Prelims – From Paper to Reality

by Casey Barrett

Men’s NCAA results: Day one prelims vs. statistical projections…

The times are in from the all-important first session of NCAAs – and it turns out the psyche sheets don’t lie. Much. Take a look at the reality after morning one:


If the meet had been decided on paper, here’s how it would have looked:

Projected score after

So, flip Indiana and Texas in 4th and 9th positions, and the top nine teams are more or less exactly as predicted. USC and Auburn reverse orders in 5th and 6th, but that was a toss up to begin with. As noted previously, Indiana was probably the one team most likely to drop in the projections, while everyone seemed to know Texas was completely undervalued based on its seed times.

As for the top teams, it’s clear that Cal was also undervalued points-wise. Just look at its seeds for its relays. But that likely won’t be enough to catch Michigan. If they continue to swim to their seeds, as they did this morning, they’ll win. It’s just one session of six, but as anyone who’s ever been to the Meet knows, that first session counts for more than any other. It sets the tone and dictates all that’s about to come next.

Like a political pundit desperate to believe his party actually stands a chance, plenty of folks will continue to deny the obvious in these statistical projections. That’s all lovely, it’s nice to support your school. Just remember to bet with the stats, not with your heart.