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The DPI: 2023

A New Bracket, and a New Formula


This is officially the third version of the DPI. From its beginning, I threw in what I think the most important stats are, put it all together, and came out with a singular value on the other end.

In the beginning I would add up all their rankings and divide that total number by the amounts of stats. The problem with that, all rankings were treated equally. So, if you had the 275th best 2-pt% defense, that could derail an otherwise great team.

Now I was a liberal arts major, spreadsheets are not my friend. However, I have friends who know a concerning amount about spreadsheets. So, with the extensive help of Danny Brennan, and Levi Stevenson, I am revealing the best version of the DPI to date.

A weighted average of 16 different categories. I will list them quickly here, and how much it is weighted. If you’re not interested, keep scrolling for DPI insight.

  1. Score Margin 10%
  2. Rebound Margin 10%
  3. Turnover Margin 10%
  4. Adjusted Offense 7.5%
  5. Adjusted Defense 7.5%
  6. Strength of Record 12.5%
  7. Strength of Schedule 12.5%
  8. 3-pt% Offense 1.25%
  9. 2-pt% Offense 1.25%
  10. 3-pt% Defense 1.25%
  11. 2-pt% Defense 1.25%
  12. Offensive effective fg% 5%
  13. Defensive effective fg% 5%
  14. KenPom 5%
  15. BPI 5%
  16. NET 5%

So, there’s the formula. Alter it, copy it, do whatever you want to do with it, I’m no magician, that’s the formula for better or worse. Use it at your own risk.

What Does the DPI Do?

The DPI is not as simple as ‘If Team A has a better DPI, they’ll beat Team B’. HOWEVER, if Team A has a better overall DPI, but Team B has a way better rebounding margin, then Team A could be on upset alert if they don’t crash boards.

The DPI does a good job of exposing weaknesses, and seeing if the team they are playing can easily exploit that weakness. So don’t use it as an end all be all, but the proof can certainly be in the pudding.

Break It Down

I will not be breaking down all 68 teams’ DPI and what that means for each team. You don’t have time to read all that, so I’m going to cut it down section by section, shoutout things that scare me about a team, and maybe some upset picks you otherwise wouldn’t expect.

Title Contenders

Seed Team Region DPI Rank DPI Value
Seed Team Region DPI Rank DPI Value
1 Houston Midwest 1 21.7
4 UCONN West 4 31.8
3 Gonzaga West 6 39.8
2 Texas Midwest 7 41.7
1 Kansas West 8 42.1
2 Arizona South 9 42.5
1 Alabama South 10 43.9

All of these teams are top 10 in the DPI. I was right last year, and I think I’ll be right again. The future champion is one of these 7 teams. As you can see, not every region is built equally. I am straight up telling you; the champion is none of the 16 teams in the East bracket.

Houston is the overwhelming favorite metrically speaking. The only problem is, they have to get through Texas, which ever juggernaut comes from the West bracket, and then they have a national championship to play. That’s a tough path. Houston plays such forgiving basketball. They rebound like crazy, they never turn it over, and can make competing teams go on 5-minute-long scoring droughts. Plus, this offensive possession has Dr. Naismith feeling some kind of way.

Alabama and Arizona both have really bad turnover margins. Meaning they turn it over a lot, while not forcing many turnovers themselves. If they face a turnover machine, their March could be cut short. West Virginia is a possible second round matchup for Alabama, WVU could muck that game up. Just be wary of that.

UCONN is a 4 seed and has the metrics of a one seed. They are 163rd in turnover margin, but that is still above average (Average is 180ish) and they are good at literally everything else.

It’s a little confounding that Houston is the only one seed that is top 5 in the DPI, but we’ll get to that. There are some teams that the DPI loves, but as of now, we have no way of telling the DPI that a key player is injured for that team.


