NCAAB premium

March Madness: What History Can Teach Us About Choosing Final Four Teams

Using a little bit of math and looking at history, is selecting Final Four teams easier than we think?

A huge reason we all watch and love the NCAA Tournament is because of the unpredictability and the Cinderella stories.

When it comes to the Final Four, though, things really aren't that unpredictable.

Since 2000, we've seen 64 Final Four teams. Of these 64 teams, 9 have been worse than a 5 seed. That means nearly 86% of Final Four teams have been a 1 through 5 seed.

And the thing is, the Selection Committee gets things wrong a lot, too. Just because a team is listed as a 7 seed doesn't mean they're not worthy of being, say, a 4 seed.

The way we determine the true value of a team here at numberFire is through our nERD metric, which measures the number of points we'd expect a team to win by against an average squad on a neutral court. 

Though nERD will generally correlate well with seed, we often see discrepancies. Remember that 2013 run made by Wichita State, a 9 seed? Well, no one saw it coming -- and trust me, our algorithm didn't pinpoint it, either -- but that Wichita State team was much better than a 9 seed according to nERD. If it were up to us, they would've been a 5 seed, because they had performed like a top-20ish team.

Over the last 16 NCAA Tournaments -- again, this is dating back to 2000 -- we've rarely seen Final Four anomalies. That is, very rarely is a Final Four team completely terrible within our nERD metric. And that means picking an accurate Final Four may not be as difficult as it seems.

The Process

To read all premium content, upgrade to a Premium account with numberFire

If you're not a Premium subscriber, it takes just a few seconds to sign up. You'll get access to all of our insider information, game projections, handicapping advice, DFS tools, advanced statistics, and more.

Log In Go Premium