It's Fanalyticsports Friday so come check out our Viz on the Journey to the Tourney. View your team and the path they took using the 2014-2016 NCAA Tournament results and pairings. We'll be making a few tweaks to this Viz as we proceed and will create a step by step walk through once complete. But for now check out how your team did and analyze how distance plays a role in the Tourney. (If you've never used Tableau before, do yourself a favor and check it)
This project started out by trying to determine the role traveling distances played in selecting/playing in the NCAA Tournament. What we found is that from 2014-2016 67% of the time the closet team wins their first round matchup, which peaked in 2014 at 69%. Breaking this out further by seeding, the top 3 seeds definitely showcase geographic proximity to home and a stronger winning percentage. Between 2014-2016 teams have traveled somewhere between 81 to 2,887 mile just for their game. (Average mileage per team) This is a huge disparity and may be reflective of the strength of college basketball teams in general and their location.
Further we looked into mapping the distance to give you a good view of how far teams have traveled and how the closer team may have an advantage. (I guess that is why Michigan State lost last year. Look how much closer Middle Tennessee is to the venue.)
From what we've seen the top 3 seeds have a geographic advantage compared to everyone else during Selection Sunday and judging by the distances traveled and the geographic placement of teams there may be room for improvement as regionality appears to play a smaller role than we thought and may hold an advantage to winning.