Tuesday, March 13, 2007

That Being Said, I Still May Be Able To Help You With Your Brackets

This is a little wonky, so some of you will be interested and some will not, but what the hell.

If case you didn't quite understand what a college basketball dork I am/was from that last post, on my computer is an Excel spreadsheet titled "NCAA Braket Analysis, 1991-2006.xls". I figured the best I can offer this year is to share some of this info with you, as it may help you tweak your bracket before you submit it.

Disclaimer: this data should never be used to fill out a bracket; the bracket should always be filled out first using whatever methodology you use. This data can be helpful in perhaps going back and tweaking a few picks here and there to ensure that what you picked falls with the normal range over time of what has actually occurred, so that you don't submit something whose odds of happening are miniscule, thus reducing your chances of taking your co-workers money. Now then...

FIRST ROUND

First Round Upsets
Year 15v2 14v3 13v4 12v5 11v6 10v7
2006 0 1 1 2 2 2
2005 0 1 1 1 1 1
2004 0 0 0 2 0 1
2003 0 0 1 1 1 2
2002 0 0 1 3 2 1
2001 1 0 2 2 2 2
2000 0 0 0 0 1 2
1999 0 1 1 2 0 4
1998 0 1 1 1 1 3
1997 1 1 0 1 0 2
1996 0 0 1 2 1 2
1995 0 2 1 1 1 1
1994 0 0 0 2 1 2
1993 1 0 1 1 1 0
1992 0 1 1 1 0 2
1991 1 1 1 1 2 2

Now look over your brackets and just compare the numbers that you have with this historical data. There is no need to adjust anything unless what you have is waaaaay out of range. I just try to make sure that I'm not way out of bounds. As most folks know, a 16 has never beaten a 1 seed. A 2 seed has only lost 4 times in the last 16 years, and never 2 in the same year, so for example if you have three different 2 seeds losing to 15 seeds, then you might want to adjust your picks and play the percentages. The 5/12 games get alot of publicity, but don't forget that a 13 seed beats a 4 seed more years than not, and the 11 seeds do pretty well against the 6 seeds. The 8v9 games are not listed because to me a 9 seed beating and 8 seed isn't really an upset. Again, just be sure that you are somewhere in the ballpark, or even on the edge or just a little out of bounds, but if you have all four 11 seeds beating the 6 seeds you may want to adjust. Hell it may happen this year, but if I was in an office pool I would want to maximize my percentages against the others and save the totally wacky-ass bullshit for talk at the sportsbar.

SECOND ROUND

#1 Seed Losing In The Second Round
Year Number
2006 0
2005 0
2004 2
2003 0
2002 0
2001 0
2000 2
1999 0
1998 1
1997 0
1996 1
1995 0
1994 0
1993 0
1992 1
1991 0

All four 1 seeds get through to the 2nd weekend more often than not, so if you have this then there is no need to worry. But if you have one, or even have the stones to pick two #1 seeds to lose to the winner of the 8v9 game then the data says you are not crazy and to rock on with your bad self. If you have 3 or all 4 #1 seeds going out in the 2nd round, you may want to think about adjusting your picks.

#2 Seed Losing In The Second Round
Year Number
2006 2
2005 2
2004 2
2003 2
2002 1
2001 2
2000 3
1999 3
1998 1
1997 2
1996 0
1995 0
1994 1
1993 2
1992 1
1991 1

As you can see, the #2 seeds fare much worse than the #1 seeds. I won't get into why I think this is so, but you may want to think about having a 2 seed eat it in the second round, as all four haven't made it through to the Sweet Sixteen in a decade.

