Ken Pomeroy, the meteorologist who also runs the popular college basketball website, kenpom.com, is a go-to resource for me daily during the college basketball season. He gets lots of praise, and also plenty of criticism when his rating system ranks a team differently than public perception. After every instance where a team lost that was ranked highly in kenpom, or won that was lightly regarded, I saw tweets, notably from Mike DeCourcy, about the failure.
Obviously, pointing out one or two examples is cherry picking. To evaluate, we need to compare the entire body. The other misconception is that if a rating system says teams have a 55% chance, and then those teams win every game, it is a success. If you say that a team has a 55% chance, then it should lose 45% of the time, or the rating is suspect.
Pomeroy publishes his game data in a “FanMatch” page (behind a pay wall) that lists game probability and projected score. Here’s a screen grab of one from the first day of the tournament (I’m sure he won’t mind me posting this subscriber content).
So, how did the Pomeroy Ratings do leading up to the Final Four? I resolved to track this no matter the outcome, and report it. California looked horrible in the first round, Missouri lost to Norfolk State in a huge upset when Pomeroy had Norfolk rated as a 16-seed, Wichita State was 10th in his rankings, but lost in the first game and Belmont was again rated too high and lost in the first round.
There have been 64 tournament games. With all of those results, the Pomeroy favorites were projected to collectively win 69.7% of the games, which converts to 44.6 wins for the favorites in the tournament games until now. The favorites actually won 45 games. Pretty good for government work. Now, if we can get our weathermen to be as accurate.
If you are curious, today’s average projected outcomes are Kentucky over Louisville (75%) and Ohio State over Kansas (60%).
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