Thursday, March 15, 2012

Extra Motivation, Recent Performance Overvalued - Or Both?

We sometimes write (and give statistics) to show that recent performance is often overvalued by sports fans.  Here's an article that backs up this hypothesis -- and might also suggest that teams losing their conference championships might be extra-motivated to perform well in the big NCAA Men's Tournament.  From the Wall St. Journal:

For the three No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that didn’t win their conference tournaments, there’s good news: History suggests they have as good a chance as No. 1-seeded conference champs of winning it all. Or, more precisely, a better chance. Especially North Carolina and Kentucky.

Head coach Gary Williams and the Maryland Terrapins celebrate after winning the men's NCAA Basketball National Championship game against the Indiana Hoosiers on April 1, 2002.
Getty Images
Ten years ago, Maryland shook off an ACC tournament semifinal loss to win six straight and the NCAA title.
As Ben Cohen noted in the Wall Street Journal today, NCAA champs generally have won their conference tournament. But a lot of those champs weren’t No. 1 seeds. Among top seeds since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, a greater proportion of those No. 1 seeds that have lost in their conference tournaments have gone on to win it all than have those that cut the nets after their conferences’ championship games: six of 26 non-champs vs. eight of 64 champs, nearly twice the percentage (excluding No. 1 seeds that played in conferences without tournaments). Since just one team can win it all each year, average tournament wins also are worth watching. And the non-conference champs rule among top seeds there, too, with an average of 3.69 wins to 3.36 for the conference champs...
Read more here: