Erich Doerr Gets it Right!!!

Posted on April 7, 2008 by


Before the NCAA tournament began, Erich Doerr – a WoW Journal reader (and occasional contributor) – posted the results of his Monte Carlo simulation of the tournament. 

An Instant Analysis of the NCAA Tournament

The above column included the following paragraphs:

Now that the seeds have been given, what are the odds on a national championship?  One way to assess probabilities is to simulate the tournament, using basketball statistics.  Given 10,000 simulations, a Monte Carlo method, we can generate a plausible list of championship odds for each tournament entrant.

The two strongest public NCAA metrics are the Sagarin Ratings and Ken Pomeroy‘s Pythagorean Ratings.  Statistics used by the Wages of Wins are parallel to Pomeroy’s approach, as both incorporate offensive and defensive efficiency.  Individual game outcomes can be modeled via methods like log5 analysis and Sean Foreman’s Sagarin approach.

With this approach, we should expect to see favorites generally prevail, and given enough trials, we’ll see a low seed team go all the way.

Which #1 got the easiest bracket?  This analysis suggests Kansas has the easiest path by either metric.  Sagarin seems to show UCLA got the toughest draw while Pomeroy’s stats believe North Carolina received the toughest draw.

The following table reports my analysis:

Table One: Projecting the National Champ

As you can see, Erich’s simulation – conducted before the tournament began — indicated the top two teams were Kansas and Memphis.  And of these two, Kansas had the best odds to be the champion. 

Tonight – after Kansas defeated Memphis — Erich posted the following comment:

I certainly hope you played that KenPom bracket!

Keep your eyes here in May for an assessment on how these kids shape up for the next level in the NBA draft preview, and be sure to drop on by next year for another NCAA tourney preview.

For the record, I did not play the KenPom bracket.  I picked UCLA to win the title (mostly on a hunch, I didn’t run my own simulation). 

I do wish to thank Erich for posting this analysis (even if I failed to follow its advice) and I am very much looking forward to his NBA draft preview.

WoW Journal Approaches a Milestone

One last note before I close this post.

According to WordPress, the WoW Journal should hit 1,000,000 page views in the next day or so.  The counter is on the right (look at Blog Stats, which is below the sitemeter and the list of Pages).  As I post this column, the counter just passed 998,000. We get about 2,000 page views per day, so I would guess we will pass the magical 1,000,000 mark sometime tomorrow night.   

There should be a prize for being the person who gets us to 1,000,000.  But our WoW Journal budget (currently sitting at zero) has no funds for such a prize.  

In all seriousness, though, we do with to thank everyone for stopping by and making this a small part of their day.

– DJ