The top 10 college basketball teams in 2015 by Sweet 16 appearances

tom_izzoWhich school has the best college basketball program?

It’s an easy question to answer with only analytics. We could take an average rating from computer rankings over the past 10 years to find the best programs.

However, college basketball is a sport that almost entirely relies on the postseason for its popularity. Any legitimate ranking must consider success in the NCAA tournament.

To balance analytics with post season success, I propose ranking programs by Sweet 16 appearances over the past 10 years. With such a long time period, it’s difficult for a non-elite team by the numbers to have enough tournament success to make this list. The top 10 below includes all the traditional college basketball powers.

In addition, the Sweet 16 seems like an appropriate balance between making the tournament and winning the entire contest. It’s not enough to just make the field every year, but there’s too much randomness in winning the tourney. In the past 10 years, only two programs have won more than one tournament (Florida and Connecticut), and neither made the tournament in 2015.

To break ties among programs with the same number of Sweet 16 appearances over the last 10 years, I looked at appearances in the past 9 seasons. If this didn’t break the tie, I looked at successively shorter time periods until one program came out ahead.

The rankings below show the top 10 college basketball programs by Sweet 16 appearances. Only one program had 7 appearances over 10 years, which shows the parity in college basketball. Even the best programs have years in which they lose before the second weekend of the tournament.

Teams that missed the cut

Gonzaga has made the tournament each of the past 10 years but did not make this list. While they have become a brand name program in college basketball, Gonzaga has struggled in the tournament with only 3 Sweet 16 appearances.

Ohio State and UCLA have 5 Sweet 16 appearances each but lost out to the teams below based on the tie breaker method. Ohio State hasn’t make the second weekend of the tournament the last two years, while UCLA had 3 straight appearances early in the 10 year window.

10. Xavier

5 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008

Xavier is the only program in the top 10 not from a power conference. Sean Miller led the Musketeers to the first two Sweet 16 appearances, while Chris Mack has reached the Sweet 16 in half of his 6 seasons.

9. Wisconsin

5 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2008

Bo Ryan has made the NCAA tournament in each of his 14 years as Wisconsin’s coach. They have made the Sweet 16 in half of the past 10 years, and the 2015 team led by Frank Kaminsky might be the best of all these teams.

8. Arizona

5 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2009

Sean Miller coached Arizona for the last 4 Sweet 16 appearances. However, Arizona only had 1 appearance between 2006 and 2010 as the program transitioned from long time coach Lute Olsen to Miller.

Arizona has a great team in 2015, and I think they have the best chance of beating Kentucky should they play in the Final Four.

7. Kentucky

5 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010

With their undefeated season so far in 2014-2015, one might expect Kentucky to be higher on this list. However, the Wildcats struggled in the early years of this 10 year period as they transitioned from Tubby Smith to Billy Gillispie (whoa, remember him?) to John Calipari.

Even within the last 5 years, Kentucky had a down year in 2013 when they lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT. Even the best programs can’t escape the vagaries of luck in this era of one and done players.

6. Florida

6 Sweet 16’s: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2007, 2006

Billy Donovan has had tremendous success at Florida, winning back to back championships in 2006 and 2007. However, it doesn’t always run smoothly in Gainesville. Florida didn’t make the tournament in 2008 and 2009 when the stars from the championship teams left. They also didn’t make the tournament this year.

5. Duke

6 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2006

Back in the Christian Laettner years, Duke made four straight Final Four appearances and won two championships. Even Mike Krzyzewski can’t duplicate that success in this era of parity and one and done players.

Duke has fallen victim to two of the biggest Round of 64 upsets recently, as they lost to 15 seed Lehigh in 2012 and 14 seed Mercer in 2014.

4. Kansas

6 Sweet 16’s: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007

Bill Self has an incredible streak of 11 straight Big 12 regular season championships. He also hasn’t made the Sweet 16 the past two seasons. In 2015, Kansas lost Wichita State, a program in their own state they refuse to schedule during the regular season.

3. North Carolina

6 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007

I thought North Carolina would be lower on this list, as Roy Williams has had some subpar teams in recent memory. North Carolina didn’t make the tournament in 2010, and they didn’t make the Sweet 16 in 2013 and 2014. However, they still have 6 appearances over the last 10 years and squeak ahead of Kansas with their Sweet 16 appearance in 2015.

