20 March 2014

Rating Systems Challenge: Systems Overview


This post is part of a series tracking the successes and failures of various NCAA Men's Basketball ranking systems and bracket models throughout the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Click here to check out the full series.

The 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament has begun, and we've already seen our first upset. When 11 Dayton took down 6 Ohio State, four systems (LRMC Bayesian, Sonny Moore, Sports Reference and Sagarin) lost a Sweet Sixteen pick. Fortunately for them, nobody had OSU in the Final Four. Listed below are the teams that our nineteen systems picked to reach the Final Four, the finals, and their National Champions.


1 Arizona is the dominant favorite out of the West—no system picks any other school to emerge from that region. 1 Florida is nearly as dominant out of the South, with only 2 Kansas threatening the Gators' Final Four hopes. The remaining brackets appear far more competitive: the systems pick four different schools to win both the East and the Midwest.


1 Florida is by far the school in which the systems place their confidence, followed by 4 Louisville and 1 Arizona. 8 Kentucky makes the list by virtue of their #1 ranking in both preseason polls.

Keep up with Rational Pastime as we make our way through the NCAA Tournament, tracking the successes and failures of the individual systems.

Notes on the systems: 1) I include the preseason polls because they, in fact, tend to do a better job of picking winners in March than the postseason polls; 2) Pure Chalk is the seeding order picked by the NCAA Selection Committee; 3) while I usually include both the ESPN Computer picker and ESPN's Decision Tree, they both picked the same bracket this year, so I'm aggregating them; 4) Vegas picks are based on the first round match-up and Final Four lines as presented by BetVega.com at 11 AM EDT on the first day of the Tourney; 5) chalk is the tiebreaker in the event of any ties.

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