10,000 Sims: NEC and Patriot League Tournaments

Will St. Francis Brooklyn earn a berth into its first ever NCAA tournament? Maybe yes, maybe no.

The NEC:

The Terriers have a 50% chance of winning the league title according to a Monte Carlo simulation of 10,000 tournaments using each team’s offensive and defensive ratings on KenPom.

Glenn Braica’s team has some built in advantages of course. For one, as long as the Terriers are still alive they’ll be playing in the friendly confines of the Pope Physical Education Center. The arena might only seat 1,200 fans, but it’s tightly packed and loud — especially come tournament time. The Pope Center should be an absolutely amazing atmosphere with LIU Brooklyn coming across town.

The second advantage for St. Francis? They’ve also been the best team in the NEC all season according to KenPom’s metrics. That’s what going 15-3 in conference play will do for a team. SFC is ranked 143rd in Pomeroy, well in front of Robert Morris (203rd) and Mount St. Mary’s (206th).

Not so coincidentally those two teams are SFC’s two biggest challengers. Here though the value of home court is even more apparent. Because the Mount are the fourth seed, they’re likely to end up on the road for the semifinals and finals. Thus even though Jamion Christian’s team has a similar KenPom rating to RMU, MSM only won 11% of simulations compared with 24% for the Colonials.

Here’s the rest of the NEC results. Note that totals might not add up to 200% (Finals) or 100% (Titles) due to rounding:

Team Finals Titles
St. Francis Brooklyn 66% 50%
Robert Morris 58% 24%
Mount St. Mary’s 27% 11%
Bryant 25% 8%
Saint Francis U. 9% 3%
Sacred Heart 8% 3%
Wagner 3% 1%
LIU Brooklyn 3% 1%

The Patriot League:

Yesterday, Ray Curren did an excellent job outlining how wide open the Patriot League tourney might be. There’s no 50/50 favorite in the league a la the NEC, but once again home court is a huge advantage for the top seeds.

Both top-seeded Bucknell and second-seeded Colgate have about a 1-in-3 chance of earning an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament thanks to their home court advantage until at least the tournament finals.

If you’re looking for an outside shot, for The Jerome maybe, Ray’s pick of Lehigh is actually a rather sound one. The Mountain Hawks have about a 15% chance of winning the title according to the simulations, though it might not result in bonus points because often to get that victory Lehigh ended up playing at least two games on its home court thanks to upsets in other matchups — most notably whenever Colgate falls to the Army/Navy winner, which isn’t inconceivable.

Unlike the NEC where all eight teams had at least a 1% chance of winning the league title the Patriot League has two teams (Army and Loyola (MD)) that didn’t win a single title, or even make the finals. It looks like the Black Knights will be waiting another season for that elusive NCAA tournament berth.

Here are the rest of the Patriot League results.

Team Finalist Titles
Colgate 58% 33%
Bucknell 53% 33%
Lehigh 28% 15%
Lafayette 27% 9%
Boston University 12% 4%
American 10% 4%
Holy Cross 8% 2%
Navy 4% 1%
Loyola (MD) 0% 0%
Army 0% 0%