PredictWise Blog

Sweet Sixteen

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There are a few things you need to know about Sweet Sixteen:

1) The favored team has an average likelihood of victory of just 61% in the Sweet Sixteen. This means we only expect to get about 5 of 8 games right (in the binary sense). We have been extremely well calibrated so far this tourney, so expect an interesting Sweet Sixteen. But, not all games are equally uncertain ...

2) Virginia, the top ranked team in the East, if favored to lose. Not by much, but Michigan State (4) is 52% to win the game against Virginia (1). That is the only game where we have the lower ranked team actually more likely to win the game.

3) Florida (1) in South, Arizona (1) in West, and Louisville (4) in Midwest, our other pre-tournament favorites to get to the Final Four (along with Michigan State in the East), are all favored with between 65% and 75%. To single out the Louisville and Kentucky game, Louisville is as highly likely at 68% to beat the surging Kentucky squad.

4) The other for games are all relatively close, with the most interesting to me being Tennessee (11) as 47% to knock of Michigan (2) in the Midwest.

5) Full list of static, pre-game predictions.

6) Full list of real-time updating predictions. These are updating about every 2-3 minutes. I apologize in advance for any real-time quirks!

NCAA Basketball Tourney - Calibration

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When we say there is a 75% likelihood of an outcome occurring, we mean that if the event were to happen 4 times, 3 times the outcome would occur and 1 time it would not. Brier scores, mean square errors, mean absolute errors, all have their place. But, errors are one thing and calibration is another. We are extremely proud of how we our likelihoods are calibrated and this year's NCAA tournament is no exception.

Below I have placed all 52 games into buckets based on the likelihood of victory for the team we predicted was most likely to win: 50-59.9, 60-69.9, etc., The x-axis is the average prediction in the bucket and the y-axis is the percent of games where the most likely team won. What the chart illustrates is that the predictions are nearly perfectly calibrated. Overall, the average probability of victory for the most likely team has been 73% and, of those 52 teams, 38 have gone on to win or precisely 73%.

NCAA Basketball Tourney - Round 3 (Day 2)

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There are a few things you need to know about Round 3, Day 2:

1) Again, we had a well calibrated day with two upsets out of eight games. We had one our two most likely as Villanova (2) losing to Connecticut (7) and we had Dayton (11) at 27% to beat Syracuse (3) who came limping into the tournament.

2) Upsets predicted for today: North Carolina (6) is a virtual toss-up against Iowa State (3) at 48% to 52% respectively to win. Similarly, Creighton (3) is just 59% against Baylor (6). The 3-6 matchups are the tightest in seeds and tightest expected outcomes.

3) The most likely upset outside of the 3-6 matchups is Wichita State (1) falling to Kentucky. We have Kentucky at 35% to knock out the undefeated Shockers. Interestingly, the next closest game is Virginia (1) at just 71% to advance to the Final Four. Of course, we are not that concerned about these games in the long run, because we both Virginia and Wichita State falling to very strong 4th seeds (Michigan State and Louisville respectively) in the Sweet Sixteen ... if they make it!

4) Full list of static, pre-game predictions.

5) Full list of real-time updating predictions. These are updating about every 2-3 minutes. I apologize in advance for any real-time quirks!

NCAA Basketball Tourney - Round 3 (Day 1)

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There are a few things you need to know about Round 3, Day 1:

1) The "big call" yesterday was Tennessee (11) over UMass (6) at 62% and Tennessee crushed UMass 86 to 67. The other double digit upset we said had a high probability was Stanford (10) at 40% to beat New Mexico (7) and they did at 58 to 53.

2) Obviously, Duke (3) was heavily favored to beat Mercer (14), but while we did not know which upset was going to happen, we knew upsets would happen! So far we have had 13 games where the favored team was 80% or greater (average 94%) and one upset in that group is about in expectation.

3) Actually, we are perfectly calibrated through 36 games, with average probability of the favored team at 75% we have had 75% games, exactly, where the favorite won. You can see the full list of static pre-game predictions here.

4) Upsets predicted for today: no actual upsets for day in that the higher seed is more than likely to win every game, but is close. The average likelihood of victory for the favored team is just 67%; we expect the favorite to win in just 5-6 of the 8 games.

5) Most likely upsets are the games where the higher seed is less than 60% to win: that includes the largest seed differential with San Diego St. (4) at just 59% to beat North Dakota St. (12). We also have Villanova (2) at just 60.5% to beat Connecticut (7).

6) Full list of static, pre-game predictions.

7) Full list of real-time updating predictions. These are updating about every 2-3 minutes. I apologize in advance for any real-time quirks!

Now ... go have a productive day at work!

NCAA Basketball Tourney - Round 2 (Day 2)

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There are a few things you need to know about Round 2, Day 2:

1) If you have not alread, you will be eliminated from Buffett's bracket challenge. There are 16 game today and my rough estimate is that there is a 1% chance of escaping day 2 intact (for those lucky few who escaped day 1!).

2) Yesterday went just as expected: Pitt crushed Colorado, Harvard and North Dakota St. won, while Saint Louis and Texas both won in thrillers. And, the round out the light day of upsets, we had Dayton at 28% to overcome Ohio State.

2) Upsets predicted for today: Oklahoma State (9) is favored over Gonzaga (8) to the tune of 58% and the big call is Tenessee (11) at 62% over over UMass (6).

3) Most likely upsets are the games where the higher seed is less than 60% to win: Memphis (8) is 59% against George Washington (9) and New Mexico (7) is just 60% against Stanford (10).

4) Full list of static, pre-game predictions.

5) Full list of real-time updating predictions. These are updating about every 2-3 minutes. I apologize in advance for any real-time quirks!

Now ... go have a productive day at work!