We interviewed our resident Statjunkie, about the Statjunkie concept and the statistical model. 


What was the inspiration to build your statistical model?

Jude:  As a college student, I became enamored with the NCAA at-large selection process.  A group of people analyzing as much data as they could handle is something that I would love to be a part of.  As a graduate student at Iowa State, I was given an opportunity to go through my own selection process.


Tell us about the statistical model

Jude:  The statistical model uses a logistic regression equation to place a probability of being selected as an at-large bid on every team.  Obviously, the higher the probability, the more likely to be selected.  The model looks at a handful of variables that have found, over time, to be the most significant in the decision making.  The model does not predict how things will look at the end of the season, but looks at "today".  If the selection were to happen today, the model determines which teams currently have the best resume to make the tournament.  Because of this, constant shifts will occur throughout the year as we see teams go through hot/cold spells and win/lose big games.


What has been your best statistically accurate performance year?  How well did you do?

Jude:  In 2009, I accurately predicted 33 of the 34 at-large selections.  My one miss was Arizona, an obvious human element decision.  Based on their resume, they had only a 3% chance of being selected.  Outliers exist and Arizona proved to be one.


(UPDATE: Jude's statistical model predicted the 2010 NCAA Tournament Field with 100% accuracy.)


What are your hopes for the future of your predictions?

Jude:  Every year I gain more data that should, in theory, make the model more accurate.  But I am trying to model a human decision.  Because of this, a human element exists that is impossible to model.  Although this is the case, my goal is to be 100% accuratete every year.  


How often do you maintain or add to your model?

Jude:  The goal is to have new predictions at the beginning of every month so check back and check back often!


Jude received his MA in Statistics from Iowa State University in 2004, prior to that he graduated from Wartburg College with a BS in Mathematics.  Jude also had a successful baseball career at Wartburg College and we're sure he can ramble off his batting average, on base, and stolen base percentage without hesitation.  He'll likely be able to tell you about his all state highschool basketball career as well.  In short not only is our statjunkie a math nerd, he's also a heck of an athlete with deep knowlege in most sports but especially in the great game of basketball. 


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