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Projecting the 68 NCAA Tournament Teams at Midseason

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This Christmas Eve started with me opening ESPN the Mag to see my www.valueaddbasketball.com work on page 26. Marquette and Temple received an even better present with the two top midseason transfers giving them a chance move up in the Value Add rankings below of teams trying to make it to March Madness.

Here’s an ESPN the Magazine snippet:

The metric, developed by stats pro John Pudner, assesses how many wins a player contributes to his team over that of a theoretical replacement player, similar to baseball’s WAR. If Wright keeps it up, “he’d be one of the greatest college players ever,” Pudner says.

The Big Ten and Big 12 are on pace to each get eight NCAA bids based on a combination of the potential value based on their players’ combined ratings at www.valueaddbaskeball.com and their rating to date by Ken Pomeroy’s (www.kenpom.com). Both the Big East and American could add a bid to the counts below based on recently getting the top two midseason transfers in Luke Fischer (Marquette) and Jesse Morgan (Temple).

Projected Bids Per Conference

8 – Big Ten, Big 12
6 – ACC, Big East, SEC
4 – Pac12
2 – Atlantic 10, American, MVC, WCC

For these ratings we started at www.valueaddbasketball.com, then added how valuable any mid-season transfers would have been if they had played the whole season. For example, Marquette’s players combined for a 19.05 Value Add to date, which included Luke Fischer’s 1.92 in just 3 of Marquette’s 11 games. However, Fischer actually had a Value Add of 7.06 in the three games he played after becoming eligible so Marquette’s team Value Add below is shown as 24.19, the 50th best in the country. Fischer leads the top five midseason transfers:

Midseason Transfer Team Ht Database Projections Proj Rnk
40 Fischer, Luke Marquette 6′ 11″ 1.92 7.06 59
3 Morgan, Jesse Temple 6’5″ 1.00 6.00 111
11 Goodman, Savon Arizona St. 6′ 6″ 1.27 5.08 184
0 Russell, DeWayne Grand Canyon 5′ 11″ 1.21 3.62 388
10 Worsham, Raeford Jackson St. 6′ 4″ 1.04 2.70 628

The actual ranking gives Marquette an actual winning percentage of 66% based on it being weighted equally with the rating to date at www.kenpom.com. This leaves Marquette with an estimated winning percentage of 66% if they were to play every other team – which puts them 75th and good enough for an NIT bid.

At 63rd, Temple is on pace for the NIT but has a good chance to make the NCAA due partly to the recent arrival of Jesse Morgan. In only his second game back, Morgan led Temple to a stunning 77-52 upset of Kansas with three 3-pointers, 17 points, three assists, a steal, and a block. In just two games his Value Add has been 6.00 per game.

Tranfer/Injury Losers:Kentucky, Vermont, and Southern Miss
Despite going through the hundreds of players on Jeff Goodman’s ESPN transfer list and the Chicago Sun-Times injury report (click here), only 17 players were lost that had added value to their team so far. Those are all listed here with the points per game you should lower their team’s value based on their departure:

Value Add Departed Team Loss to team Reason gone for season
Demetrius Treadwell Akron -0.29 may play overseas, transferred
Ronnie White Arkansas St. -0.11 Transferred out
Mading Thok Ball St. -0.1 Transferred out
Semi Ojeleye Duke -0.73 Transferred out
Ron Giplaye East Tennessee St. -0.41 leg injury, out for season
Sherron Dorsey-Walker Iowa St. -0.32 Transferred out
Gerrald Maddox Jackson St. -0.43 Transferred out
Alex Poythress Kentucky -2.26 tore his ACL, out for season
Deonte Burton Marquette -0.67 Transferred out
JayQuan McCloud Murrah State -0.48 Transferred out
Dallas Anglin Southern Miss -1.64 Transferred out
Shadell Millinghaus Southern Miss -0.9 Transferred out
Schuyler Rimmer Stanford -0.14 Transferred out
Dominic Woodson Tennessee -0.16 Transferred out
Antravious Simmons VCU -0.56 Transferred out
Ernie Duncan Vermont -1.07 back issues, out for season
Ayinde Sprewell Western Kentucky -0.06 Transferred out

