Before the 2007-08 college basketball season, I came up with a mathematical formula to create my very own preseason Top 25. As it turned out, the top three teams in my rankings (Memphis, Kansas and UCLA) made the Final Four. My No. 4 team, Louisville, did not, but my No. 5 team, North Carolina, did.
I thought the chances of lightning striking twice were slim, but I decided to apply the formula again for the 2008-09 season. The result was a financially successful March as I won my bracket pool because I had UNC beating Michigan State (my preseason top two) in the championship game.
But my projections for the 2009-10 season were not as accurate, so I've tweaked the formula a bit.
The formula has three parts:
A. Previous season finish
The previous season's national champion (Duke) starts off with 65 points.
The runner-up (Butler) gets 64.
Losing in the Final Four (West Virginia, Michigan State) gets you 63 points.
Teams losing in the Elite Eight get 61.
Teams losing in the Sweet 16 get 57.
Teams losing in the second round get 49.
Teams losing in the first round get 33.
And teams which missed the tournament, but are expected to improve this year, get 18.
B. Returning Players
I then took each team and figured out what percentage of points, rebounds and assists they are losing from last year's team, adding back in the points, rebounds and assists they are getting from incoming transfers. I added up all of those percentages and multiplied that sum by the previous season's finish.
C. Incoming Freshmen
Finally, I added that product to a "freshmen value" which was determined by adding 20 points for each incoming McDonald's All-American and 10 points for each ESPNU 100 Player.
Formula: (Returning Points % + Returning Rebounds % + Returning Assists %) X '09 Finish + Freshmen Value
I have ranked all 58 teams receiving votes in either the Coaches or AP Poll in order of the total points they receive according to this formula.