- Joe Lunardi, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
The 2014 NCAA tournament was remarkable in many ways, not the least of it being the championship game pairing of No. 7 seed Connecticut and No. 8 seed Kentucky. The UConn-UK final also resulted in those two teams eclipsing all others in "seed scores" by the conclusion of the tourney.
For the uninitiated, seed scoring goes like this:
• Using the selection committee's true seed list (1-68), we develop a numeric index for which teams exceed their seed and by how much. We also rank the opposite, of course, as in which teams underperformed the most with respect to their true seed.
• If the No. 1 overall team in the field (Florida) plays the No. 66 overall team (Albany), the game is worth 3.0 points. That value is determined by subtracting the true seed difference of the teams -- 65, in this case -- from 68. With favored Florida winning, the Gators gain half the value of the game (1.5 points) and Albany loses 1.5.
• Matchups involving teams closer in true seeding have greater value because of their much higher level of unpredictability. So if No 32 overall (Colorado) faces No. 36 overall (Pittsburgh), the game is worth 64.0 points to be split between the winner and loser.
• However, because Pitt was the seeded underdog in this game, the Panthers add the true seed difference between the teams -- four points -- to the 32.0 points earned by winning the game. Similarly, the Buffaloes lose an additional four points from their seed score.
• These additional points account for major upsets and help us score teams accordingly. For instance, the difference in true seed position of Duke (9) and Mercer (56) makes Mercer's win the single most valuable in the tournament and leaves the Blue Devils (minus-57.50), by definition, with the worst seed score of the year. The No. 14 seeded Bears gave back about half their gain by losing to No. 11 Tennessee in the next round, but still finished with a very positive final seed score (29.50).
• Games played in the First Four are recorded at one-quarter of their true value.
Keeping all this in mind, we present the following seed score groups from the 2014 tournament. For reference, also included is the true NCAA seed for each team as voted by the committee along with my own Selection Sunday evaluation of each (*indicates Sweet 16 team):