March Madness – 2017 Bracket Preview

The following article provides a preview of what our predictions will look like for the upcoming 2017 NCAA tournament. For every game, the models produce a win probability for each team, which we use to fill out the bracket as a whole. Check out all of our predicted brackets dating back to 2001.

Prediction Example

As an example of how to interpret the predictions, the table below shows our final four predictions from last year’s tournament. In row 1, we give Villanova an 88% chance of beating Oklahoma. Conversely, this also tells us that Oklahoma has a 12% chance of winning the game. We would call our prediction correct if the actual winner of the game had a win probability > 50% in our model. For a more detailed look at our methodology, check out this article.

Team1 Team2 Predicted Winner (Win Probability)
villanova oklahoma villanova (84%)
north-carolina syracuse north-carolina (89%)
north-carolina villanova villanova (67%)

 

Previous Brackets

Building off of the individual game predictions outlined above, we advance the team with the higher win probability in each game to fill out our brackets. Using this method, here are what our brackets look like for every tournament dating back to 2001*:
2001 Bracket     2002 Bracket     2003  Bracket
2004 Bracket     2005 Bracket     2006 Bracket
2007 Bracket     2008 Bracket     2009 Bracket
2010 Bracket     2011 Bracket     2012 Bracket
2013 Bracket     2014 Bracket     2015 Bracket
2016 Bracket

Model Accuracy

We can look at accuracy in terms of “what percent of games are predicted correctly?” or we can assess accuracy for the tournament as a whole (by advancing the team with the higher win probability in each game). Our best model correctly predicts the winner 87.1% of the time, and averages 6.5 Elite 8 teams, 2.8 Final 4 teams, and has correctly picked 11 of the past 16 champions. The table below provides some summary statistics on how the predictions from this model have performed in each year:

Year % Correct 1st Round Sweet16 Elite8 Final4 Champ
2001 92.1% 30 14 7 2 1
2002 88.9% 27 15 7 3 0
2003 84.1% 27 12 5 3 1
2004 87.3% 25 13 7 4 1
2005 87.3% 26 15 7 3 1
2006 87.3% 29 14 6 2 1
2007 82.5% 27 15 6 2 0
2008 93.7% 29 16 7 4 1
2009 90.5% 28 16 8 4 1
2010 92.1% 30 15 8 2 1
2011 93.7% 30 15 7 3 1
2012 92.1% 27 15 8 2 1
2013 87.3% 28 13 7 4 1
2014 74.6% 25 9 4 3 0
2015 87.3% 30 10 5 2 0
2016 73.0% 25 9 5 2 0
Avg. 87.1% 27.7 13.5 6.5 2.8 0.7

Check back once the bracket is released for our predictions for this year’s tournament

*These brackets were generated using average probabilities from eight separate models, advancing the team with the higher win probability in each game. For each year, all models were generated without data from that given year (e.g., for the 2016 tournament, models were built off of data from 2001-2015). The eight separate models each utilize a different collection of variables and/or a different prediction technique such as logistic regression, boosting, or lasso regression.