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NCAA Basketball March Madness

Final Four 2014: Big Game Experience Can Predict The Winner

Kentucky Wildcats

Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been whittled down to the Final Four. My readers know that I like to use numbers and probabilities to better understand potential outcomes. Can factors related to sports psychology help predict the winner? Research that quantifies these factors has had particularly good results over the past several years in both the Final Four and the National Championship game.

Working with psychotherapist Dr. Jay Granat, I have quantified factors related to sports psychology. These factors include big game experience, leadership on the court, leadership behind on bench and basketball fundamentals that can be coached and practiced. The research goes back to 1985 when the NCAA Tournament went to the current format.

In this article, I will look at the experience factor. Big game experience has been related to winning championships across all major sports that I have studied. Teams that have more Final Four appearances over the past three years have compiled a 13-5 (72 percent) record in championship games.

This factor favors the Kentucky Wildcats with two Final Four appearances; the Wildcats won the 2012 National Championship. The Connecticut Huskies have one appearance and won the 2011 National Championship. The Florida Gators and Wisconsin Badgers have not appeared in the Final Four over the past three seasons.

I will study additional factors such as leadership and basketball statistics related to sports psychology in upcoming articles. Currently, the sports psychology factors for the two semifinal games are as follows:

Connecticut 1 – Florida 0

Kentucky 1 – Wisconsin 0

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.