Tech professors forecast Final Four

Three Georgia Tech professors (and most of the rest of the country) predict that Kentucky will win the NCAA tournament.

Using their ranking system, Tech professors Joel Sokol, Paul Kvam and George Nemhauser (and Columbia professor Mark Brown) predict a Final Four of Arizona, Kentucky, Villanova and Gonzaga. You can look at their full bracket here.

It’s largely a safe bracket, with only two first-round upsets (not counting 8-9 games) – No. 10 Ohio State over No. 7 VCU in the West and No. 11 Texas over No. 6 Butler in the Midwest.

Using game-result data and location of games (home/away), the professors created a ranking system using two mathematical techniques, Logistic Regression and Markov Chain, that they’ve used to pick the NCAA tournament for the last several years.

Past predictions suggest moderate accuracy. The LRMC method has correctly predicted the champion in three of the past seven tournaments. In 2014, LRMC picked one Final Four team but missed the champion. In 2013, they were 0-for-4 on the Final Four. They correctly predicted two Final Four participants in 2010 (Duke and West Virginia, the latter of which beat heavily favored Kentucky in regional play) but not the champion.

They accurately forecast North Carolina as the 2009 champion, but missed on the other three Final Four participants. They nailed all four Final Four teams in 2008 and had the championship game correct also.


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