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:
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:
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. According to my lovely computer model (which is amazing), here are the most likely top-seeded teams to make an early exit. Most interesting observation: three of these teams have a greater than 40% chance of going home early…
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 – 81% of all Elite 8 teams were seeded 1-5. So when a 6+ seed team reaches the Elite 8, most people’s brackets are busted. Based on simulating the tournament thousands of times with my sweet computer model (click here to see just how amazing it is at predicting NCAA Tournament outcomes), here are this year’s most likely Bracket Busters.
My definition of a Cinderella team: an 11+ seed team from a mid-major conference that reaches as least the Sweet 16. 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. Based on simulating the tournament thousands of times with my sweet computer model (click here to see just how amazing it is at predicting NCAA Tournament outcomes), here are the most likely Cinderellas.
Increase your chances of winning your bracket pool by using simulation results from BracketResearch.com’s computer model. Click here to see just how amazing it is at predicting NCAA Tournament outcomes.
Our artificially intelligent model has identified 12 teams that have a greater than 20% chance of pulling of an upset in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Only two teams are expected (greater than 50% chance) to win their first game.