Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NCAA March Madness 2015 ATS Recap

Official Godiva toy boy and fiancé Archibald can't get enough roundball. Every year he organizes a friendly, non-profit office pool for the NCAA men's tourney.

Instead of picking bracket winners, players in his pool pick winners against the spread (ATS) each and every day as the tournament unfolds. The winner of his winner-take-all pool is the contestant who picks the most winners against the spread over 67 matches including the play-in games. All matches are weighted equally.

Including 0-4 in play-in games, I finished 33-34 ATS.

I rely on economists' studies showing that "heavy" underdogs win more than their fair share of college basketball games against the point spread, while "non-heavy" overdogs win slightly more than 50% (although this particular result is not statistically significant).

In the final match, I took overdog favourite ATS Wisconsin over Duke at -1. One of these years, perhaps in my next life when I have time, I would like to look at the NCAA finals ATS over the years to see if there is preliminary evidence confirming Professor Stephen (Freakanomics) Levitt's Super Bowl thesis that underdogs are undervalued in big finals.

Over 8 years since 2008 of swimming naked (of roundball knowledge) in Archibald's pool, I am under water at 249-251-11. Clearly, no evidence that I have a good system for picking March madness winners ATS.

Just by picking all overdog favourites in every NCAA tournament game for the past 8 years, you would be sporting a 254-246-11 record ATS which is not statistically significantly different from even-stephen.

Lady G vs. Baracketer-in-Chief
President Obama picks winners straight-up with no point line for each bracket and round.

The President got UNC right as the 2009 winner. After a tough time in 2010 and 2011 with none of his final 4 picks coming through, he correctly picked 5 of the elite 8 in 2013 and 2014 as well as 6 of 8 in 2012 and 2015. Not too shabby.

When he picks upsets in the early rounds, I can identify games where Lady Godiva and the Baracketer-in-Chief disagree. In Obama's first 7 years in office, I am now 20-27-1 womano-a-mano against the Baracketer who has had the knack for identifying upsets until this year when Lady G had a 4-1 upper hand on the Baracketer.

Speaking of mano-a-womano, kudos to the President for also picking the women's NCAA brackets.