UW bracketology expert surprised by Badgers' 8-seed - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW bracketology expert surprised by Badgers' 8-seed

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Even after some tough losses recently, the Badgers Men's Basketball team set themselves up for a great tournament run, which is why Selection Sunday came as a shock to many fans.

The Badgers were handed an 8-seed in the East region, which means the team will play far from home in Buffalo, New York. If they win in a game against Virginia Tech Thursday, they'll face top-seeded Villanova. One headline coming out after Selection Sunday called Wisconsin "criminally under-seeded" and one local bracketology expert agrees. 

UW-Madison Industrial Engineering professor Laura Albert McLay tells 27 News she can't mathematically justify the Badgers tough spot in the tournament. She thought based on their rankings and season schedule that they'd be a 5 or 6 seed. 

"[The committee uses] those rankings to really determine who's going to be seeded where, and if you look at Wisconsin, they're ranked about 25th and they're in the top 25 in all the polls and all the rankings the committee uses to make their decision, and that was one of the things that surprised me when I looked at their 8-seed. That's a pretty low seed for a team in the top 25," says Albert McLay.

Albert McLay says this is all her students want to talk about right now and it makes for a good lesson in data and decision making. She teaches a sports analytics course where students learn about decisions based on statistics. She says real-life scenarios show students how to make good decisions with limited and imperfect information. 

Laura Albert McLay says as you're filling out your brackets ahead of the NCAA tournament, you should look at rankings, team schedules, injury reports and be most strategic picking your Final 4. She's giving a lecture on bracketology on campus Tuesday night. It's at 7:30 p.m. in the Discovery Building.

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