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
Location: Memphis
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.