Through KPI, an opportunity exists to modernize the bracketing process for the state tournament in Michigan, as well as other states and other sports. While certain aspects of each tournament’s logistics are critical (keeping costs low and travel short), creatively implementing KPI into the puzzle could enhance both the timing and placement of a tournament’s best traits. Under the concept in Michigan:
- Schools would be pre-assigned to one of eight geographic regionals at the beginning of the season. Each regional would have four pre-selected district hosts. Schools could play at any one of the four district sites, though geography would be prioritized on each seed line. Approximately 20-28 schools would be assigned to a given regional.
- KPI would rank all boys and all girls teams in the state. The rankings would rank each school in each regional. The first four teams would be 1-seeds, the second four teams 2-seeds, etc. Host schools would play on their own campus, and other schools would be assigned to the districts collectively closest to them.
- District matchups would be set based on district seedings (3 vs 6, 4 vs 5 on Monday, 1 vs 4/5, 2 vs 3/6 on Wednesday for example).
- All bracketing and rankings would be computerized. They can be published as frequently or infrequently as preferred.
- Non-traditional districts are possible, especially in the norther part of the state.
If the top two teams in the state are located in the same regional (and in the past the same district), the soonest they could play would be the Round of 16 (regional finals) on the second Friday of the tournament.
KPI ranks teams on a game-by-game basis by assigning a value to every game played. The range in values for a particular game range from approximately -1.0 (for a bad loss), to 0.0 (a virtual tie), to +1.0 (for the best of wins). Factors such as the quality of the opponent and the location of the game are quantified.
I have built a mock 2016 Class A Boys bracket to simulate the model. The average mileage for district games increased from 14.9 miles to 18.4 miles per team. 122 teams would have played in the same district. 48 would have had further travel and 16 teams would have played in a closer district.
Utilizing KPI to bracket the state tournament with the addition of the KPI rankings would enhance the state tournament. Balance and integrity both competitively and geographically can be attained through this plan.