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New study takes the guesswork out of selecting and seeding teams for 'March Madness'

New selection process helps NCAA selection committee kick bias to the curb

Date:
March 7, 2018
Source:
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Summary:
New research has developed an automated approach for narrowing down and ranking the field of Division 1 college basketball teams from 351 to the 68 that would play in the annual 'March Madness' basketball tournaments, watched by more than 80 million people each year.
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New research has developed an automated approach for narrowing down and ranking the field of Division 1 college basketball teams from 351 to the 68 that would play in the annual "March Madness" basketball tournaments, watched by more than 80 million people each year.

Each year, a rotating 10-person committee is tasked with selecting and seeding teams to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Basketball Tournament. The new automated approach would be capable of potentially replacing the current manual system, to remove any questions of bias and the potential for human error.

The study, "Using Mathematical Programming to Select and Seed Teams for the NCAA Tournament," conducted by Bruce Reinig of San Diego State University and Ira Horowitz of the University of Florida, will be published in the INFORMS journal Interfaces.

"The algorithm can be applied to any season and is uninfluenced by prior committee structures, tournament outcomes and the results of previous seasons," said Reinig.

Using data from the five NCAA tournaments held from 2012 to 2016, the researchers created an algorithm that quickly and consistently created a tournament ranking that was in keeping with the committee's rankings for that year.

When applied to the teams for the 2017 tournament, the algorithm identified 37 of the top 38 teams that were also selected by that year's NCAA committee. When seeding, or ranking each team to decide who and when they will each play, 24 of them were an exact match, and 77.6 percent were within one seed of being a match, and 89.6 percent were within two seeds of being a match with the committee's rankings.

"This system can also provide valuable insight to athletic directors and conference administrators regarding the impact of scheduling changes on a team's tournament performance or chances of receiving a favorable seed," added Horowitz.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bruce A. Reinig, Ira Horowitz. Using Mathematical Programming to Select and Seed Teams for the NCAA Tournament. Interfaces, 2018; DOI: 10.1287/inte.2017.0939

Cite This Page:

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "New study takes the guesswork out of selecting and seeding teams for 'March Madness'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180307130044.htm>.
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. (2018, March 7). New study takes the guesswork out of selecting and seeding teams for 'March Madness'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180307130044.htm
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. "New study takes the guesswork out of selecting and seeding teams for 'March Madness'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180307130044.htm (accessed May 22, 2024).

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