Big East Pickers Duped

Submitted by BornInAA on March 19th, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Dear Big East Pickers:

Except for last year's Connecticut and Villanova showings, the big east has only been in the Final Four 3 times.

By pure math your final four should have 1 Atlantic Coast, 1 Big Ten, 1 Big 12, and pick 'em for the last spot.
I know people that have 2-3 Big East in the Final Four - oops.

Final Four Showings Since 2000:
Atlantic Coast 9
Big Ten 8
Big 12 6
Big East 5
Pacific-10 4
Southeastern 4
Conference USA 3
Colonial 1



March 19th, 2010 at 10:09 AM ^

That's interesting. I just don't think Duke is going to make it to the final four. So I don't have an ACC team this year.


March 19th, 2010 at 10:30 AM ^

prior to last year, 3 out of the 36 final four teams (00-08) were Big East. Therefore, you can expect a Big East team to show up once every 3 years.
Therefore, since two showed up last year you can statistically expect another Big East team not showing up for another 3 years.
However, you would expect a Big Ten and an Atlantic Coast to show up every year.


March 19th, 2010 at 11:37 AM ^

You know that the "law of averages" is both not statistics and not true, right? Just because the Big East performed well last year, they're not more likely to underperform this year just to even it out.

I'd wait to do the trash talk until the end of the tournament since your same logic would have mocked anyone who chose 2 teams for the Big East last year.


March 19th, 2010 at 11:58 AM ^

applies only to completely random events.
Like if you flip a coin it's a 50-50 chance every time even if you flipped 30 heads before.
If you bet on the one flip (or any one flip) you have a 50-50 chance. If you bet that you will flip 30 heads in a row: this is a 2 to the power 30 to 1 chance.

However, conferences producing final four teams is NOT a completely random event. Recruiting, revenues, geography, etc all dictate that a conference will do better more often than others.

And no mocking: since it had been 2 years since a Big East had appeared in the final four (2007 Georgetown), there were good odds that last year (2009) there would be one.


March 19th, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

You're right to say that each conference has a certain chance of making the final four based on recruiting, revenue etc. Perhaps the Big East change is lower than other conference, if you want to take the past results into account.

But you still fail to see the fallacy here. Are you suggesting that NOT going to the final four in 2008 somehow IMPROVED recruiting, revenue, etc and thus increased the chance off the Big East getting to the Final Four? I would guess the exact opposite; not going should decrease your recruiting and revenue, of course only by a small margin. In reality, each conference has odds based on how good the conference is by a whole, and what happened the previous year or two will NOT influence those odds by any significant amount, similar to your coin flip analogy.


March 19th, 2010 at 1:00 PM ^

Say the Big East has 2 decent teams and 2 bubble teams a year.
Say the Big Ten, being a conference with better resources, has 5 decent teams and 3 bubble teams a year.

Due to recruiting and the graduation cycle, say each team can field a good core of veteran players with talent every 3-4 years.

Therefore, the conference with better resources has 2 teams every year near their competitive peak and able to make a Final Four run. So you have 2 in the elite 8 with one making it in nearly every year.
While the other conference will only have 1 team per year near peak and able to make a run. This conference would only have 1/2 as much a chance of making it in every year.


March 19th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

Again, all you're saying right now is that the Big East, in any given year, has a lower chance of making the Final Four than other conferences like the Big 10 and ACC. I have no idea if that's true, but that's not what I'm contesting. What you said before is that if the Big East makes the Final Four in year 1, then they have a lower chance of making it in the subsequent year, and vice versa. What you just said doesn't support that. If the Big Ten has two teams in the elite 8 every year, they should average 1 team in the Final Four EVERY YEAR, and if the Big East has 1 team in the Elite 8 every year, they should average 1 team in the Final Four EVERY YEAR. What happened in the previous year is inconsequential, it all just depends on how strong the conference is.

Now, if you want to argue that conference strength is cyclical in 2-3 year cycles, that's a different argument that would support your position. It wouldn't be hard to look at the numbers and figure out if that's true.