2. Louisville

6 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008

Rick Pitino has the Louisville program in great shape, as they almost always feature a top 10 defense by adjusted points per possession. However, their offense has been the problem in 2015. If they can find enough offense in the soft East Region this year, they could make another Final Four appearance.

1. Michigan State

7 Sweet 16’s: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008

Tom Izzo’s teams continue to perform well in March. In 2015, Michigan State beat Virginia to make the Sweet 16 for the 7th time over the last 10 years, tops in the country. I doubt Michigan State would have the highest rating averaged over the past 10 seasons, but they continue to have success in the tournament.

Check out the latest NCAA tournament predictions for 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 12.24.43 PMWhile everyone else is trying to predict which teams make the tourney, I like to know which teams might win.

I know bracketology is fun for fans. I don’t pay attention at all. I just take Joe Lunardi’s projection and calculate win probabilities for each team. To see the interactive bracket with win probabilities, click here.

However, I messed with his field of 68.

Wisconsin keeps landing as the 2 seed in Kentucky’s region. The Badgers are one of 5 teams clustered within a point of each other behind Kentucky in my team rankings. With this field, Kentucky has a 31.9% to win the tournament.

Kansas is not one of those 5 teams ranked behind Kentucky. The Jayhawks are 9th in my rankings and got clobbered by Kentucky earlier this season. However, Kansas is projected as a 2 seed.

The interactive bracket shows results with Kansas as the 2 seed in Kentucky’s region. Kentucky’s win probability for the tournament increases from 31.9% to 35.5%.

We shall see what the actual committee gives us on Sunday.

What is Kentucky’s win probability for the 2015 tourney?

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 8.43.07 AMYou know Kentucky can ball. They’re threatening to become the first undefeated college basketball team since Indiana in 1975-1976.

Coach John Calipari has coaxed this team into playing lights out defense. They’re not just first in my defense rankings by points per possession adjusted for strength of schedule. Kentucky is more than 3 points per 100 possessions better than second ranked Arizona.

It’s hard to poke holes at this team. They don’t shoot well from the outside except for reserve Devin Booker? Karl Anthony Towns isn’t quite as athletic as his competition for the first pick of the NBA draft, Jahlil Okafor of Duke?

I wasn’t always a believer in this Kentucky team. After they thrashed Kansas early this season, some of my friends had them as a Final Four lock. I disagreed, thinking that almost no team has better than a 50% chance to make the Final Four. Now I’m not so sure.

Let’s put some numbers behind Kentucky’s chance to make the Final Four and win the NCAA tourney.

Tourney win probabilities

I took Joe Lunardi’s projected bracket from Thursday, February 19th and used my college basketball rankings to calculate tourney win probabilities for each team.

I’ve made some modifications from last season. The rankings provide a margin of victory between any two teams, and this spread implies a win probability. This year, I’m taking a data driven approach to translating the spread into win probability.

This change has led to a higher win probability for the favorites. For example, Arizona would have had a 17.9% chance to win last year’s tourney, higher than the 9.5% I showed last season.

Check out the interactive visual for tourney

This interactive visual shows the probability for each team to advance to each round. Hover over a team to view its chance to advance, or hover over a circle to see the odds that each team wins that game.

Kentucky has a 34.1% chance to win the tourney. And this estimate is probably low, as this bracket puts a strong Wisconsin team as the two seed in Kentucky’s region. If a Villanova or Kansas were that two seed, Kentucky’s win probability would be even higher.

Since the 2002, only North Carolina in 2007 had a higher win probability before the tourney. This team, which featured Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansborough, had a 37.8% to win the tourney but lost in the Elite 8 to Georgetown. Florida won that tourney for their second straight title.

The visual also shows Kentucky has a 61.4% chance to make the Final Four.

How to win your tourney pool

I’ve been digging into data from past seasons as part of my research into optimal bracket strategies. To learn when my short ebook on how to win your pool becomes available, sign up for my free email newsletter.

Enter your email and click on “Sign up now.”








