Then again, those of you who picked pure chalk look just as smart as Nate Silver at the moment, so let's not read too much into this too quickly.
It's early yet, and it's beginning to look like March 2011 is particularly idiosyncratic. Pomeroy's bracket is only outperforming pure chalk by the equivalent of one win in the field of sixty-four. FiveThirtyEight has performed exactly as well as pure chalk. Every other system is worse, and in some cases much worse.
If we can't say that Pomeroy or any other system has significantly outperformed simple seeding, then we can't say that any of these systems are particularly useful. At least not yet.
|2||Pure Chalk||250||200||0||0||0||0||Ohio St||1120||450||96.0|
|4||Nolan Power Index||230||200||0||0||0||0||Kansas||1200||430||85.4|
|4||Jeff Sagarin||230||200||0||0||0||0||Ohio St||1080||430||85.4|
|4||Sonny Moore||230||200||0||0||0||0||Ohio St||1080||430||85.4|
|7||ESPN National Bracket||230||200||0||0||0||0||Ohio St||1120||420||78.0|
|8||LRMC Bayesian||250||160||0||0||0||0||Ohio St||1080||410||68.9|
|10||NCAA Official RPI||220||180||0||0||0||0||Kansas||1200||400||58.4|
|12||ESPN Decision Tree||230||160||0||0||0||0||Kansas||1160||390||47.8|
|13||Preseason AP Poll||240||140||0||0||0||0||Duke||880||380||37.7|
More analysis after the jump.
Market-based systems, such as the ESPN National Bracket and the Vegas picks are performing quite poorly so far. The least chalky systems—LRMC Bayesian, Lunardi RPI and the Preseason AP Poll—are bringing up the rear. And woe is anyone who relied on ESPN's Decision Tree to pick their bracket so far.
Why is chalk doing so well in a year with remarkable upsets, including Virginia Commonwealth's shocking advance to the Sweet Sixteen? Simple: the upsets that the systems predicted didn't occur, and the upsets that occurred the systems didn't predict.
Image credit: Wikipedia