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The 2012 National Tournament: Who's the Favorite?


Unfortunately I ran out of time to continue the conference tournament odds last week, but I followed the same template and came up with odds for the national tournament.

As always, these are built off of my own efficiency rankings -- much like HoyaSuxa's or the data found at the invaluable Tempo Free Lax -- and combine two different models. One model is just raw efficiency ratings that are adjusted for schedule and the other model starts with regressed shooting rates, turns those into efficiency ratings and then adjusts for schedule. I average the two Pythagorean winning percentages that my models churn out and use that final average as their overall rating. Whether this is the best route or not is definitely up for debate, but it's what I'm rolling with right now. I did not include home-field in these calculations mostly out of laziness, to be quite honest.

That aside, who is the favorite to win the National Title using the Log 5 odds method and my computer?

2012nationaltournamentl_medium

You can click the image to enlarge.

Hey, maybe you're more of a chart person. So here's that same data in a chart. I'm an equal opportunist. Thank me later. The odds are how likely each team is to make it to each of the rounds.

    Quarters Semis Finals Championship
    Loyola 0.888 0.542 0.275 0.130
    Johns Hopkins 0.626 0.260 0.114 0.055
    Duke 0.611 0.243 0.113 0.055
    Notre Dame 0.598 0.278 0.149 0.067
    Virginia 0.345 0.162 0.075 0.029
    Massachusetts 0.613 0.418 0.255 0.159
    Lehigh 0.514 0.327 0.173 0.099
    North Carolina 0.357 0.127 0.040 0.011
    Denver 0.643 0.312 0.140 0.058
    Maryland 0.486 0.303 0.156 0.087
    Colgate 0.387 0.223 0.111 0.058
    Princeton 0.655 0.410 0.254 0.138
    Yale 0.402 0.149 0.065 0.023
    Syracuse 0.389 0.115 0.041 0.016
    Stony Brook 0.374 0.111 0.036 0.013
    Canisius 0.112 0.019 0.002 0.0002

    I'll hit on each team in a bullet-point form, given that the amazing College Crosse crew will be hitting on every first round match-up and, in turn, giving you all the information you need on each team. So, here goes (in order of how they come on the graph/chart):

