Nate Silver left the New York Times what seems like a generation ago with a promise to deliver his data-driven actionable info in spheres beyond politics. Silver’s wonky and winning predictions on Obama‘s surefire election victories made him famous, and bringing his expertise to sectors like business, health, and sports became Silver’s new mandate. Silver’s broader venture under the ESPN umbrella, the FiveThirtyEight (still named for the number of electors in the electoral college), has chosen its predictions for the NCAA Final Four. Here they are:
Gonzaga (No. 1 seed, West) — 41%
Villanova (No. 1, East) — 40% chance
Kansas (No. 1, Midwest) — 38% chance
Kentucky (No. 2, South) — 30% chance
Silver’s enterprise is as smart as they come. But even that level of smart contains caveats as big as the Grand Canyon — as Silver and his team are quick to admit. Silver famously had Hillary Clinton trouncing Donald Trump in November, which is not what happened. While the 538’s Final Four predictions are helpful and need to be considered, you may want to consult other sources too when filling out your bracket. The odds in Vegas make Duke the favorite at 6-1, followed by North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas, for example. But if you’re looking to follow recent success in the prediction business, you may want to Tweet at liberal firebrand Michael Moore. Moore predicted Trump’s victory while the data geeks were staring at the spreadsheets. With Moore, a Midwesterner, you may want to factor in a potential Big Ten bias.