04 April 2015

Rating Systems Challenge: Sagarin, ESPN National Bracket and Lunardi RPI Face off in Final Four


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 2015 NCAA Tournament. Check out the full series.

While exciting, and with the exception of Michigan State's (7) upset of Louisville (4), last week's Elite Eight action was a rather chalky affair. And since no systems picked Sparty to advance to the Final Four, the only systems that might have benefited from a low-seed victory (the preseason polls) instead fell out of contention as the Cardinals' run ended.


In fact, there are only three systems that still have a chance to win the 2015 Rating Systems Challenge: Jeff Sagarin's computer ratings, ESPN's National Bracket, and Lunardi RPI.



The table above lists all the possible Rating Systems Challenge winners based on all possible Final Four outcomes. Though Lunardi RPI is currently well behind in the current standings, it is the only remaining system that picked any winner besides Kentucky (1). If Duke (1) wins it all, Lunardi RPI finishes atop the standings, full stop. However, if Duke reaches, but doesn't win it all, the ESPN National Bracket will take this year's crown. With any other possible outcome, which is any in which Michigan State advances, Sagarin holds on to first place.


In every possible outcome, this year's pool will finish well. Heading into the Final Four, the Rational Pastime group in ESPN's Tournament challenge ranks 44th out of tens of thousands of pools. No matter who wins it all, at least seven (and possibly as many as ten) systems will outperform chalk.

Stay tuned to find out which system is the king of all systems in 2015; we may have a winner before long.

Follow along between posts: check out the Rational Pastime Tournament Challenge Group.

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