College football win totals for 2014

ncaaf2014_preseason_rankHow many games will your team win this season?

Let’s estimate wins with The Power Rank’s preseason rankings. These rankings come from a regression model that considers team performance the previous four years, turnovers in each of these four years and returning starters for the current season.

While I developed this model before the 2013 season, I’ve gone back and calculated the rankings for each year since 2005. The earlier years have less data to consider, since I only uses numbers from seasons prior to the seasons of interest.

In the rankings, each team has a rating, and the difference in rating gives an expected margin of victory on a neutral site. To get a prediction for a home game, add 3 points for the home team.

The predictions of my preseason model pick 70.5% of game winners for the current year and 60.3% of bowl game winners. I’m still a bit surprised how well you can predict the season before any game has been played. College football programs have a history and tradition that set expectations. Alabama never drops to the level of Rice, or vice versa.

The predicted margin of victory translates into a win probability for each game, which you can see on the team pages. Assuming the randomness of one game has no effect on any other game, you can add these win probabilities to get expected wins for a team.

Below, I show the difference in this prediction (TPR) from the total posted at Pinnacle sports (Markets). Win totals for all teams are listed at the bottom of this post.

1. California, 1.74, 4.2 TPR, 2.5 Markets.
2. Kentucky, 1.72, 5.2 TPR, 3.5 Markets.
3. Virginia, 1.35, 4.8 TPR, 3.5 Markets.
4. Utah, 1.20, 5.7 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
5. Arkansas, 1.17, 5.7 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
6. Kansas, 1.13, 4.1 TPR, 3.0 Markets.
7. Illinois, 1.12, 5.6 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
8. Wake Forest, 1.10, 4.6 TPR, 3.5 Markets.
9. Iowa State, 1.08, 4.6 TPR, 3.5 Markets.
10. Purdue, 0.94, 4.4 TPR, 3.5 Markets.
11. Rutgers, 0.90, 5.4 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
12. West Virginia, 0.85, 5.3 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
13. Indiana, 0.69, 6.2 TPR, 5.5 Markets.
14. Boston College, 0.66, 5.7 TPR, 5.0 Markets.
15. North Carolina State, 0.48, 6.0 TPR, 5.5 Markets.
16. Nevada, 0.40, 6.4 TPR, 6.0 Markets.
17. Texas A&M, 0.39, 7.9 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
18. Washington State, 0.38, 5.9 TPR, 5.5 Markets.
19. UNLV, 0.20, 4.7 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
20. Michigan, 0.14, 7.6 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
21. Vanderbilt, 0.12, 6.1 TPR, 6.0 Markets.
22. Arizona, -0.00, 7.0 TPR, 7.0 Markets.
23. Stanford, -0.05, 8.5 TPR, 8.5 Markets.
24. Oregon State, -0.11, 6.9 TPR, 7.0 Markets.
25. TCU, -0.15, 7.9 TPR, 8.0 Markets.
26. Colorado, -0.26, 4.2 TPR, 4.5 Markets.
27. Oklahoma State, -0.35, 7.2 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
28. Mississippi State, -0.39, 7.1 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
29. Minnesota, -0.41, 6.1 TPR, 6.5 Markets.
30. Miami (FL), -0.44, 7.1 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
31. Virginia Tech, -0.46, 7.5 TPR, 8.0 Markets.
32. Georgia Tech, -0.47, 6.0 TPR, 6.5 Markets.
33. Pittsburgh, -0.51, 7.0 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
34. LSU, -0.54, 8.5 TPR, 9.0 Markets.
35. Texas Tech, -0.58, 5.9 TPR, 6.5 Markets.
36. Florida, -0.59, 6.9 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
37. Fresno State, -0.60, 6.9 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
38. Mississippi, -0.64, 6.9 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
39. Florida State, -0.72, 10.3 TPR, 11.0 Markets.
40. Arizona State, -0.73, 6.8 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
41. Missouri, -0.74, 6.8 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
42. Alabama, -0.80, 9.7 TPR, 10.5 Markets.
43. Colorado State, -0.81, 5.7 TPR, 6.5 Markets.
44. Kansas State, -0.82, 6.7 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
45. Brigham Young, -0.82, 8.2 TPR, 9.0 Markets.
46. USC, -0.85, 7.6 TPR, 8.5 Markets.
47. Tennessee, -0.89, 4.6 TPR, 5.5 Markets.
48. Maryland, -0.91, 5.6 TPR, 6.5 Markets.
49. Louisville, -0.91, 6.6 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
50. Northwestern, -1.00, 6.5 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
51. Penn State, -1.01, 6.5 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
52. Texas, -1.01, 7.0 TPR, 8.0 Markets.
53. Washington, -1.05, 7.9 TPR, 9.0 Markets.
54. Notre Dame, -1.06, 6.4 TPR, 7.5 Markets.
55. Clemson, -1.08, 7.4 TPR, 8.5 Markets.
56. Georgia, -1.20, 8.3 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
57. Nebraska, -1.28, 6.7 TPR, 8.0 Markets.
58. Wisconsin, -1.30, 8.2 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
59. Oregon, -1.33, 9.2 TPR, 10.5 Markets.
60. Duke, -1.34, 7.2 TPR, 8.5 Markets.
61. Iowa, -1.37, 7.1 TPR, 8.5 Markets.
62. Michigan State, -1.41, 8.1 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
63. South Carolina, -1.48, 8.0 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
64. North Carolina, -1.58, 6.9 TPR, 8.5 Markets.
65. Baylor, -1.77, 7.7 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
66. Utah State, -1.78, 7.7 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
67. Auburn, -1.80, 7.7 TPR, 9.5 Markets.
68. Boise State, -1.88, 8.1 TPR, 10.0 Markets.
69. Oklahoma, -1.90, 8.6 TPR, 10.5 Markets.
70. UCLA, -2.30, 7.2 TPR, 9.5 Markets.

