A Different Perspective on the Final Four

Who will make the Final Four? If you can get that right, the rest of your bracket often falls into place. Yet there have been patterns that suggest certain seed combinations are more common than others. One way to look at this is to order teh final four seeds from the best (lowest seed), second best, third best, and worst seed. Then the distribution of seeds can give you a better perspective on how to construct your bracket. The following table gives the number of times each seed has been in one of these four positions.

Position No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5No. 6No. 7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 10 No. 11
Best Seed 36 1 1 1
Second Best Seed 20 13 2 2 2
Third Best Seed 5 16 5 8 2 0 1 2
Worst Seed 1 2 7 6 5 3 2 4 2 1 6

This table suggests that a No. 1 seed makes the Final Four in over 90 percent of the tournaments. A second No. 1 seed makes the Final Four over 50 percent of the tournaments. After that, any of the top 16 teams (seeds No. 1 through No. 4) make the Final Four, with a No. 2 seed the most common. The last Final Four spot is a "coin flip", with No. 3 most common, followed by No. 4, No. 11, No. 5, and No. 8.

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