Friday, March 2, 2007

The troubling nature of proper perspective

Iowa fans have given themselves to vigilance to when it comes to Iowa winning 4 straight against top 50 teams in order to make the tournament. When that happens, they say, Iowa will have won the right to a tournament bid.

That may be true. Is what they're describing feasible, though? Well, if you're reading this here, you already know the answer. Let's examine anyway.

GIVEN: Iowa's record against Top 50 opponents is 4-9.
GIVEN: Iowa must win 3 Big Ten Tournament Games in a row.
SAFEST ASSUMPTION: A higher-seeded Big Ten team will beat a lower opponent to close regular conference season.
VERY OPTIMISTIC ASSUMPTION FOR THE SAKE OF SIMPLICITY: It is no harder to beat the #1 team than the #50 team.

THEREFORE: Since Iowa has shown us that there is a 4-in-13 chance that they will beat a Top 50 team, the odds of that happening 4 times in a row are most likely as follows:

4^4) / (13^4)

That works out to an ugly 0.00896. In other words, if all Top 50 teams are equally hard to beat, the odds of Iowa beating 4 in a row are less than 1/100.

Just give it up and say NIT already, kids.

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