Izzo the Magician

Interesting article today from fivethirtyeight.com discussing the statistical impropability of Tom Izzo’s success at Michigan State. In Izzo’s 15-year tenure at MSU, the Spartans have reached the final four 6 of 13 times in the tournament.  

The Spartans made it all three times as a one seed, twice as a 2-seed, but, with a statistical 1-in-20 chance, the Spartans have made it to the Final Four twice as a 5-seed.  

A simple way to analyze how good Izzo has been is to add an ‘Izzo’ dummy variable to our logistic regression model. If we do that, it is highly statistically significant at a 99.99 percent certainty threshold (z = 3.63). Translation: it’s very unlikely that the Spartans have just gotten lucky; Izzo has probably exhibited some real skill at captaining his team in the tournament. (fivethirtyeight)

Full article


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