Cranking up the Madometer to measure the 2014 tourney madness

Veteran members are no doubt familiar with the graphic below, but unless newcomers have dug deep into the blog, they won’t recognize the Madometer gauge at the top of the blog.

The Madometer is a simple metric I devised to measure the madness. It works by calculating the seed-position differences between actual winners and perfect high-seed success or failure throughout the dance. If the higher seed advanced in all 63 games (perfect sanity), the cumulative seed value of the winners would be 203. If the lower seed always advanced (sheer madness), their cumulative seed value would be 868. The difference between the two—665—is the predictability range.

Let’s take a closer look at the 2013 dance, the craziest in the 29 years of the 64-team era. If you added up the seed positions of all the teams that advanced through the tourney, the number would come to 341, certainly closer to perfect seed dominance (203 positions), but still 138 positions toward madness along the 665-point predictability range. That works out to a Madometer reading of 20.8%. To put that number in context, the average tournament in the modern era has deviated from by-the-seed results by 14.3%.

The 20.8% Madometer reading makes 2013 the most unpredictable tourney since the field expanded to 64 teams. Before last year, the craziest dance occurred in 2011, when tourney advancers deviated from perfect high-seed dominance by 19.8%. You have to go all the way back to 1986 for third most unpredictable tournament, when the Madometer hit 18.8%.

You could pass it off as coincidence that the two wildest dances have occurred in the last three years. But the fact is, we’ve seen four straight dances that were well above average madness. 2010 and 2012 saw 17.1% Madometer readings, tying them for the eighth craziest tournament out of 29. Take a look at how the last four years stack up against the other 25 dances on the Madometer:


Once the tourney tips off on Thursday, I’ll be posting the Madometer gauge at the end of every evening. Generally speaking, the Madometer shoots up in the first couple rounds, then settles down. Unless this dance is like last year’s craziness. Can’t wait to see.

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3 Responses to Cranking up the Madometer to measure the 2014 tourney madness

  1. StatGeek says:


    Is there a way that we can access the stat spreadsheets from previous dances? Based on your excellent post comparing the ’03, ’06, ’11, ’13 tourneys to this year’s, I am trying to do some stat research on the #8, #9, and #11 seeds that went deep in the tournament. Would like to first eyeball similarities in those teams. Preliminary takeaway is that they all came from non-BCS conferences and had Adj O >= Adj D.


    • ptiernan says:

      StatGeek – Sorry, but I don’t provide previous years. Besides, Ken adjusted his Pythag formula this year, so all that data wouldn’t be accurate. I’m going to have to load in all new data over the number.

  2. John says:

    Can you show the results of the final4/champ model for the past 2-3 years? I want to see what teams made the cut/how they did and more importantly, what happened in the regions where no one met the criteria (i.e. Midwest this year).

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