The Dreaded Middle Seeds - Are They the Worst Seeds in the NCAA Basketball Tournament? : Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports uses cookies, tags, and tracking settings to store information that help give you the very best browsing experience.
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Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

An official journal of the American Statistical Association

Editor-in-Chief: Mark Glickman PhD

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The Dreaded Middle Seeds - Are They the Worst Seeds in the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

Tracy L. Morris1 / Faryal H. Bokhari2

1University of Central Oklahoma

2University of Central Oklahoma

Citation Information: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Volume 8, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, DOI: 10.1515/1559-0410.1343, June 2012

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The following quote from Gregg Doyel in reference to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament appeared on on March 21, 2009. “For teams with a realistic chance at winning multiple games in the NCAA tournament,…the worst seed to have is the No. 8 or the No. 9. That’s statistical certainty.” Is it really “statistical certainty”? This papers attempts to answer this question. Data concerning the number of games won by teams seeded 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 were collected from the NCAA men’s and women’s tournament brackets dating back to 1985 and 1994, respectively. It was found that among all teams entering the tournament, the 10, 11, and 12 seeds do not appear to have a statistical advantage over the 8/9 seeds. However, if only teams that win their first game are considered, the 10 seeds have a significantly greater mean number of wins than the 8/9 seeds in the men’s tournament; and the 10, 11, and 12 seeds in the men’s tournament and the 11 seeds in the women’s tournament have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen (at least two wins) a significantly greater proportion of times than the 8/9 seeds.

Keywords: basketball; tournament seeding; NCAA; March Madness

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