Mathematical Malpractice

march madnessThe Wall Street Journal is promoting what it purports to be a “hot tip” for the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament.  According to the Journal’s Jim Chairusmi, second-ranked Duke (full disclosure: I’m a Duke alum) won’t win the national championship this season. Neither will No. 5 Georgetown, No. 6 Michigan or No. 7 Kansas. That’s because all four of these teams had one game this season where they got demolished, and that rarely happens to championship teams. As the Journal points out, only one team since 1994, the 2001-02 Maryland Terps, lost a game by more than 20 points and went on to win the title. Moreover, three of the five most recent NCAA champions went through the season without even losing a game by double digits — third-ranked Indiana and No. 4 Louisville fit that mold this season.  If this holds true again, that’s bad news for the Blue Devils, Hoyas, Wolverines and Jayhawks and potentially good news for the Hoosiers or the Cardinals.

Maybe you should fill out your NCAA bracket next week accordingly.  But then again, maybe not. Continue reading