An early exit for a top seed is losing in the first weekend of the tournament, or in other words failing to reach the Sweet 16.
Only 67% of 1-3 seeds reach the Sweet 16, so this happens often enough that you should at least consider it while making your picks. This year, we have 2 top-seeded teams that are likely not going to survive the first weekend (greater than 50% chance). Here are the most likely top-seeded teams to make an early exit.
A dark horse Final Four team is a 5+ seed that reaches the Final Four
Even though 83% of all Final Four teams have been seeded 1-4, 9 of the last 10 tournaments have had at least 1 5+ seed in the Final Four. The following teams have the best chances among this year’s “longshots.”
Bracket Buster definition: a 6+ seeded team that reaches the Elite 8
Most bracket fillers conservatively stick to the highest seeds when picking their Elite 8 teams, and rightly so – about 81% of all Elite 8 teams were 1-5 seeds. So when a 6+ seed reaches the Elite 8, most people’s brackets are busted.
Last tournament was the only one in the last 10 that did not have a bracket buster. Here are this year’s most likely Bracket Busters (teams with at least 10% chance):
Let’s call a Cinderella team a double-digit seed that reaches the Sweet 16. This means they would pull of at least one but probably two upsets in the first weekend and have glory and praise heaped upon them for the next week before they play in the Sweet 16. Almost every year, we see at least one Cinderella. Only the 1995 and 2007 tournaments didn’t have one. Last year there was one – the one that I predicted had the best chance – 12-seed Oregon.
Correctly identify a Cinderella team in your bracket, and you’ll not only look like a genius, but also increase your chances of winning your bracket pool. Here are this year’s most likely Cinderellas (i.e. teams with at least 10% chance or reaching the Sweet 16):
It sure is fun to correctly pick the inevitable First Round upsets. This year, both 11-Syracuse and 10-Rutgers are favorites to win their First Round games.
Unfortunately, the prospect of a 12-5 upset isn’t as high as it usually is. We can normally count on at least one. In 2019, we had three and the fourth 12-seed only lost by one! This year, it’s basically a 50/50 chance that we’ll have any.
Here are the double-digit teams with at least a 20% chance to win their First Round game:
Win your bracket pool by using simulation results from BracketResearch.com’s computer model that amazingly predicts NCAA Tournament outcomes.
Michigan is the only team with a greater than 50% chance of winning their region. Problem is, Michigan won’t be full strength – at least for the first two rounds – due to Isaiah Livers’ injury. Soooo… huge caveat in this region. I suggest discounting Michigan’s chances and boosting everyone else’s. By how much? I wish I could tell you. According to Jeff Borzello, Michigan, in the past 2 seasons, is 33-9 with a healthy Livers and 6-6 otherwise. All 12 games without him came last season.
There is an 85% chance the winner will be one of five teams…
While I wasn’t able to post and keep some pages up to date this season, I will continue to drop pure gold analysis/info/tips all week. Predictions, probabilities, metrics, and more! Stay tuned, come back often, and dominate your bracket pool!!
This year, I’ve gathered some bracket probabilities from other websites to compare with my calculations and so we can score them all after the fact to see whose models performed best. I was able to find predictions at the following websites: