Bracket Busters and History

By Blaidd Drwg

Is your bracket busted yet? It feels like there are a ton of upsets this year, but if you actually look at the numbers, percentage wise, it isn’t that many. If you don’t count the 8-9 games, which are two supposedly evenly matched teams (even though the 9 seed has historically won something like 54% of these games), higher seeds are 20-8 in the tournament, or have won 71.4% of their games.

This year, it was not a good idea to be a #5 seed as 3 of the 4 teams lost their game with VCU the only team in that seed to survive.
What does this actually mean historically? Well, I took a look at the last 5 NCAA tournament first rounds (including this year), and found that the higher seed (1-7) has won exactly 71.4% of their games. So this year is an exactly average year for upsets. Just for fun, I decided to look at the results by seed for the 5 year period:

Seed Wins Losses
1 20 0
2 17 3
3 18 2
4 15 5
5 10 10
6 10 10
7 10 10
8 12 8
9 8 12
10 10 10
11 10 10
12 10 10
13 5 15
14 2 18
15 3 17
16 0 20

What does it all mean? Well basically it means that any games involving seeds 5-12 are a toss-up and you could probably expect to see a 13, 14 or 15 seed knock off a higher seed at least once in the tournament. The key is picking the right upset.

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