Once a year, the world of basketball and gambling comes together for one of the most hectic and entertaining tournaments the world has ever seen: the NCAA tournament.
This year, only two one seeds made it past the second round of the tournament. Two of the best teams that are supposed to have the easiest schedule in the tournament lost in the first and second rounds. This type of volatility is rampant during March Madness, and it’s part of the reason that there are so many prizes for people who can successfully pick the entire bracket or even come close. In fact, Warren Buffet offers millions of dollars to any of his employees who can successfully pick the sweet 16, a feat that has only happened one other documented time, by a Chicago teen named Alex Hermann.
The article, however, is not intended to help people predict the outcome of the tournament and win millions from Warren Buffet; it’s intended to show the truth: this tournament is completely and totally ridiculous.
Athletic events such as the NCAA tournament, or any playoff system in a major sport are intended to find the best, most dominant team in that sport through a series of games against others vying for that same position. The problem with the tournament is that way too much is left up to chance.
The heart of the matter is basketball itself. Akin to baseball, basketball is a sport with many games in its season, and therefore upsets are statistically significantly more likely to happen over the course of several games. So in a tournament of 64 different teams, they are bound to occur. This is why a 16th seed pulls out a win so often. Consider that a one seed has about a 75 percent chance to win, which are quite good odds. So three of every four games between these two will result in a one seed win, but of course, there’s four of these games in the tournament.
The other issue is the lack of reseeding. The tournament never changes the bracket to account for the remaining teams, so higher seeded may not necessarily have the easiest schedule as they should. This is especially evident in middle seeded teams, as 5 seeds typically end up with more difficult schedules as a 7th or 8th seed.
This entire system breeds chaos. So, next time you go to pick a bracket, you may as just roll a dice. The odds, in this case, are in no one’s favor.