If you didn’t read my posts before the NCAA Tournament, I did some research from the last few years about how likely upsets are to happen in the first round. Let’s review the tournament this year and see if what I found turned out to be correct.
(From “Are Upsets Likely?”)
(So if you take a look at this year’s bracket, who do you like? Keep in mind, that seeds 4, 5, 6 are the most common seeds that get beat in the first round. The #6 seed has accounted for 53% of all upsets that have taken place in the first round since 2006 (9 out of 17). And out of the possible 24 6 v. 11 games that have been played since 2006, the 11th seed has a 37.5% chance of winning.
The #5 seed has been included in 2 of the 17 upsets (or 12%). Vanderbilt plays Harvard in the only 5-12 game in which a Power conference school is the highest seed. Although the 12-seed has only won 2 out of a possible 24 games against the 5-seed since 2006, Vanderbilt lost as a 5-seed last season.
Onto the 4 v. 13 matchup where Louisville plays Davidson, Michigan plays Ohio, Indiana plays VCU, and Wisconsin plays Montana. 4-seeds have lost 4 out 24 games in the first round since 2006. But of the possible upsets, a 13 beating a 4 is the second most likely (23.5%). People are saying that Ohio can beat Michigan and Montana can beat Wisconsin. Picking one of those games wouldn’t be a bad idea.
(From “Picking the ‘PERFECT’ Bracket“)
When picking an 8/9 matchup, go with who you think has the better team.
When a Big East team has been a 9-seed, they are 0-3 since 2006. Connecticut is a 9-seed this year, so maybe you want to pick Iowa State? Although, this isn’t your typical 9-seed. Just a thought.
Here is something else interesting about the 8/9 matchup. The 8-seed is 13-11 against the 9-seed the past six tournaments. So in reality, it is a toss-up. However, when a Big 12 team is the 8-seed (Iowa State and Kansas State are this season) they are 1-0. That’s a 100%! When a mid-major is the 8-seed against a Power conference as the 9-seed, the mid-major has a record of 2-3. Watch-out Creighton and Southern Mississippi!
Has an 8-seed ever gone farther than the second round? The answer is yes, but only once. Butler went all the way to the championship. And the odds of that happening again are slim. About 7% chance that the 8-seed gets past the 1-seed and it took 12 tries for an 8-seed to beat a 1-seed, so now I am not feeling to good about Memphis being able to Michigan State.
So now that I have broken down the 8/9, 1/8, and 1/9 matchups, you have a solid foundation to start your bracket. After the first few rounds, you can start to get a clearer view of who you think might emerge as the national champion this year.)
Ok, so I got something wrong when I was talking about 6 v. 11 games. Colorado and NC State are Power conference teams, but both were 11-seeds. They both went on to win in the first round.
The 5 v. 12 games had two “upsets” (if you call VCU beating Wichita State an upset) and South Florida beat Temple. My posts were about a Power conference being the higher seed and losing in the first round.
The 4 v. 13 games had one upset (Ohio beating Michigan).
And of course, we had two 15-seeds beat two 2-seeds in the first round. Who would have thought that both Duke and Missouri would go down in the first round.
I like all the 1-seeds to advance to the Round of 32. I also like all the 2-seeds to advance to the Round of 32, despite what people say about Detroit beating Kansas. All #1 seeds advanced past the first round, but two #2-seeds lost in the first round (thanks Lehigh and Norfolk State).
The 3 v. 14 seed matchups are interesting. Since 2006, two 14-seeds have upset a 3-seed in the first round. Both upsets happened on even years (’06 and ’10). Georgetown was a 3-seed when they lost to Ohio. Oh, and look, Georgetown is a 3-seed again and people think Belmont will beat them. I will take all of my 3-seeds and Belmont to advance. All 3-seeds advanced, including Georgetown.
In my earlier post, I noted that 4-seeds lose 23.5% of the time against the 13-seed. So I will be taking Wisconsin, Indiana, Louisville, and Ohio. Michigan loses! Wisconsin, Indiana, Louisville, AND Ohio all won in the first round!
I like all the 5-seeds to advance, even though Vanderbilt worries me. They were a 5-seed last year and lost in the first round. I think Vanderbilt can get past the first round though. Wichita State and Temple were the two 5-seeds that lost in the first round.
Here is another interesting fact: Since 2006, when an SEC team has been a 1-seed, their teams have either made it to the Elite Eight or won the national title. Since 2006, no SEC that has been seeded lower than 5 has made it to the Sweet 16, except for two teams (Vanderbilt and Tennessee) and both were 6-seeds. No SEC teams are 6-seeds. Furthermore, no SEC seeded lower than 4, except Tennessee (6-seed), has reached the Elite Eight (sorry Vandy and Florida). Florida defied the odds by becoming the third SEC team, that was seeded lower than 5, to make it to the Sweet 16. Florida also became the second SEC team, seeded lower than 4 to make it to the Elite Eight.
Look out Syracuse! You are 0-1 Big 12 teams in the tournament. If Kansas State can get past Southern Miss. then you might be in trouble! Syracuse dominated Kansas State in the second round.
Anyway, time to get back on track.
6 v. 11-seeds are next on the list. 6-seeds have been upset 53.5% of the time. So I will take NC State and Colorado as my two upset picks. NC State and Colorado advanced past their first opponent.
7 v. 10 seeds are not upsets, so I guess my work here is done? 8 v. 9 matchups are a toss up as well. I will be taking Xavier, Iowa State, Kansas State, West Virginia, St. Mary’s, Creighton, Virginia, and Memphis. I picked Xavier, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Creighton correctly. I lost my mind on the other picks.
I am going to use my upset pick this round, I think. I am taking Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, and MEMPHIS! Memphis didn’t even make it past the first round, but I got the other three correct!
I like all the 2-seeds to advance to the Sweet 16. All the 2-seeds, besides Missouri and Duke, advanced!
When I look at my 3-seeds, I feel like I might lose some. I feel like Florida State is a safe bet because the ACC is 2-0 against the Big East in second round games since 2006. I also like Marquette and Baylor. I got NC State, Marquette, and Baylor correct. Florida State lost.
My 4-seeds could disappear though. 5-seeds are 8-5 against 4-seeds in second round games. I am going to take Louisville as my only 4-seed to advance. My other two picks are both 5-seeds (Vandy and Wichita State). Temple is my other pick, but they are playing Ohio so that’s irrelevant. I got Louisville correct.
I like all three of my 1-seeds to advance along with Louisville over Memphis. I got Louisville correct!
I like Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio State to advance. Kansas and Ohio State moved on!
Baylor is my only 3-seed left, they advance. Baylor moved on for me.
Give me Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio State, and North Carolina. I got Kentucky and Ohio State!
I like North Carolina and Kentucky to advance to the championship. I only have Kentucky!
I got North Carolina winning it all! Well, I still got Kentucky!
I filled out my bracket for the first three rounds, and then I started to pick the teams that I want to win. I did it that way to see if the formula I have worked on actually works or somewhat works. My other bracket is the “official” bracket that I will be using. This one was just for fun!