Quinnipiac’s ‘Stats Man’ makes March Madness predictions

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arch Madness is heating up, and not a day too soon as much of the Northeast continues to shovel out from the March 14 winter storm.

Sixty-eight teams, 16 seeds, 4 divisions and 3 weeks of intense Division I NCAA basketball, of reviving old rivalries and sparking new ones in arenas across America. With the final play-in games last night and the tournament set to officially kick off in full today at 12:15 p.m., Quinnipiac’s own Professor Stanley Rothman — affectionately known as Dr. Stan, The Stats Man — shares his 2017 March Madness bracket, as seen above.

While many use some advanced version of the “eye test” when picking their winners, Rothman, a professor of mathematics, examined the strength of each league, each team’s performance over their last 10 games, how they each fared against common opponents, their number of wins against top 50 teams and, of course, their BPI (Basketball Power Index) and RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). He also considered the experience of each head coach in March Madness competition.

“I admit that I expect to eat some crow on this one in the end,” Rothman said. “I could easily see 20 teams eventually winning the whole thing.”

Despite the tremendous amount of parity in the men’s field, Rothman has his Final Four consisting of three No. 2's — Duke, Kentucky, Arizona — and the only No. 1 seed, Kansas. He picked the Duke Blue Devils over the Kentucky Wildcats in the championship game, due in part to their four wins in as many nights in what Rothman sees as a tough division.

“I do think, however, that it’s a bit unfair to have the strongest 2-seed (Duke) in the same region as the strongest 1-seed (Villanova),” Rothman explained. “If Duke was not there, I would have went with ‘Nova.”

The Villanova Wildcats were NCAA National Champions in 2016.