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Monday, May 30, 2011
Statistical experts pick Heat in a landslide

By Henry Abbott

The TrueHoop Stat Geek Smackdown features eight participants.

Two pick the Mavericks to win the 2011 NBA Finals -- the other six pick the Heat.

But know how many of those quant analysts expect the Mavericks to win?

Zero. Nada. Nilch. Not even one.

One of those two picks, you see, was from my mom, who is not a quant, but is a Blazers fan who knows well the power of the Mavericks.

The other pick is from Benjamin Morris, who writes: "The Heat have a better record, home-court advantage, a better MOV (margin of victory), better SRS (Simple Rating System), more star power, more championship experience, and had a tougher road to the Finals. Plus Miami's poor early-season performance can be fairly discounted, and it has important players back from injury. Thus, my model heavily favors Miami in five or six games."

So, why in the heck did Morris -- who has done very well in this contest to date -- pick the Mavericks?

Because he found himself in second place, and knowing that just about any numbers the guy in first place, Stephen Ilardi, used would favor the Heat. So his only chance to win came from zigging when Ilardi zagged. So he  is taking a flier to give himself a chance to be champion.

But it's interesting that a series which is widely seen as a close call is nothing of the sort to these experts, who predicted closer series when the Heat played the Bulls, and even (by a razor-thin margin) the Celtics.