Who (Will Be) Dancing?

by Maine Basketball Rankings

Just because it’s only January 1st, that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming of Tourney Week (the most wonderful week of the year!!)

Of course, there’s a lot of basketball left to be played, but we can still start looking ahead. I did this last year, and it seemed to be pretty popular, so I’m bringing it back, with the girls model up first. So what is this?

The official term is a Monte Carlo simulation. Well, it’s a lot of Monte Carlo simulations at once. In simplest terms, I simulate the rest of the season 1,000 times using a random number generator and the model’s projections for every game. So if MDI is a a 75% favorite to win a game, in 75% of the simulated seasons they win that game. In 25% they lose. By doing a ton of simulations, you start to collect enough of the random things that can happen the rest of the way and get a good picture of where things can finish. 1,000 isn’t enough to get everything. There’s not a scenario where Greely loses the rest of their games, but let’s be honest, they won’t. Normally you would do about 10,000 simulations, but the nature of the Heal Points (particularly help points) makes this drastically more complex than, say, the NBA. Plus, I don’t have $2K hanging around to buy something really powerful. 1,000 simulations is about what Excel can handle without getting incredibly slow.

If the model says that your team is 100% in the tourney (or 100% out), that doesn’t automatically know you’ve clinched or been eliminated. It just means that in 1,000 simulated seasons, you made the tournament every time. If you hover over your team’s numbers, it’ll tell you a best and worst scenario. The table will also tell you the likelihood of where you’ll land at the end of the year.

In the example screen grabbed here, MDI is the 1 seed in B North 51.5% of the time and then it tails off to being the 7 seed 0.1% of the time. Basically, there’s 1 season in 1,000 where they go 3-8 the rest of the way and finish 10-8. Obviously, they could lose all 11 and go 7-11, but it’s really, really unlikely. But maybe! The odds are only 1 in 781 million. Don’t hold your breath.

This will naturally get more and more precise as we go along. You might be looking at a range of 2 to 13 right now. In a couple of games that’ll be down to a range of 4 to 9. And so on. Or maybe something crazy will happen. The thing about 1 in 781 million? The one will eventually happen, given enough time.

Check out your region here.

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