Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What are the odds?

The NY Times reports that of the 70 teams that have been behind 3 to 1 in a League Championship Series, only 10 have come back to win the series.

That sounds daunting, at first.

But, if the teams are the same standard, we would expect 1 in 8 to come back from 3-1 down and win it all.

Further, we'd expect that more often the better team is the one with the 3-1 lead.

Bearing this in mind, 1 in 8 should be the upper bound for the chances of winning from 3-1 down. So how is it that 1 team in 7 has managed the feat?

Blind luck? Some factor involving home field? Do the leading teams start using different and less effective tactics? Do the trailing teams abandon their previous tactics for something better?

Any and all hypotheses gratefully accepted...

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