Kentucky will beat Kansas 71-69 for the NCAA Men's Basketball Title on Sunday night, or so says the simulation engine at WhatIfSports.com.
WhatIfSports is a site that allows fans to play all kinds of statistics based sports simulation games, a bit like Strat-o-matic for the 21st century.
They have developed a powerful simulation engine that takes statistical performances of various players and teams into account in an attempt to allow users to simulate any sports matchup they wish.
The site's engine simulated each game 2001 times to determine a winner, then the staff chose one of those simulations that was representative of an average game among those simulations and posted it on their site.
According to the WhatIfSports simulation engine, Kentucky will down Louisville 68-63 thanks to a suffocating defense that will hold Louisville to just 31.8 percent shooting and will feature 10 blocks from freshman phenom Anthony Davis.
On the other side of the bracket, Kansas sneaks past Ohio State 72-68 in a game that was a back and forth affair until the 13 minute mark of the second half when Kansas went on a run that opened a 13 point led. The Buckeyes fought back but couldn't close that gap in the time remaining.
In their simulation of the final, Kansas jumped out to an early 10 point lead by the 15 minute mark. The Jayhawks clung to that lead despite a number of runs from the Wildcats, giving Kansas a 48-35 edge at the half.
But a 14-2 run for Kentucky to open the half makes it a game again and the teams trade punches down the stretch. With a 18 seconds left to play, Kansas' Kevin Young ties the game at 69, setting up one of the most dramatic finishes in NCAA title game history.
The Wildcats use 16 seconds to get an open look for Terrence Jones who drains a jumper from the free throw line with two seconds left to play. A final desperate shot from Young is swatted away by Jones as time expires and the Wildcats celebrate.
According to the simulation, Kentucky's Davis will lead all scorers with 18 points and add nine rebounds, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will add a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Kentucky's balanced attack will overwhelm the Jayhawks as five players will reach double figures.
For Kansas Thomas Robinson will lead the way with a freakish 17 points and 17 rebounds with Elijag Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor and Jeff Withey all scoring in double figures.
Crazy as all of that may sound, computer sports simulations do have a pretty decent track record of picking winners. EA Sports uses Madden to simulate the Super Bowl every year and it has correctly predicted the winner in seven of the last nine games, including this year.
So if you have faith in machines there is still time to place some friendly bets with your friends around the office.
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