Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Final Four Predictions

The Prediction Machine doesn’t have a good record in the Tournament this year, but I console myself that no one else does, either.  (And I'm glad I didn't publish Elite Eight predictions -- they would have been mostly wrong!)  After the early round games, and with the exit of most of the high seeds, the PM thinks Louisville is the cream of the remaining crop:

Home
Away
Prediction
(1) Louisville (9) Wichita St. 12.4
(4) Michigan (4) Syracuse 5.4
(1) Louisville (4) Michigan 10.2
(1) Louisville (4) Syracuse 10.9

The Prediction Machine likes Michigan over Syracuse, but that game represents a bit of a predictive dilemma because it involves two #4 seeds facing each other.  Normally the better seeded team is the Home team, and benefits from the Tournament version of Home Court Advantage.  (*)  It isn’t clear how to resolve this when two identical seeds face each other – this happens so rarely in the Tournament that there isn’t clear precedent.  In this case, the PM rates the teams nearly identical, and predicts the win for whichever team is the “home” team.   Since the NCAA has chosen Michigan as the home team, I’ll go with that.  However, I’ve shown both possible matchups in the final game just in case.

(*) Why is there a home court advantage in the Tournament?  My theory: The Home Court Advantage derives largely from referee bias.  During the regular season the referee bias is that “teams play better at home” and so they give the home team the benefit of calls, etc.  During the tournament the bias is “the better seeded team is better” and so that team gets the benefit of calls.

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