If you followed all 63 www.valueaddbasketball.com bracket picks posted on Breitbart prior to the tournament, a Gonzaga-over-UNC championship is almost sure to make you the winner of your pool. Both won this weekend and will be favored over South Carolina, featuring the No. 1 Value Add player in the country in Sindarius Thornwell, and Oregon in Saturday semifinals, respectively.
Here are the standings of all 10 systems outlined here prior to the tournament, based on the ESPN scoring system. Of the 18 million+ brackets submitted, two of the three tied for first-picked Gonzaga to win the title, while the other picked UNC. Interestingly, one of the fifth place people was one of only 0.1% to pick South Carolina to win it all, and would definitely win the Bracket Challenge if the Gamecocks do win it all (see leaders board here). What we said about each Final Four team is below:
|Bracket Name||Percentile||PTS||Best Case||Possible Points Remaining|
|Healthiest Value Add||92%||780||1420||Gonzaga 480, UNC 160|
|Breitbart Overall||90%||770||1410||Gonzaga 480, UNC 160|
|Venue||90%||770||1410||Gonzaga 480, UNC 160|
|Vegas Odds||90%||770||1250||UNC 480|
|NBA Talent||89%||760||920||Gonzaga 160|
|Hottest teams||63%||650||810||UNC 160|
|Top 3 Players||40%||580||580||None|
The Value Add bracket is already in the 92nd percentile, but would go much higher if either Gonzaga or UNC wins Saturday. Since our bracket is one of only 15.5% of the 18 million brackets that predicted a Gonzaga win Saturday a Zags win would advance our bracket against the 84.5% that did not pick Gonzaga to win Saturday. Likewise, our bracket was among only 26.6% that picked a UNC win Saturday. If they both win, and you went with our picks, you likely win your pool/group. The same is true if you went with the Breitbart Overall picks, which is only 10 points behind the Value Add bracket.
By the same token, very few brackets can pass the Value Add or Breitbart Overall Bracket Saturday because only 0.3% of all brackets picked South Carolina to win Saturday, and only 3.5% picked Oregon to win Saturday and go to the National Championship. Therefore, even if the Value Add and Breitbart Overall brackets are wrong in not picking South Carolina or Oregon, almost every other bracket would miss that one too and stay lower leaving those brackets around the 90th percentile even missing both games Saturday.
Recap of Predictions and What Happened in Each Region
EAST REGION – UNC
UNC was correctly picked to beat Kentucky for South Regional championship in this post. Value Add would have missed the Most Outstanding Player in this one though, as Luke Maye was barely in the top quarter of all players, and played fewer than half of the minutes played in UNC’s four tournament games. However, he hit the shot in the closing seconds to beat Kentucky and finish an incredibly efficient 19 of 35 from the floor in the four games, including making five three-pointers to be named Most Outstanding Player.
WEST REGION – GONZAGA
Gonzaga had five of the top 10 Value Add players in the entire West Region, so we did not understand the doubters in this preview. It was Gonzaga’s second best player, Johnathan Williams, who was chosen Most Outstanding Player over their All-American Nigel Williams-Goss, who also made the All-Region team.
EAST REGION – SOUTH CAROLINA
While not picking South Carolina, we did note they were even better than advertised according to our preview, since Thornwell’s 1st place rating at Value Add would have been even higher if he had not missed six games during the season. In the first four games of the tournament, he lived up to our billing by scoring over 100 points to be voted the East Region MVP. Here is what we wrote:
Healthy: Duke and South Carolina rank even higher with Thornwell and Tatum out – and Marquette could drop if Fischer (shoulder) cannot play Thursday.
Not only is South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell the No. 1 ranked player in the country at www.valueaddbasketball.com, but he would have rated even higher if had not missed six games. Marquette’s team is No. 1 in the nation in 3-pointers, and Markus Howard would break the all-time record of 56% if he hit 7 of 9 this weekend – a tough task against two of the toughest defenses in the country to get 3-pointers off against.
Unfortunately for whoever wins between South Carolina and Marquette, Duke is next up with four players who would be in the top 100 if Grayson Allen had not lost his cool and Tatum had played the whole season.
MIDWEST REGION – OREGON
While not picking Oregon, we noted they had four of the top seven players in the bracket and enough depth to offset a crucial injury at the end of the season. Many questioned the Value Add ranking of Jordan Bell as easily Oregon’s best player and the fourth-best player in the Pac-12, but he backed it up to be named Most Outstanding Player in the Region.
Healthy: Oregon and Creighton were hit with two of the biggest injuries in the country, however Oregon’s bench is good enough to offset most of the loss of Chris Boucher (emphasis added), while Creighton was one of the most hurt teams in the country after point guard Mo Watson went down for the season.
Possible “style/home” edge upset: Rhode Island is very good at denying 3-pointers (18th in country) that Creighton needs (13th best 3-point shooting). (3/27 Additional Note, Rhode Island did beat Creighton).