Mar 17, 2009

2009: The Return to Chaotic Final Fours

Here's just a quick look at something that I found peering through past wheelings and dealings of recent tournaments:

Years 2004-2008

- First off, this whole idea that "parity is alive and well in college basketball. We have seen a shift" is a little strong to say. Last year 4 number 1's made the final 4 and the year before it was two 1's and two 2's. Hardly a trend shift before we've even seen how this tournament plays out, but no doubt, a different year from the last two.

- Now compare the previous two years to the two years before that and finally back to 2004 regarding total seed counts in the final four:

2008 - 4 (All four number 1's)
2007 - 6 (Florida repeat year)
2006 - 20 (George Mason and no number 1's made it)
2005 - 11 (MSU and Louisville outside of the top 3 seeds)
2004 - 8 (two 2's, a 3 and a 1 in this one)


So, just looking at those recent numbers, there appears to be a good amount of variance. Is there one particular variable that perhaps we can apply a broad stroke to look at what created the crazy (2006) vs. the expected (2008).

When in doubt, let's look towards the greatness of efficiency margin.

As avid followers of all things tempo-free, you by now understand the importance of looking at a team's efficiency margin.
Most recently, Mr Gasaway posted this year's conference numbers for tourney teams here
Also, in the past we've looked at effiency margins of winners/losers/upsets here and here

In those past analysis, we compared the top 3 seed lines, as a way to evaluate the overall "power" of that year's top teams.

Let's reorganize the tourney year's by the average efficiency margin of the teams 3 seed and higher.

Again, all of these numbers are courtesy of the king of TFS, kenpom.com
All numbers are overall season-long numbers, including non-conference but weighted for Strength-of-schedule.















YearSeed TotalEff. Margin
2008 4.33
2007 6.33
2004 8.29
2005 11.28
2006 20.26


Just eye-balling, you can see the nice dependent order of the numbers.
Apply a quick test and you get a correlation coefficient of -.893.
-1 would be a perfectly negative correlation (every change in eff. margin has an exact change in seed totals)
Very very small data set, but it has given me a reason to expand back to 1999.
That will be coming shortly.

Stop back for the final analysis.

2009's numbers?
.27 average efficiency margin within the top 3 seed lines.
Slide rule linear test (aka, extremely rough) results in a total of 14 for the seed total of this year's final 4.

Oh boy. Hang on tight.

There's just one quick thing to pull from this early analysis.
While the general position has been that this year's tournament should be pretty wide open, and that this season has been extremely wide open (just look at the conference tournaments), this quick look backs up that position with a little bit of history and numbers.

37 comments:

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