Kentucky has so much talent that their loss of Alex Poythress (takes away 2.26 points per game from their rating based on Value Add) may not be felt, and Southern Miss probably had little chance to win Conference USA even with the two transfers that left. Of the hundreds of players that left, the following are the only that had any Value Add. The biggest loss in the country was Ernie Duncan of Vermont who had a Value Add of just under 3.00 (worth three points a game) through four games before his back forced him out for the season. If he had kept playing at that same pace, there is a good chance Vermont would have defeated Harvard, Yale and St. Louis (all losses in overtime or by three points or less) to be 8-3 instead of 5-6. While we still project Vermont as the eventual American East champion, the loss of Duncan prior to those three games could be just enough to give Stony Brook a shot at the title behind the top Value Add player in the conference – Jameel Warney – who is ranked as the 73rd best player in the country and has been in the top 4% of all players all three of his seasons.

You can use the point differential above to adjust the ratings from your favorite service to estimated the point difference between all teams. While we focus more on the individuals than teams, we did apply these adjusted Value Adds and balance them against the ratings at www.kenpom.com to come up with the following rough ratings. We then broke down the teams by which 68 should make the NCAA tournament, the NIT and then the two smaller tournaments. The fact that Marquette, Temple and Arizona State all moved from out of the top 100 to the NIT list certainly gives all three a chance at the NCAA.

While we hailed the ACC as the top conference at the outset of the season, they have been top-heavy and are on pace to tie the Big East and SEC with six bids each.

ESPN’s college basketball guru Jeff Goodman lists all midseason transfers – players who had to wait until the first semester ended to take the court. In matching them against the Value Add database only five project to improve their teams by more than a point – so those totals were added to their totals in the database.

Here are the teams that would make it if the Selection Committee picked today and went exactly by the Value Add database.

