Fascinating Stat of the Day

If only to get Giant Kiffins off the top of the damn page, I present to you this fascinating factoid I came across from the fabulous college hoops writer/statistician Ken Pomeroy, in a post titled "The Pre-Season AP Poll Is Great":

As things stand, the in-season polls are not very useful in this regard. During the season, the AP poll isn’t a ranking of the best teams at that moment. If you doubt me, here’s an example.

Tournament performance of AP #1 ranked team since 1990

                       Win  CH  F4  E8  S16  R2  R1
Preseason #1            6   10  12  14   16   20  21
Final #1                3   6   10  13   17   21  21

Six times the preseason #1 has won the national title compared to three for the top-ranked team at the end of the regular season. The preseason #1 has made it to the title game a total of 10 times compared to just six for the final #1. It’s stunning to me that armed with 25-30 games of additional information, the writers’ ability to identify the nation’s best team* gets worse!

It'd be interesting to look back at this on a season-by-season basis, in particular to look for commonalities among the teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll at the conclusion of the regular season.  What, if anything, about the way they finished the year might have had an effect on their tournament performance?

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