For Some, 'Just Win' Doesn't Cut It

Prof analyzes the blowout factor when filling out NCAA bracket
By Mike Buss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2008 10:42 PM CDT
Kansas center Cole Aldrich (45) dunks in the first half against Texas A&M during the semifinals of the men's Big 12 basketball tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, March 15, 2008.    (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Never mind R.P.I. and coaches' polls. It's a team's average margin of victory by which you should be basing your NCAA tournament picks, writes one Georgia Tech professor in The New York Times. Joel Sokol says a close win and a close loss are very similar, with statistics showing that teams bounce back better from a tight defeat than a blowout.

But various rankings use only wins and losses and don't have any sort of scale for won/loss margin. In other words, North Carolina, with six nailbiting wins, is more susceptible to the upset. After crunching the numbers on everyone from Carolina to Coppin State, who does he like? Kansas, which lost only three games, of which two were by 3 points or fewer.