Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NCAA Final 4 Picks

North Carolina -3 over Kansas
Memphis -2 over UCLA

My results against the spread:

All my picks 36-25 59%
My overdog picks 32-17 65%
My underdog picks 4-8 33%

An all-overdog strategy still leads the pack at 40-21 or 66%.

I know very little about American college basketball despite many wasted hours watching matches on TV with ex-toy boy Reginald during my grad school days. (I remembered just in time that you call them games here in America, not matches as we do in England.)

Current toy boy Archibald has explained that we should be barracking for UCLA to meet North Carolina in the final because this would be roughly equivalent to an Arsenal vs. Man U FA Cup final.

But, at the end of the night you have to dance with the one what brung ya and I can't abandon my system now so I'm picking Memphis.

The overdog dominance this year is almost certainly an outlier that is still within the realm of probability in a relatively small sample of 61 games. Over 1,000 games, or even 250, we might live for a thousand years without seeing almost two out of every three games won by overdogs against the spread. However, I would be interested in knowing whether there is any historical March Madness data over a long period showing underdog and overdog records against the spread.

There is an unproven theory that NFL overdogs do better against the spread in the playoffs than in the regular season because they go all-out to run up the score and put their opponents away in playoff elimination games. However, NFL overdog dominance is confined to the 1992-98 period, which is too small a sample to prove anything. It would be interesting to know whether the March Madness records of overdogs and underdogs against the spread differ from NCAA regular season records.

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