Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Madness 2012: The NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four

With an eye towards key concepts of sport psychology, we looked at factors such as big game experience, leadership behind the bench, leadership on the court, error control, and consistency.  So important are these concepts to winning championships that they have proven to be common themes across all sports we have studied.

Experience: Over the past 27 tournaments, 15 of 27 champions have had Final Four experience from the previous three years.  Teams with more Final Four appearances in the past three years have gone 11-5 (68.8%) in championship games.  Of this year’s Final Four contestants, only Kentucky has reached the Final Four over the past three years – and with this year’s appearance, Kentucky has reached the Final Four two years in a row.
Consistency: Research has shown that consistency and error measures are also important to winning championships.  Historical data was not as readily available for some of the statistics (data goes back 13 seasons), but the team with the higher 3-point shooting percentage has won 10 of the last 13 title games.  Free throw shooting percentage is also a measure of consistency, and teams with the higher free throw percentage have gone 9-4 over the past 13 championship games.
So who will win the big game?  The championship factors predict that Kentucky and Ohio State will advance to the championship game.  Once the finalists are determined, this ranking, based on the factors in the table, may be used to predict the champion: (1) Kentucky, (2) Ohio State, (3) Kansas, and (4) Louisville – to win the championship.

Read more at here:

Carlton Chin, a portfolio strategist and MIT graduate, and Jay Granat, psychotherapist, are authors of “Who Will Win the Big Game? A Psychological & Mathematical Method.”  They have previously written about the Super BowlWorld Series, and last year’s NCAA Tournament.