How high will the tourney “Mad-o-meter” jump in 2008



It will be a long, long time before we see another NCAA tournament as strange as the 2007 tourney. It wasn't the prevalence of upsets or the unpredictability of the outcomes that made last year so unique. It was the almost-total absence of “madness” that marks 2007 as special.


Most of the pundits thought last year's dance would be one of the most upset-laden in the 64/65-team era. Teams were younger. Scoring was down. Reliance on risky three-point shooting was at an all-time high. And then there was the Cinderella precedent set by George Mason in 2006. All these indicators seemed to portend a chaotic tourney. That’s what prompted me to devise the “Mad-o-meter” last March and post it on this website. I admit it. I had a morbid “NASCAR-crash” fascination to see how crazily the Mad-o-meter would jump as the inevitable upsets mounted. Amazingly, the darned thing barely registered a blip.


How does the Mad-o-meter work? In simple terms, it measures the seed-position difference between actual winners and perfect high-seed success or failure in all six rounds of the dance. If the higher seed advanced in all 63 games of the tourney (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.


This year's tourney deviated from by-the-book results by a …

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