## Bracketology – Working the statistics

So its Tuesday, and you’ve surely begun the painstaking task of choosing which teams will be upset, which teams are sure fires, and which teams will make it to the Final Four. Undoubtedly you have 7 or 8 different brackets that you’ve printed out from CBS Sportsline, Sporting News, ESPN, Yahoo, Facebook, CNNSI, and Fox Sports, and they are pegged to your wall. When I was in college, I used to create a picture window sized poster with all of the brackets for the tournament, and hung it on my dorm room wall. It wasn’t exactly symmetrical (i’m no artist), but it gave me a great idea of where I was at in the bracket challenge. By the end of the tournament there were red x’s all across my poster.

I decided to get serious about Bracketology. So I spent a week and researched the last 15 years of NCAA tournaments to figure out what the probabilities were of upsets, which upsets consistently happened, and which teams have been relatively hot in the tourney. Below are some pointers for your own brackets. Keep these facts in mind before you decide to choose a #16 seed to defeat a #1 seed (it hasn’t ever happened). But check twice before you have that second round #3 seed defeat a #6 seed. There have been plenty of those upsets throughout the years. Enjoy!

**1st Round upsets**

**–**Since 1994, there have been 12 times where a #13 seed has defeated a #4 seed (it last occurred in 2008 TWICE)

-Since 1994, there has never been a #16 seed that has defeated a #1 seed

-Since 1994, there has only been 2 years where a #12 seed has not upset a #5 seed (2000 and 2007)

-Since 1994, there have been only 3 years where a #11 seed has not upset a #6 seed (97,99, 04)

-2007 was the only year that a #10 seed did not defeat a #7 seed.

-in virtually every year since 94, there has been a #9 seed that upset a #8 seed (if you can call it that)

**2nd Round**

-In the past 6 years, a #5 seed has defeated a #4 seed

-Since 94, there have only been 2 years where a #6 seed has NOT upset a #3 seed

-In the past 6 years, a #7 seed has defeated a #2 seed

-Since 94, there have been 10 instances where a #10 seed has defeated a #2 seed.

**Championship notes:**

**–**Since 1979, only 1 time has all for #1 seeds made it to the Final Four (in 2008)

-The National Championship has matched two #1 seeds only 6 times (the last in 2008)

-At least one #1 seed has made it to the Final Four except in 2006 and 1980.

-The lowest seed to make it to the Final Four was #11 George Mason in 2006.

-The lowest seed to win the National Championship was #8 Villanova in 1985.

Hope you enjoyed some fun statistics. Enjoy the tourney, and may the best bracket win!!

March 17, 2009 at 11:23 am

Um…Thanks, but I still don’t have any idea who to pick.

March 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Oh no….Now I won’t be able to sleep because you don’t have any idea! I’m sure you can figure it out – you’re a big boy!