For the past several years, I've examined the factors that lead to upsets in the tourney and that help you pick close games. I qualify an upset as any game in which a team seeded four or more positions lower than its opponent springs a surprise. Tossup games involve teams within three seed positions of each other.
The upset and tossup rules I've developed over the years look at key matchups round by round. I don't ever advocate taking every single upset or deciding every close game with the rules I identify. But just for the fun of it, I always do at least one bracket following these rules to a T. In 2006, when George Mason, UCLA, LSU and Florida went to the Final Four, this model was brilliant -- in the 96th percentile. Since then ... not so good. This year yielded some particularly combustible results.
Some random thoughts and wild predictions about the Field of 68. Bracket overview >>
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Bracket results: This bracket went completely bonkers. There have never been more than 13 upsets in a single season. The last time that many shockers occurred was 2002. This bracket calls for 16 -- count 'em, 16 upsets. Needless to say, I would proceed with caution ... but I do think that these results demonstrate the volatility in this year's tourney field.
Here are the gory round-by-round results:
Round 1 (eight upsets)
• All the one through three seeds escape a shocker.
• Texas and Wisconsin fall victim to Oakland and Belmont.
• In the 5 vs. 12 matchup, every 12 seed wins except Memphis.
• In the 6 vs. 11 games, every 11 seed wins except the Southern Cal/VCU winner.
• In the 7 vs. 10 games, seven seeds all prevail ... say what?
• In the 8 vs. 9 games, Villanova, Michigan, UNLV and ODU win.
Round 2 (five upsets)
• One seeds stave off the craziness, but a couple two seeds get burned: Washington bests North Carolina and Texas A&M surprises Notre Dame.
• Purdue and BYU uphold the honor of three seeds, while UConn and Syracuse bow to Missouri and Marquette.
• Arizona takes care of business against Oakland, and Louisville handles Richmond, but Clemson bites Kentucky.
• Utah State beats Belmont in the battle of Cinderellas.
Sweet 16 (two upsets)
• Three of the four one seeds advance; only Kansas loses -- to Louisville.
• Marquette continues its unlikely run (and I do mean "unlikely") by taking out Washington.
• Missouri shocks San Diego State (hmm ... that one sounds plausible).
• Purdue avoids an upset at the hands of Texas A&M.
• Florida beats BYU.
Elite Eight (one upset)
• Ohio State upholds the honor of top seeds, ending the Golden Eagles' run.
• Missouri shocks Duke.
• Purdue gets past Louisville.
• Florida springs a mild surprise over Pitt.
• OSU beats Missouri, and Florida beats Purdue.
• The natural order of college basketball is restored. The Buckeyes end one insane dance by taking care of the Gators.