Okay, college hoops fans, we’re just days away from the start of the Conference Championships followed by The Big Dance! The Big East and ACC take claim to 6 of the top 10 in rankings at this time and will be bringing plenty of excitement to their tournaments. This weekend will give us another glimpse of the upcoming action when #3 Pitt hosts #1 UConn. The Huskies will be looking to avenge one of their only two losses against the Panthers. Of course, this will be no easy task against a team that is undefeated at home. Georgetown, Florida, and Maryland have had high hopes but have been inconsistent. Each appears to be on the bubble, with much to prove for a shot to advance. So, we know who the top teams are, but what makes up the Madness of the NCAA tournament is the excitement and tradition of filling out your brackets and trying to find those upsets and Cinderella teams! How about some picks for this years tourney: VCU has established themselves as a team that is always a threat (they lead the Colonial Athletic with a 21-9 record overall); The MAAC, a 1 bid conference, which should produce Siena, a team with 3 players averaging more than 13ppg. Davidson has both tournament experience and strong shooter, Stephen Curry. Of course I can’t resist slipping in my hopes for Florida State, who could get their first tournament bid in 11 years. They’ve played well in what could be argued to be the toughest conference in college basketball and have either upset or had close calls with some of the top teams.
Having said all of this, perhaps I should include a disclaimer – or at least point out the results of a 2001 study by Edward Kaplan and Stanley Garstka of Yale University: (http://mansci.journal.informs.org/cgi/content/abstract/47/3/369). Using mathematical formulas and probabilities that would make my head spin, they looked at regular season performance, rankings, Vegas odds, and other measures compared to the outcomes of past tournaments. Their findings? …..an overall prediction reliability of about 58%!! I guess this explains why it’s usually the person you least expect that ends up winning the office pool.
Hubdub has something special in store for this year’s Tournament, while we are certain we can out-predict those Yale guys and their measly 58%!!!