Silver suggests that Nos. 8 and 9 seeds can sometimes be worse Sweet 16 picks than those seeded 10, 11 or 12 because the winner of an 8-9 matchup is all but destined to play a No. 1 in the next round.
“I tell people, if you’re going to pick upsets, do it in the 10, 11, 12, 13 range,” Magazine said.
It’s OK to use your gut, Magazine says. But, he insists, it’s folly to completely ignore the numbers.
“Sometimes, you predict someone’s better because in simulations, 80 percent of the time they win,” he said. “Well, that means 20 percent of the time they lose. That’s going to happen. That’s been a useful lesson for students.”
And, as any good math professor will remind you, being wrong doesn’t always mean you were, well, wrong — even if the scoreboard says you were.
“It just means it didn’t work out that time,” Magazine says.
AP Sports Writer Ben Walker in New York contributed to this report.