NCAA Tournament Bids with Team Value Add totals
1, Kentucky, SEC, 66.16, (Win 98%)
2, Duke, ACC, 42.73, (Win 93%)
3, Virginia, ACC, 39.09, (Win 91%)
4, Gonzaga, WCC, 41.46, (Win 91%)
5, Wisconsin, B10, 35.49, (Win 89%)
6, North Carolina, ACC, 37.78, (Win 87%)
7, Louisville, ACC, 33.83, (Win 87%)
8, Villanova, BE, 32.97, (Win 86%)
9, Texas, B12, 35.13, (Win 86%)
10, Ohio St., B10, 36.53, (Win 86%)
11, VCU, A10, 32.13, (Win 83%)
12, Wichita St., MVC, 30.48, (Win 83%)
13, Notre Dame, ACC, 33.48, (Win 83%)
14, Arizona, P12, 28.51, (Win 82%)
15, Utah, P12, 31.33, (Win 82%)
16, Oklahoma, B12, 28.22, (Win 81%)
17, Kansas, B12, 29.22, (Win 81%)
18, Iowa St., B12, 27.36, (Win 80%)
19, Florida, SEC, 25.96, (Win 79%)
20, West Virginia, B12, 26.36, (Win 79%)
21, Arkansas, SEC, 29.03, (Win 79%)
22, Indiana, B10, 31.9, (Win 79%)
23, Xavier, BE, 29.13, (Win 79%)
24, Maryland, B10, 26.94, (Win 79%)
25, San Diego St., MWC, 28.14, (Win 78%)
26, Northern Iowa, MVC, 25.91, (Win 78%)
27, Georgetown, BE, 27.67, (Win 78%)
28, St. John’s, BE, 25.6, (Win 78%)
29, Michigan St., B10, 24.99, (Win 78%)
30, Minnesota, B10, 25.75, (Win 77%)
31, Oklahoma St., B12, 24.46, (Win 77%)
32, Baylor, B12, 23.09, (Win 77%)
33, Georgia, SEC, 24.91, (Win 76%)
34, Illinois, B10, 27.49, (Win 76%)
35, Washington, P12, 24.88, (Win 76%)
36, Connecticut, Amer, 24.52, (Win 75%)
37, Vanderbilt, SEC, 29.5, (Win 75%)
38, BYU, WCC, 25.8, (Win 75%)
39, SMU, Amer, 23.44, (Win 75%)
40, South Carolina, SEC, 23.16, (Win 75%)
41, Seton Hall, BE, 24.84, (Win 74%)
42, Syracuse, ACC, 22.74, (Win 74%)
43, Iowa, B10, 24.2, (Win 74%)
44, TCU, B12, 25.25, (Win 74%)
45, Georgia St., SB, 27.26, (Win 74%)
46, George Washington, A10, 24.07, (Win 73%)
47, Butler, BE, 21.6, (Win 73%)
48, Louisiana Tech, CUSA, 27.29, (Win 73%)
49, Stephen F. Austin, Slnd, 25.46, (Win 73%)
50, Stanford, P12, 21.74, (Win 72%)
55, Harvard, Ivy, 19.56, (Win 70%)
65, Murray St., OVC, 27.85, (Win 69%)
66, Green Bay, Horz, 18.08, (Win 68%)
68, Iona, MAAC, 23.52, (Win 68%)
69, Eastern Washington, BSky, 25.76, (Win 68%)
72, UC Santa Barbara, BW, 20.92, (Win 67%)
83, Buffalo, MAC, 19.74, (Win 65%)
92, Lafayette, Pat, 27.33, (Win 64%)
97, Hofstra, CAA, 22.43, (Win 63%)
106, New Mexico St., WAC, 17.48, (Win 61%)
108, Wofford, SC, 14.98, (Win 61%)
112, North Carolina Central, MEAC, 18.63, (Win 59%)
113, Vermont, AE, 20.78, (Win 59%)
121, Florida Gulf Coast, ASun, 17.61, (Win 58%)
132, Coastal Carolina, BSth, 14.37, (Win 56%)
150, St. Francis PA, NEC, 13.37, (Win 52%)
157, Denver, Sum, 13.57, (Win 51%)
205, Texas Southern, SWAC, 9.99, (Win 43%)

NIT Bids starting with those just out of the NCAA tournament
The teams ranked lower than 78th below are there because of cases in which two conference teams were very close for the title, we put the second best in the NIT tournament since it is fairly likely one team would win the tournament and another get the NIT bid for having won the regular season.

51, Davidson, A10, 23.99, (Win 71%)
52, Colorado, P12, 24.19, (Win 71%)
53, Providence, BE, 21.55, (Win 71%)
54, Miami FL, ACC, 25.68, (Win 71%)
56, Texas A&M, SEC, 23.38, (Win 70%)
57, Rhode Island, A10, 21.41, (Win 70%)
58, Alabama, SEC, 24.52, (Win 70%)
59, UCLA, P12, 20.05, (Win 69%)
60, Cincinnati, Amer, 20.47, (Win 69%)
61, Pittsburgh, ACC, 20.38, (Win 69%)
62, Colorado St., MWC, 20.27, (Win 69%)
63, Temple, Amer, 21.68, (Win 69%)
64, Oregon, P12, 20.46, (Win 69%)
67, Old Dominion, CUSA, 19.64, (Win 68%)
70, Wyoming, MWC, 18.09, (Win 68%)
71, North Carolina St., ACC, 18.03, (Win 68%)
73, Arizona St., P12, 18.86, (Win 66%)
74, Kansas St., B12, 19.89, (Win 66%)
75, Marquette, BE, 24.19, (Win 66%)
76, Tennessee, SEC, 22.6, (Win 66%)
77, Mississippi, SEC, 19.66, (Win 66%)
78, California, P12, 15.49, (Win 66%)
79, Dayton, A10, 15.45, (Win 66%)
86, Toledo, MAC, 20.13, (Win 65%)
90, Eastern Kentucky, OVC, 18.91, (Win 64%)
93, Long Beach St., BW, 20.79, (Win 64%)
105, Valparaiso, Horz, 16.37, (Win 61%)
122, Northeastern, CAA, 13.51, (Win 58%)
135, High Point, BSth, 17.94, (Win 55%)
138, USC Upstate, ASun, 17.39, (Win 55%)
142, Stony Brook, AE, 13.02, (Win 54%)
173, South Dakota St., Sum, 13.03, (Win 48%)

