Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Upsets"/Sun Belt Bracket

"Upsets" and Home Teams
I am not one for predicting game results. I have indulged in a little experiment over the last two weeks in regards to picking "upsets." A lot of going 4-0 with these picks was simply picking a solid home team over a team with more national buzz that might be overrated.

How big is the home court advantage? Take these home records into consideration.

1-20 RPI: 218-10 (.956 win %) at home.
21-40 RPI: 213-21 (.9103). 431-31 (.9349) cumulative Top 40.
41-60 RPI: 139-21 (.8688). 570-52 (.9164) cumulative Top 60.
61-80 RPI: 176-24 (.8800). 736-76 (.9064) cumulative Top 80.

I stopped at the top 80 RPI mainly because these are the teams with real At-Large hopes. These are good basketball teams, regardless of conference.

Now, granted, a lot of these home wins are over far lesser teams. And, in the coming weeks, I will try to delve into the numbers a bit more and find out how top 80 teams fare at home against other top 80 teams to get an idea of home court advantage in games between good teams. I am sure Palm or Pomeroy or someone else has good info on this and I'll link it if I find something that will save me a lot of time and work.

For now, let's leave it at this: the top RPI teams play LOTS of home games and they win them at a HIGH clip. That is to be expected. It takes a Herculean effort to beat a good team in their gym. I mainly just wanted to set the table for future discussions about scheduling and home court advantage.

Sun Belt Bracket
I am in the midst of putting together the 2007 One Stop Shop. The Shop will have all 30 conference tournament brackets in simple, logo-free form and will be updated as results are completed during the conference tourney season to keep you up-to-the-minute (OK, maybe not "minute," but it's updated several times per day) on game results. The bare brackets should be up next week or in early February.

For kicks, here is what the Sun Belt tournament bracket would look like if the season ended today.

Last Night's GOI
--VCU 75, at George Mason 62. Rams are 8-0 on the road. THAT is tasty.
--at Georgia 78, Kentucky 69 (OT). Dawgs came from 17 down to pick up a nice win.
--Vanderbilt 64, at LSU 53. LSU is floundering badly. How long will it take for pollsters to see this?
--at Maryland 80, Georgia Tech 65. Terps avoided a 1-5 start and kept hope alive.
--at Mississippi 83, Tennessee 69. Vols need Chris Lofton back sooner rather than later.
--Florida 70, at Mississippi State 67. Gators grind out another on the road.
--Creighton 66, at Missouri State 62. Bears have lost two straight home games in conference. Ouch.
--at Rhode Island 75, UMass 72. Rams are quietly leading the A-10 right now.
--at South Carolina 66, Arkansas 60. Hogs have yet to win a true road game.
--at Texas Tech 70, Texas A&M 68. Raiders are in great shape with this win in tow.
--at Wisconsin 71, Michigan 58. It will be shocking if the Badgers lose at the Kohl Center this season.

Tonight's GOI
--East Tenn St at Belmont. Two of the A-Sun's best.
--UCLA at Cal. Bears could make hay at home here.
--Clemson at Duke. Neither is likely to win the ACC, but both are strong contenders for #2.
--Butler at Loyola (Chicago). Ramblers are 7-1 at home this season
--Oakland at Oral Roberts. HUGE game between MCC leaders.
--Southern Cal at Stanford. Cardinal need to hold serve at home in this one.
--Oregon at Washington. Huskies have to get off the mat soon to make any sort of run.