27 March 2015

Rating Systems Challenge: Decision Tree Takes the Lead

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.

Last night's tilt between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3) and the Wichita State Shockers (7) played the role of decider at the top of the Rating Systems Challenge standings. The leading bracket heading into the contest, Pinnacle's Thursday morning Vegas line, banked on Wichita State. The other three leaders, ESPN Decision Tree, Jeff Sagarin and Sonny Moore, all had Notre Dame. Though the Shockers kept it close, the Irish prevailed in the end, giving the ESPN Decision Tree bracket the lead (tied in total points with Sagarin and Sonny Moore, Decision Tree has more possible points remaining).

Several other brackets leaped over Vegas after last night's contests, including Sports Reference's Adjusted Ratings, Pomeroy and the ESPN National Bracket. Nevertheless, the story continues to be the general success of the system-based brackets overall. Through the first slate of Sweet Sixteen games, sixteen brackets are outperforming chalk in total points and eight have nailed more picks. The pool overall currently ranks fifteenth out of the tens of thousands of pools in the ESPN Tournament Challenge.

As for today's match-ups, the only upset that any of the systems picked is Louisville (4) over what would have been Villanova (1). Instead, the Cardinals will take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack (8). A win for Louisville will be a big boost for the brackets based on preseason polls, which, though they are trailing the pack at the moment, are well-positioned to come roaring back by virtue of their advantage in possible points remaining.

Stay tuned to see how these systems perform in Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight action.

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

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