BRACKET STRATEGY #7: Pythag and Coaching PASE

Risk: Medium

Results: 2009 – 70th percentile in the ESPN Tourney Challenge; 2010 – 94th percentile; 2011 – 30th percentile. OVERALL AVERAGE – 64.7 percentile

Strategy: This strategy combines Pythag values and coaching PASE to take into account what happens both on and off the court. We eliminate the 14-16 seeds, then take each of the top 13 seeds’ Pythag values and add their coaches’ PASE performance, adjusted to normalize the small differences in Pythag and wide variances in PASE. Then, we rank the teams and advance the squads with the highest Pythag/PASE values in every matchup.

Normalization Method:
• Take the range of the top Pythag and the lowest of the top 13 seeds, kicking out any outliers (Montana at .7017)
• Divide that by the highest potential coaching PASE (5.75)
• Multiply this normalization factor (.0409 to be exact) by the coach’s PASE, then add to (or subtract from) Pythag.

Outlook: I’m rating the risk of this four-year old strategy as high—one down from its volatile rating last year, since it has yielded solid results in two of three years. It has outperformed straight Pythag two out of three times, but the relative importance of coaching quality and team quality is debatable. Let’s see what happens this year. If you believe that coaching makes a difference, this could be the model for you.