MA: 1-800-698-8867   CT: 1-800-843-8520   NY: 1-800-391-8435 STUDENT PORTAL

What if Standardized Test Scores Predicted NCAA Tournament Winners?


It’s March Madness time again, meaning lots of busted brackets here at Summit (thanks for nothing, Michigan State). So we wondered: what’s the best way to choose NCAA tournament winners?  What about using average SAT and ACT test scores to predict the winners?

Could it be that the Duke Blue Devils will win the Championship again this year?

Of course, on their websites schools don’t report single SAT and ACT “average” scores, but they do report 25% and 75% percentile ranges. If you’re looking for an analogy to athletic competition, percentile ranges hold up fairly well. They reveal the relative academic “strength” of each school.

Here’s a chart showing the 25% through 75% percentile standardized test score ranges for each of the remaining 16 schools:

If our criteria is at all predictive, it’ll be Duke and Notre Dame in the Championship Game, with Duke taking home the title in an absolute squeaker.

Of course, if our criteria were truly predictive, very few of these 16 schools would still be alive at this stage of the tournament (Duke, for example, would have lost to Yale last weekend).  So don’t put too much stock in the numbers.  Then again, if you’re going to lose your office pool anyway (again, thanks Michigan State), next time why not use average standardized test scores to fill out your bracket?  It’s bound to be at least as effective as going with your favorite city/ favorite team mascot name/favorite team color.

Recommended Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Avatar
    Michael Dean

    Thanks for the kind words, Linda! I’m glad you found the piece entertaining (and a little helpful)!

  • Avatar
    Linda Libert

    Hi Michael! Even though I don’t participate in the annual NCAA “March Madness,” I got a kick out of your post. 🙂 Very creative! It was fascinating to see the comparative score ranges of these “name brand” schools. Thanks for this “news I can use.”


Leave a Comment