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2012 NCAA Bracket Methodology: The RUN System

March 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, it’s that time of year again. March Madness begins in earnest tomorrow, and I’ll be looking to defend my championship from last year’s FOTB Bloggers Cup. My method last year revolved around ranking teams by a combination of SRS and Win Shares. For a quick refresher on those two terms, feel free to check out last year’s article here.

This year I’ve decided to expand my system by including a few new statistical categories that I think are important to tournament success. This was done mostly because my long-term plans include developing arthritis, and I figured that wasting a couple hours over at www.sports-reference.com/cbb (the holy grail of basketball statistics sites for nerds like myself) would help expedite the process.

The result is called the RUN system (Ridiculously Unnecessary Numbers).

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Categories: Other

Best of FOTB – Volume 1

March 7, 2012 Leave a comment

In First Off The Bench’s first year, we managed to unleash about 50 articles into the wild. We’re proud of the effort our writers (mostly Matt) put in to keeping the site active, and we’ve enjoyed making a connection with some random sports fans across the globe. Here are our picks for the “essential” articles from Year 1 of FOTB, sorted by author.

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Year 1 of FOTB – Top 5 News Events From a Historical Perspective

March 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Wow, time flies. While I regret not being able to contribute more regularly to FOTB while I chase my dreams in grad school, Matt and the rest of the boys have done a good job at ensuring that this place doesn’t completely go to hell. Kudos to my more regular contributing colleagues on that front.

I would love to say that my absence can partially be attributed to my ongoing protest against Stern for failing to acquiesce to demands of having an NBA franchise back in Vancouver (although, a juicy NBA/NHL combo in Seattle with a hedge-fund owner is just starting to gain rumor momentum that might satisfy my northwest basketball needs), but in reality I won’t be my regular active self until this first year of school mercifully runs its course.

However, it wouldn’t be right to let the day pass without at least acknowledging some of the awesome events that happened in our first year that I felt have some sort of long-term historical significance. And yes, I’m refusing to acknowledge the NBA lockout, because it never happened.

Presenting David’s Top 5 Most Influential Real-Life Moments in Year 1 of FOTB:

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2010-2011 FOTB NHL Awards

April 7, 2011 1 comment

Another NHL regular season is almost complete, and so it’s time for the First Off The Bench NHL Awards for the 2010-2011 season. The NHL is technically a couple games from the end of the season, but with the majority of the playoff teams decided, it’s unlikely that any of the winners below will lose their hold on these fictional awards before the games run out. For the purposes of this list, we’re going to ignore any award that is decided by stats, such as the Presidents Trophy, Art Ross and Rocket Richard. Read more…

Final Scores – FOTB Bloggers Cup

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment
Writer Method Round 4 Winners Round 4 Upsets Round 5 Winners (Final Four Teams) Round 5 Upsets Final Score
David SRS & Win Shares 3 1 / 4 1 1 / 1 59
Kai None 3 0 / 1 0 0 / 2 57
Marcus Team Names 2 0 / 1 0 0 / 3 48
Matt Bitterness 3 0 / 2 0 0 / 0 52
Sean 3PT/FT Percentage 3 3 / 6 0 0 / 1 55

The final tallies are in, and the overall winner for the first annual First Off The Bench NCAA Bloggers Cup is David, with a final score of 59.  This means that for the next year, he can claim that the advanced statistical metrics of SRS & Win Shares are the dominant method for deciding the winners of March Madness games.  Read more…

Round 3 Complete. Update!

March 23, 2011 2 comments
Writer Method Round 2 Winners Round 2 Upsets Round 3 Winners Round 3 Upsets Score After Round 3 Best Possible Score
David SRS & Win Shares 23 2 / 6 8 1 / 6 39 143
Kai None 25 4 / 8 10 1 / 4 45 133
Marcus Team Names 24 1 / 3 8 0 / 2 40 124
Matt Bitterness 24 3 / 9 8 1 / 4 40 152
Sean 3PT/FT Percentage 21 3 / 10 11 3 / 6 43 167

Rounds 2 and 3 are now complete.  Ignoring the fact that they should still be called Round 1 and 2 (the play-ins don’t count in our opinion), we’ll give a brief summary of our writer’s score totals, and give some initial thoughts on the success of each methodology.  The leaders in each category are in bold, and the last-place writer is in italics. Read more…

David’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Methodologies: SRS and Win Shares

March 14, 2011 5 comments

Final Four: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh

Biggest Cinderella:  Morehead State to the Round of 16

When reflecting on my annual futile journey down the road of NCAA March Madness gambling, it seems like the strategies I use each year vary, depending on my success the previous year.  My own intuition always told me that established programs won the final games but were vulnerable in the rounds of 16 and 8.  In a game with equal opponents, I’ll usually place my money on the team with better team defense, and if that factor is a toss-up, the team with a larger front court.  And of course, every single year I am obliged to place the Kentucky Wildcats in at least the Final Four, because they’ve been my team since I was a teenager.  Before we get started, my full bracket is below.  Read more…