  • Loyola Grehounds - Loyola couldn't have gotten a better first-round draw than the Canisius Griffins. No offense to them, but Canisius is a scrimmage for Loyola before the National Tournament kicks off. And, hey, the Greyhounds earned it with their stellar play all year. That said, Loyola is only 88-percent to win their opening game -- so, yes, there's a better-than-10-percent chance that the top seed doesn't even make it out of the first round! I'd put money that they do, but that's still bonkers. Loyola's got a very friendly draw with the best odds to make it to the semis of any team in the tournament and by a sizable margin. Should they make it that far, however, it really evens up (as you'd expect). Overall, they come in third with a 13-percent chance to hoist the trophy after it's all said and done.
  • Johns Hopkins Blue Jays - The Blue Jays were rewarded with the second seed and what's being touted as an amazingly easy game against the Stony Brook Seawolves. I'd say let's pump the breaks on that. People point out that Stony Brook started 1-7, but their 7-9 mark mean's they got a huge roll, finishing 6-2. Yes, that coincided with conference play kicking off but I only have Hopkins as a 62.6% favorite in the first round, not the overwhelming, biggest-upset-ever-if-they-lose type favorites the media is painting. Overall, Hopkins resides in the better half of the bracket and faces a potential nightmare of a game in the second round as they face the winner of Maryland-Lehigh -- both teams I have rated better than Johns Hopkins. They're only given 11-percent odds to make it to the semi-finals and just 5.5-percent to win it all -- eighth highest odds in the tournament.
  • Duke Blue Devils - The B-Devils -- yeah, I'm trying that out. Why not? -- won the ACC Tournament which got them a cool trophy and that's about it. Their at-large birth was well deserved and were given the third-seed overall facing a suddenly "very hot" Syracuse squad. This normally would be an amazing game that meant we were in the final four already, but 'Cuse has struggled most of the year, winning the Big East Tournament auto-birth after heavy favorite Notre Dame was bounced by a rallying St. John's squad. Duke sits at close to 60-40 favorites over the Orange -- which 'Cuse team will show up? -- but face a tough draw in the quarters getting the winner of the gun fight between Massachusetts and Colgate. Good luck with that, Duke. Still, they have close to a 25-percent chance to make it to the semi-finals, a one-in-10 chance to make it to the title game and a 5.5-percent chance to bring home another trophy.
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish - After getting caught in a (red) storm called St. John's -- get it!? I turned a phrase! -- Notre Dame has time to lick their wounds and get ready to stop a red-hot Yale Bulldog squad. This is actually a pretty tough draw as the Ivy League was very good top-to-bottom with Yale being one of the top-three teams in the conference (behind Princeton and Cornell). Notre Dame sit as close to 60-40 favorites and have the second-highest odds to make it to the semi's out of their four-team pod (27.8-percent). There's a 15-percent chance the Irish make it to another title game looking to avenge their overtime loss to Duke and a 6.7-percent chance that they do just that.
  • Virginia Cavaliers - This is the most over-seeded team in the field, in my opinion -- and the first one in this post to be under dogs in their opening game -- and they drew an under-seeded Princeton Tigers team that is very good. Currently, they're just about 35-percent to beat the Tigers and if they do so, they'll likely face a very good Notre Dame team. Their odds of making the semi-finals sit at 16-percent and there are few teams they'd meet in the championship game that my system would favor them over. Their title chances sit at 2.9-percent. If they make a run, it's likely to end in the semi's.
  • Massachusetts Minutemen - UMass have been the darlings of the computers -- be it mine, the College Crosse/s, Tempo Free Lax's or Lax Power's -- for the majority of the season. I still have them as the best team in the nation, but they drew a tough Colgate Raider squad in what should be a high-scoring affair in round one. That said, they're the best team in their pod (which also looks to be the toughest in the tournament) and are given a 41-percent chance to make the final four. Should they make it, they have a one-in-four chance of making the national title game again and 15.9-percent chance to win it all. 1-in 6 odds to win a 16-team single elimination tournament? Take those odds and run, Minutemen.
  • Lehigh Mountain Hawks - Lehigh is a similarly underrated squad. One of the toughest defenses to score on, they draw a highly-efficiency Maryland Terrapin squad that will look to grind the game to a halt. It's the closest game in the first round with Lehigh holding just a 51.4-percent chance to make it to the quarters. Should they do so, however, they're almost 33-percent to make the semi's and 17.3-percent to reach the finals. They hold just a shade under 10-percent chance to win the whole title. Yeah, I said it. Lehigh is good. Damned good.
  • North Carolina Tar Heels - North Carolina is also over-seeded in my opinion. Sure, they've made changes with personnel moving the freshmen into the starting fold which seemed to spark the team, but they also didn't face the stiffest of competition at that point -- and we seemed to forget the thrashing at the hands of Virginia. I have them as the worst team in the field not named "Canisius" which isn't to say that they're bad, just have been inconsistent. Maybe they really are peaking at the right time but I have them as 65-35 dogs in the opening round. There's only a 12.7-percent chance they make it to the semi-finals and just a 1.1-percent chance that they win the whole damned thing.
  • Denver Pioneers - The team that holds a 65-35 advantage over UNC in the opening round are the Denver Pioneers. Home field may even things up a bit, but Denver's got a dangerous, dangerous offense. The Pioneers have just under a one-in-three chance to get to the semi-finals with Loyola being the biggest obstacle for them in their four-team pod. They have just under a 6-percent chance to hoist the trophy in a few weeks.
  • Maryland Terrapins - They're the slightest of underdogs against a very good Lehigh team and feels like such a punishment for such a talented and efficient team. Should they get by the Mountain Hawks, there's a solid chance that they make it out of their pod and into the semi's (30.3-percent). They have a 15.3-percent chance of reaching the title game again and a 8.7-percent chance to win the tournament that they failed to do last year.
  • Colgate Raiders - The explosive Colgate Peter Baum's will ride the amazing point production of Peter Baum as Peter Baum tries to will his Peter Baum's past the statistical top team in the nation.They hold just under 39-percent chance to do so and if they get by the Minutemen they have a 11-percent chance to make the title game. They're better than most teams in the top-half of the bracket and hold a 5.8-percent chance of reaching the mountain top -- most of those hopes are dashed by being underdogs to Massachusetts.
  • Princeton Tigers - The Tigers have been ignored by the human polls for the majority of the season but currently possess the second-best odds to win the entire tournament. They rank second in my overall ratings and, thus, are favored over the Cavaliers. There's a 41-percent chance that they make the final four and a 25.4-percent chance that they make it to the title game. Because of that, they have a 13.8-percent chance to win the National Title again.
  • Yale Bulldogs - Yale's definitely streaking right now, winning the Ivy League auto-birth beating quality teams in the process. They get a very good Notre Dame team but aren't huge dogs to them. Unfortunately, they're in a pod with Princeton and will have to attempt to beat the Tigers to make their way to the semi-finals and that's unlikely (just about 15-percent chance of getting to the semi's). As such, their title hopes have just a 2.3-percent chance of occurring. Hey, someone else besides Canisius has to have a bad shot at winning this thing.
  • Syracuse Orange - My oh my, if Syracuse has a deep run or (gasp!) wins the National Title, lacrosse writers everywhere will have to find a change of pants before penning the narratives of what changed for the Orange and how they just managed to gel at the right time. Coach Desko, that sly fox laying low until the NCAA Tournament. Still, they have the worst odds to make it to the semi-finals from their pod (11.5-percent) and hold just a 1.6-percent chance to win it all. Overcoming those odds would be a sports writers dream.
  • Stony Brook Seawolves - I don't know why they're called the Seawolves but that fascinates me. As I said above, they aren't the massive underdogs to Hopkins that the media seems to think, but if they win (just about 38-percent chance of happening), the media will treat it as such by ignoring Stony Brook and focusing on how Hopkins lost the game. Even if they squeak by the Jays, they are inferior to Lehigh and Maryland and hold just a 11.1-percent chance of making the semi's. That morphs into just a 1.3-percent shot to win the whole thing.
  • Canisius Golden Griffins - The longest of long odds, the Griffs are crashing the party like the one kid in your group of high school friends that you relentlessly pick on only to have them keep coming back to hang out. Canisius has just a 11.2-percent chance of upsetting the top seed but that's better than I thought before calculating the odds. They have a 1.9-percent chance of making it to the semi-finals, a 0.2-percent chance to make it to the title game and a robust 0.02-percent chance of taking home the title. Yes, that's a 1-in-5,000 chance of flying home with some hardware. I guess that's what they get for being named "Canisius" which gives me many troubles to write -- how many i's and u's and s's? I don't know. I guess they had to have something since they won't win the National Title so they chose and abundance of i's and s's. Fore-thought. Well done, Griffins.

So there's your odds. Place your bets accordingly and if you win big, feel free to send me a portion (read: all) of your winnings if you're so kind to take (or not take) my Log 5 odds to heart. Let the games begin.

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