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News release

Chicago, IL.

Jones Lang LaSalle takes the ‘Madness’ out of NCAA Tournament Bracketology

Commercial real estate firm uses office market statistics to predict this year’s Final Four


CHICAGO, March 16, 2010 — If you’re one of the millions of Americans who plan to fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket this week, it might pay off to bone up on the latest commercial real estate statistics first.

According to a new proprietary predictive model developed by the commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, this year’s Final Four teams can be accurately* predicted by analyzing the prevailing office vacancy rates in each of the 68 college towns represented in this year’s “Big Dance.”

For years, so-called “bracketologists” have relied — with little success — on traditional indicators such as win-loss percentages, RPI ratings and strength-of-schedule-rankings to pick tournament favorites. In a tournament known for being unpredictable, vacancy rates might just hold the real answer, Jones Lang LaSalle’s research suggests.

The model has already proven successful in other sports. Last month, Jones Lang LaSalle correctly predicted the winner of Super Bowl XLV (Green Bay) using a similar formula also based on vacancy rates.

“I’ve been filling out a bracket for more than 30 years and I’ve never won a dime,” said Rich Branning, a Managing Director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Silicon Valley office who played in the 1978 Final Four with the University of Notre Dame. “This new formula makes sense, though. For the first time in a long time, I’m feeling really good about my picks. Who knew the secret was right under my nose for all these years!”

So how do you use office vacancy rates to pick the winner of a basketball tournament? The company’s predictive model begins with the hypothesis that this year’s National Championship game in Houston will once again feature two teams from major markets, as was the case 40 years ago, in 1971, when UCLA topped Villanova (based in Philadelphia) the last time that Houston hosted the Final Four. That leaves around 20 teams based in major markets (sorry, Notre Dame, Kansas, BYU, etc.) as legitimate contenders.

From there, it’s all about office vacancy rates … the lower the number, the better.

In the East Region, No. 1-seeded Ohio State (office vacancy rate of 16.6 percent in Columbus) looks to move easily to the Final Four with a win over Villanova (17.0 percent in Philadelphia), and an Elite Eight victory over Xavier (18.2 percent in Cincinnati).

In the Southeast Region, the No. 6-seeded Red Storm of St. John’s (11.9 percent in New York City) is the favorite to advance all the way to Houston with wins over UCLA (18.2 percent in Los Angeles) in the Round of 16 and Pittsburgh (12.1 percent) in the Elite 8.

In the Southwest Region, it’s a true Cinderella story, with the No. 12-seeded Richmond Spiders (11.7 percent in Richmond, Va.) pulling off upsets over Louisville (12.8 percent) and Boston University (20.5 percent) before knocking off heavily favored Georgetown (14.5 percent in Washington DC) to advance.

And in the West, count on No. 7 Temple (17.0 percent in Philadelphia) to pull upsets over San Diego State (18.1 percent) and Duke (17.8 percent in Raleigh-Durham).

To recap, it’ll be Ohio State, St. John’s, Richmond and Temple in the Final Four, Jones Lang LaSalle predicts.

Jones Lang LaSalle Managing Director Andy Poppink, who played in two NCAA tournaments with the Stanford Cardinal in 1995 and 1996, said he’s a fast believer in Jones Lang LaSalle’s predictions as well.

"It’s March Madness time and anything can happen,” he said. “With less than 2 percent vacancy in downtown Palo Alto, I’m just bummed that Stanford couldn't sneak in to the tournament.  They would've been a lock."

[* Margin of error = 93.75%]

About Jones Lang LaSalle

Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate. The firm offers integrated services delivered by expert teams worldwide to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. With 2010 global revenue of more than $2.9 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle serves clients in 60 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide, including 185 corporate offices.  The firm is an industry leader in property and corporate facility management services, with a portfolio of approximately 1.8 billion square feet worldwide. LaSalle Investment Management, the company’s investment management business, is one of the world’s largest and most diverse in real estate with more than $41 billion of assets under management. For further information, please visit our website, www.joneslanglasalle.com.
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