March 19th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

Despite the leaps and reaches you make in your assumptions, you make at least a little bit of sense if you're applying the argument to a long-term statistical analysis of the future.

But that's completely worthless for the present. All that matters is the current makeup of the teams. And the current makeup of the teams is totally unrelated to who went to the Final Four in recent years.


March 19th, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

That is incorrect: things don't have to be completely random for the law of averages to fail. It always fails, at least with regards to any part that is random.

A hitter's batting average has a lot to do with skill and any given at bat has to do with the batter's state of mind, the pitcher in front of them, and the situation around them, and therefore is not completely random, but the law of averages is still a fallacy. A person with a .250 average doesn't hit every fourth hit or so, they go on streaks and slumps, and on 'average' times too, but the main impact their previous hits have on the current situation are that they feel in the groove or their muscle memory is shot, or that they tend to hit really well in the 5th-7th innings when they're facing a starting pitcher who's getting tired and who they've seen a lot of pitches from very recently.

You may argue a point that the Big East tends to have stronger recruiting years every three years, etc. which is fine--you may be right--but that's not probability and it's hard to base that conclusion off of how often teams make it to the Final Four, particularly since different teams have different recruiting patterns. It's also a far weaker argument than actually looking at the players and the records of each team this year.

Pea-Tear Gryphon

March 19th, 2010 at 10:49 AM ^

Be wary of using the past to predict the future. If things were always that easy:

- The 2006 Tigers should have never gone to the World Series (2008 TB Rays inserted here as well)
- The 2008/09 UM Football seasons never should have happened
- UM Basketball will never be good (or depending on how far back you look - always should be good)
- The Red Wings should make it to the Stanley Cup Finals every other year
- The Lions will never win...wait...scratch that one.

Maybe I'm just trying to justify my Syracuse v. Villanova Final. Things change pretty quickly in College BBall (one-and-dones, smaller rosters, etc) to throw out past results as a predictor. It is something to base it on, but I don't think it weighs as much as current season performance. I wouldn't just put Duke in the Final Four because I need an ACC team.

Those stats are pretty interesting though. For my bracket's sake, I hope you're wrong. No hard feelin's.


March 19th, 2010 at 10:59 AM ^

the prediction is what conference will end up in the Final Four - not individual teams.
The prediction indicates a Big Ten team will end up in the Final Four.
It could be MSU, Ohio State, Wisconsin or Purdue.
It depends a lot on random factors - what bracket they are put in, what seed (+/- a win = different seed), etc.

Pea-Tear Gryphon

March 19th, 2010 at 11:19 AM ^

But you say that we should pick an ACC team based upon the # of Final Fours the Conference has to its credit. I'm saying that this year the ACC blew...hard. Duke is the best of the bunch and really shouldn't even be a 1 seed, but the committee almost feels the need to make at least one ACC team a 1 every year. But I digress...

You have put together some very interesting stats. I am interested to see if it all pans out. For my sake, I hope the past Conference performance doesn't matter. Good luck with the rest of your picks.

MI Expat NY

March 19th, 2010 at 10:59 AM ^

To be fair, two of those Conferense USA final four appearances are by schools currently in the Big East (Marquette and Louisville). So 7 final fours shows that they're right in the thick of things on a yearly basis.


March 19th, 2010 at 11:20 AM ^

It seems like every year one conference takes a major dive. This year, it is apparently going to be the Big East. Just like the Big Ten in football, the Big East has suddenly become the whipping boy du jour. Similarly, just like the Big Ten is on its way back up in football, the Big East will be back in basketball, possibly as soon as next year.

Besides, it may be a bit early to write the Big East's obituary for this tournament just yet. We'll probably have a lot better idea on Sunday night.


March 19th, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

Some dark part of my soul could not resist picking WVU to go all the way to championship game only to lose to Duke [who despite the protests, has been been given a "fixed" bracket to make it easy for them to make a run].