BRACKET STRATEGY #6: Pythag Efficiency

Risk: Low

Results: 2008 – 99th percentile in the ESPN Tourney Challenge; 2009 – 53rd percentile; 2010 - 97th percentile; 2011 – 43rd percentile. OVERALL AVERAGE – 73.0 percentile.

Strategy: Ken Pomeroy’s possession-based statistics have proven to be solid indicators of tourney overachievement. Without going into great detail (you can do that by going to, Pythag is a combined calculation of offensive and defensive efficiency. It has shown itself to be as strong as scoring margin in identifying tourney overachievers. With this in mind, I figured we’d do one bracket where we simply advance the team with the higher Pythag all the way to the championship.

Outlook: In 2008, the Pythag model ranked in the 99th percentile of the ESPN Tourney Challenge. In 2009, the results weren’t nearly as impressive. But the model came back in 2010, with a 97th percentile result before flopping like most other stats models last year. This is a relatively low-risk strategy, since it’s exclusively based on game-play statistics.

The 2012 model plays it pretty close to the vest, with only two first-round upsets. The biggest flaw with this model, however, is the overvaluing of Wisconsin. Based on Pythag data, the Badgers rate out as a better team than Syracuse. You never know with the Badgers, but something tells me they're just as likely to bow out in the first round as reach the Elite Eight.