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Picking a Perfect Final 4
March 31, 2010 9:31 AM   Subscribe

What % of NCAA tourney brackets entered correctly picked the remaining teams that currently make up the Final 4?

Stats can be for a specific site (e.g. ESPN's bracket contest) or estimates on the nation as a whole. Furthermore, would like to have the % for last year and/or historical averages.

Trying to back up the claim that correctly picking the 2010 Final 4 exactly was more unlikely than in years past.

Links would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by glenngulia to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
Yahoo Pick-em Semi-finals stats. Only 0.2% picked Butler for the Final 4.

Unfortunately Yahoo doesn't have any info on the 2009 contest. But last year the Final 4 was two 1 seeds, a 2, and a 3, so that would clearly have way more picks than this year.
posted by smackfu at 9:48 AM on March 31, 2010

Similar to the Yahoo stats that smackfu linked to, the only stats that I have seen are for picking a SINGLE team at the given level. I can't see any stats on any of my websites for picking ALL FOUR teams at that level. So I think your question is going to be hard to answer.
posted by CathyG at 9:53 AM on March 31, 2010

Yahoo Round 4 Pick Distribution

So 1.6% had Michigan State, 27.7% had West Virginia, 1.3% had Butler, 45.4% had Duke. If you (probably wrongly but not crazily) assume independence, that would mean only about a quarter of 1% of entries had the final 4 correct.

On preview, I'm pretty sure that my interpretation is right and smackfu's is wrong (i.e. that one should be looking at the "round 4" tab, not the "semifinals" tab, if one is interested in people's picks to make it to the final 4).
posted by Perplexity at 9:56 AM on March 31, 2010

Perplexity: smackfu is right. On the Yahoo site, Round 4 is the Elite Eight, and the semifinals are the Final Four.
posted by zsazsa at 10:00 AM on March 31, 2010

I know that the semifinals are the final four, but what the chart is showing is the percentage of brackets that picked the team to WIN that round, not make it to that round. And winning round 4 means making it to the final 4, so that's what we care about for this question.
posted by Perplexity at 10:09 AM on March 31, 2010

Out of 4.78 million brackets on, 200 successfully picked the correct Final Four.

Couldn't find anything about 2009.
posted by radicarian at 10:09 AM on March 31, 2010

it had about a 1-in-5000 chance of happening

If you click on more under tournament previews, you can see the original odds for the 4 regions. Not the same as people filling brackets and only one of a few common ranking systems, but it gives you some point of comparison. And if you dig around, I think there's stuff from 08 and 09 [Basketball Prospectus started in late 07], so you can compare to the odds of the actual final four in those tournaments.
posted by radicarian at 10:32 AM on March 31, 2010

A small sample size of our pool this year had 18 total entrants ranging from just for fun and watching 0 minutes of college basketball to die hard Duke fan. 10 had no correct FF teams. Longshot finals matchup was Georgetown over Marquette. 8 had picked Duke. 3 had picked both WV and Duke. None had Bulter or MSU in the FF. To pick and guess the winner: 6 had Kansas, 5 Kentucky, 3 Kansas State, 2 Georgetown, 1 Villanova, 1 Duke.

I would say that is a below average selection, based on prior years bracket pools with the same people. I agree with the assessment this years collective picks were worse, and that normally the other half of the bracket would be a part to determine the overall winner. The % of getting this 2010 final four seems extremely low and rather than picking all four #1 seeds. A side question, would the total number of brackets with all higher seeds help?
posted by brent at 12:42 PM on March 31, 2010

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