slightly back advantage

When I ran track in high school my favorite position to be in was slightly behind the leader. Trailing far back is demoralizing - you know you can't catch up. Leading can be intimidating - you don't know what's happening behind you. Running a step back is empowering, however. You're fully in the race and all the pressure is on the guy in front.

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:
  1. The #1 seed has beaten the #16 seed all 100 times (100%).
  2. The #2 seed has beaten the #15 seed 96 times (96%).
  3. The #3 seed has beaten the #14 seed 85 times (85%).
  4. The #4 seed has beaten the #13 seed 82 times (82%).
  5. The #5 seed has beaten the #12 seed 66 times (66%).
  6. The #6 seed has beaten the #11 seed 69 times (69%).
  7. The #7 seed has beaten the #10 seed 61 times (61%).
  8. The #8 seed has beaten the #9 seed 46 times (46%).
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.
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