Category: Bracket Master

Introducing the BEST

Bracket Master’s first new feature of 2023 is the Trends Page.  This page allows you to examine the consolidated tournament achievements of Teams and Conferences over a user-specified period of time.  The exclusive BEST© score presented here intends to identify the top entities over an extended period of time by tallying tournament victories, weighted by their advancement in the championship.  BEST is an acronym for BracketMaster Elite Season Trend.  The calculation of BEST is based on the following terms:

BEST© Achievement Points

  • 16 => Won Championship
  • 12 => Lost in Finals
  • 9 => Lost in Final Four
  • 6 => Lost in Elite Eight
  • 4 => Lost in Sweet Sixteen
  • 2 => Lost in Round of 32
  • 1 => Lost in Round of 64/First Four

This scoring system seeks to reward repeated deep runs without overemphasizing championship victories.  Tournaments in years prior to the 64-plus-team field (introduced in 1985) award the same number of points for championships, final fours, etc; those years just  don’t provide points for early, partial rounds.  For example, 1984 champ Georgetown earned 16 points, and first full-round (Round of 32) loser UTEP earned 2 points for making the tournament, but not winning any games.  Similarly, the 1939 tournament with just an eight team field awards 16 points for a championship and 6 points for a first game loss.

BEST also provides an optional weighting factor in order to emphasize more recent performance over that of the distant past.  Seasons of increasing time into the past have their achievement points reduced by a shrinking percentage factor.  BEST uses a 3rd degree polynomial to calculate the weighting factor, with more recent seasons slowly reducing in percentage, seasons after 20 years more rapidly falling, and then leveling out after 50 years in the past.  In terms of specific points, the weighting equation provides a 94% multiplier at 10 years, sliding to 67% at 30 years, 50% at 50 years, and bottoms out at 35% at 80 years.  The most recent five tournaments are always weighted at 100%.  The ability to disable this factor eases comparisons between different spans of time.

BEST can be calculated for the entire history of the college basketball tournament, but it also allows one to examine interesting questions, such as: who was the top team of the 1980s, or: what has been the most successful conference of the 21st century.

Thanks go out to user “Brewer” for suggesting the framework of this rating.  You can suggest your own idea for a new feature on our forum: scrutinous.net/forums/forum/request-a-feature/.

The Trends Page featuring the BEST score is part of the BracketMaster App 1.3.3 release of January 17, 2023.

2022 Tournament Final

Congratulations to the University of Kansas Jayhawks for their fourth NCAA men’s basketball championship, earned in their 50th tournament appearance.  Kansas defeated the University of North Carolina Tarheels 72-69.  The Jayhawks required the biggest comeback in championship game history.  North Carolina led by 16 points with the score 38-22 shortly before halftime.  Loyola University of Chicago held the previous record, erasing a 15-point second-half deficit to the University of Cincinnati in the 1963 championship game to overcome the Bearcats 60-58 in overtime.

North Carolina lost in the championship game for the sixth time in their history.  Kansas, Duke, and Michigan have also lost six Finals, which is the highest total.

Kansas is 5-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament games against North Carolina.  They avenge their loss to UNC in the 1957 Final.

Kansas is 8-0 in tournament games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents since 2008.  Kansas defeated three Big East teams (Creighton, Providence, Villanova) and two ACC teams (Miami, UNC) on the way to the title.

The Big 12 Conference has won two straight championships.  This is the first conference to repeat since the ACC in 2009-2010, when North Carolina and Duke raised consecutive trophies.

Number 1 seeds have won the last five tournaments.  A five-straight-year streak by 1 seeds also occurred from 1992 to 1996.

North Carolina’s loss as an 8 seed lowers the record of 8 seeds in the Final round to 1-4.  Only the 1985 Villanova squad has won the championship as a number eight.

Villanova lost to the eventual champion for the seventh time since 2005, which was the year of the first tournament berth for coach Jay Wright.  The full list of losses:

  • 2005: North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen
  • 2006: Florida in the Elite Eight
  • 2008: Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen
  • 2009: North Carolina in the Final Four
  • 2014: Connecticut in the Round of 32
  • 2021: Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen
  • 2022: Kansas in the Final Four

Picking a bracket “by chalk” — selecting the better seed in every game — achieved the highest bracket score from among our basket of team rating methodologies.  It was the first time chalk has done this, in all the tournaments for which we have calculated the score (all since 1998).  The Bart Tovik T-Rank finished second and our Scrutinous Score tied with Jeff Sagarin for third.  Lots of early upsets resulted in the worst year of bracket picking by the major rating metrics since 2011.  You can find this data on Bracket Master’s Picks Page by tapping the (i) button next to the ‘Scoring System’ option selector.

In the Sweet Sixteen, only six teams scored 70 or more points.  On average, 66.6 points per game were scored in the Sweet Sixteen, the lowest scoring output since 2015.

2021 Tournament Final

Congratulations to the Baylor University Bears (28-2) for their first NCAA men’s basketball championship, earned in their 13th tournament appearance.  The Gonzaga University Bulldogs (31-1) fell just short in a bid to complete an undefeated season while trying to win their first national title.  They lost their 2nd tournament final game (2017 loss to North Carolina).  The 1976 Indiana Hoosiers remain the last team to complete an undefeated season with a tourney championship.

Baylor’s championship is the 4th for the Big 12 Conference — the first for a member school other than Kansas.

For the second-straight tournament a first-time champion has won the tournament.  The last occurrence of consecutive first-time victors was 2002 (Maryland) and 2003 (Syracuse).

Scrutinous Score achieved the highest bracket score (104) compared to the other major team rating metrics — beating KenPom, Sagarin, Torvik, NCAA NET, SRS, Net Rating, and chalk.  The bracket scores for each of the team rating metrics is presented on the Bracket Master Picks Page for every tournament season since 1998.  The (i) button to the left of the ‘Scoring System’ option will display these bracket scores.

Number 1 Seeds have won the last four tournaments.  Number 1s last won four consecutive from 2007 to 2010.  A five-straight-year streak by Number 1s occurred from 1992 to 1996.  Number 1 Seeds have won 25 of the 42 (60%) tourneys that assigned official seed numbers (all tournaments after 1978).

Bracket Master Tournament Simulation

The 2020 Basketball Tournament was cancelled, but now you can simulate the championship using Bracket Master!  You can simulate a full championship tournament using any season from 1985 to the present.  The Simulation uses an exclusive methodology for rating teams and determining their odds to win a particular game.  Try to get your favorite team to win the championship!

The BracketMaster simulation is based on our exclusive “Scrutinous Score” methodology.  A Scrutinous Score is calculated for each team using advanced metrics from the season’s game results.  Using the Scrutinous Scores of a game’s two teams, we utilize a unique calculation to determine the odds for the matchup.  We simulate each game in the tournament, team-by-team, round-by-round.  Scores of games are produced by the distinct tendencies of the opposing teams.

Better, more highly rated teams will win more simulations than lesser teams, but upsets can, and will, occur.  Our extensive study of the tournament has allowed us to develop a mathematic calculation for the circumstances and frequency of these upsets.

For seasons prior to 2002, Scrutinous Scores are determined using a shorthand calculation that heavily weighs the team’s tournament seed. This demarcation is due to the lack of availability of advanced college basketball metrics prior to 2002.

The Bracket Master simulation is available starting with version 1.1.0.0726 of the app.  The Scrutinous Score game odds calculations can be viewed on both the Simulation page and the  Picks page of the app — Select the “Scrutinous Odds” option from the “Display Mode” drop down menu.