And then there were two. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament‘s championship game tips off Monday evening featuring an unlikely set of seeds: the No. 7 seed Connecticut Huskies versus No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats. This year’s title game is the first NCAA championship game ever to not include a No. 3 seed or better.
Together with Dr. Jay Granat, a psychotherapist, I quantified championship factors related to concepts of sports psychology to help predict semifinal winners. For the Final Four, our series of articles focused on factors such as big game experience, leadership on the court and behind the bench, as well as statistics related to fundamentals and defense. The factors correctly predicted that Connecticut and Kentucky would win their semifinal games. In particular, the Connecticut victory surprised many because the Huskies were fairly significant underdogs.
Since our work was published several years ago, our quant fact predictions have now correctly picked the winner of major sporting events 63 percent of the time, including both semifinal games of the Final Four and this year’s Super Bowl.
The results show the power of quantifying concepts of sports psychology. Interestingly, across all major sports studied, the numbers show that championships are won with leadership, experience and fundamentals that can be practiced and coached.
Here are how our sports psychology factors play out for the national championship game:
Experience Edge: Kentucky
All-American Leadership Edge: Connecticut
Coaching Leadership Edge: Kentucky
Free Throw Shooting Edge: Connecticut
Field Goal Percentage Defense Edge: Connecticut
Overall, the quant facts favor Connecticut 3-2 to win the national championship.
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.