The Cinderella Score: PTP

Bracket Master’s latest new feature is the Performance Page.  This page allows you to examine the tournament performance of Teams and Conferences compared to expectations.  The exclusive PTP© score presented here evaluates tournament advancement relative to the designated seed number.  PTP© is an initialism of Performance to Par.

PTP defines a seed’s expected performance par by assuming that the higher seed should always win, i.e., game results are determined by ‘chalk’.  If one works through a bracket picking the higher seed in every game, the following results unfold:

  • 1 seeds are meant to reach the Final Four
  • 2 seeds are presumed to reach the Elite Eight
  • 3s & 4s should make the Sweet Sixteen
  • 4s through 8s should win one game into the Round of 32
  • 9s through 16 aren’t expected to win a game.

PTP assigns a score based on these expectations.  For each game a team advances past their seed number’s expected round the team earns one point; each round the team fall short they lose one point.  For example, in 2022 the championship Kansas team (#1 seed) earned two points for winning two games beyond reaching the Final Four.  Saint Peter’s (#15 seed) earned a +3 for winning three games; their first round opponent, Kentucky (#2 seed), gets a -3 for not making their forecasted Elite Eight.

Accumulating a large positive score is challenging for high-major teams that consistently receive top seed bids because of how hard it is to advance deep in the tournament.  To help account for this, we display the Average Seed of each team alongside their PTP.  A lower (better) Avg Seed means the team was anticipated to win multiple games.  A positive PTP score over time with a low Average Seed is particularly impressive.

The challenge for highly seeded teams is contrasted by mid-major Cinderellas such as the Loyola Ramblers.  Their 2018 run as an eleven seed banked themselves +4 PTP.

We feel that the PTP listing of Conferences is particularly useful.  It lessens the bias of small sample sizes to illuminate the leagues that produce title contenders and dark horses, and those that have perhaps become over-rated for a span.

The PTP score helps to remind of the biggest shocks in tournament history, such as DePaul’s collapses as a #1 seed from 1980 to 1984, and Butler’s run to the finals in 2010 and 2011.  The DePaul years are described in the following article: The Bonus: March 14, 1981: When the NCAA tournament became Madness – Sports Illustrated.  Butler is said to be the smallest university to play in the championship game since the 1985 64-team field.  Their 2010 tournament is detailed here: Butler’s incredible 2010 NCAA run, remembered by Coach K, Tom Izzo, Frank Martin and Jim Boeheim |

The Performance Page featuring the PTP score is part of the BracketMaster 1.3.6 release of February 27, 2023.

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