Mar 17, 2010, 11:00 AM EST
Prediction Machine knows all, and one day will enslave all humans; this much is clear. But before that happens, it will give you winning NCAA tourney picks like nobody’s business. University of Cincinnati grad Paul Bessire, who has a Master’s degree in Quantitative Analysis, has turned what was his longtime hobby of predicting and writing about sports outcomes into his full-time profession. And this time of year, that means charting the NCAA Div. I men’s basketball tournament with the Predictulator.
We saw your picks last year, and believe us, you need his help. Luckily for you, Bessire talked with Out of Bounds on Tuesday and unveiled his latest stats, including his prediction for the tourney’s overall winner (which he has correctly tabbed in five of the past six tournaments).
Follow along after the jump.
“Prediction Machine.com is my own endeavor, which I started after working for Fox Sports Interactive and a couple of other mainstream sports sites,” Bessire told OOB. “This is my seventh NCAA tournament, and it’s been one of the most interesting things I do.”
Bessire served as the product manager of quantitative analysis and content for Fox Sports Interactive, responsible for the math behind the historical simulation sports games at WhatIfSports.com. PredictionMachine.com’s accuracy stems from the Predictalator, which simulates an upcoming game 50,000 times before it’s actually played.
“This is the best way to account for every possible interaction between players, coaches, officials and fans,” he said. “We run the games play by play, pass by pass, Anyone who tries to make a prediction, coaching decision, etc. is attempting to do this type of comparison in his head. Without the aid of a machine, these comparisons are very difficult to do quickly and without personal, subjective biases. The Predictalator can handle it; and better than any other application available.”
Results? Bassire’s Predictalator scored in the 95th percentile in Yahoo Sports’ NCAA Tournament Pick’em contest last season( which had close to a million entries), and bested 100 members of the media to win the 2009 Richard Gardner Charity Pro Football Pick’em contest. He also predicted the winner of: five of the past six Super Bowls, including last year’s four-point (exactly) win by Pittsburgh; five of the past six World Series; five of the past six Stanley Cup champions; and five of the past six NCAA Tournament champions. The miss? Florida in 2006.
And for the 2010 men’s tourney, it looks like … Kansas.
“PredictionMachine.com played the NCAA Tournament 50,000 times and has Kansas winning 15.7 percent of the time,” Bessire said. “Syracuse won 10.6 percent of the time, and Baylor, surprisingly, 10.4 percent of the time. Kansas’ number is a little low compared to previous years; tradionally the eventual winner will score in the 25-30 percent range. So you could say that this is the biggest toss-up season of the past seven.”
Predictalator has Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Baylor in the Final Four. And except for it being in the same Regional as Kansas, Ohio State would win it all. See PredictionMachine.com for a complete bracket analysis.
Bessire’s secret to a winning bracket is that “you’re better off not picking too many upsets.” Also, the most capable team that didn’t make the tourney, according to Bessire, is probably Mississippi State. So get those NIT wagers in now.
As for Bessire himself, he’s rooting for his Bearcats. “I enjoy playing basketball, but I’m a 6-4 guy who can’t dunk,” he said. “I’m better wit the numbers than I am with the ball.”
Thursday round one picks [PredictionMachine.com]
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found