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The New Big 12 Tournament Format

Publication Date: November 29, 2005

Everybody in the Pool

Last week, the Big 12 announced that they'll be changing the format of their postseason conference tournament beginning with the 2006 season. The new format, replacing the medium-old-style CWS format with two double-elimination four-team brackets leading to a single championship game, will consist of two four-team pools playing round-robin schedules, with the pool winners playing a single championship game. In general, I like it, but I'm a fan of pool play in general, so let's look at it in a bit more detail:

In an attempt to see what the practical implications were of this, I ran the numbers for the odds (based on my usual ISR-based probability formula) of winning the tournament under the two formats were for last year's field:

Seed  Team            Old    New

  1   Nebraska         25     30
  2   Baylor           20     27
  3   Texas            38     29
  4   Missouri          5      6
  5   Oklahoma          6      4
  6   Oklahoma State    2      1
  7   Kansas            1      1
  8   Texas Tech        3      2

The numbers don't change a huge amount, but they do change enough to make it interesting. On the one hand, the more games you play, the more likely it is that the better team will triumph, which is why Nebraska and Baylor improve, and why the small percentages shrink even more. On the other hand, the tie-breaker factor means that Texas is at a disadvantage to Baylor, so their overall chances drop.

To get another feel for things, I ran last year's SEC field through the two formats (just to be clear, the SEC is not changing; they were just a convenient comparison):

Seed  Team              Old    New

  1   Florida            14     23
  2   LSU                13     20
  3   Tennessee          11     12
  4   Mississippi        24     22
  5   Alabama             7      6
  6   South Carolina      9      7
  7   Mississippi State  10      5
  8   Arkansas           10      5

The differences will always depend largely on the shape of the conference -- you can see the difference here in having three contenders and four -- but one thing that's clear is that it's going to be a very big deal to finish first or second in the regular season.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> The New Big 12 Tournament Format About the author, Boyd Nation