Click here (or scroll down) for today's Quickie ("Defining Choices")
On to a very intriguing post:
The National Bracket: It's one of my NCAA Tournament obsessions. As a "Wisdom of Crowds" tool, this aggregate look at the combined picks of every fan entering ESPN.com's Tournament Challenge is a phenomenal peek into the collective wisdom of the fans.
Two years ago, I made a big deal out of this: If you used the National Bracket to make your own picks, you would have outperformed 90 percent (90 PERCENT!) of all individual brackets.
Now, you might not would have won your office pool (which will always go to the statistical outlier), but you would have finished VERY respectably. This, using the collective wisdom of fans everywhere.
So what does an analysis of THIS year's National Bracket reveal?
Of course, the vast majority of decisions are heavily for the seed favorite. This year, there are even a handful of outright upsets called by the majority:
10 Gonzaga over 7
In Round 1, there is one intriguing virtual tie:
And in the Sweet 16, there is one virtual tie:
But usually, the "wisdom" is more subtle: Merely a NOTABLE percentage of fans see something in an underdog -- matchups that are close enough to flag as a significant portion of the "crowd" spotting a potential upset. (For the purposes of my analysis, if the underdog is within 30 percentage points of the favorite, it's worth noting.) Ones to watch:
Round 1 Teams within 30% range:
Old Dominion (36.5) vs.
Notably outside the +/- 30% range:
Creighton (32.7) vs.
VCU (24.4) vs. Duke (75.6)
Sweet 16: Now THIS is fascinating. Of the 8 Sweet 16 games, besides the 50/50 Memphis-Texas A&M game, only ONE has the underdog within even 20 percentage points of the favorite:
The theme continues in the Elite Eight: Of the four games,
...UNC is less than THREE percentage points ahead of
In the Final Four,
The final is predictably tight:
As it should be.
As a P.S., it will be interesting to see if that vote total -- or any along the way -- change in the final 24 hours before the brackets lock and the games begin.
PS: On the opposite end of the "wisdom of crowds," FanIQ has the breakdown of all of the various "expert" picks for your comparison. Please keep "expert" in quotes.