It turns out that this "slightly back advantage" is real and measurable:
"N.C.A.A. basketball: teams that are behind by one point at halftime are actually more likely to win than teams that are one point ahead"Furthermore, while doing research for my March Madness bracket, I came across this tidbit:
The emphasis at the end is mine. The higher seeded team has historically come out on top more often in every pairing save #8 vs. #9, where the lower seed actually has a slight lead. At first I thought I discovered more validation for the theory, but it turns out the guys who did the research Freakonomics references were well aware of it.
- The #1 seed has beaten the #16 seed all 100 times (100%).
- The #2 seed has beaten the #15 seed 96 times (96%).
- The #3 seed has beaten the #14 seed 85 times (85%).
- The #4 seed has beaten the #13 seed 82 times (82%).
- The #5 seed has beaten the #12 seed 66 times (66%).
- The #6 seed has beaten the #11 seed 69 times (69%).
- The #7 seed has beaten the #10 seed 61 times (61%).
- The #8 seed has beaten the #9 seed 46 times (46%).