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Identifying the NCAA Tournament "Dance Card"

B. Jay Coleman and Allen K. Lynch
Interfaces
Vol. 31, No. 3 (May - Jun., 2001), pp. 76-86
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25062687
Page Count: 11
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Identifying the NCAA Tournament
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Abstract

The NCAA Basketball Tournament selection committee annually selects the Division I men's teams that should receive at-large bids to the national championship tournament. Although its deliberations are shrouded in secrecy, the committee is supposed to consider a litany of team-performance statistics, many of which outsiders can reasonably estimate. Using a probit analysis on objective team data from 1994 through 1999, we developed an equation that accurately classified nearly 90 percent of 249 "bubble" teams during that time frame and over 85 percent for the 2000 tournament. Given the NCAA Tournament's nickname of the big dance, the equation is effectively the "dance card" that determined whether a team got an invitation from past committees and is also a tool that could aid decision making for future committees. The accuracy of the dance card, and the factors and weights included in it, suggest that the committee is fairly predictable in its decisions, despite barbs from fans, teams, and the media.

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