I’m using my ratings and Bill James’ log5 formula to estimate the chances of each participating team advancing to a particular round of its conference tournament.
American Athletic Conference
Dates: March 12-15
Chance of bid thief: zero
Current kPOY: Russ Smith, Louisville
Qtrs Semis Final Champ 2 Louisville 100 95.4 73.9 53.9 1 Cincinnati 100 88.4 47.9 17.5 3 SMU 100 82.5 23.6 11.5 5 Memphis 100 54.0 28.2 9.7 4 UConn 100 46.0 22.4 7.0 6 Houston 100 17.5 1.6 0.3 8 Temple 54.5 6.8 1.0 0.09 7 Rutgers 55.3 2.8 0.5 0.06 9 UCF 45.5 4.8 0.6 0.04 10 S. Florida 44.7 1.8 0.3 0.03
Louisville and Cincinnati finished the season with identical 15-3 records in the inaugural season of the American. Standard tie-breaking procedures did not resolve the deadlock, so the top seed was decided by a coin-flip. I like to talk about theoretical coin-flips deciding so many important things in sports, but this was a real one, complete with Bill Raftery as a witness.
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin called heads, all the while knowing that tails never fails, and tails would allow the Bearcats to avoid a potential semi-final road game (because the tourney is being played at Memphis’s FedExForum). Alas, the coin came up heads. Or did it? It’s impossible to tell from the grainy video supplied. It doesn’t even pan to the ground. There may not have even been a coin and there’s no way of verifying Mick Cronin was actually the person on the phone. It’s about as legitimate as the moon landing.
The result of this false flag is that Louisville is a slightly bigger favorite than they otherwise would be. Because that is exactly how the American wanted it.