Visualizing the Madness of Everyone’s Favorite Tournament

Porter Thorndike's picture
 By | March 22, 2016
in data visualization, march madness, NCAA, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Visualization
March 22, 2016

In business and basketball, insights come from data. Identify those insights and trends visually for your best decision making.

For many sports fans, this month is the most thrilling, exhilarating – and completely maddening – time of the year, as the nation’s most talented college basketball teams dance through a single-elimination tournament for the NCAA crown.
 
By all accounts, the twists, turns and last second comebacks of this year’s March Madness tournament have been even more unbelievable than we could have imagined. We saw Northern Iowa take down favored Texas on a half-court buzzer beater, Ivy League underdog Yale pull off the tournament’s first upset in defeating No. 5 seed Baylor, and just last night, No. 7 Wisconsin ended No. 2 Xavier’s title hopes with an amazing buzzer beater.  

But one of the tournament’s biggest storylines is what observers are calling the biggest comeback in the history of college basketball - it was even better than Space Jam, if you can believe that. Down by 12 with 44 seconds left, Texas A&M seemed destined for defeat. No team in college basketball history has erased a 12-point deficit with under a minute to play.

Even that context in the history of the sport is difficult for fans - including myself - to place. How exactly was Texas A&M able to come storming back to win? As in business, insights come from data. Taking a closer look at the data from the game helps to tell a better story of how the teams’ best players matched up, and how rebounds, steals and turnovers played a part in this exciting game.

Below, I've analyzed data from the game everybody is talking about. Take a look for yourself to see if you can understand what led Texas A&M to the Sweet Sixteen.

Taking a peek through the lens of data visualization can really help you make sense of this wildly unpredictable tournament.

For more on identifying trends visually for better insights and decision making, read on.