As you may have noticed in the previous post about the predictions tournament, my fiance, Emily and this blog’s founder, Mike are going head to head this week. Usually, we would all just assume that Mike is going to trounce Emily because she knows nothing about hoops (she didn’t know who Lebron James was until we had been dating quite a while) and Mike lives and breathes hoops, but a few things happened. First of all, Emily finished third after the first round (the round that determined seedings/matchups) and Mike finished sixth. Also, they predicted exactly the same — down to the number of games each team would win. Before any game of the second round was played, this matchup was already down to the tiebreakers. Normally, someone can just look at a person’s predictions and figure out if what that person predicted makes sense or not, but obviously, this situation is a little more complicated.
(Note: you can skip the next two paragraphs if you already know how the tiebreakers work for this tournament… If you don’t know, I recommend reading so the rest of the article makes sense.)
The tiebreaker is decided based on combined team points for each series. When tiebreakers come into play, I look at the bloggers’ projected series points, and award one point for each series where a blogger is closer. For example, in the tiebreaker after round one between Emily and Jack to determine the 3rd and 4th seeds, Memphis and San Antonio scored a combined 1151 points for the entire series. Emily predicted 1288 points (a 137 point difference) and Jack predicted 900 points (a 251 point difference). Emily won the overall tiebreaker five series to three.
So you may have noticed that with an even number of series, it is entirely possible to tie on a tiebreaker… Well, I have you covered. Let’s say Emily and Jack were both closest on four series, so they tied again. At that point, I would add up the total points for all teams that round and the total points predicted for each series for both Jack and Emily, and whoever was closest would win. If that still tied, I would do the same thing, but for the entire playoffs up to that point (irrelevant because it was the first round, but that matters for later rounds).
So the point of this article… Who most likely made the better prediction between Emily and Mike? Let’s look at their point tiebreakers to figure out who is most likely to move on to the next round. Emily based her predictions on each team’s first round points per game, and then she adjusted those points based on the points each team allowed during the first round. Mike never sent me his email about how he predicted each point, so I’m going to assume he picked random numbers out of a hat. I will show the series and the number of games they both predicted them to go followed by their series points predictions.
Bulls VS Hawks (Bulls in 5)
Emily: 934pts | Mike: 835pts
Hawks 95.0 PPG Bulls 98.6 PPG (968pts over 5)
Combined 176 per game in 3 head-to-head games (880pts over 5)
Hawks 86.83 PPG Bulls 97.6 PPG (922.166pts over 5)
Chi vs Ind – 939pts in five
Atl vs Orl – 175.5PPG combined (877.5pts over 5)
This is a tricky series to decide whose point predictions are better. Both the Bulls and the Hawks are very good defensively, and neither are that great on offense… Of course, one good Rose/Boozer game and/or Crawford/Joe Johnson game, and that anomaly throws any low scoring predictions completely out of whack. Of course, it’s also completely possible that these teams both throw in a 71-65 final score and even everything back out. If this is truly a four or five game series, one game can fuck up the whole pot.
Looking at the points per game statistics above, Emily’s prediction is much closer in three out of the five categories. In the other two, Mike is closer, but not by much. If the Bulls finish the Hawks off in four games, Mike will probably win since he predicted the lower score. In five games, it could go either way, but Emily’s prediction is much more in line with the stats. Anything over five games? Emily is going to win for sure.
Outlook: Emily probably gets the point for this series.
Heat VS Celtics (Celtics in 6)
Emily: 1167pts | Mike: 1050pts
Heat 102.1 PPG Celtics 96.5 PPG (1191.6pts over 6)
Combined 182.75 per game in 4 head-to-head games (1096.5pts over 6)
Heat 94 PPG Celtics 99.25 PPG (1159.5pts over 6)
Mia vs Phi – 180.6PPG combined (1083.6pts over 6)
Bos vs NYk – 190PPG combined (1140pts over 6)
Obviously, again, Mike has the advantage if the series goes under 6 games and Emily has the advantage if it goes to 7. Emily’s predictions are closer in three out of the five categories. However, it is hard to believe that Miami will average 102PPG in the playoffs — especially with one game under them at 99pts already. Likewise, Boston won’t be scoring much either (they only scored 90 in the first game anyway). Taking the score of the first game and averaging it out to six would put the series at 1134pts, which is also closer to Emily’s prediction. However, there is a chance that game one was one of the higher scoring games in the series.
Outlook: This is a close one, but all the stats support Emily winning if the series goes to six or more — even including game one of the series. While there is always the chance this series ends in four or five games, I think it’ll probably go six or seven. Emily gets another point.
Thunder VS Grizzlies (Thunder in 5)
Emily: 996pts | Mike: 945pts
Thunder 104.8 PPG Grizzlies 99.9 PPG (1023.5pts over 5)
Combined 209.5 per game in 4 head-to-head games (1047.5pts over 5)
Thunder 102.2 PPG Grizzlies 97.5 PPG (998.5pts over 5)
Okc vs Den – 998 in 5
Mem vs Sas – 191.83PPG combined (959.17pts over 5)
Here, Mike’s prediction was closer in one category, but Emily and Mike’s predictions were so close, that it doesn’t really matter. As we can see from game one (Mem 114/Okc 101), these are two high scoring teams. That game one score averaged out to five games is 1075. And that’s assuming it will actually go five games, which it probably won’t. Mike has a great chance to win this series… assuming the Grizzlies sweep the Thunder. Otherwise, the score is bound to be higher than either of their predictions, which would favor Emily. This is especially true if the series goes to six or seven games — in which case, Emily would win for sure.
Outlook: I don’t see the Grizzlies sweeping this thing, so Emily is definitely going to get a point on this one.
Lakers VS Mavericks (Lakers in 7)
Emily: 1329pts | Mike: 1344pts
Lakers 101.5 PPG Mavericks 100.2 PPG (1411.9pts over 7)
Combined 196 per game in 3 head-to-head games (1372pts over 7)
Lakers 96.5 PPG Mavericks 93.33 PPG (1328.81pts over 7)
Lal vs Noh – 185.83 PPG combined (1300.833pts over 7)
Dal vs Por – 181.5 PPG combined (1270.5pts over 7)
Emily is closer in three out of the five categories, but those are all based on the first round of these playoffs. In head-to-head matchups this season, the numbers are much closer to Mike’s predictions. Again, Emily and Mike predicted almost the same point total, so the question really is whether the overall points are going to be over or under about 1337? If it’s over, Mike wins, and if it’s under, Emily wins. Assuming this goes less than seven games or the Lakers and Mavs score and play defense the way they did in the first round, Emily should win. If both teams are their usual high-scoring selves and it goes seven games, Mike will win.
Outlook: I think Dallas and LA are going to score at a much higher clip in the second round, but I have my serious doubts about it going seven games. That seven games is Mike’s only chance. Personally, I think this is yet another point for Emily, but I guess it depends on far you think the series will go.
Overall: Emily is going to crush Mike. I’m not sure it’s even going to be close.