A Note from Steve Carr, One Book One Northwestern Faculty Chair
So what did we learn from watching FiveThirtyEight.com during the opening days of March Madness? For the Wildcats’ first game, Nate Silver's algorithms gave Vanderbilt a 55% likelihood of winning, but by halftime it had changed to the ‘Cats favor, at 73%. The play-by- play action feeds the recalculation of these odds in nearly real time, so the predictions went crazy in the final minutes as these well-matched teams took the game to its (marvelous) conclusion. For NU's second game, the prediction started out unfavorable for Northwestern, and it somehow stayed very unbalanced all the way to the end, even though the ‘Cats prevailed well throughout the second half. What if that was because the referee who missed the crucial goaltending incident was supposed to be feeding the website numbers related to how the game was going but forgot to keep it up?