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Computer system predicts basketball national championship

Posted March 21, 2013
Joel Sokol Makes NCAA Tournament Predictions

Joel Sokol Makes NCAA Tournament Predictions

When Georgia Tech opens the doors to the Georgia Dome next month as the host institution for the 2013 Final Four, expect third-seeded Florida to walk out as the national champion. That’s the prediction from Georgia Tech’s Logistic Regression/Markov Chain (LRMC) college basketball ranking system, a computerized model that has chosen the men’s basketball national champ in three of the last five years.

The LRMC predicts that Florida, Louisville, Indiana and Gonzaga are most likely to advance to the Final Four in Atlanta, with Florida and Gonzaga playing for the title on Monday, April 8. It’s the first time in the LRMC’s 10-year history a team that isn’t a number one seed is picked to win the title. Joel Sokol, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISYE) whose research specialties include sports analytics and applied operations research, oversees the annual project. During the season, the LRMC uses basic scoreboard data to create a weekly ranking of all 347 Division I NCAA teams. The mathematical formula looks at every game and factors in the margin of victory and where each game is played. When the field of 68 was announced last Sunday, Sokol’s team released its bracket. Last year, the team presented a paper that shows the LRMC has been the most accurate predictive ranking system over the last 10 years. The model outperformed more than 80 others, including the NCAA’s Ratings Performance Index (RPI), the system most experts use to justify who should and shouldn’t get into the tournament.

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