Welcome to Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Regular host Walt Hickey is still on vacation, and NCAA basketball is still happening. As a result, I’m still here with another all-March Madness SigDig. Enjoy!
0.015 rating points
There are close matchups, and then there are close matchups. Tonight’s Notre Dame-Wisconsin tilt belongs in that second category, with the teams separated by just 0.015 points in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. It’s basically as close to a coin flip as you can get — our prediction model lists the game as exactly 50-50 for both teams. [Kenpom.com]
19 percentage points
In a Sweet 16 field largely devoid of Cinderella candidates, 10th-seeded Syracuse will have to do. According to the FiveThirtyEight model, they started the tourney with a 1 percent chance of making the Final Four; now that probability is 19 percentage points higher, the biggest gain of any team left standing. [FiveThirtyEight]
The University of Virginia will be looking to make its first Elite 8 appearance since the 1995 tournament when it takes on Iowa State Friday evening. By most measures — including winning percentage, the AP poll and the Simple Rating System — this year’s Cavaliers are better than the 1995 version, but they’ll have to win to prove it — the bracket doesn’t lie. [Sports-Reference.com]
North Carolina and Indiana are two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball, having combined for 3,950 victories in 5,728 games since 1901, and they’ll face each other in Friday’s late game. With a 73 percent chance of winning, UNC has the edge to take win No. 3,951, according to our model. [Sports-Reference.com]
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has been completely unstoppable with Breanna Stewart leading the way these past few seasons. They’ve won 118 of their last 119 games — all by double-digits, and all but 18 by 20 or more points. UConn looks to extend their run against Mississippi State Saturday morning. [FiveThirtyEight]
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