2014 Bracketology: Don't Follow The Sheep

By Carlton Chin
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports
NCAA Tournament

In a recent article, we discussed value picks for your 2014 March Madness brackets. As you complete your pool entries for the 2014 NCAA tournament, we also compiled a list of teams you should avoid — at least to go all the way. While these are all solid picks, concepts of game theory suggest that you may want to avoid these teams to separate yourself from the crowd.

This contrarian strategy is particularly true for pools with an overwhelmingly large number of entries. For smaller office pools, your overall strategy can place a stronger emphasis on winning picks. However, contrarian approaches can still give you an edge.

In addition, you may find these other Bracketology articles on the NCAA tournament interesting: the odds of picking a perfect bracket, the probabilities of various seeds getting to the Final Four and game theory and potential value.

Here are some teams to avoid:

Virginia Cavaliers: No. 1 seed. Statistics show that recent play is often overvalued, especially for a top seed. The Cavaliers are definitely one of the hottest NCAA teams, but do not offer value as a No. 1 seed.
Michigan Wolverines: No. 2 seed. The Wolverines are another hot team that may be overvalued.
Florida Gators: No. 1 seed. The Gators are the world’s favorite pick. Everyone is picking Florida.
Wisconsin Badgers: No. 2 seed. The Badgers are another hot team that grabbed a high seed but offer little value.

Interesting selection:

Louisville Cardinals: No. 4 seed. The Cardinals are another popular selection. However, as a No. 4 seed, Louisville offers some value. Many people remember that Louisville won last year’s tournament and my research with Dr. Jay Granat has shown that “big-game experience” can be a good predictor of success.

As you complete your bracket pool entries, remember that following the road less traveled will help to separate you from the pack. Good luck and let the madness begin! 

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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