2014 Final Four: How Mad Has This Year's Tournament Been?

By Carlton Chin
Final Four
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s Final Four for the NCAA March Madness Tournament has been set and we surprisingly have the No. 7 seed Connecticut Huskies and No. 8 seed Kentucky Wildcats in the mix.  We also have a No. 1 seed and a No. 2 seed, so some regions went according to form. To get a better idea of how this year’s tournament has played out relative to previous tournaments, I summed the seeds in this year’s Final Four as follows: 7+8+1+2 = 18.

As a comparison, here is a look at the Final Four seeds over the past few years:

2013: 1, 9, 4, 4 (sum is 18)

2012: 1, 4, 2, 2 (sum is 9)

2011: 4, 3, 11, 8 (sum is 26)

2010: 5, 5, 2, 1 (sum is 13)

2009: 2, 1, 3, 1 (sum is 7)

While the Huskies and Wildcats surprised many, this year’s range of upsets is actually in line with recent results.  Some years have seen the best seeds advance to the Final Four (for instance, 2012 and 2009).  On the other hand, 2011 was a wild year, with no No. 1 or No 2. seeds advancing, and a double digit No. 11 seed making it to the final weekend. The sum of seeds for 2011 was 26, compared to 18 in 2014.

This year, only one No. 1 seed made it to the Final Four: the Florida Gators. While the fact that only one No. 1 seed made it to the Final Four might surprise many, historical results show this to be the most typical result. The numbers show that one No. 1 seed advances to the Final Four 41 percent of the time, the most common result. Two No. 1 seeds advance to the Final Four 38 percent of the time.

The Gators are a solid favorite to win the championship, but as we have seen, anything can happen during March Madness. The Wisconsin Badgers, a No. 2 seed, round out this year’s Final Four. Over the coming week, I will review various angles for the upcoming games, including a look at sports psychology concepts such as leadership, big game experience and various quantitative facts.

Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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