The ultimate guide to college basketball analytics

Do you wonder how The Power Rank’s predictions work? 

Sure, I discuss how I use success rate in football and points per possession in college basketball.

But how does one go from the raw numbers to predictions? 

Do matchups matter in college basketball? 

For example, if an elite offensive rebounding team plays an awful defensive rebounding team, can this help make for more accurate predictions? 

I answer these questions in my guide to predictive college basketball analytics. The article assumes no prior knowledge and covers two core ideas:  

  • tempo free statistics
  • the four factors

It leaves you with further reading on the three point shot and ensemble predictions. 

To check it out, click here.

Podcast: Adam Stanco on predicting the NCAA tournament

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, I dive into college basketball with Adam Stanco of the Pac-12 Network. Each eary, I enjoy comparing my numbers with his hoops expertise.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • The overall landscape of the 2020 NCAA tournament (2:43)
  • Does preseason #1 Michigan State have enough offense? (7:35)
  • Can a mid-major like Dayton or San Diego State win the tournament? (12:53)
  • What are the prospects for Arizona and Oregon from the Pac-12? (20:26)
  • Breaking down contenders from pretenders in The Power Rank top 10 (30:34)
  • Two dark horse teams for March Madness (41:20)

Towards the end, Adam tells a remarkable story about his interaction Kobe Bryant before his tragic death (46:54).

To listen here, click on the right pointing triangle.

To listen on Apple Podcasts, click here.

Podcast: Ken Pomeroy on college basketball analytics

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, I’m joined by Ken Pomeroy, college basketball analytics guru. In addition to his site kenpom.com, his work has been featured on The Athletic, ESPN and Deadspin.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • How his college basketball rankings and predictions work (2:48)
  • The surprising statistic he uses to calculate home court for each team – no, it’s not points (6:15)
  • Ken’s favorite study among all that he has done on college basketball analytics (11:06)
  • Is the pack line defense of Tony Bennett and Virginia behind the times? (13:39)
  • Can a mid-major like Dayton or San Diego State win the tournament? (15:46)
  • Can Michigan State make a run in this tournament? (17:43)
  • The two numbers to look at to determine whether a player is over or underperforming his skill as a 3 point shooter (20:32)
  • The conference that has befuddled his numbers the most (22:29)

I ended the show by asking my usual question about what you would bring if you were kidnapped for a year. This led to a fascinating conversation on our society (25:26).

To listen here, click on the right pointing triangle.

To listen on Apple Podcasts, click here.

How to win your 2020 March Madness pool

In last year’s Final Four, Virginia was down 2 with 1.5 seconds left to play against Auburn. Ty Jerome inbounds the ball to Kyle Guy, their best shooter, deep in the corner. Guy launches a 3 point shot that could win the game.

There’s a reason I told members of The Power Rank to pick Virginia in their March Madness brackets, and not the favorite Duke. This advice looked great in the Elite 8, as Duke lost to Michigan State and Virginia advanced over Purdue.

This advice continued to look great late in the Final Four game, as Virginia had a 10 point over Auburn with 5 minutes left in the game. Then Auburn went on a 11-0 run to take the lead.

Virginia still had a chance to win, but Guy’s three pointer bounced off the rim. It looked like the end Virginia’s tournament hopes.

However, Guy got fouled on the 3 point shot. He went to the line to sink 3 free throws for a 63-62 Virginia win.

Virginia went on to beat Texas Tech in the national title game, and many of my members won their pool.

There are two lessons from this experience. First, it takes a lot of luck for your team to win the NCAA tournament. While Guy did get fouled, you can imagine that the referee doesn’t make that call.

Second, you need the right strategy to win your pool, and this depends on pool size. Analytics plays a role, as the strategy is based on the win probabilities for each team. However, in 2019, the right strategy for certain pools said not to pick Duke, the team with the highest win probability.

I explain this balance of analytics and strategy in my book How to Win Your NCAA Tournament Pool. Over the years, it has helped many people win their March Madness pool.

This is what L.S. Stint said after last year’s tournament.

I used Ed’s methods and won a pool with 102 entrants. As a woman, it was particularly gratifying to win as pool consisted of mostly men who consider themselves knowledgable. Thank you, The Power Rank!

— L.S. Stint, Ann Arbor, MI

A new version of the paperback is now available. This version has a new design and crisp images not usually found in self-published books on Amazon.

My book How to Win Your NCAA Tournament Pool is also available to members of The Power Rank. Members also get access to my complete bracket advice in which I apply the ideas in the book to the 2020 tournament. Members also get access to my daily college basketball predictions.

To learn more, click here.

Podcast: Nick Kostos on the Super Bowl

On this episode of The Football Analytics Show, I’m joined by Nick Kostos, sports betting personality at Sports Illustrated and You Better You Bet.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • How Nick got into the industry through Bleacher Report and CBS (1:48)
  • How analytics fits in his world of sports betting and fantasy football (10:13)
  • The match up that determines the Super Bowl result (18:00)
  • The QB match up between Jimmy Garappolo and Patrick Mahomes (21:16)

We also discuss social media, food, books and the important things in life (26:38).

To listen here, click on the right pointing triangle.

To listen on Apple Podcasts, click here.