Commentary

Sweet 16 sim: Duke will win it all

Game Predictor tool is riding Duke over K-State in a tight national title game

Updated: March 23, 2010, 3:15 PM ET
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesThese guys could be cutting nets come April 5.

ESPN Insider general editor Chris Sprow looked at the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament last week using Insider's Bracket Predictor tool. This week, he uses the matchup-based Game Predictor to simulate the Sweet 16 through the final.

When the first try of Bracket/Game Predictor picked the Kansas Jayhawks to win it all -- and I picked my bracket in lockstep with the machine -- you can understand why I felt it necessary to perform Michael Bolton's Revenge on the computer after my bracket got Farokhmanesh'd. For the record, I forgave Bracket Predictor, but my Louisville Slugger couldn't. In the race against the machine, call it creative destruction. I'll innovate elsewhere.

But maybe I was wrong.

A closer look at the work of Bracket Predictor shows that, despite the trouble with Kansas, the computer is sure as heck smarter than most of you. Consider:

• The Predictor's Sweet 16 would still be in the 83rd to 85th percentile on ESPN's Bracket Challenge -- even with the Kansas loss. BP would be winning more than 90 percent of pools.

• It correctly called a trio of 10-seeds winning their first games.

• It sensed some Big East weakness, saying the Pittsburgh Panthers wouldn't make it to the Sweet 16, even as a favorite, and -- as I wrote last week -- it trusted Washington in a sim over Marquette, even when there was little statistical reason to.

• It had Cornell as basically a pick 'em in Round 1 and superior on other levels. Because it was so close, I felt compelled to take the higher seed just to be consistent.

• Lastly, in my favorite category -- genetics -- the computer had Kentucky with a 100 percent seed difference over ETSU, and was vindicated when Kentucky got off to a 100-71 run to start the game and didn't look back.

That said, it's time to play out the Sweet 16.


To keep reading this and get a closer look at Insider's Game Predictor results, you need to be an ESPN Insider.