Based on quant research of factors related to sports psychology, we focused on several championship characteristics that might help predict the winner of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Last year’s article correctly selected Kentucky to win the national title.
Consistency: Research has shown that consistency and error measures are also important to winning championships. The team with the higher 3-point shooting percentage has won 11 of the last 14 title games. Free throw shooting percentage is also a measure of consistency, and teams with the higher free throw percentage have gone 10-4 over the past 14 championship games.
In the table below, we list the performance of the Final Four teams in consistency categories such as 3-point shooting and free-throw percentage. We also include experience and leadership factors we discussed – as well as turnovers and a defensive measure, because these are also championship traits.
Who Will Win the Big Game? Louisville has more championship factors in its favor than Wichita State, including big game experience and coaching leadership. Wichita State has three-point shooting in its favor – while two factors (FG Shooting Defense and Turnovers per game) are very close. In the other semifinal matchup, Michigan has more championship factors in its favor.
Syracuse has coaching leadership and defense in its favor, but the other factors point to Michigan.
Based on our championship factors and season statistics, we developed a Monte Carlo simulator for college basketball, similar to the methodology we used for our football analyses. The results for the simulations are centered around: Louisville 69 – Wichita State 62 in the first semifinal game, and Michigan 69 – Syracuse 66 in the second semifinal game.
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