ACC Tournament

SAS program picks NCAA field

Posted March 18, 2013

A trio of college professors didn't need CBS' Selection Show to start filling in their NCAA Tournament brackets. They used a program developed at Cary-based SAS to perfectly predict the field of 68 teams.

"We had a fantastic year. It was wonderful," said Allen Lynch, director of the Sports Business program at Mercer University.

Lynch and his partners plugged in teams and records and ran SAS analytics to determine the 37 at-large teams in this year's tournament. They have been working on their project – they call it the Dance Card – for 15 years, with a success rate of about 93 percent. In 2012, the team got 36 of 37 teams. In 2013, they hit 100 percent.

"We've been doing this forever," Lynch said. "I got an email from my co-author last night. It was just an email but, man, I saw him jumping up and down in that email. He was so excited."

SAS Communications Manager Mike Nemecek says the same type of technology used to predict the basketball teams is often used in the business world to predict sales patterns, where it would make sense to put a store, even who should get a promotion.

"The analytics from SAS is helping the Dance Card professors pick better, but it's also helping organizations today make better business decisions," he said.

As basketball fans begin filling out their brackets, Lynch's work is done. The professors have perfected picking what teams will make the tournament, but they do not analyze performance in the Big Dance. Lynch said that would encompass a who new set of variables including player injuries and referee calls.

5 Comments

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  • Sauras69 Mar 19, 5:05 p.m.

    SAS did a solid job in picking the 37 to enter. There are several companies that are doing this as well. They still can't do much more than this. No one knows whom will win; yet. Play the games.

  • sburks1906 Mar 19, 10:34 a.m.

    Uh, is that SAS program for sale?

  • davidgnews Mar 19, 10:01 a.m.

    In the end, a computer program will be overruled by 'any given day' in the basketball world !

  • 321oohaw Mar 19, 9:58 a.m.

    I will be impressed when those nerds can successfully pick every winner in the tournament.

  • Ken D. Mar 18, 7:34 p.m.

    So who needs Joe Lunardi?

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 0
ROC 4
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
ROC
 
Final
PIT 12
LOS 7
Final
PHI 6
SFG 9
Final
NYY 2
TEX 1
Final
TOR 7
BOS 3
Final
ATL 5
MIA 6
Final
CHC 6
SDP 0
Final
MIL 4
CIN 3
Final
MIN 2
CLE 8
Final
CWS 1
KAN 7
Final
STL 2
TAM 7
Final
COL 4
WAS 7
Final
ARI 5
DET 4
Final
ANA 2
BAL 4
Final
OAK 2
HOU 3
Final
SEA 1
NYM 3
1:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
MIL
CIN
 
2:10pm Today
CWS
KAN
 
3:10pm Today
COL
WAS
 
3:40pm Today
ARI
DET
 
3:40pm Today
SEA
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
LOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
SFG
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
TEX
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:15pm Tonight
STL
TAM
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
SDP
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
BAL
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
HOU
 
Final
DUR 0
ROC 4
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
ROC