THE SWEET SIXTEEN

Seeds Below 5 In the Sweet 16
Year
Number Seeds
2006:
5 6,7,7,11,13
2005
6 6,6,6,7,10,12
2004
5 6,7,8,9,10
2003
4 6,7,10,12
2002
5 6,8,10,11,12
2001
6 5,6,7,10,11,12
2000
8 6,6,6,7,8,8,10,10
1999
7 6,6,10,10,10,12,13
1998
5 6,6,8,10,13
1997
6 6,6,6,10,10,14
1996
3 6,8,12
1995
3 6,6,6
1994
4 6,9,10,12
1993
5 6,6,7,7,12
1992
5 6,6,7,9,12
1991
3 10,11,12

Look at your brackets and count up the number of seeds below #5 seeds that you have in the Sweet Sixteen. In the last 16 years this number has always been between 3 and 8, so ideally you would want to be in this range, but if you have 2 or 9 then I wouldn't worry too much. I also have listed the breakdown of the seeds that advanced each year in addition to the number of teams that made it this far.

The main trend to notice in this set of data is how well the 6 seeds do, as well as the winner of the 7v10 game {more on that in the next section though}. Historically 6 seeds have had success in the 2nd round against the winner of the 3v14 game, which by and large boils down to the fact that 6 seeds often upset 3 seeds in the 2nd round. In fact, every single year sine 1992 at least one 6 seed makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, and often more than one do- the vast majority of their 2nd round wins come over 3 seeds. If I didn't have any 6 seeds in the Sweet Sixteen I would strongly consider going back and picking at least one of them to make it to the second weekend. The trick, of course, is picking the right one...

Bottom line at this point you don't want your bracket to be too chalky {you have all the top seeds advancing}, nor do you want it to be such an upset-o-rama that it is way outside the norm.

Double Digit Seeds In The Sweet 16
Year Number Seeds
2006 2 11, 13
2005 2 10,12
2004 1 10
2003 2 10,12
2002 3 10,11,12
2001 3 10,11,12
2000 2 10,10
1999 5 10,10,10,12,13
1998 2 10,13
1997 3 10,10,14
1996 1 12
1995 0 n/a
1994 2 10,12
1993 1 12
1992 1 12
1991 3 10,11,12

Look again at your Sweet 16: do you have any double digit seeds {10 seed or lower} in there? Every year except 1 of the last 16 at least 1 has made it.

Notice the trend here of how well the 10 seeds are represented. What does this mean? It means that if a 10 seed beats a 7 seed and matches up with a 2 seed in the 2nd round, that 2 seed should be on upset alert, because in 10 of the last 16 years at least one such 10 seed has gone through to the Sweet 16. For all the hype that the 12 seeds get in beating the 5 seed in the first round {the media always point out the the "classic 12 over 5 upset"}, the 10 seeds do even better than the 12 seeds in the 2nd round. Last year was the first year in almost a decade that all four 2 seeds made it to the 2nd weekend. Also, if you look back up at the data set before this one, and look at all of the 7 and 10 seeds, that tells you that the winner of the 7v10 game has a great shot of getting past the 2 seed and onto the Sweet Sixteen. I always pick what I think the weakest 2 seed is to lose {or if I think a 7/10 winner is especially strong, or if a 2 seed is a team that I hate and really would love to see go out, like Dook, Florida, or Georgia Tech}.

ELITE EIGHT

Seeds Below #3 In Elite Eight
Year Number Seeds
2006 2 4, 11
2005 4 4, 5, 6, 7
2004 2 7, 8
2003 1 7
2002 3 5, 10, 12
2001 2 6, 11
2000 5 5, 6, 7, 8, 8
1999 3 4, 6, 10
1998 1 8
1997 2 6, 10
1996 2 4, 5
1995 2 4, 4
1994 1 9
1993 1 7
1992 3 4, 6, 6
1991 2 4, 10

Many beginners get to this point and have all #1 and #2 seeds. Check your bracket for the number of teams seeded 4 or below in your final eight. You definitely should have at least one, and if the data is an accurate predictor, not more than 5. Personally, I would be comfortable with between 1-3.

