As a Quant, I organized a Boiler Basketball Forecast Contest last year (see http://www.hammerandrails.com/2012/10/25/3554150/annual-boiler-basketball-forecast-2012-13), by asking fans to predict from top scorers to starting lineups to total wins. There are 42 total entries, and out of a possible 10 points, the winner is USFBoiler with 4.9. The runner-up goes to Purdue_it with 4.4 and the third place goes to ander199 with 4.3. The honor of being the worst forecaster goes to SeaOfWhite with 1.2.
It should be noted that USFBoiler's winning entry was made back in Mar 2012 while SeaOfWhite's in Oct. That's surprising b/c the average score from Mar entries are 2.54 (stdev 0.91) while the Oct entries score on average 3.02 (stdev 0.79), which is more consistent with having additional info from the team's Italian trip.
Here is some details:
1. Predicting the starting lineup on the season opener - No one gets it fully correct b/c TJ was out and everyone has him in.
2. Predicting the starting lineup on the first game of B1G Tourney - No one gets it fully. Most have Hale as starting PF, and those who did predict a 4-guard lineup either has TC or lil aj as the other starter.
3. Predicting # of wins: the low is 18 and average is 22. We ended up 15.
4. Predicting B1G finish: We are tied for 9th with a 7th seed, so I count 7, 8 or 9 correct. It doesn't really matter b/c only 5 entries predict a 7th place finish.
5. The most productive frosh is Hammons with a combined 579 PTS+REBS+AST+STL+BLK-TO. RJ is second at 500, RayD 313 and Hale 214. Only Herby and USFBoiler saw it coming and named Hammons the most productive frosh.
6. Most productive among RayD/Hale/Lawson/Simpson turns out to be RayD. He even beat out lil AJ (268).
7. RJ with 500 beat out LewJack's junior season (483). However, it should be noted that LewJack shot better (50% FG, 30% threes and 72% FT compared to 37%, 17% and 58% for RJ), and boast a 2.1 AST/TO ratio compared to 1.5 for RJ so one can say he is the better PG, but that is not what the survey asked.
8. The top 3 scorers are TJ, Hammons, and DJ. No one gets the order correct and so I award 0.5 for those who say TJ is first, 0.3 for those who say Hammons second and 0.2 for those who say DJ third. Hammons was not in the Top 3 on ANY entry.
9. The top 3 rebounders are Hammons, TJ and DJ. Credit Boilerhen to be the only one who get all three correct and in the right order. (I also use a 0.5-0.3-0.2 point system)
10. Breakout player - I think we can all agree it's Hammons, who has exceeded the most expectation. And that's precisely why no one picked him!
As an aside, the bonus question asks for the team's FT%. Average is 67% but once again we overestimated as the team shot only 64%.
I guess this exercise confirms the Nobel-winning physicist Neil Bohr's observation back in the 19th century that "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future" (as we engineers should know).