Your verification ID is: guDlT7MCuIOFFHSbB3jPFN5QLaQ Big Computing: So how busted is your NCAA Basketball Bracket.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

So how busted is your NCAA Basketball Bracket.

I did a great job this year and selected none of the final four teams in the NCAA tournament. Since a rough estimate (assuming each game is basically a coin flip) of the chance of getting all four teams right is roughly 1 in 10^21 I did not feel too bad. I wondered how the general population of bracketologists did. Out of the roughly 6 million players on ESPN's tournament challenge only 2 got it right. I shouldn't say only two because they did something like a quadrillion times better than the rough estimate. This would suggest that is are much better ways to model the NCAAs than as series of coin flips because it assumes that each team has an equal chance of winning each game and that is just not realistic. If it was there would be a lot of broke bookies, and there are not.

So I looked at some betting lines at the beginning of the tournament and that gave me a odds of this final four of 1 in 10^8. I later found a betting site that came up with roughly the same numbers. However, I still see the gap between the Results of the ESPN group versus the betting line too great. It makes me think that there is an additional piece of information needed to account for the fact that this is a tournament and not just a series of games. Looking at the various season schedules and results I think the can be an argument made that teams with steaks of 5 or more games have an advantage in the tournament, but how to account for multiple streaks or in KU case one really long winning streak is bogging me down. I will try this a model of using betting odds weighted by in season streaks next year. Hey, I can not do worse then 0 for 4.

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