Now that we have the results of the Sweet 16, let us use the same method to calculate the likelihood of upsets in the Elite Eight. As before, all historical considerations for this guide begin with the 1994 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament, as it was the first to include at least 64 teams.
The statistical formula for predicting the odds of a given number of upsets of a particular type is
U^m*(1-U)^n*(m+n)! , (1)
where U is the probability of an upset, m is the number of upsets of that type, and n is the number of non-upsets of that type. In the Elite Eight, m+n can be any integer from 1 to 4 (0 is the trivial case of a particular matchup not occurring), but due to the number of matchups of the same type in this year’s tournament, m+n will equal 1 or 2 in each case. The factorials in the formula account for the combinatorics of the arrangements of the upsets.
#1 seed vs. #2 seed
In 30 games since 1994, #1 seeds are 19–11 against #2 seeds. This is an upset rate of 36.67%, thus U=0.3667. The most such upsets that have occurred in one year is two, in 2000, 2008, and 2011. In the 2013 tournament, this matchup occurs twice. Using Equation (1), the odds are as follows:
- #1 Connecticut and #1 Notre Dame advance: 40.11%
- One #2 seed upsets a #1 seed: 46.45%
- #2 Kentucky and #2 Duke advance: 13.45%
Mathematically, one #1 seed should fall to a #2 seed.
#2 seed vs. #4 seed
In 5 games since 1994, #2 seeds are 2–3 against #4 seeds. This is an upset rate of 60%, thus U=0.6. No more than one upset of this type has occurred in the same year. In the 2013 tournament, this matchup occurs once. Using Equation (1), #4 Georgia has a 60% chance of upsetting #2 California.
#2 seed vs. #5 seed
In 1 game since 1994, #2 seeds are 1–0 against #5 seeds. This is too small of a sample size to be statistically significant. In the 2013 tournament, this matchup occurs once. Novel matchups should typically be predicted in favor of the lower-numbered seed, so #2 Tennessee should be expected to advance past #5 Louisville.
Since 1994, the Elite Eight has featured a mean of 1.37 upsets, a median of 1 upset, and a mode of 1 upset. The fewest upsets in the Elite Eight was none (2001, 2006, and 2012), and the most upsets was three (1994 and 2004).
If you follow these calculations, you should have a reasonably good chance of doing well with the Final Four. You are on your own from here.