On March 17th and 18th, PackPoll fielded a survey that included a question about the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The NC State Wolfpack secured an 8 seed in the tournament with an opening game against the 9 seed LSU, with a potential second round matchup against 1 seed (number 2 seed overall) Villanova Wildcats. This poll surveyed 931 NC State students, which represents a 31% response rate for the overall sample size.
Students were given one of two versions of a question which prompted them to predict how far the Pack would advance in the Tournament. Research has shown that when prompted with incentives, people often respond more truthfully about their actual opinions. For example, polls that have been run that offer monetary rewards for correct answers have found significant differences against non-incentive polls on questions such as if President Obama is a Muslim. However, this poll was run on the internet with no actual rewards to be given. Students were either asked “how far do you believe the Wolfpack will advance in this year’s NCAA Tournament?” or “if you were offered $10 for correctly predicting how far the Wolfpack will advance in this year’s NCAA Tournament, what would your prediction be?”. Theoretically, this imaginary incentive would alter students’ predictions if they were originally inclined to predict dishonestly. Below are the results of this poll.
Presumably due to the imaginary nature of the reward offered, there was nearly no difference in the answers to the two questions. Overall, only slightly more than 5% of students predict a first round loss to LSU, with 40% predicting a loss to the winner of (1) Villanova or (16) Lafayette. Over 11% of students, on the other hand, predicted at least a Final Four berth for the Wolfpack. Below is a table which displays the average number of games won students predicted.
As shown in this table, NC State students are predicting the Wolfpack to win two NCAA Tournament games. This average results in a Sweet Sixteen loss to either (4) Louisville, (5) University of Northern Iowa, (12) Wyoming, or (13) University of California-Irvine. This would match the success Coach Gottfried led the 2011-2012 Wolfpack team to when the Pack lost to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen. The Wolfpack’s first game is Thursday, March 19 at 9:20.
The poll run on March 17-18 also revealed some interesting information about students’ opinions on torture. For more information about these results, please check back with packpoll.com next week.