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Prof. Tim Chartier Unlocks Secrets to Winning Brackets

Tim Chartier discusses bracketlogy

Tim Chartier and predictive analytics company Tresata researched more than 70,000 NCAA Division 1 men's basketball games

In partnership with predictive analytics company Tresata, Associate Professor of Mathematics Tim Chartier researched every NCAA tournament game since 2002 to unlock the secrets to building winning brackets for the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

With more than nine quintillion possible outcomes in a 64-team field, Chartier's research will help every fan improve their odds of picking the right teams.

Using data analysis software provided by Tresata, Chartier analyzed every NCAA Division 1 basketball game from the past 14 seasons (2002-15)–more than 70,000 regular-season and tournament games during that time span–to identify patterns and predict likely outcomes.

Here are a few of their eye-opening insights:

  1. Looking for upsets? 76 percent of upsets come from 10, 11 or 12 seeds. (Note: In their analysis, a 9 beating an 8 was not considered an upset.)
  2. "Cinderella" needs to be able to score. One third of "Cinderella" teams (defined as a team seeded lower than 10 winning at least one game) boasted offenses ranked in the top 30 nationwide. Over half of Cinderella teams had top-50 offenses.
  3. Who will win it all? A 1, 2 or 3 seed from a major conference. In the past 14 seasons, only one team seeded lower than 3 won the championship (7-seed UConn in 2014). Every winner has come from the top 8 strongest conferences (by RPI) and has been ranked within the top 25 of Ken Pomeroy's ranking.

Check out more on Chartier's bracketology work.