The final edition of BetUS’ March Madness data series is here. This time we focus on the Final 4 and provide bonus data for picking a national champion.
Deciding on Final 4 teams can take up the most time in filling out brackets. In casual conversations about brackets, the first question asked is usually who’s your Final 4 or who’s your national champion?
The Final 4 is quite hard to hit the right teams. Getting 3 teams can be a difference-maker in a bracket group.
If you study the right areas, a handful of potential Final 4 teams will stand out among the rest. Once your potential Final 4 teams are narrowed down, picking the right teams can become a breeze.
Take a look at the Final 4 data that will guide you in picking the correct teams.
Final 4 Data
These are the four key pieces of data to keep in mind for the Final 4 and National Championship, but there is more data you can utilize:
- Since 2010, 75% of Final 4 teams were ranked in the top 15 in the first AP Poll of the new year — Week 10’s AP Poll was released January 3.
- For this season’s NCAA Tournament, the following teams were top 15 in the first AP Poll of the new year: Baylor, Duke, Purdue, Gonzaga, UCLA, Kansas, USC, Arizona, Auburn, Michigan State, Iowa State, Houston, Ohio State, Texas, and Alabama.
- Since 2010, an average of 1.4 No. 1 seeds have made the Final 4.
- 3 of the last 4 tournaments had two 1 seeds in the Final 4.
- Since 2010, an average of 0.7 No. 2 seeds have made the Final 4.
- The last 2 tournaments had one No. 2 seed in the Final 4.
- 3 seeds in the Final 4 are quite rare; an average of only 0.36 No. 3 seeds have made the Final 4 since 2010.
- 3 of the last 4 tournaments featured one No. 3 seed in the Final 4.
- Since 2010, an average of 1.5 No. 4 seeds or lower have made the Final 4.
- In 3 of the last 5 tournaments, the 4 seed or lower has been a double-digit seed.
- Only 4 of the last 21 tournaments had a chalk matchup, which is a 1 vs. 1, in the Final 4.
- This seems like a silly trend, but it continues to remain true.
- Teams with blue in their team colors have a 57% win rate in the tournament.
- Teams with orange in their team colors have a 54% win rate in the tournament.
- These are the 2 highest win percentages for any team color, picking a blue or orange team in your Final 4 is a good idea.
- At least 2 blue or orange teams have made the Final 4 in 7 straight tournaments.
Several pieces of data presented will narrow your choices. For example, 75% of your Final 4 should probably be in the top 15 of the AP’s week 10 poll. Even picking two teams in the top 15 of AP’s week 10 poll will make up half of your Final 4.
Like the Elite 8, the average for seeds in the Final 4 helps narrow down choices. The data suggests at least one No. 1 seed, 2 seed, and 4 seed or lower should make up your Final 4.
Continue to browse over the Final 4 data, and figure out which tidbits are the most useful for you. Now, we move on to picking a national champion.
Why Having the Correct National Champion Is Crucial
After the Final 4 comes the National Championship, and having the correct national title-winning team could be the biggest bragging right of all.
Bracket groups that are a point system — which is when points awarded for each correct team doubles in each advancing round — award huge points for the right national champion. Hitting the championship team could save you in this type of system.
Doubling the points awarded for each correct team as the bracket advances to each round is pretty much the standard scoring system for bracket platforms. If you are going to put a lot of time into one particular team when working through brackets, be absolutely sure you have the right national champion.
Let’s look at some of the national champion data that can help you secure the correct pick in brackets.
National Champion Data
- Since 2010, 9 of 11 tournaments had a No. 1 seed in the title game.
- 3 of the last 6 National Championship games had a 1 seed vs. 1 seed matchup.
- A 3 seed or lower has not been in the National Championship game since 2014: when No. 7 UConn& No. 8 Kentucky faced off.
- 11 of the last 13 national champions were top 4 in ESPN’s preseason BPI.
- This season’s top 4 in the preseason BPI: Villanova, Illinois, Gonzaga, and Kentucky.
- 12 of the last 14 national champions were in the AP Poll’s top 15 in the preseason poll and first poll of the new year.
- The following teams check this box: Houston, Alabama, Duke, Baylor, Purdue, Texas, Kansas, UCLA, and Gonzaga.
- 11 of the last 13 national champions were top 7 in Kenpom’s offensive efficiency.
- 10 of the last 11 national champions were ranked in the AP Poll’s Top 10 on February 1.
- This was the AP Poll’s top 10 on February 1: Auburn, Gonzaga, UCLA, Purdue, Kentucky, Houston, Arizona, Baylor, Duke, and Kansas.
If the data is followed, potential national champion picks get cut to 3 or 4 choices. Once again, everyone feels different on which data is the most useful, so use what you think is the best and will produce the most consistent results.
Take your time when deciding on a national champion. This can be the one pick in the entire bracket that can win you big money.
That wraps it up for the March Madness data series. Before settling on your final bracket selections, use some of the data we have provided to achieve bracket glory.
Nearly every piece of information presented produces consistent results in every tournament. When in doubt, lean on the data.
Now’s the time to put the finishing touches on your brackets ahead of March Madness, and most of all, enjoy the games as this is one of the best events in the sports world!