NCAA "squares pool" follow-up

Back on March 15, we brought you this awesome graph charting NCAA Tournament scores over the last 10 years. In our research, Trevor Sierra, Brian Brennan and I found out things like:

  • Small point differentials are better than large ones.
  • 5 and 9, along with 1 and 3, occurred just once each from 2001-2010. 
  • 5 and 4 came up 13 times during the same period.
As with any research data, a small sample size will often look quite different from its broader counterpart. It turns out that one year of Tournament game scores can be pretty drastically different from the averages over a 10- or 20-year period. 
Once again, here's the graph from 2001-2010:
And here's the way this year's 63 games played out:
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 2011 Tournament.jpg
Quite different, as you can see. A difference of two remained popular, but eight jumped all the way up over 15 percent. Six had an absolutely miserable showing, with just one game. 
While it was generally still a plus to have a small point differential this year, a difference of, say, 7 or 8 was actually more likely to come up than 3, 4 or 5. As usual, a difference of zero (or 10) didn't fare well.  
  • 5 and 9, which came up just once from 2001-10, failed to show up again. 1 and 3, which also came up just once in the previous 10 years, came up twice. 
  • 5 and 4, very popular over the previous 10 years, did not come up at all.
  • The most popular numbers, surprisingly, were 4 and 6, which came up four times.
  • 1 was the best winner's number (9 of 63 games), and, strangely, the best loser's number as well (also 9 of 63). 
Take it for what it's worth! Which is, you know, not much.
*Thanks to Brian Brennan for compiling the 2011 data.


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  • This is cool and all, but I'd like to see some data on Milwaukee's Sausage Race. My prediction is that the Chorizo runs better in the heat. Got a tip from Dusty Baker on that one.

  • And as you predicted to your uncle prior to the tournament .. he was still a loser with his zero/zero.

    I LIKE demtrev's suggestion too.

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