Georgia Tech Professors Predict Final Four Match Ups

Impressively Accurate Method Forecasts Tournament Results

Come April 6, Tar Heel fans should have reason to celebrate - providing the math is right.

LRMC (Logistic Regression Markov Chain), the computer ranking system designed by three professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has predicted that the NCAA Final Four basketball match ups for 2009 will be the University of North Carolina vs. the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Memphis vs. the University of Louisville.

The championship battle, according to LRMC calculations, should pit North Carolina against Memphis with North Carolina emerging as the victor.

Unlike the NCAA tournament seeds released yesterday, LRMC forecast Memphis reaching the Final Four instead of the University of Connecticut.

"There are a few instances where it disagrees with the seeding," said Dr. Joel Sokol, operations research professor in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech who devised the program. "On the other hand, our system agrees with the awarding of fewer at-large bids for mid-majors than in the past. There just weren't as many deserving mid-major teams this year."

If history is any indicator, it's a promising prognostication.

LRMC, developed by Professors Sokol, Paul Kvam and George Nemhauser, has been proven to be an impressively accurate method to forecast tournament results.

Last year, the LRMC method correctly identified all Final Four participants and heralded Kansas defeating Memphis in the eventual championship.

The LRMC formula includes scoreboard results, which teams are competing, home court advantage and margin of victory in its computational formula. In addition to predicting a potential victor, these calculations can also offer insight into teams that hold more - or less - potential than NCAA seeding indicates.

For example, the 2008 predictions included picking out overrated teams such as Duke, Vanderbilt and Connecticut, which all lost in early rounds. The system also identified West Virginia and Kansas State as potential spoilers. Both teams completed upset victories during last year

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.