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[RotoGuru logo]
[RotoGuru subtitle]

Guru's Market Madness Contest
"The Long and the Short of it"

Additional stats now available:

Historical Analysis

In past years, I was frustrated by the inability to find detailed historical tournament data upon which to perform analysis. Sure, you could find a list of the tournament winners, and even final four data was not hard to find. But drilling down to the earlier rounds was virtually impossible, at least for all but the most recent years. So, I decided to do my own research.

What you'll find here are tables of data and analysis that covers the tournaments from 1985-2013. These are the 29 years during which the field has consisted of 64 (or 65 or 68) teams. While that's not necessarily a lot of data upon which to develop credible averages, the resulting records do seem to make intuitive sense.

First, let's take a historical look at how teams would have done using this year's contest scoring. In 29 years, we have data for 116 #1 seeds, 116 #2's, etc. Following are some statistics grouped by seed:

1985-2013 NCAA Tournament Results using Guru's Scoring Format
[ Scores are valued in GuruDollars (G$) ]
Seed Average Worst 25%-ile Median 75%-ile Best Result (who, when, what)
1 16.8 -15 -6 6 37 79 N. Carolina 1993 - won
2 12.9 -15 -13 -3 26 104 Kentucky 1998 - won
3 10.0 -14 -11 0 14 128 Syracuse 2003 - won
4 8.3 -13 -9 -9 16 144 Arizona 1997 - won
5 6.7 -12 -12 5 18 107 Florida. 2000 - lost in Final 4
6 7.5 -11 -11 6 16 186 Kansas 1988 - won
7 2.9 -10 -10 7 7 36 Xavier 2004 - lost in Elite 8
8 5.4 -9 -9 -9 8 242 Villanova 1985 - won
9 6.4 0 0 9 9 139 Wichita State 2013 - lost in Final 4
10 7.2 0 0 0 10 39 Happened 3 times - lost in Elite 8
11 9.2 0 0 0 11 166 LSU 1986 - lost in Final 4
12 6.2 -1 0 0 12 37 Missouri 2002 - lost in Elite 8
13 3.5 0 0 0 0 26 Happened 6 times - lost in Sweet 16
14 2.3 0 0 0 0 28 Happened twice - lost in Sweet 16
15 1.0 0 0 0 0 30 Florida Gulf Coast 2013 - lost in Sweet 16
16 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 Never won a game - yet!

Legend
Average: Average score for all 116 seed occurrences over 29 years
Worst: Worst result actually experienced in any tournament.
25%-ile: One-fourth of the results were worse than this, and three-fourths were better.
Median: Half of the results were worse than this, and half were better.
75%-ile: Three-fourth of the results were worse than this, and one-fourths were better.
Best: Best single score actually achieved in any tournament.

The table points out an important statistical feature of a single elimination tournament like this. The distribution of results is not symmetrical. This is because half of the teams in any year lose their first game, and are done. Three-fourths of all teams fail to win more than one game. You can see the impact of this by comparing the median score with the average score. Median scores are all pretty low (some are even negative), while averages tend to look more similar to the 75% percentile scores. (Actually, the averages aren't quite that good, but hopefully, you see the point I'm making.) So the typical distribution of results includes lots of lousy scores, a few reasonable scores, and (depending on the seed) a handful of great scores.


The 2000 Contest introduced the availability of "seed basket" units. A seed basket contains all four teams with the same seed. For example, in 2013, the #1 seed basket would have included the combined results of Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, and Indiana. The following table shows the range of results that seed baskets would have experienced over the past 29 years.

Seed Basket Return History 1985-2013
Seed Average Worst 25%-ile Median 75%-ile Max Best Year
1 67.4 -29 33 65 98 181 2008
2 51.5 -45 18 54 77 161 1995
3 40.1 -47 -13 17 86 203 1989
4 33.1 -44 -11 10 68 167 1997
5 26.6 -31 -1 16 34 183 2010
6 30.1 -44 4 19 37 216 1988
7 11.5 -40 -6 11 26 64 1993
8 21.8 -36 -19 -2 16 271 2000
9 25.7 0 9 18 27 148 2013
10 28.7 0 10 30 38 96 1999
11 36.8 0 11 11 36 198 2011
12 24.7 -1 12 25 36 61 2002
13 13.9 0 13 13 26 26 9 times
14 9.2 0 0 14 14 42 1986
15 4.1 0 0 0 0 30 twice
16 0.0 0 0 0 0 0  


Best Potential G$ Return by Seed
Seed Round in which Team Loses
1 2 3 4 5 6 win
1 -16 -15 -6 7 38 54 80
2 -15 -13 -3 26 62 78 114
3 -14 -11 14 29 75 91 137
4 -13 -9 16 32 87 103 159
5 -12 5 18 34 99 115 181
6 -11 6 20 35 111 127 203
7 -10 7 22 36 122 138 224
8 -9 8 24 37 132 148 244
9 0 9 25 38 143 159 265
10 0 10 25 39 155 171 287
11 0 11 25 40 166 182 308
12 0 12 25 41 176 192 328
13 0 13 26 42 187 203 349
14 0 14 28 43 199 215 371
15 0 15 30 45 211 227 393
16 0 16 32 48 224 240 416
It thought it might also be instructive to show the best conceivable score which can be realized by each seed, depending on the round of exit. This score is produced if the specified seed faces the best possible seeds in each game. A table showing the "art of the possible" appears immediately to the right.

If you compare these maximum potential values to the actual best results by seed (above), you'll note that no team has yet produced the maximum. The best #1 seed result fell only G$1 short of the best possible, and Villanova's 1985 win as a #8 seed was only G$2 shy of the maximum potential for a #8 seed. (In the 3rd round, 'Nova faced the #5 seed instead of the #4, and in the first round of the final four they faced a #2 seed instead of a #1.) Arizona had a tough path to win in 1997, beating 3 #1 seeds along the way, but they faced a #12 seed in the second round, and a #10 seed in the fourth round, thereby falling G$15 short of the maximum potential for a #4 seed.


RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is not employed by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<davehall@rotoguru2.com>.

 
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