Seed Team Region DPI Rank DPI Value
Seed Team Region DPI Rank DPI Value
1 Houston Midwest 1 21.7
2 UCLA West 2 27.5
4 Tennessee East 4 31.9
6 TCU West 18 58.5
3 Xavier Midwest 19 58.8
4 Virginia South 32 67.9

The injury bug has found all of these teams at the wrong time, well, and the transfer bug. Starting with Houston, Marcus Sasser is the driver of this team. The star guard who might be the best two-way guard in college ball. If he’s healthy they’re a title contender, if he’s hurt, Houston is the best team without their best player.

UCLA makes me sad. A defensive force to be reckoned with losing Jaylen Clark, an elite stealer, and Adam Bona, one of the best paint protectors in the country just days before March Madness is PAIN.

Tennessee is in the same boat as Houston, except it’s a sure thing. Zakai Zeigler is the offensive balance to an otherwise defensive stalworth. The Vols haven’t been the same without their 5’9 floor general.

Virginia and TCU are both losing star post players. Eddie Lampkin had a rather loud and messy exit from Fort Worth during the Big 12 tournament and his name has already hit the transfer portal. Virginia, meanwhile, got Ben Vander Plas from the transfer portal last off-season. If Vander Plas sounds familiar, Iowa State went after him hard before taking the St. Bonaventure Bros. Both teams are going to be without their man in the middle.

I guess you could lob Iowa State into this category too with Caleb Grill exiting the team. Since then, Iowa State is 2-1 and seem like they’ve figured out how to play without him the best they can. We also saw TCU beat a solid K-State team without Lampkin.


Seed Team DPI Rank DPI Value
Seed Team DPI Rank DPI Value
1 Purdue 12 47.6
2 Marquette 29 64.3
5 Miami 34 71.9
10 Penn State 50 93.8
7 Mizzou 51 98.1

Stay away! Caution! These teams are stinky, and somebody on the selection committee owes these teams favors. Let’s start at the top.

Purdue’s whole game plan:

Edey is a force in college basketball, a very large slow-moving force, a bad defender anchoring a poor defensive team, force. I don’t like Purdue, I don’t like the Big 10 this year. Purdue’s redeeming factor is they’re first in the nation in rebound margin and were gifted the easiest bracket of all four one seeds. I just don’t trust their defense or their big man’s endurance down the stretch.

Marquette can’t stop a nosebleed folks. Saint John’s, a non-tournament team, had Marquette on life support two straight games in two crazy high scoring affairs. The Golden Eagles can’t stop a bad offense, what happens when they play a good one? If you want to be an optimist, Tyler Kolek could be like the antagonist version of Jimmer Fredette. The trash talking point guard won Big East Player of the Year and can get hot in a hurry. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t.

Miami is 34th in DPI, Drake is 36th. Need I say more? This 5 v. 12 matchup looks more like a 8 v. 9 and I think that favors the little guy. The Valley is 12-6 in their last 18 first round games, and I think Drake can keep that going.

Mizzou and Penn State being overrated seems like a stretch. Mizzou should have been in Dayton, instead they’re a seven seed. Iowa State fans will remember Kobe Brown running us out of Columbia, but Brown has taken a step back, and if the Tigers can’t get points from forcing turnovers, this team stinks.

Penn State is bad, fun, but bad. Jalen Pickett is an objectively awesome do-it-all guy, but Penn State is a master of none metrically speaking. They’re the 9th best 3-pt shooting team in the country, but if the threes aren’t falling, the Nittany Lions will fall right out of the tournament.

Middle Seed Magic

Seed Team DPI Rank DPI Value
Seed Team DPI Rank DPI Value
9 FAU 11 45
8 Arkansas 13 50.5
7 Texas A&M 15 55.5
8 Memphis 17 55.9
10 Boise State 21 60.4
10 Utah State 25 61.5

If you’re a one or a two seed, you don’t want these teams in the second around. Off the bat, I want to find whoever made the Memphis v. FAU matchup and just tell them how disappointed I am. Not only are these teams criminally under-seeded, but they’re also playing each other in the first round.

