March Madness Game Theory: Teams to Watch

By Carlton Chin
Creighton's Doug McDermott (3)
Dave Weaver – USA TODAY Sports

As the madness of March nears, we will review ways of improving your NCAA Men’s Basketball bracket pool chances. Earlier, I discussed the probability of picking a perfect March Madness bracket and winning a billion dollars from Warren Buffet in the Quicken Loans contest.

In this article, we list the best college basketball teams in the nation today. These teams can potentially make a run during the NCAA Tournament. I particularly like to focus on teams now, because they are currently the best in the nation. However, if they falter near the end of the regular season or during conference tournaments they may become undervalued.

You may argue that you would rather pick a team that won their conference championship and is red-hot entering the tournament. I won’t argue with you there, but I will mention that 90 percent of all fans will think in a similar fashion. Then, if your team does in fact advance in the tournament, the other 90 percent will be right with you in the pool. Indeed, some statistics show that recent performance is often overvalued. By looking for undervalued and out-of-favor teams, we can put concepts of game theory behind us as we pick our brackets.

Without further ado, here is my current list of the top teams in the nation.

  1. Arizona Wildcats
  2. Syracuse Orangemen
  3. Villanova Wildcats
  4. Creighton Bluejays
  5. Duke Blue Devils
  6. Kansas Jay Hawks
  7. Florida Gators
  8. Michigan State Spartans
  9. Wichita State Shockers
  10. Iowa Hawkeyes

These teams currently look earmarked for top seeds in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If they falter, they will be assigned a much lower seed than currently projected. Thus, when March Madness rolls around, we may be able to pick a No. 7 seed to advance far into the tournament that deserved a No. 2 seed just one month earlier.

In addition, some of the lesser-known names, such as Creighton and Wichita State, are of interest.  Like many things in life, a contrarian view can offer value.  This is particularly true in popular pools like the NCAA March Madness bracket pools.

Please bookmark this page so we can review this potential list of gold in a month. See you in March.

Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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