Every year I find myself getting really into the NCAA tournament in the early rounds, only to be completely disinterested by the time the Final Four rolls around.
I took at look at the numbers today, and I think I finally figured out why.
– Over the past twenty years – since 1990 – 1,280 teams have competed in the NCAA tournament (64 x 20). Yet, only 35 different teams have made it to the Final Four. (Less than 3%).
– Of the 80 Final Four spots available in that 20 year period, eight schools (UNC, Duke, Michigan State, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and UConn) have accounted for 38 of them (48%).
– Less than 2% of all the teams that have competed in the tournament have gone on to play in the national championship game (20). Of the 40 spots available in the national championship game, those same eight schools have accounted for more than half of them (22). Only twelve other schools have made it to the finals.
– Of the 1,280 schools that have competed in the tournament, only 13 of them have gone on to win it all (1%). Only six national championships in the past 20 years were won by teams other than those eight.
While the early round games are full of upsets and buzzer beaters and are pretty exciting to watch, unless you’re a fan of those eight schools you won’t have much to root for when the “Madness” ends in March and the big boys take over in April. And with Duke and Michigan State lined up on opposite sides of the bracket, my forecast for this year’s NCAA final is more of the same.