February 15, 2017

THAT'S A TWEAK, NOT A RETHINK:

The NCAA Is Modernizing The Way It Picks March Madness Teams : For 40 years, the selection process relied way too much on strength of schedule. Now the league is ready to rethink that system. (Neil Paine, 2/15/17, 538)

Late last month, NCAA officials met with some of basketball's most prominent analytics experts to remake the way they select teams for the men's NCAA tournament. Until now, they've used the ratings percentage index (RPI) to help guide their decisions, but that stat has become antiquated as far more advanced ranking systems have been developed. Efforts to replace the RPI, though, raise a lot of tricky questions.

According to multiple people I spoke to who were at the meeting, the NCAA is not interested in generating a completely new metric from scratch. Instead, officials favored using multiple ranking systems to create a composite index that would be a resource on selection Sunday. But as the many controversies around college football's Bowl Championship Series showed, developing a new rating, even one made up of accepted metrics, is full of twists and turns, roadblocks and landmines. Finding the right formula will require asking deep philosophical questions about what a ranking system should try to achieve -- and whether certain statistical compromises are even possible.

Like the World Cup, they should just have every team make the field.  Get rid of conference tournaments and play the first couple brackets that week.  

Posted by at February 15, 2017 5:29 PM

  

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