Maximizing Your Bracket’s Investment (March Madness)

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Mar 13, 2017

West Virginia has what it takes to sneak into the Final Four

Happy March Madness season, everyone! Even if you aren’t the biggest basketball fan, there is no denying that March is a special time of the year because of all the fun with brackets. As you are filling out your brackets, I’m sure you will be reading a dozen articles, that toss out all kinds of odd stats. You can use stats to make a case for or against any team in the field, but today I am going to talk about the one stat with the highest predictive return of investment and how to utilize it to maximize your odds of winning your bracket challenge.

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Overall efficiency is the name is the game. There are metrics built by, and among several others, that take offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, schedule of strength and luck then mix them up into a power ranking. These efficiency measures have been substantially more reliable than RPI, seeds, and anything along those lines to predict March winners. One team that stands out is Wichita State, who is ranked #8, #11 and #14 by these three sites, but somehow ended up a 10-seed in the tournament. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Arizona is a 2-seed, but ranked #10, #20 and #20 by the same measures. I took these numbers, threw them into the bracket and simulated 10,000 tournaments to determine the odds each team would win the title. After that, I compared those odds to the percentage of Yahoo and ESPN brackets that have each team winning the title. The reason I do this is because the trick to maximizing your odds of winning your contest is to find the teams who are overlooked.


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