My 2014 NCAA bracket breakdown

As with my sets of picks from last year, here’s how I picked each bracket, with different websites involved, and with split stats covering the division (listed in order of East, South, West, Midwest)
BRACKET 1 (Sports Illustrated)
Stats courtesy of the team capsules done by USA Today www.usatoday.com
*Average tournament games by coach. Best by division: UNC (3.60), Florida, VCU (3.33), Baylor (3),Duke (3.68)
*Average tourney games by school: UNC (3.43), Kansas (3.26), Baylor (2.57), Duke (3.56)
*Number of upperclassmen on roster. Harvard (11), Eastern Kentucky (12), OK State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Oregon (9 each), Texas-Southern (10). Best seeded team with at least 9: Ohio State, with 9 upperclassmen.

Possible upsets: Round of 64: Pitt, Stanford, St. Joe’s, OK State, Texas-Southern (YES I know, a #16, but it can happen), Xavier, Iowa. Round of 32 is more sedate but I do see these reaching the 16: Ohio State (6), UNC (6), Kentucky (8), Baylor (6 again). All but Ohio State should get to the Elite 8, and UNC and Baylor should reach the Final 4. Final: A classic, Duke over UNC (who triumphs over Kansas in the Final 4 matchup)

Here’s how this bracket looks: http://sportsillustrated.collegehoops.upickem.net/collegebasketball/brackets/printbracket.asp?userid={28F9D17D-0AEA-47F4-A880-B76D72D02770}&affiliateguid={24864C91-D513-4858-98B4-0E62CC56A5A3}

BRACKET 2 (FOX)
Here I mainly examined stats from the Sagarin website. http://sagarin.com/sports/cbsend.htm
*Closest school to neutral site
*Best W-L % vs schools in current top 50: Villanova (.727), Florida (.833), Arizona (.785), Wichita State (3-0)
*Most wins vs better conference in non-conference games. Top schools had fewer non-conference games of a better conference (Big 12 schools, at the top, had none, of course), so the weaker conferences had more opportunities to score here. Top conferences measured by Sagarin’s strength of schedule are Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast, Southeastern (it pays to be big). Worst: Southwestern, Independents, Mid-Eastern, Big South (north), Southland, Southern (what’s up with the South?) By division: 5 (George Washington, Harvard, North Carolina Central, UConn, a #7 seed); 8 (Stephen F. Austin); 8 (New Mexico State); 7 (Manhattan).

Possible upsets: Round of 64: Pitt, SF Austin, Dayton, New Mexico, GW, St Joe’s, ND State, Louisiana Lafayette. Round of 32, all better seeds prevail, tho UNC, Baylor and UMass advance as #6 seeds but get no further than Sweet 16.

BRACKET 3: (CBS) Here I used stats from www.teamrankings.com
*Lowest differential between defensive 2-point % and defensive 3-point %

By division: 8.1 (Villanova), 7.0 (New Mexico), 8.9 (Baylor), 8.5 (Texas)
*Lowest turnover ratio per possession. By division: 13.2 (Delaware), 14.3 (Syracuse), 12.4 (Wisconsin), 14.0 (Duke)
*Highest assist-turnover ratio. By division: 1.486 (Michigan State), 1.634 (UCLA), 1.784 (Creighton), 1.553 (Duke)
*Higher efficiency of field goal % on offense. By division: 54.5 (Michigan State), 57.0 (Eastern Kentucky), 59.3 (Creighton), 55.4 (Michigan)
*Lower efficiency of field goal % on defense. By division: 43.4 (North Carolina Central), 44.9 (New Mexico), 42.2 (Arizona), 43.8 (Louisville)
Possible upsets (there’s a bunch here): Round of 64: Pitt, SF Austin, Dayton, Eastern Kentucky, Saint Joe’s, ND State, NM State, BYU, NC State, Iowa, Arizona State. Round of 32: Pitt (9), New Mexico (7), ND State (12). Sweet 16 and Elite 8: New Mexico. All other selections are the better seed. CBS won’t let me save to a URL. Finals: Wisconsin over UCLA. Final 4 also includes Villanova and Duke.

COMPOSITE bracket (ESPN) takes the majority decision of each variable.

Upsets in this bracket:
Round of 32: Pitt, SF Austin, Dayton, St. Joe’s, ND State, NC State, Iowa. Beyond that, it’s all top 4 seeds to progress further except for Baylor and UNC, both of whom are #6 seeds.

It was hardest to break ties in 7 occasions:
Kansas over Syracuse and New Mexico in the Sweet 16
Kansas over Florida and UCLA in the South Elite 8.
Wisconsin over San Diego State and Baylor in the West Elite 8.
NC State over Saint Louis and Xavier in the round of 32

Louisvile over Wichita State and Kentucky in the Midwest Elite 8.

I ended up with this consensus:
East: Villanova. South: Kansas. West: Wisconsin. Midwest: Duke.

Finals matchup: Villanova vs. Wisconsin (very narrow over Duke)
Championship to go to Villanova


Notably in the regular season both schools would be undefeated v 3 common opponents: Iowa, St. John’s, and Marquette (Villanova 5-0, Wisconsin 4-0)

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