Well that didn’t take long. My bracket always gets busted, but this year all of my Final Four picks were out quickly leaving me with no hope of winning my group.
The Final Four kicks off this weekend and we wanted to check in and take a look to see how the tournament has gone so far. This year was especially packed with upsets–or was it? We’ve seen a lot of coverage about how mad this March Madness was so we decided to take a look using our data covering ~40 years of the tournament.
Below is a dashboard we created to help us analyze the results. We used Domo Variables to make the dashboard more interactive. This year is highlighted in orange.
March Madness Upset Analysis Dashboard
In the dashboard we look at the upset data in a few ways:
- Number of Upsets: defined as any time a higher seed defeats a lower seed.
- Total Upset Value: defined as the difference in the seeds when an upset occurs.
- Average Seed of the Final Four
Looking at the data, we can see that even though there are still three games to play, this year has had neither a historically large number of upsets, nor a high Upset Value score. Both are slightly above the historical average, but nothing too far above the average. If all three remaining games qualify as upsets, then we will tie for the second most upsets in a tournament.
What we do see is that 2023 has the second highest average seeding for the Final Four teams in the last 40 years. The only year with a higher average seeding was 2011, when #11 Virginia Commonwealth and #8 Butler both advanced to the Final Four.
It is also interesting to note that the two highest Upset Values happened in 2021 and 2022. This suggests that the magnitude of the upsets has been higher lately, giving us the type of upsets that justifies the name March Madness.