Better Bracketology

The new FiveThirtyEight.com’s Carl Bialik reports on the attempt by a university research professor to give NCAA bracketology some needed flavor:

Mark Glickman, a statistician and research professor of health policy and management at Boston University, has created a very different kind of March Madness competition. Participants won’t merely predict which team will win each game; they’ll specify how sure they are. Entrants will offer a probability for every game that could happen: 2,278 possible matchups.

Glickman’s contest scores entrants by the product of the average probability they gave for each matchup’s winner. The setup is designed to push people to examine their assumptions and balance confidence with caution. If you ever thought you were 100 percent sure about a game — say, between a No. 1 seed and a No. 16 seed — think again: If you’re wrong and a team you gave no chance somehow wins, you will lose a lot of points. Call every game 50-50, and you’ll know your score before the tournament starts. But it won’t be a good one.

More here.

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