The College Basketball Invitational Tournament could be a landing spot for the highly disappointing UCLA and K-State if they do not recover from early season setbacks.
80, Richmond, A10, 20.74, (Win 65%)
81, Memphis, Amer, 17.55, (Win 65%)
82, New Mexico, MWC, 20.22, (Win 65%)
84, San Diego, WCC, 18.86, (Win 65%)
85, LSU, SEC, 14.72, (Win 65%)
87, Boise St., MWC, 17.05, (Win 64%)
88, Evansville, MVC, 19.19, (Win 64%)
89, Purdue, B10, 18.07, (Win 64%)
91, Penn St., B10, 17.42, (Win 64%)
94, Illinois St., MVC, 16.68, (Win 63%)
95, Michigan, B10, 15.97, (Win 63%)
96, Sam Houston St., Slnd, 18.59, (Win 63%)
98, Massachusetts, A10, 16.88, (Win 63%)
99, La Salle, A10, 15.5, (Win 62%)
100, Creighton, BE, 14.94, (Win 62%)
101, Loyola Chicago, MVC, 19.07, (Win 62%)

Major Conference teams generally do not go to the CollegeInsider.com tournament, so we skipped any of them that did not make the top 101. However, there are plenty of teams here that could upset a major team if they made the tournament. Charlotte just gave Georgetown a scare, Columbia was leading Kentucky in the second half and Eastern Michigan beat Indiana.
102, Charlotte, CUSA, 17.42, (Win 62%)
104, UTEP, CUSA, 13, (Win 61%)
107, Columbia, Ivy, 19.09, (Win 61%)
109, Saint Mary’s, WCC, 14.35, (Win 60%)
110, Yale, Ivy, 14.76, (Win 60%)
111, Central Michigan, MAC, 17.44, (Win 60%)
116, Akron, MAC, 21.14, (Win 59%)
117, Eastern Michigan, MAC, 15.85, (Win 59%)
118, Western Kentucky, CUSA, 17.34, (Win 59%)
120, Belmont, OVC, 15.49, (Win 58%)
123, UC Davis, BW, 20.22, (Win 58%)
124, Western Michigan, MAC, 19.36, (Win 57%)
126, Kent St., MAC, 16.82, (Win 57%)
127, Cleveland St., Horz, 17.2, (Win 57%)
128, UC Irvine, BW, 16.21, (Win 56%)
129, William & Mary, CAA, 15.76, (Win 56%)
130, Pepperdine, WCC, 15.13, (Win 56%)
131, UNLV, MWC, 13.59, (Win 56%)
133, San Francisco, WCC, 15.11, (Win 56%)
134, Bowling Green, MAC, 11.98, (Win 55%)
136, St. Bonaventure, A10, 12.54, (Win 55%)
137, Utah St., MWC, 19.15, (Win 55%)
139, American, Pat, 15.63, (Win 55%)
140, Portland, WCC, 14.68, (Win 55%)
143, Wright St., Horz, 14.56, (Win 54%)
144, Canisius, MAAC, 14.78, (Win 54%)
147, Saint Joseph’s, A10, 10.77, (Win 54%)
148, Army, Pat, 17.66, (Win 53%)
149, Detroit, Horz, 15.88, (Win 53%)
151, Georgia Southern, SB, 18.82, (Win 52%)
152, Hawaii, BW, 15.63, (Win 52%)
153, Siena, MAAC, 21.99, (Win 52%)


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