March Madness 2018: Here's a stat that can help you win 56 percent of your picks after the first round
Let's say you're filling out your NCAA tournament bracket and you come across a matchup that you consider to be a toss-up and you need a tie-breaker stat to help you choose the winner.
In the last 10 seasons, the team with the higher leading scorer – based on his season per-game scoring average – has won more than 56 percent of the time (a 172-133 record) in NCAA tournament games starting from the second round through the national championship game. We did not count games in the rare instance that two teams' leading scorers had the same average.
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Just for kicks, we went through the last two NCAA tournaments and calculated how your bracket would fare if you picked every single game, starting with the first round matchups, based upon which team had the higher leading scorer based on season averages. In the event of two teams' leading scorers averaging the same number of points, we went with the better-seeded team.
Such a strategy would've resulted in a South Dakota State-Winthrop championship game last season and an Oklahoma-Iona championship game in 2015.
Here's the full breakdown, along with the average score and top score from Capital One March Madness Bracket Challenge users each season.
2017 NCAA tournament
Bracket score: 46 | Average score = 65.66 | Top score = 174
2016 NCAA tournament
Bracket score: 40 | Average score = 68.18 | Top score = 171
So, clearly it's not the best strategy to base your March Madness picks solely on which team has the higher leading scorer. However, if you think a matchup that takes place in the second round or later is a toss-up and you're looking for a deciding factor to pick the winner, picking the team with the higher leading scorer will yield more wins than losses.
ICYMI, here's Andy Katz on this year's NCAA tournament: