What is the sum of the seeds of the Final Four?
It’s madness baby!
We’ve previously asked this question as part of our numeracy series. As the high school kids say: Gotta get those (mathematical mindset) gainz.
“If you asked me right now to update my belief,” Wharton Professor Eric Bradlow said before the Sweet Sixteen, “about the sum of the seeds of the Final Four I’m trying to decide if I would be over or under 10.5.”
One seeds account for about 40% of the Final Four teams, and two seeds account for 20%.
The historical mean has been 12 and the average sum 11.
But things are trending higher.
Bradlow’s reasoning went on. A number of top seeds had lost.
Maxims for Thinking Analytically suggests we use extreme examples, like Bradlow. What’s the lowest possible sum? It sounds like 10.5 is a lot. But if one region’s best case is three and another is two how low can the total go? The book also reminds the reader, “the world is more uncertain than you think.”
That thinking leads to something like the Aaron Rodgers touchdowns graph. Though more unlikely individually, there are many ways for the sum of the seeds to be higher than the historical average.