FINAL FOUR

Seeds Below #2 In Final Four
Year Number Seeds
2006 3 3, 4, 11
2005 2 4, 5
2004 1
3
2003 2 3, 3
2002 1 5
2001 1 3
2000 3 5, 5, 8
1999 1 4
1998 2 3, 3
1997 1 4
1996 2 4, 5
1995 1 4
1994 1 3
1993 0 n/a
1992 2 4, 6
1991 1 3

In each of the last 13 years and in 15 of the last 16 years, at least one of the Final Four participants has been lower than a 2 seed. Also in 3 of the last 4 years at least 2 of the spots have gone to 3 seeds or lower. I would just make sure that you didn't have zero here {all four spots being either a 1 or a 2 seed} or a four{all 4 slots being 3 seeds or worse}

The Seeds Of The Final Four Participants
Year Seeds
2006 2, 3, 4, 11
2005 1, 1, 4, 5
2004 1, 2, 2, 3
2003 1, 2, 3, 3
2002 1, 1, 2, 5
2001 1, 1, 2, 3
2000 1, 1, 5, 8
1999 1, 1, 1, 4
1998 1, 2, 3, 3
1997 1, 1, 1, 4
1996 1, 1, 4, 5
1995 1, 2, 2, 4
1994 1, 2, 2, 3
1993 1, 1, 1, 2
1992 1, 2, 4, 6
1991 1, 1, 2, 3

If you have all four of the #1 seeds in your Final Four, then you are brave, for it has never happened. On the other hand, last year was the first time ever that none of the #1 seeds made it, so you never know.

I have seen the final four seeds wonked thusly: add up the seed #s of your final four members. In 14 of the last 16 years the number would be between 7 and 13, with wacky year 2000 having a high number of 15 and last years wackiness being an extreme outlier with at total of 20.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Seeds Of The Championship Game Participants
Year Seeds
2006 2, 3
2005 1, 1
2004 2, 3
2003 2, 3
2002 1, 5
2001 1, 2
2000 1, 5
1999 1, 1
1998 2, 3
1997 1, 4
1996 1, 4
1995 1, 2
1994 1, 2
1993 1, 1
1992 1, 6
1991 2, 3

Basically, the data says that you should have at least one #1 or #2 seed in the title game. If you have a 4 seed against a 6 seed here, then I applaud you for your moxie but the numbers say you won't win your office pool. In fact, then numbers say anything 3 v 3 or lower will not happen even though that sounds pretty feasible.

Seed Of The NCAA Champion
Year Seed
2006 3
2005 1
2004 2
2003 3
2002 1
2001 1
2000 1
1999 1
1998 2
1997 4
1996 1
1995 1
1994 1
1993 1
1992 1
1991 2

The outlier here is one of my favorite teams ever, the 1997 Arizona Wildcats, who amazingly beat three different #1 seeds en route to their championship, making them the only team to ever accomplish that feat and establishing a record that can only be equaled but never surpassed.


So there it is, by the numbers. Again, I am not saying to fill out your brackets to meet these requirements, but to fill out your brackets and then cross check them against this data, which should not be viewed as requirements but as a guideline or baseline or whatever you like.

I like this information because I find that it helps to know basically the number of upsets that likely will happen in each round. The trick, of course, is choosing where to pick your upsets and where to have the favorites advance. That, my friends, is what separates the office pool contributors from the office pool collectors.

Happy Brackets and best of luck. Unless you have Florida or Dook winning the national title that is - then I hope that you fail miserably.

2 comments:

OMAA said...

Thanks for the insight. I have a 1 v. 4 in the final. Prolly won't happen, but you never know. I really have to disagree with Dickie V and say that my Heels won't make it to Atlanta. Hope I'm wrong, but they don't see to have the drive. I have them eating it in the 3rd round. Oh well.

Kanu said...

Good luck to your Heels. Not so much to Ga. Tech...

From what little I do know, that East region is fucking loaded. G'Town are basically a 1 seed, and Texas is the super talented & dangerous 4 seed that if they put it all together can beat anybody.

It looks like UNC-G'Town in the Elite 8 would be epic - I am 100% sure that this is the matchup that CBS is hoping for.

I have actually crammed some today and got fully debriefed on all the Big East from my good friend Big East Ken.