NCAA Tournament Stats Are Maddening
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – March Madness, the annual onset of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, hit Sunday night with the release of the 68-team bracket by the selection committee. Now, millions of brackets are being filled out with hopes of picking the perfect bracket.
But don’t hold your breath for getting every single pick right in the tournament. According to DePaul University math professor Jeff Bergen, your chances of getting every single pick correct are roughly one in 9.2 quintillion.
Put another way, your chances of getting every game right is 1 in 9,223,322,036,854,775,808.
But that’s just one of the fun numbers the NCAA tournament has associated with it. If you think the games are always pretty close, you’re correct. According to ESPN, 27.3 percent of tournament games have been decided by three points or fewer (or went to OT), in the past three years.
How about Miami’s chances being a number two seed in the East Region in 2013? Well, the Canes will have to buck a long-term trend if they are to capture the NCAA championship. Number two and three seeds have won just four championships in the last 28 years.
The last number two seed to win the NCAA championship was Connecticut in 2004. In addition, only once in the last 16 years have all four number two seeds have reached the Sweet 16, and that was in 2009, according to ESPN.
Last year, half of the number two seeds lost their first game in the tournament when Missouri was beaten by Norfolk State and Duke was sent home by Lehigh.
But don’t get too upset happy when you’re making your picks. Only once have the numbers 13, 14, and 15 seeds won a round of 64 games in the same tournament, which was in 1991, according to ESPN.
Of course if you want to really get daring, you can pick something that has never happened in the history of the NCAA Tournament: a 16th-seeded team beating a top-seeded team.
If you’re looking for upsets, the prime suspects are typically in the 5-12 and 4-13 matchups each year. Twelve-seeds have beaten a five-seed in at least one game in 22 of the past 24 NCAA Tournaments and have won at least two games in 11 of the past 12 years, according to ESPN.
This year’s 5-12 games include: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon; Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss; UNLV vs. California; and VCU vs. Akron. Out of that group, Ole Miss may be the top pick to pull the upset over a slower Wisconsin team.
While 13-seeds have been winning more games as of late, don’t go overboard if you’re looking to find Cinderella this season. Only three times have two 13-seeds won a round of 64 game in the same year, according to ESPN.
Incidentally, the lowest seed to ever win the national championship was the Villanova Wildcats in 1985.
But if you really want to drill down to some wild facts, not since 2003 has there been a Final Four without at least one team having an animal as a mascot, according to Fox Sports host Ben Maller.
Finally, in the 34 NCAA tournaments since 1979, only four times has the eventual champion’s name begun with a vowel.