NCAA Tournament Analytics Model 2014: Picks

Here are my picks for the 2014 NCAA Tournament, based on the analytics model I described in this post. This post contains the picks and my next post will contain the code and methodology for the geeks among us. I use analytics for my NCAA picks for my own education and enjoyment, and to absolve responsibility for them. No guarantees!

Here is a link to picks for all rounds in PDF format.

Here is a spreadsheet with all picks and ratings.

This year’s model examined every college basketball game played in Division I, II, III, and Canada based on data from Prof. Peter Wolfe and from The ratings implicitly account for strength of opposition, and explicitly account for neutral site games, recency, and Joel Imbiid’s back (it turned out not to matter). I officially deem these picks “not crappy”.

The last four rounds are given at the end – the values next to each team are the scores generated by the model.

The model predicts Virginia, recent winners of the ACC tournament, will win it all in 2014 in a rematch with Duke. Arizona was rated the sixth best team in the field but is projected to make it to the Final Four because it plays in the weakest region (the West). Florida, the second strongest team in the field (juuust behind Virginia) joins them. Wichita State was rated surprisingly low (25th) even though it is currently undefeated, basically due to margin of victory against relatively weaker competition (although the Missouri Valley has been an underrated conference over the past several years). Wichita State was placed in the Midwest region, clearly the toughest region in the bracket, and is projected to lose to underseeded Kentucky in the second round. Here is the average and median strengths of the four regions. The last column is the 75th percentile, which is an assessment of the strength of the elite teams in each bracket. Green means easy:

Region Avg Med Top Q
South 0.0824 0.0855 0.1101
East 0.0816 0.0876 0.1064
West 0.0752 0.0831 0.1008
Midwest 0.0841 0.0890 0.1036

The model predicts a few upsets (though not too many). The winners of the “play-in games” are projected to knock off higher seeded Saint Louis and UMass. Kentucky is also projected to beat Louisville, both of whom probably should have been seeded higher. Baylor is projected to knock off Creighton, busting Warren Buffett’s billion dollar bracket in Round 2.

Sweet 16     Elite 8  
Florida 0.1285   Florida 0.1285
VA Commonwealth 0.1097      
Syracuse 0.1111   Kansas 0.1281
Kansas 0.1244      
Virginia 0.1310   Virginia 0.1281
Michigan St 0.1229      
Iowa St 0.1129   Iowa St 0.1129
Villanova 0.1060      
Arizona 0.1212   Arizona 0.1212
Oklahoma 0.1001      
Baylor 0.1013   Wisconsin 0.1160
Wisconsin 0.1160      
Kentucky 0.1081   Kentucky 0.1081
Louisville 0.1065      
Duke 0.1266   Duke 0.1266
Michigan 0.1144      


Final Four     Championship
Florida 0.1285   Virginia 0.1310
Virginia 0.1310   Duke 0.1266
Arizona 0.1212      
Duke 0.1266      

Author: natebrix

Follow me on twitter at @natebrix.

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