NCAA Tourn. "Dance Card"
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NCAA Tournament "Dance Card"    


The original version of the Dance Card missed on more than three spots in only two seasons (2007 and 2008). Over the 15-year period from 1994 through 2008, the original Dance Card correctly predicted 476 of the 512 available at-large Tournament slots (or 93%).

Over the 9-year period (2000 through 2008) for which the original Dance Card was used since its initial development in 1999, it correctly predicted 284 out of the 307 available at-large slots (92.5%). The formula's best years were in 2001 and in 2005, when it correctly predicted 33 of the 34 available at-large slots (or 97% accuracy).

The updated version of the Dance Card, which included adjustments for historical conference-related biases found in past committee decisions, correctly predicted 35 of the 37 available at-large slots in 2012, 34 of the 37 available at-large slots in 2011, 33 of the 34 available at-large slots in 2010, and 32 of the 34 at-large slots in 2009, for an overall accuracy of 94.4% (134 out of 142) for these four years. Over the 10 years of data (1999 through 2008) on which its development was based, it would have correctly predicted 329 of the 341 available at-large Tournament slots, or 96.5% accuracy (i.e., it would have averaged just over one at-large slot missed per year).

When we removed the conference-related biases from the Dance Card to predict the 2012 selections, it correctly predicted 36 of the 37 bids that year. As a result we concluded that the 2012 committee did not follow the biases of past committees, and decided to use this "unbiased" version of the Dance Card to generate the 2013 ranking. In 2013, it perfectly predicted 37 of 37 bids, making this version 73 of 74 (or 98.6%) in the two years combined. We therefore conclude that the 2012 and 2013 committees were unbiased.

The current version of the Dance Card is based on 2009-2013 data, and was used to predict the 2014, 2015, and 2016 at-large bids. It correctly predicted 100 of the 108 bids during that span.

The Dance Card can only be as accurate as the Selection Committees are consistent; it is an estimate of the Selection Committees' (not the authors') decision criteria. The high level of accuracy and consistency of the model is strong evidence that the Selection Committees (which differ in composition each year) are actually quite consistent from year to year.

B. Jay Coleman, Ph.D.
Richard deR. Kip Professor of Operations Management & Quantitative Methods
Department of Management | Coggin College of Business | University of North Florida | Jacksonville, FL 32224