Rick Santorum is going to win the Louisiana primary today with 97 percent certainty. Then he is highly likely to lose the three following primaries on April 3 to front-runner Mitt Romney: Washington, D.C. (Romney at 96.3 percent), Maryland (Romney at 97.1 percent), and Wisconsin (Romney at 90.6 percent). More importantly, Romney is now 91.1 percent likely to capture the Republican nomination, according to prediction market data.
OK, I have provided the necessary political commentary for the day. Now let us return to the more exciting contests.
Kentucky continues to dominate the NCAA tournament, and now stands at 35.5 percent likely to win the tournament; Kentucky's rise from 26.7 percent to 35.5 percent is an interesting story. Its largest sustained jump in likelihood did not occur during any of its three tournament wins (which were highly anticipated), but during Michigan State's loss. That loss (which we gave a meaningful 33.5 percent likelihood) ensured that the winner of the South Region would face no higher than a fourth seed in the semifinal contest. Kentucky is strongly favored against No. 3 Baylor to make that trip to the Final Four.
Due to Michigan State's loss, today features the tightest game we have seen so far; we have No. 7 Florida and No. 4 Louisville in a virtual toss-up to win the West. We have viewed this as the weakest region, by far, from the beginning, but it is not lacking for excitement. The winner is likely to face Kentucky in the semifinals, so it is no surprise that these are the two least likely teams left to win the tournament.
The other game today is between the top two seeds in the East, No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Ohio State. We are sticking with our concern over Syracuse's narrow escapes and have Ohio State with 59.0 percent likelihood to take this game and move on to the Final Four. We had Ohio State as the third most likely team to win, from the beginning, behind only Kentucky, and North Carolina (which is still in, but facing play without Kendall Marshall, who broke his wrist).
Due to that injury, we predict Kansas over North Carolina in Midwest Region final. Kansas is now 14.3 percent likely to take the tournament compared to North Carolina at 6.3 percent likely. North Carolina is the only team whose likelihood of victory has actually decreased as they have progressed through the tournament.
David Rothschild is an economist at Yahoo! Research. He has a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @DavMicRot and email him at email@example.com.
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