Dependent on three
Butler comes so close again
In the national championship game, Butler hit a three point shot at the beginning of the second half to go up 6 against Connecticut. While this might seem like a good thing, it wasn’t. Butler built that lead on three point shots, making only one two point basket up until that point. And Butler is not a three point shooting team. Their signature is hard nosed defense. Sure enough, Connecticut slowly crawled back into the game as Butler couldn’t make any shots in the lane and went cold from 3 point land. It’s bad when one can easily recall all of a team’s two point baskets in a game: an Andrew Smith jump hook in the first half, an Andrew Smith layup after an offensive rebound, and a Shawn Vansant jumper. UConn wins comfortably by 12.
Usually, we like to highlight the predictive capabilities of our analytics and mention how the algorithm predicted a UConn win. But predictions are hard and don’t always work out. Kevin Hwang filled out a bracket on espn and yahoo using the rankings (higher ranked team as the winner of each game) and ended up 33.6% and 32% respectively. That’s bad. The brackets were hurt when BYU and San Diego State lost close games in the Sweet Sixteen. The bracket were decimated when none of the one seeds made the Final Four, leaving the bracket with no teams for the last weekend of the tourney. At the beginning of the tourney, Ohio State had separated from the pack but the next 13 teams were separated by only 4 points in their ratings. So the higher ranked team in many tourney games had only a slight edge. Imagine drawing a line in your bedroom that splits it into regions of 60% and 40% of the floor space. If one spun around and randomly flung pieces of clothing around, it’s unlikely that they all land in the 60% region. It’s analogous to picking the higher ranked team in each game in your bracket. We’ll work on something better for next year.
However, The Power Rank did much better on a game by game basis. In our tournament preview, we highlighted 6 teams seeded higher than 10 that might pull a first round upset. Three of these teams won, the number we expect if each team had an equal chance of winning the game. Overall, we went 34-24-1 against the line, passing on the remaining 8 games. This corresponds to a 58.6% winning percentage.