Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday’s log5 Winners and Losers

As described on Thursday and Friday, I am going to track the cumulative (sum total) Final Four odds for each conference.

Initial = Probability of reaching Final Four after Friday
Self = Self-inflicted change on Saturday
Other = Change in odds based on other results Saturday
New = Probability of reaching Final Four after Saturday

It was obviously a horrible day for the Big 12 with Kansas going down. The only saving grace was that Kansas St. got past a very tough BYU squad and that Baylor won against a solid opponent as well. Still, the Big 12’s sum total odds are now 3rd overall.

Northern Iowa obviously pulled the day’s biggest upset, and while they now have a legitimate chance at making the Final Four, they still won’t be favored from here on out. Instead, the game was almost as important for every other team in the region. Even without playing, Maryland saw their Final Four odds increase by 11.4%. Even without playing, Ohio St.’s odds went up 9.5%, and so on. Overall, these gains moved the ACC and Big 10 to the front of the pack.

On the flip side, Wisconsin lost even without playing today. That’s because Kentucky advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. West Virginia was also unhappy to see that outcome.

And even Duke’s odds fell slightly on a day where the Blue Devils did not play. Since Baylor had slightly better numbers than Villanova, it now looks likely that the Blue Devils will face a tougher opponent if they make the Regional Final.

Quick stats point: I realize that these “sum total” percentages for conferences have no statistical meaning. If you want to calculate true Final Four odds, you need to multiply individual teams. For example, the odds that neither Duke or Maryland make the Final Four is now .516*.768=.396. The odds that one or both make the Final Four is .604. But running every possible combination gets a bit burdensome. In this case, I show the sum total as a simple illustration of what conferences had good days and what conferences had bad days.