What are the chances that Harvard men’s basketball can win again and beat no. 4-seed Michigan State at 8:40 p.m. tonight?
John L. Ezekowitz '13 has a number: 38 percent, approximately.
So, Crimson fans who had never heard of Spokane before this week, there's hope of Harvard advancing past the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32 into the Sweet Sixteen.
Ezekowitz, whose predictions have been published in the Wall Street Journal three years running, wrote in an e-mailed statement that the model's outputs are based on "factors like offensive and defensive efficiency, strength of the schedule, consistency, NCAA tournament experience (NCAA games played in the prior season times returning minutes), and the number of NCAA tournament teams the team has beaten this season." Translation: You would have wanted him as your partner for your Stat 104 final project while he was an undergrad.
Ezekowitz added, "Michigan State is a tough matchup for Harvard. They are experienced, talented, and well-coached. Harvard will have to limit transition opportunities and play strong defense against Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson inside."
For anyone whose dreams of a perfect bracket are still going strong after this year’s upsets, Professor Carl N. Morris's statistical take will ground your hopes.
"Winning requires guessing at 63 games and getting them all right," Morris, the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective faculty advisor, wrote in an e-mailed statement. Do the math and the odds of a perfect bracket are about one in 100 billion.
Morris's final advice on the billion dollar perfect bracket challenge: It's "not worth taking the time to enter."