Let’s first look some teams predicted to be overrated by The Power Rank.

Oklahoma

Every year, a team wins big in a bowl game and gets overrated the next preseason.

Two years ago, it was West Virginia after crushing Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Last season, it was Clemson, who beat LSU in the closing minutes in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

This season, Oklahoma sits at 3rd in the preseason Coaches Poll after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The markets expect the Sooners to win 10.5 games.

I have all the respect in the world for Bob Stoops and his program. They are consistently a top 10 program, and my preseason rankings place Oklahoma 7th.

However, to win 11 games, they can only stumble once in a tough Big 12 conference. With games against TCU, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State, this seems unlikely at best.

UCLA

Everyone loves QB Brett Hundley and the program Jim Mora has built at UCLA. Moreover, they have 16 returning starters, tops in the Pac-12. The Bruins are 7th in the AP and Coaches preseason polls, and the markets expect 9.5 wins.

My preseason model is down on UCLA for two reasons. First, they have only had success recently. In 2011, they were barely an average FBS team by my rankings. My preseason model considers a 4 year window to evaluate program strength.

Second, UCLA was +10 in turnover margin last season. While this isn’t a remarkable total (Houston led the FBS with +25), the Bruins should not expect a similar total this season since turnover margin regresses to the mean.

Their schedule doesn’t do them any favors either. UCLA travels to Texas and Washington and also hosts Stanford and Oregon. My numbers have UCLA as an underdog in each of these games. If they lose 2 of these 4 and drop another one along the way, they’ll come under 9.5 wins.

Now let’s check out two teams underrated by the markets.

California

As a Stanford alum, I laughed when Cal hired Sonny Dykes. He had an incredible offense at Louisiana Tech but didn’t seem that concerned with defense. Dykes also doesn’t seem like the type of guy that will win recruiting battles on the West Coast.

Cal dropped off significantly last season in Dykes’ first year, posting a 1-11 record. He started a freshman QB and had significant departures on defense. The markets expect 2.5 wins this season.

However, Cal had bad turnover luck last season with a -15 turnover margin. The randomness of turnovers implies this margin will regress towards zero this season. Since my preseason model considers this bad luck from last season, Cal is ranked 69th, much higher than the 103rd they ended last season.

The markets expect 2.5 wins. However, Cal should beat Sacramento State and get a weak Colorado team at home. They only need one more win the rest of the way for that third win.

