March Madness brackets require a final score in the championship game — here's a good guess
- March Madness brackets require a score prediction for the championship game of the tournament.
- We determined the average scores of the men's and women's final games over the past 34 years.
No one has ever gotten a perfect March Madness bracket.
But all brackets, in the event of a tie, require a score prediction in the final game of the
Predicting a score can be tricky, and plenty of people like to go off past examples as a framework.
We tracked the scores of every March Madness men's final going back to 1987-2022 to find the most common result. Why 1987? It was the first year the men's NCAA Tournament featured the three-pointer.
We averaged the total combined scores of the two teams, the average individual score, and the average winning margin.
The average total score was 145.4 We rounded to 145. The average individual score, then, was 72.5, which we rounded up to 73. The average margin was 9.1 which we rounded down to 9.
So, accounting for those numbers, the best prediction for the score of the NCAA Tournament men's championship game is 77-68.
It's an imperfect formula, but it is at last a safe bet.
It's also a common score. Since 1993, a team has either scored 77 or 68 points in the championship game six times. It's been especially common recently.
- In 2019, Virginia beat Texas Tech, 85-77.
- In 2016, Villanova beat UNC, 77-74.
- In 2015, Duke beat Wisconsin, 68-63.
The women's games have been a bit more lopsided
Calculating the average score of the women's championship games over the same time period yielded results that were little more uneven. The average total score was 133.4, which we rounded down to 133. The average individual score, then, was 66.5, which we rounded up to 67. The average margin was 11.8, which we rounded up to 12.
However, we couldn't get whole numbers that would fit for the final score using those numbers.
So the best we could do was 73-61, which comes to 134, a shade higher than the 133.4 average.
There is some precedent for teams hitting those numbers: In 2018, Notre Dame beat Mississippi State, 61-58. In 2003, Connecticut beat Tennessee 73-68.
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