Either of these teams could pick off Purdue in the round of 32. I will sing the praises of Danny Brennan here; he recommended the addition of Strength of record (SOR) into the DPI. Strength of schedule would outright kill some DPI’s for mid-majors, but what the SOR does is it tells you “Would the 25th best team in the county win/lose by more/less points?” So as long as you’re a mid-major school and beating the teams you should be beating, by the number of points you should be, you’ll be fine in regard to your schedule.

FAU has a 136th SOS but the 22nd SOR, Memphis has the 63rd SOS, but the 18th SOR. These teams are good, despite playing in not strong conferences, and that’s what SOR tells you.

Texas A&M plays like a big 12 team. Ultra physical, super defensively sound, they have a good rebound and turnover margin. Top 40 Adj. O and Adj. D. That team was a few wins away from the SEC regular season title that the number one overall seed Alabama won. I’m sure A&M would be all about spoiling Texas’ season too.

The Mountain West is an enigma. They are as good as they are bad. On paper, all these teams are good. Even their strength of schedule is good. But they don’t win in the tournament. Ever? San Diego State has been a solid school for nearly a decade, they were a projected 2 seed before Covid canceled the season in 2020. Utah State and Boise State have also become March regulars. Maybe this is the year things change, but with Nevada getting its brakes blown off by Arizona State, maybe not. Ride ‘em or fade ‘em, not even the DPI can crack the MWC code.

Cinderella Stories?

Seed Team DPI Rank DPI Value
Seed Team DPI Rank DPI Value
12 Drake 36 76
12 VCU 39 80.1
13 Kent State 46 88.2
13 Furman 54 108.4
16 Fairleigh Dickinson 64 235.8

Drake and VCU seem like the popular 12 picks, but it’s for good reason. Drake’s average age is about the same as the Houston Rockets average age.

It’s some grown ass men playing for the Drake Bulldogs, plus the coach’s son and MVC player of the year. Miami has a scorching hot offense, but an unremarkable defense. Drake could hit a big shot in high scoring shootout that puts them over the edge.

VCU has a top 20 defense. This team isn’t bound for a Shaka Smart run, but it’s still a damn good team. Admittedly, the DPI loves Saint Mary’s but the Gaels look a bit broken after Gonzaga dismantled them twice in the final weeks of conference play.

The Furman ‘Dins have been a powerhouse in the SoCon for the past three years, and a lot of this core has been intact during that stretch. Furman was ranked in the top 25 at points last season before being stunned by Chatanooga in the SoCon Final and missing the tournament last year. This is a hyper efficient offense that has big bodyguards driving down the lanes giving the Paladins the best 2-pt% offense in the country. Virginia will have to heavily rely on their defense, because a 10-point deficit is damn near insurmountable for the ‘Hoos.

I went back and forth between Kent State and Iona. Indiana is more upsettable than UCONN is what it comes down to for me. Kent State is a top team in turnover margin, Indiana is not. Kent State plays at one of the fastest paces in the NCAA, Indiana does not. If Kent State plays their version of basketball, freshman point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino might spin right out of control.

With FDU beating Texas Southern, your Fairleigh Dickinson Knights are the worst team in the NCAA tournament this year. If you want a real Cinderella, here she is in all of her glory. They have the second worst defense in college basketball, and the second worst strength of schedule AND they didn’t even win their conference tournament. I need justice for Merrimack College.

Wrap it up!

Well, almost 2,000 words later, and there you have it. If you already love your bracket, don’t feel like you have to change anything. Hell, I didn’t even listen to the DPI on some picks. March Madness is unpredictable and attempts to solve it are frugal at best. But dammit, I’m going to keep trying. I might be a loser with a busted bracket by Monday, but I am a very informed loser with a busted bracket.

Here’s to Madness, seeya next year.