Kentucky

The Wildcats look like another team in which people look at their poor record from last season (2-10) and have low expectations for the current season. The markets expect 3.5 wins.

However, Kentucky has 16 returning starters, which places the Wildcats 68th in my preseason rankings. They should win games against Tennessee-Martin, Ohio and Louisiana Monroe. Moreover, my numbers expect them to beat either Tennessee or Vanderbilt.

Just in case they fall short and have 3 wins heading into their last game, they have a better than 1 in 3 chance of beating Louisville, a team that enjoyed quite a bit of turnover luck last season.

Win totals for all teams

Georgia State already has one win after their dramatic come from behind win over Abilene Christian last night.

1. Florida State, 10.28.
2. Alabama, 9.70.
3. Oregon, 9.17.
4. Oklahoma, 8.60.
5. Marshall, 8.54.
6. Northern Illinois, 8.50.
7. LSU, 8.46.
8. Stanford, 8.45.
9. Georgia, 8.30.
10. Wisconsin, 8.20.
11. Brigham Young, 8.18.
12. Houston, 8.17.
13. Boise State, 8.12.
14. Ohio State, 8.12.
15. Michigan State, 8.09.
16. South Carolina, 8.02.
17. UCF, 8.02.
18. Washington, 7.95.
19. Texas A&M, 7.89.
20. TCU, 7.85.
21. Baylor, 7.73.
22. Utah State, 7.72.
23. Auburn, 7.70.
24. Louisiana Lafayette, 7.70.
25. USC, 7.65.
26. Michigan, 7.64.
27. Toledo, 7.60.
28. Navy, 7.58.
29. Virginia Tech, 7.54.
30. Bowling Green, 7.49.
31. Georgia Southern, 7.45.
32. Clemson, 7.42.
33. Cincinnati, 7.28.
34. UCLA, 7.20.
35. Duke, 7.16.
36. Oklahoma State, 7.15.
37. Iowa, 7.13.
38. Mississippi State, 7.11.
39. Miami (FL), 7.06.
40. Arizona, 7.00.
41. Pittsburgh, 6.99.
42. Texas, 6.99.
43. Buffalo, 6.97.
44. North Carolina, 6.92.
45. Florida, 6.91.
46. Fresno State, 6.90.
47. Oregon State, 6.89.
48. Mississippi, 6.86.
49. Arkansas State, 6.82.
50. Arizona State, 6.77.
51. Missouri, 6.76.
52. Nebraska, 6.72.
53. Ball State, 6.71.
54. Kansas State, 6.68.
55. Louisville, 6.59.
56. Northwestern, 6.50.
57. Penn State, 6.49.
58. South Alabama, 6.47.
59. Western Kentucky, 6.46.
60. Notre Dame, 6.44.
61. Nevada, 6.40.
62. Troy, 6.25.
63. Indiana, 6.19.
64. Rice, 6.13.
65. Vanderbilt, 6.12.
66. UTSA, 6.10.
67. Minnesota, 6.09.
68. San Diego State, 6.08.
69. South Florida, 6.06.
70. Georgia Tech, 6.03.
71. Air Force, 6.00.
72. North Texas, 5.98.
73. North Carolina State, 5.98.
74. San Jose State, 5.96.
75. Texas Tech, 5.92.
76. Middle Tennessee State, 5.90.
77. Central Michigan, 5.90.
78. Washington State, 5.88.
79. Temple, 5.72.
80. Akron, 5.71.
81. Utah, 5.70.
82. Colorado State, 5.69.
83. Syracuse, 5.67.
84. Arkansas, 5.67.
85. Boston College, 5.66.
86. East Carolina, 5.64.
87. Ohio, 5.62.
88. Illinois, 5.62.
89. Maryland, 5.59.
90. Army, 5.57.
91. Memphis, 5.53.
92. Old Dominion, 5.51.
93. Tulsa, 5.50.
94. Rutgers, 5.40.
95. Louisiana Monroe, 5.40.
96. West Virginia, 5.35.
97. Western Michigan, 5.25.
98. Kentucky, 5.22.
99. UAB, 5.21.
100. Connecticut, 5.21.
101. Appalachian State, 5.19.
102. Hawaii, 5.18.
103. Florida Atlantic, 5.12.
104. Southern Miss, 4.98.
105. Louisiana Tech, 4.90.
106. Virginia, 4.85.
107. Wyoming, 4.79.
108. Kent State, 4.78.
109. SMU, 4.76.
110. UNLV, 4.70.
111. Tennessee, 4.61.
112. Wake Forest, 4.60.
113. Iowa State, 4.58.
114. Florida International, 4.54.
115. Purdue, 4.44.
116. Idaho, 4.42.
117. Texas State, 4.37.
118. UTEP, 4.37.
119. California, 4.24.
120. Colorado, 4.24.
121. Kansas, 4.13.
122. Tulane, 3.94.
123. New Mexico State, 3.77.
124. Massachusetts, 3.67.
125. Miami (OH), 3.64.
126. New Mexico, 3.32.
127. Eastern Michigan, 3.04.
128. Georgia State, 3.00.

