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NCAA Tournament Games: The Real Nitty-Gritty
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports (2009)
  • Jay Coleman, University of North Florida
  • Allen K Lynch, Mercer University

The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee annually selects its national championship tournament's at-large invitees, and assigns seeds to all participants. As part of its deliberations, the Committee is provided a so-called "nitty-gritty report" for each team, containing numerous team performance statistics. Many elements of this report receive a great deal of attention by the media and fans as the tournament nears, including a team's Ratings Percentage Index (or RPI), overall record, conference record, non-conference record, strength of schedule, record in its last 10 games, etc. However, few previous studies have evaluated the degree to which these factors are related to whether a team actually wins games once the tournament begins. Using nitty-gritty information for the participants in the 638 tournament games during the 10 seasons from 1999 through 2008, we use stepwise binary logit regression to build a model that includes only eight of the 32 nitty-gritty factors we examined. We find that in some cases factors that receive a great deal of attention are not related to game results, at least in the presence of the more highly related set of factors included in the model.

  • binary logit,
  • stepwise,
  • committee decision,
  • performance metrics
Publication Date
July, 2009
Publisher Statement

Originally published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Volume 5, Issue 3.

The final publication is available at

Citation Information
Jay Coleman and Allen K Lynch. "NCAA Tournament Games: The Real Nitty-Gritty" Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports Vol. 5 Iss. 3 (2009)
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