NCAA Basketball finals

Here is a lesson using the scores from all of the NCAA basketball finals. I found this after doing a search with TurboGopher on statistics education. I found it under the folder called The Journal of Statistics Education.

John Meseke

Last updated 11/14/94

Subject: Math

Grade Level: Middle School

Instructional Goal: To have students read and interpret graphs of data sets.

Behavioral Objective: From looking at the graphs, the students will devise reasons as to why teams from the 1950's and up have higher scrores than teams from the 1940's.

Materials: NCAA championship games data set, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and TurboGopher,Mosaic or any other Internet browser.

How to Access: Using the TurboGopher software, do a veronica search of directory titles of "statistics education" via U.Texas, Dallas. Open the folder The Journal of Statistics Education. Open the JSE Dataset Archive folder. The file is called "basketball.dat" (I cut down this file for the lesson because the data set contains every NCAA tournament basketball game and I was only interested in the finals of every year).

What Data Set Consists of: This data set consists of every NCAA championship game since the tournament began in 1939 (except for 1994). It has the year, the winning team, the winning score, the losing team, and the losing score.

How to Use: This data set can be used as an introduction to reading and interpreting data and graphs. Students can observe the data and its graphs and draw conclusions and make hypotheses based on the data and knowledge of basketball.

Assessment Activity:

Here we have every NCAA championship since they started the tournament in 1939. Take a look at the teams that won and lost throughout the years (the actual data set contains every NCAA tournament game, but I trimmed it down for this lesson).

1939 OREGON 46 OHIO STATE 33
1940 INDIANA 60 KANSAS 42
1941 WISCONSIN 39 WASHINGTON STATE 34
1942 STANFORD 53 DARTMOUTH 38
1943 WYOMING 46 GEORGETOWN 34
1944 UTAH 42 DARTMOUTH 40
1945 OKLAHOMA STATE 49 NYU 45
1946 OKLAHOMA STATE 43 NORTH CAROLINA 40
1947 HOLY CROSS 58 OKLAHOMA 47
1948 KENTUCKY 58 BAYLOR 42
1949 KENTUCKY 46 OKLAHOMA STATE 36
1950 CCNY 71 BRADLEY 68
1951 KENTUCKY 68 KANSAS STATE 58
1952 KANSAS 80 ST. JOHN'S 63
1953 INDIANA 69 KANSAS 68
1954 LASALLE 92 BRADLEY 76
1955 SAN FRANCISCO 77 LASALLE 63
1956 SAN FRANCISCO 83 IOWA 71
1957 MORTH CAROLINA 54 KANSAS 53
1958 KENTUCKY 84 SEATTLE 72
1959 CALIFORNIA 71 WEST VIRGINIA 70
1960 OHIO STATE 75 CALIFORNIA 55
1961 CINCINNATI 70 OHIO STATE 65
1962 CINCINNATI 71 OHIO STATE 59
1963 LOYOLA-CHICAGO 60 CINCINNATI 58
1964 UCLA 98 DUKE 83
1965 UCLA 91 MICHIGAN 80
1966 TEXAS-EL PASO 72 KENTUCKY 65
1967 UCLA 79 DAYTON 64
1968 UCLA 78 NORTH CAROLINA 55
1969 UCLA 92 PURDUE 72
1970 UCLA 80 JACKSONVILLE 69
1971 UCLA 68 VILLANOVA 62
1972 UCLA 81 FLORIDA STATE 76
1973 UCLA 87 MEMPHIS STATE 66
1974 N. CAROLINA STATE 76 MARQUETTE 64
1975 UCLA 92 KENTUCKY 85
1976 INDIANA 86 MICHIGAN 68
1977 MARQUETTE 67 NORTH CAROLINA 59
1978 KENTUCKY 94 DUKE 88
1979 MICHIGAN STATE 75 INDIANA STATE 64
1980 LOUISVILLE 59 UCLA 54
1981 INDIANA 63 NORTH CAROLINA 50
1982 NORTH CAROLINA 63 GEORGETOWN 62
1983 N. CAROLINA STATE 54 HOUSTON 52
1984 GEORGETOWN 84 HOUSTON 75
1985 VILLANOVA 66 GEORGETOWN 64
1986 LOUISVILLE 72 DUKE 69
1987 INDIANA 74 SYRACUSE 73
1988 KANSAS 83 OKLAHOMA 79
1989 MICHIGAN 80 SETON HALL 79
1990 UNLV 103 DUKE 73
1991 DUKE 72 KANSAS 65
1992 DUKE 71 MICHIGAN 51
1993 NORTH CAROLINA 77 MICHIGAN 71

1. Which team won the most NCAA championships?


2. Which team made it to the championship game the most, but just could not clinch the title?


Let's take a look at the scores of the winning teams.
(Note: This graph was made by Microsoft Excel 4.0. In order to make this graph, do the following:
1. When looking at the spreadsheet, highlight the cells you want in the graph.
2. Move your cursor to File, and select New.
3. Select Chart mode.
Note: You might have to widen your screen for the whole graph to fit.)

3. Take a look at the scores during the years 1939 to 1949. What are some possible reasons why these scores are so low when compared to the rest of the graph?



4. Now take a look at the scores during the years 1980 to 1987 (with the exception of 1984). Why are these scores rather low?




5. Are your reasons similar to those for the years 1939-1949? Why or why not?




6. If the winning teams from 1980 to 1987 played the winning teams from 1939 to 1949, who do you think would most likely win? Why would you think so?




7. If the winning teams from 1950 to 1956 played the winning teams from 1980 to 1987, who do you think would most likely win? Why would you think so?




8. Are the winning teams from the 1980's not as good as the winning teams from the 1970's or 1990's?




Now let's take a look at the scores of the losing teams.
(Note: This graph was made by Microsoft Excel 4.0. In order to make this graph, do the following:
1. When looking at the spreadsheet, highlight the cells you want in the graph.
2. Move your cursor to File, and select New.
3. Select Chart mode.)

9. These are the losing teams, but the teams from 1939 to 1949 look like big losers! Why do you think these teams scored so few points?




10. Even though these are the losing teams, it looks like they have scored a lot of points throughout the years. Why was there was an increase in the number of points scored after 1949?




11. If the losing teams from 1970 to 1975 played the losing teams from 1985 to 1990, who do you think would most likely win? Why would you think so?




Now let's take a look at the difference in scores between the winning team and the losing team throughout the years.
(Note: This graph was made by Microsoft Excel 4.0. In order to make this graph, do the following:
1. When looking at the spreadsheet, highlight the cells you want in the graph.
2. Move your cursor to File, and select New.
3. Select Chart mode.)

12. Were there more games that had a difference of under 10 points or over 10 points?




13. Based on your answer, would you say NCAA championship games are close? Why or why not?




14. Which year did the winning team massacre the losing team?




15. Take a look at the 1980's. Why were these games so close?




16. At the beginning we observed who won the NCAA championship the most. Take a look at the score difference on the years they won. Did they win most of the games by big margins or did they win most of the games by only a few points?




17. Was this team therefore lucky or were they just unbeatable? Explain your answer.




18. Take a look at the years that this team made it to the championship but LOST the game. Were these close games?




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