All right, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has arrived. So, it’s time to make our 2015 NCAA predictions.
There are lots of ways to measure the performance of a team when preparing our 2015 NCAA predictions. Some examples, moving from least useful to most, are won-loss record, RPI rating, average margin of victory, NCAA tournament seed, and predictive power ratings. Yes, that’s correct: won-loss record is at the bottom of the list when it comes to making your NCAA predictions. Luck plays a large role in wins and losses, so margin of victory is a better predictor to use when making predictions for the 2015 NCAA tournament. Our power ratings combine margin of victory with information about who a team played, where they played them, and when they played the game. These are the most important factors when rating a team.
I must interject here that several teams in the select 64 simply do not deserve to be in the tournament. Texas and UCLA come to mind. They both have 13 losses on the season. Pathetic! Indiana doesn’t deserve to be in the tournament either.
I might also interject here that every sports pundit in America thinks Kentucky –including the President of the United States — will win it all, based on the fact that Kentucky has a purported five players who will go in the first round of the NBA draft this year. And they’re all freshmen. They may all make NBA teams in the first round, but they will not win this year’s NCAA Tournament. Stay tuned for my upset prediction.
Locally, it is impressive that Georgetown University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University have all made the cut to the select 64. They will all win their first two games which will take them to the Sweet Sixteen, but only U.Va. will advance any further.
I am also impressed by the state of Iowa, which is fielding three teams in the tournament: Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa. All three are sleepers and could surprise a lot of people. Another powerful sleeper to watch is Wichita State. They got to the Final Four last year remember, and they come in with a solid team this year as well.
Here is the way I see the four divisions coming out: In the Midwest, Kentucky will make the final four by narrowly defeating a tough Notre Dame squad.
University of Virginia emerges out of the East defeating a super Louisville team.
In the West, I see Wisconsin and Arizona in a heated battle with Arizona coming out on top.
And in the Southwest, it will come down to Gonzaga and Duke, but the stronger team will be victorious, and that is Gonzaga.
Thus, my Final Four will be Arizona playing Kentucky, and Gonzaga meeting UVA. Two great games for sure. The upset of upsets will be Arizona beating Kentucky handily, and meeting Gonzaga in the Final game for the title. Arizona has a solid starting five, including a very hot three point shooting guard and a big, tough center. Gonzaga also is solid, with a 5th year senior at point guard and he too can knock down the threes with ease.
I predict Arizona will be victorious in the end. And it will be great for college basketball to see the all freshman Kentucky squad go down in defeat.
Although a few games have begun, there is a link to this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament brackets. Take a chance, fill them it and see whether you, I or President Obama is right.