "yes," a team gets a particular seed or an at large selection, or "no," a team doesn't get a particular seed or an at large selection.  The "standards" are based on what the Committee has done in the past:

  • If a team meets a "yes" standard for a particular decision, it means that every team that met that standard, over the period for which I have data, received a "yes" Committee decision -- for that particular seed or for an at large selection.
  • If a team meets a "no" standard for a particular decision, it means that every team that met that standard received a "no" Committee decision.
Since what I've called "standards" really are just the patterns the Committee has followed, they really aren't standards.  So, for future purposes, I'm going to call them "patterns," which is more accurate.

Each year, following the NCAA Tournament, I have to update the "patterns" to take the current year's Committee decisions into account.  I've done that this year, and while doing it I've made some changes to my method that will make my annual updates easier to do, will provide some very good information about how the Committee appears to make its decisions, and still will provide a good basis for my next year's bracket simulations.  At this point, my data base is 10 years (2007 through 2016), so the patterns are consistent with 10 years' Committee decisions.

My updated system has, for each Committee decision -- #1 seeds, #2 seeds, #3 seeds, #4 seeds, and at large selections -- 91 patterns.  The patterns are based on the NCAA-mandated criteria the Committee is to apply in making its at large selections.  I use 13 basic criteria and have a pattern for each criterion by itself and then a pattern for each paired set of criteria.  There are 78 "paired criteria" patterns -- the number generated based on 13 criteria taken two at a time.

I've explained this in detail, and have set out the patterns, at the RPI for Division I Women's Soccer website.  At the website, I have one page for the at large selection patterns and a separate page for the seed selection patterns.  On those pages, I've provide tables showing what the patterns are.  I've also provided information on exactly how the Committee's decisions over the last 10 years match with the patterns.  Here are links to those two pages:
As we go through the season, week by week, I will match up the individual teams' data with the patterns to create simulated brackets.  The deeper we get into the season, the closer a simulated bracket will come to what the ultimate bracket will be and to showing where the Committee will have to make tough decisions.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be writing a series of posts on the patterns.  I hope the posts will be helpful to coaches and fans in evaluating their teams' prospects from an NCAA tournament seed and at large selection perspective.  In the meantime, if you're interested in this, take some time to look over the patterns at the linked webpages.

And, as always, feel free to ask questions!

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