Don't stress over filling out that NCCA Tournament bracket! Joel Sokol, an associate professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, explains how the Logistic Regression Markov Chain (LRMC) method knows who's going to win it all. Hint: Pick Louisville.
March Madness isn't just about basketball. It's also partly the madness around the plethora of data used to predict the winner of the annual NCAA Tournament.
With such a wide variety of potential data –road/neutral records, per-possession statistics and injury updates are just a few – it’s no wonder that there are so many different team rankings, meta-rankings and NCAA Tournament predictions.
Rather than drowning in all that data, professors at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE) used advanced analytics techniques from statistics and operations research to devise a ranking system that requires only basic scoreboard information: which two teams played each game, whose court they played on and what was the margin of victory.
The system is named LRMC, which stands for Logistic Regression and Markov Chain, two of its primary mathematical techniques.
The model allow us to ask: “Given that Georgia Tech beat Georgia by 9 points on the road, how likely is it that Tech is the better team?” We then combine the answers from every one of the thousands of games played this year. The result is a ranking of all 351 NCAA Division I basketball teams, which can be used to predict NCAA Tournament outcomes.
This year, the model says the most likely outcome is for #1 seeds, Florida, Virginia and Arizona to join #4 Louisville in the Final Four. The most likely outcome is that Louisville will beat Florida for the national title and claim its second consecutive national championship.
There will be fewer upsets this year than usual, according to the system. The model expects 11-seed Tennessee to upset 6-seed Massachusetts and for 6-seed Ohio State to upset 3-seed Syracuse in the second round.
LRMC has correctly predicted the national champion in three of the past six years. In 2008 it correctly predicted the entire Final Four, the two championship game participants and the overall champion.
Check out the full LRMC bracket here: www.lrmc.gatech.edu
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