Seed Distributions for March Madness 2017: A Tool for Bracketologists

How Far Does Each Seed Advance?

Knowing how far each seed is expected to advance (i.e., the number of expected wins in the tournament) provides useful information for assessing a bracket. The following table gives the number of times each seed has won in a particular round, the expected number of wins for each seed, and the standard deviation for the number of wins for each seed (a measure of the variability for the number of wins).

Seed R64, R32, S16, E8, F4, NF Expected Number of Wins Standard Deviation for the Number of Wins
1 128, 111, 89, 52, 30, 19 3.35 1.57
2 120, 81, 60, 28, 13, 5 2.40 1.52
3 107, 65, 31, 14, 9, 4 1.80 1.44
4 102, 59, 20, 13, 3, 1 1.55 1.26
5 82, 43, 8, 6, 3, 0 1.11 1.13
6 82, 42, 14, 3, 2, 1 1.13 1.14
7 78, 23, 9, 2, 1, 1 0.89 0.99
8 64, 12, 8, 5, 3, 1 0.73 1.06
9 64, 5, 2, 1, 0, 0 0.56 0.66
10 50, 23, 8, 1, 0, 0 0.64 0.94
11 46, 19, 6, 3, 0, 0 0.58 0.93
12 46, 20, 1, 0, 0, 0 0.52 0.77
13 26, 6, 0, 0, 0, 0 0.25 0.53
14 21, 2, 0, 0, 0, 0 0.18 0.42
15 8, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0 0.07 0.29
16 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 0.00 0.00

The performance of each seed can also be measured by the percentage that have reached a certain round. The following table gives such numbers, based the historical performance of each seed (1985 through 2016). Since No. 16 seeds have never won a game, they are omitted from the table. Moreover, since there are only two teams in the National Championship game, then at most two of any seed can reach that round. As such the percentage is based on the total number of slots, not the total number of seeds. The same applies to the National Champion (with one slot each year).

Seed Round of 32 Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight Final Four National Championship Game National Champion
1 100% 86.7% 69.5% 40.6% 46.9% 59.4%
2 93.8% 63.3% 46.9% 21.9% 20.3% 15.6%
3 83.6% 50.8% 24.2% 10.2% 14.1% 12.5%
4 79.7% 46.1% 15.6% 10.2% 4.7% 3.1%
5 64.1% 33.6% 6.3% 4.7% 4.7% 0%
6 64.1% 32.8% 10.9% 2.3% 3.1% 3.1%
7 60.9% 18.0% 7.0% 1.6% 1.6% 3.1%
8 50% 9.4% 6.3% 3.9% 4.7% 3.1%
9 50% 3.9% 1.6% 0.8% 0% 0%
10 39.1% 18.0% 6.3% 0.8% 0% 0%
11 35.9% 14.8% 4.7% 2.3% 0% 0%
12 35.9% 15.6% 0.8% 0% 0% 0%
13 20.3% 4.7% 0% 0% 0% 0%
14 16.4% 1.6% 0% 0% 0% 0%
15 6.3% 0.8% 0% 0% 0% 0%

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