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What Are the Chances?

The statistics department breaks down UVA’s journey to the College World Series Finals

After the Virginia baseball’s team’s heartbreaking loss to Vanderbilt in the final game of the College World Series by just one run, many Wahoos asked the question: "What are the chances that would have happened?"

UVA statistics professor Amber Tomas and Ph.D. student Paul Diver provide some answers. The pair dug into the numbers, and what they found shows both how much of a longshot this year’s baseball Cavs really were to win it all—and the very small chance that a one-run loss would have decided it.

Tomas and Diver based their numbers in part by using a strength-ranking index developed by Boyd Nation, who runs a popular college baseball statistics site called Boyd’s World. They were unable to use the NCAA’s strength ranking because the association keeps its methodology secret.

"The estimated strength ratings for Virginia and Vanderbilt were almost identical," Tomas says. "That means that when Virginia and Vanderbilt met in the final, either team had about the same chances of winning as a coin flip coming up heads."

Acknowledgements: Boyd Nation and