I just started doing a project today for one of my classes regarding correlations, and I just wanted to share my initial research regarding March Madness:
I've researched from the present all the way up till the 1997-1998 year, and I would appreciate it if one of you statistical gurus could look deeper into this. Those Kentucky Wildcats finished the year with a 13 game winning streak. Since 2000 however, I think the highest was 12 (please correct me if I'm wrong).
It's common knowledge, for a variety of reasons, that winning the next game during a winning streak become harder than the previous one, up till the point where the odds make it close to impossible to keep the streak going.
Here are the current streaks of the Sweet 16 teams and what the streak would be if they won the whole Tournament in parenthesis:
NC - 13 (17)
UCLA - 12 (16)
Memphis - 9 (13)
Kansas - 9 (13)
Wisconsin - 12 (16)
Tenn - 2 (6)
Texas - 2 (6)
WSU - 2 (6)
Louisville - 2 (6)
Vill - 2 (6)
Davidson - 25 (29)
Stanford - 2 (6)
Mich State - 2 (6)
Western Kentucky - 8 (12)
Xavier - 2 (6)
WVU - 2 (6)
Kentucky had the 13 game winning streak back in a time where it was still possible for teams to stockpile talent for a whole variety of a reasons (less competition for recruits, lesser technology, etc.) so we will make the 12 game winning streak as the highest in the "Modern Era" and set it as a base. There are obvious flaws in this, but there has to be a max point in the data set. The minimum point is 6 (which has occurred 3 times out of the last ten years, so it isn't exactly an outlier).
I know this is selective data, but even without doing a basic probability distribution, it cames as a great surprise that all four number one seeds have the odds stacked against them when it comes to winning the championship. This is not to say they will not make the Final Four or the championship game; just that the actual probability of them winning the Championship game is extremely low. We can thus also eliminate Wisconsin, Davidson (who ironically will play each other), Villanova, and Western Kentucky (highest seed to win, #8 Villanova in 1985).
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but no coach has ever won the Championship in their first appearance in the Final Four. We can thus also eliminate Tenn, Stanford, WSU, & Xavier.
This leaves us with the teams most likely to win it all this year:
Texas, Louisville, Michigan State, & WVU.
Once again, this is selective data, but your opinions/bashings are appreciated.