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MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament preview

March 8, 2011
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Although we’ve not been talking much about men’s basketball—there are only so many ways to express disgust—the MAC tournament begins tonight, with first-round games tipping off at 7 pm at Ohio, Akron, Bowling Green, and Buffalo. Since the only way EMU can go to a post-season tournament will be to win the conference, let’s consider the (slim) possibility that might happen. One of the better, and simpler, methods for calculating game outcome probabilities is log5, which comes from Bill James’ sabermetrics. Even though the only factors that go in to log5 are the winning percentage of each team, it tends to give reasonably accuraate probabilities. So what does log5 have to tell us about the MAC tournament? Ken Pomeroy has done the math for us, and the results are a bit surprising:

                       Rd1   Semis   Final   Champ
 8 Buffalo            92.6    50.2    32.0    20.4
 6 Akron              90.8    58.6    37.6    19.0
 1 Kent St.            100    48.7    29.1    17.5
 2 Western Michigan    100    72.8    35.0    14.7
 5 Ohio               96.6    52.9    21.6    11.4
 4 Ball St.            100    46.8    17.1     8.2
 3 Miami OH            100    39.0    19.6     7.1
 7 Bowling Green      69.0    19.6     5.4     1.2
10 Northern Illinois  31.0     7.6     1.8     0.4
11 Eastern Michigan    9.2     2.4     0.6     0.1
 9 Central Michigan    7.4     1.1     0.2     0.05
12 Toledo              3.4     0.2     0.01    0.0008

That’s right, folks, #8 seed Buffalo, the same Buffalo that lost in Ypsilanti not that long ago, is your official Eagle Totem 2011 MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Favorite! But fear not, ye loyal Eagle fans; EMU’s 1 in 1,000 chance of winning the MAC is still several orders of magnitude better than Toledo’s odds of 8 in 1,000,000!

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