The brackets were not the only thing Breitbart Sports did right. Breitbart’s March 11 announcement that relative unknown Sindarius Thornwell of South Carolina ranks as the best player in the country garners national notice.
Thornwell dominated Marquette, Duke, and Baylor in three consecutive upsets to lead South Carolina to the Elite 8.
Reid Forgrave, a featured sports contributor for everyone from GQ to CBS Sports to Fox Sports to Bleacher Report, noted the pick was ahead of the game with his tweet, “Would like to point out that
@jpudner of http://ValueAddBasketball.com has Sindarious Thornwell as the top-ranked player in America,” which drew a quick response, “This dude writes for Breitbart.”
South Carolina played as the underdog in all three games to date, but the results and his stats rank as the best of any player in the tournament when you consider the stifling defense that held Baylor to 50 points:
Elite 8 Schedule
Saturday 6:09 p.m. ET – #11 Xavier vs. #1 Gonzaga (West Region)
Saturday 8:49 p.m. ET – #3 Oregon vs. #1 Kansas (Midwest Region)
Sunday 1:20 p.m. – #7 South Carolina #4 Florida (East Region)
Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET – #2 Kentucky vs. #1 North Carolina (South Region)
April 1 Seminals South vs. Midwest and East vs. West, followed by Championship April 3
NBA Talent. Of the brackets presented prior to the tournament, the bracket based on which teams feature the most future NBA talent outperformed the teams that were “hot” going into the tournament, or boasted the most experience. That system predicted Kentucky would beat Gonzaga in the championship, and also projects Kansas to beat Oregon. If all three happened, ESPN would score 1560 points for the bracket, which already places in the 98th percentile with 680 points to date.
Value Add Healthy Chance to Top NBA. The system based on the www.valueaddbasketball.com values of players currently healthy ranks in the 84th percentile at ESPN, and like the Overall Breitbart Bracket (combination of other choices) it would pass the NBA system if Gonzaga wins the title. Those two systems pick the Zags to beat UNC in the title game, and the Breitbart Overall bracket will finish ahead of the other if Kansas wins Saturday.
Here are the current standings of all bracket approaches outlined here before the tournament. ESPN’s scoring system is 80 points for a win Saturday or Sunday, 160 points for a semifinal win April 1, and 320 points for picking the right champion. Therefore three more wins and a title for Kentucky would give the NBA Talent system another 560 points, while Gonzaga winning the next two would add another 240 points, etc.
|Bracket Name||Percentile||PTS||Best Case||Possible Points Remaining|
|NBA Talent||98%||680||1560||Kentucky 560, Gonzaga 240, Kansas 80|
|Value Add Health||84%||620||1420||Gonzaga 560, UNC 240|
|Breitbart Overall||80%||610||1490||Gonzaga 560, UNC 240, Kansas 80|
|Coaches||80%||610||1410||Gonzaga 560, Kentucky 240|
|Venue||80%||610||1410||Gonzaga 560, UNC 240|
|Vegas Odds||80%||610||1330||UNC 560, Gonzaga 80, Kansas 80|
|Experience||53%||550||950||UNC 240, Kansas 80, Gonzaga 80|
|Top 3 Players||30%||500||580||Gonzaga 80|
|Hottest teams||27%||490||810||UNC 240, Gonzaga 80|
Here is the pre-tournament piece that projected the winners of all 63 games based on the respective systems. The NBA system awards 200 points to a team that has the projected top pick at www.nbadraft.net, 199 for the second pick (Lonzo Ball), etc., and then 140 points for the first pick in the 2018 draft, 139 for the second pick in that draft, etc.