I just completed my NCAA tournament bracket. In the unlikely event that I would tie another entrant for the win (I’m usually out of the running by the Sweet 16 round), I need to pick a number for the total points scored by both teams in the final game.
Scores start swimming in my head. Will this year’s final be a high-scoring game like the 1990 finals when UNLV shot 61% in their 103-73 win over Duke? That game netted 17 more points than the previous year’s overtime championship. Or will defense prevail as it did in the 2011 battle between Connecticut and Butler? Three teams in the history of the tournament have scored more points on their own than the 94 total points scored by both teams in that matchup.
What is an average tournament point total? To answer that question, I plotted the score totals on the following SQCpack individuals and moving range chart.
Clearly something changed in the 12th year of the tournament, as the scores were unusually low the first 11 years. Any basketball historians out there know why? The game also changed when the 3-point line was introduced, although not as significantly as I would have expected. Nevertheless, I determined that only scores in the modern game should influence my tie-breaker prediction, so I plotted points since 1986.
I don’t know if 145 will be the magic number, but I’m recording it as my educated guess. Not that it will come to that, unless madness prevails and my near and dear UC Bearcats are the National Champions.