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March Bracket-lytics Challenge: End of Second Round

With the  second round of the NCAA Tournament in the books, 16 college basketball teams remain. Here’s how they break down by seeding:

  • 7 teams seeded 1-4
  • 5 teams seeded 5-8
  • 4 teams seeded 9-16

Nine out of the 16 basketball teams that are currently left in the field weren’t supposed to make it out of the first round, if you go by chalking, making this the most unpredictable tournament in recent memory. Below is a breakout of the seeds left after the Sweet 16 by tournament year:

Sweet 16 teams by seeding over the last 10 years

Upsets are what make basketball in March unforgettable and this year featured many of them, including the first-ever win by a 16 seed, with UMBC’s victory over overall top seed Virginia. Virginia bowing out of the tournament busted many brackets, including three of the top four competing teams in Merkle’s Bracket-lytics Competition, all of whom had Virginia reaching at least the championship game. “Mavericks”, a student team from University of Cincinnati, is the only team with 3 Final Four teams still alive, however their eventual champion was Virginia. Of the 46 competing student teams who entered models, 24 of them still have champions in the running (Duke, Villanova, Gonzaga, Purdue, and Michigan).

Student teams with models who weighted offensive efficiency very highly are doing well, as exemplified by Villanova, which cruised in to the Sweet 16. Villanova, who had the second highest effective Field Goal Percentage in the country this year (FG% is the distinction between 2- and 3-point field goals) and a top-ten turnover percentage, obliterated its first two opponents to set up a matchup with West Virginia. Thirty-four% of student teams competing in the challenge have models that select Villanova as the eventual champion.

Hopefully, the next weekend of basketball will bring us just as much excitement as this past one did, and while we can try and predict what’s going to happen, there’s a reason we play the games and the only team that’s undefeated over time is variance.