Nate Silver gives Louisville 22.7% chance of taking NCAA men’s championship

Maybe now that Nate Silver is researching and writing about topics beyond the presidential race, some of the doubters will get a sense for the FiveThirtyEight statistician’s nuanced use of numbers.

Those of us who trusted Silver’s work in making our presidential calls last November did pretty well.

Given the parity in men’s college basketball, picking the NCAA champ is a lot harder than picking the winner of a two-person race.

But Louisville, the #1 seed, emerges as the favorite in FiveThirtyEight’s forecast. From FiveThirtyEight:

Louisville is in fact the nominal favorite to win the tournament despite its tough draw, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast. Still, Louisville has only a 23 percent chance of doing so, just ahead of Indiana at 20 percent.

In 2012, the FiveThirtyEight formula listed Kentucky as the tournament favorite. That call looks prescient since the Wildcats went on to win the tournament. Still, the result involved as much luck as skill, since the forecast gave Kentucky just a 27 percent chance of winning the tournament, only modestly better than Louisville and Indiana this year.

All the #1 seeds are favored to make the final four except for Kansas, which Silver’s model has as an underdog to #3 seed Florida.

Screenshot_58You can read about his methodology at the post linked above.

It’s worth noting the Silver’s five top teams have a combined probability of about 2 in 3 of walking the champion.