First off, I think I’ll rank the remaining teams according to their optimized lineup of available players:
The column on the left is the general team rating based on the whole season – the rating that serves as a basis for the player ratings.
The column on the right is the “in a perfect world” lineup scenerio – one in which ALL players that played during the season are available and healthy – AND a tighter tourney rotation is being used to get the best players more playing time.
But, the teams are actually ranked above by the middle column. “Optimized” is the highest team rating that can be achieved by playing the best players the highest amount of established tourney minutes. Teams that spread the playing time wealth during the season (ie Louisville) will see a rating boost when they tighten the lineup and play the best players more. Also, any team that struggled through injuries all season but now are relatively healthy (ie MSU) will also see a ratings boost.
Conversely, a team that is having to adjust to a more recent injury to a quality player (ie ISU) won’t see much of an improvement over the genaral seasonal rating.
Stanford vs. Dayton : Dayton is easily the weakest remaining team, and Stanford would be the 2nd weakest – but that’s now debatable with Niang being out for Iowa State.
Pomeroy has Stanford by 2. My general team ratings have Stanford by 2.3. Utilizing the player ratings with optimized lineups, Stanford wins by 4.2 points.
Wisconsin vs. Baylor : Wisconsin is the better team, but Baylor has been playing above their heads. Pomeroy has Wisconsin by 2, my general team ratings have Wisconsin by +2.9. Optimizing the current lineups, you get Wisconsin winning by 3.3 points.
Florida vs. UCLA : Pomeroy has Florida by 5. My general team ratings have Florida +3.5. Optimizing the lineups gets the spread to Florida by 5.5.
Arizona vs. San Diego State : Pomeroy has Arizona by 5. My general team ratings have Arizona +5.5. Optimizing the lineups actually brings the spread closer – Arizona wins by 3.9.
If Brandon Ashley were playing, I’d have the spread moving to 4.7 in Arizona’s favor. Ashley would be worth +0.8 points in this particular game.
Tennessee vs. Michigan : Is Tennessee the best 11th seed ever? Pomeroy has Tennessee winning by 1. My general team ratings have Michigan by a measly 0.6. Optimizing the lineups shifts the favor over to Tennessee by +2.2 points.
In a perfect world, a healthy Mitch McGary would creat a pick ’em game – McGary being worth +2.2 points in this case.
UConn vs. Iowa State : ISU being without George Niang will be tough. Pomeroy has ISU by 1, and my general team ratings have ISU by 1.3. However, optimizing lineups (and adjusting to life withough Niang), I have UConn the favorite by 2.6 points.
If Niang were playing, I’d have ISU favored by 0.4. So, in this specific game Niang is worth 3 points.
Louisville vs. Kentucky : This Louisville team is better than the Florida team that went back to back ‘ships a few years back – yet it feels like people are kinda sleeping on them.
Pomeroy has Louisville winning by 5. My general team ratings have Louisville by 6. Optimized lineups have Louisville winning by 5.8 points.
If Chane Behanan were still with Louisville and playing, I’d have the spread moving to a +6.7 in Louisville’s favor – effectively making Chane Behanan worth around 0.9 points for this game .
Michigan State vs. Virginia : Pomeroy sees a 2 point victory for Virginia, although my general team ratings have Virginia only by 0.6.
However, the team ratings for Michigan State were generated much of the season while the team battled injuries to its three best players. Now healthy, the optimized lineup has actually has Michigan State winning by 1.6 points.
Louisville over Kentucky by 5.8 points.
Florida over UCLA by 5.5.
Stanford over Dayton by 4.2
Arizona over SDSU by 3.9
Wisconsin over Baylor by 3.3
UConn over ISU by 2.6
Tennessee over Michigan by 2.2
Michigan State over Virginia by 1.6.
Time for a nap.