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Projecting the Tournament: Finals Edition

April 6, 2009  |  By Benjamin Miraski

For as poorly as the MRI did at predicting the NIT, it did amazingly well at predicting the NCAA tournament so far.

With one game to go (that the computer cannot win), the MRI was at the 73rd percentile at ESPN, having been helped by a number of upsets along the way. The computer needed the help because it landed just one of its Final Four teams predicted prior to the tournament beginning.

Its solid standing is better than a number of the personalities who get paid the big bucks to spout on about sports on a daily basis at ESPN. The computer is ahead of everyone at PTI, a solid three-quarters of Around the Horn, and is hanging in there against the Editorial staff.

Not bad.

Round to round (predicting the round before it starts versus before the entire tournament), the computer held its own. The computer has predicted 45 of the 62 games so far. Counting the opening round game, the computer is 46 for 63, a 73 percent clip.

As for its second chance pool, the computer didn’t do as hot. The computer nailed seven of the 14 games, but flopped on the rest. Still, the computer knew someone was going to trip up Louisville. It just didn’t know it was going to be Michigan State.

As for my brain, well, I am still on track with my prediction that one of four teams will win the title. Those four teams, predicted prior to the tournament, were Memphis, UNC, Duke and Pittsburgh.

North Carolina, don’t fail me now.

The microchips are also “rooting” for the Tar Heels tonight.

North Carolina is the favorite to win the title, with a confidence factor of 70.24 percent. And that is after giving Michigan State a home-court advantage.

The game should be closer than the last time these two teams met. For starters, Michigan State is playing healthy tonight after not having Goran Suton in December. Plus having now gone through the tough Big Ten season, Michigan State is much better prepared to deal with the bumping, the size and the shooting of North Carolina.

They might still lag a step in terms of speed, but maybe the Spartan-friendly crowd can make up for that a bit.

Doubtful, but maybe.

The computer will be tuning in tonight to keep an eye on its pick and should be ready to give a full run down of its results tomorrow.

The MRI Rankings are copyright 2009 by MRISports.com. Ben Miraski is a freelance reporter, edits and writes for MRISports.com and is a featured blogger on FanIQ. He also is the Northwestern Wildcats Examiner for Examiner.com. Readers can contact Ben at bmiraski@mrisports.com


Posted April 6, 2009 1:49 PM