The predictive power of the preseason AP poll

preseason_AP_cbb_2013Kentucky started the season #1 in the preseason AP poll in 2013.

Then John Calipari’s young Wildcats struggled during the season, losing 10 games along the way. They dropped out of the AP poll entirely by the end of the season.

However, Kentucky found their stride in the tournament. As an 8 seed, they beat Louisville and Michigan in the regional final to advance to the Final Four.

Could we have learned something from the preseason AP poll? Can the opinion of sports writers months ago tell us something about post season play?

Quite surprisingly, the answer is yes. Research shows that the higher ranked team in the preseason AP college basketball poll wins 72% of tournament winners, the same win percentage as the team with the higher seed in the bracket.

The aggregate opinion of sports writers does a good job evaluating the potential of each team. Kentucky is a prime example, as Calipari brought in one of the most highly touted recruiting classes ever.

What about college football?

My own research shows the same predictive power for the preseason AP football poll.

From 2005 through 2012, I looked at how often a higher ranked team in the preseason poll beat a lower ranked team in a bowl game. I assumed a ranked team would beat an unranked team, but didn’t make a prediction between two ranked teams.

The preseason AP college football predicted 59.8% of bowl game winners (125 of 209). The poll made a prediction in 79% of these games. Remember, this poll comes out before any college football games have been played.

To put this accuracy in perspective, let’s compare it with the Colley Matrix, one of the computer polls in the old BCS system. Given the game results of all college football games before bowl season, the Colley Matrix predicts the winner of 55.1% of bowl games (146 of 265).

During the season, the AP poll loses its predictive power because it reacts to strongly to wins and losses. The higher ranked team in the poll just before bowl season wins 57% of bowl games (106 of 186). This poll makes a prediction in 70.1% of bowl games (186 of 265).

I presume the AP college basketball poll also loses its predictive power as the season progresses.

With only hundreds of games, the uncertainty in these win percentages is about 3%. This implies a 2 in 3 chance the actual accuracy of the Colley Matrix is between 52% and 58%. So while we can’t say with certainty that the preseason AP college football poll is more accurate than the Colley Matrix, it does seem likely.

Will Kentucky beat Wisconsin in the Final Four?

Kentucky excels in two areas: offensive rebounding and getting to the line. Julius Randle, the best college basketball player not named Jabari Parker, leads this attack. He is a physical presence with soft hands to finish around the basketball.

However, Kentucky does not shoot the ball well. They shoot 33% from 3 point range, worse than the Division I average. However, Kentucky has found a hot streak in the tourney, going 8-18 against Wichita State and 7-11 against Michigan. Can this continue?

Wisconsin has the 4th best offense by my points per possession adjusted for strength of schedule. Seven foot center Frank Kaminsky has been a beast the entire tourney. He has hit 3 point shots as well as scored around the basket. As a team, Wisconsin shoots 38% from 3.

However, I’m concerned about their point guard play. Traevon Jackson wanted to be the hero against Arizona. On 3 possessions down the stretch, he ran a pick and roll with Kaminsky and then ignored his dominant center in the post against a guard. Sheer stupidity.

My teams rankings, which do not consider the preseason AP poll, predict a Wisconsin win by 1.8 points. This implies a 55% win probability over Kentucky.