Teams meeting upset victor and victim criteria

A few members have asked for me to post the teams that meet the upset victor/victim criteria listed in the “2014 Upsets” feature article. Here’s the information. Bear in mind that some of these Cinderella opportunities never come to pass either because the candidate doesn’t get past an earlier round or my guidance automatically eliminates them in many bracket models. Still, it’s interesting to know, for instance, that New Mexico State has the numbers for a 4v13 upset and that Memphis could threaten Virginia.

First Round Cinderellas

  • #11 Dayton
  • #12 Harvard
  • #13 New Mexico State

Second Round Cinderellas

  • #8 Memphis
  • #10 Stanford, St. Joseph’s
  • #11 Iowa
  • #12 Harvard, North Dakota State, NC State, Xavier

Sweet 16

  • #5 Saint Louis
  • #6 Ohio State, Baylor, North Carolina
  • #7 Texas
  • #8 Kentucky, Memphis, Colorado
  • #9 Pittsburgh, Kansas State, George Washington
  • #10 St. Joseph’s
  • #12 Harvard

Elite Eight and Deeper

  • #5 Oklahoma
  • #6 Ohio State, Baylor
  • #7 Texas
  • #8 Kentucky
  • #9 Pittsburgh

The criteria for high seed victims is a little different than the match-up guidance for Cinderellas. Here, I’m just identifying teams that are likely to fall short of seed expectations. For ones, that means getting to the Final Four. For twos, that’s reaching the Elite Eight. And for threes and fours, that means reaching the Sweet 16.

High Seed Underachievers

  • #1 Florida, Wichita
  • #2 Michigan, Wisconsin
  • #3 Syracuse
  • #4 San Diego State, UCLA
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49 Responses to Teams meeting upset victor and victim criteria

  1. John says:

    Baylor keeps popping up!!

    That makes me feel a little better about putting them in the elite 8/final4 (in very large 1000 person pools)

  2. Kevin says:

    Hey Pete, phenomenal job once again. Quick question in regards to the Harvard/Cincy matchup. Cincy has the victim traits and Harvard has the experience of the 12, but I looked and Harvard doesn’t have the frontcourt scoring between 55%-75% since their guards are at roughly 50%. So they just disqualify from that nice 12-3 number when having having both traits right? I’m most likely taking Harvard regardless with Cincy’s inability to score outside of Kilpatrick, but just wanted to be clear. Thanks!

    • ptiernan says:

      The Upset/Tossup rule I used was from the “2014 Upset” round-by-round section.

      “Take 12 seeds that have been to the previous dance and don’t have a snake-bit coach (more than five tourney trips without an Elite Eight run). These 12 seeds are 21-13; others are 20-62.”

  3. Billy says:

    So, a bit of a predicament. You pick Dayton as an upset in the first round and then you see that Ohio State has good upset potential in later rounds! What to do, what to do?

    • ptiernan says:

      Yeah…that’s the bitch of identifying the teams that meet these traits apart from their match-ups. When it comes to the brackets, no matter what you do, you’re wrong. Unless you’re right.

    • Dave says:

      Dayton to the elite eight! That’s what I have. OSU game will be close and Syracuse is a vulnerable 3 seed. Also, I don’t see Kansas making the sweet 16.

      • ptiernan says:

        You are a bold man, Dave. I haven’t seen a lot of Dayton. Just going by the numbers….and that always scares me. But there’s no doubt that OSU has the ability to go into an offensive funk.

        • Dave says:

          I’m looking at Florida v Colorado right now. In 1 v8 match ups Florida qualifies as a victim and Colorado qualifies as a giant killer. the seed quite says Colorado’s coach must be a “three year tourney veteran”. If this is Tad Boyle’s third year in the NCAAs does that mean he is a 3 year tourney veteran? Thanks

  4. Jason says:

    Is Kansas not in danger of being an underachiever with Embiid being out? The cumulative stats we’re looking at to come up with these lists obviously includes contributions from injured stars like Embiid. Is it valuable to somehow account for major injuries like this? Just have no idea what to make of Kansas without him.

    • ptiernan says:

      You are correct, Jason, in your observation that none of this data accounts for the loss of players. I wish I had done something way back when to account for it…but it would’ve been a squishy metric no matter what. Is Embiid’s loss as devastating, say, as Arizona’s loss of Ashley? At least the Wildcats have had longer to adjust.

  5. Gary Diny says:

    I feel similar with the injury issues but the reverse situation with Michigan St. They played a lot of games without Payne and Dawson, how much of their stats are reflective of that stretch. They seem to be drastically underseeded as a result.

    Dilemas dilemas!!!

  6. BUCats says:

    What about Virginia? They definitely fail the scoring test for #1 seeds.

    • Jay says:

      Be careful with Virginia. They’re deceptive because they play slow. They score well on a per-possession basis.

      • ptiernan says:

        Agreed. But I do think that slow-paced teams tend to play closer games. That explains the tight average margin of victory.

  7. Bullets-and-Blazers!! says:

    And New Mexico is not on the list of sweet sixteen potential upset? Yeah, they did lost to Kansas in Kansas thanks to Embiid. Without him, Kirk won’t get into foul trouble and do some damage on the paint with Bairstow (whom they struggle guarding).

    New Mexico State? I laugh, but it can happen. Let me add that they faced St. Louis last March and got demolished.

  8. Jay says:

    At any point are the round-by round application of seeds going to be posted?

    For example, as I read the data, none of the 15 seeds meet the cinderella criteria, but ALL of the 2 seeds meet the round 1 upset criteria. Is this application going to be done?

    • ptiernan says:

      I probably won’t get to that. I took a swing based on the upset/toss-up rules, but going through the entire seed guide is a bridge too far.

      • Jay says:

        Wanted to ask you — in the seed analysis you say that one of the criteria for vulnerable 4 seeds is a scoring margin of less than 17%. Do you mean less than 17 points? I ask because margin % doesn’t appear on your spreadsheet. If it is indeed a percentage, percentage of what? How are you calculating it?

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      I can post this, give me a minute, haha

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      For round 1:

      2vs15 . . .none of the 2 seeds or 15 seeds qualify (all of the 2 seeds get over 37% of their scoring from guards, which eliminates all of them from victim potential)

      3vs14 . . . Iowa State qualifies as victim, UL Lafayette and Mercer qualify as killers

      4 vs 13 . . . UCLA qualifies as victim . . . New Mexico St qualifies as killer

      5 vs 12 . . . Cincinnati qualifies as victim . . . Harvar, NC State, and Xavier all qualify as killers meeting one criteria each

      6 vs 11 . . . Ohio State and UMass qualify as victims . . . Dayton qualifies as killer

      7 vs 10 . . . none of the 7 qualify as “victims” while none of the 10s qualify as “killers”

      • Travis says:

        A question about the backcourt/frontcourt scoring calculation. Which is the correct calculation:

        # of points among top 5 scorers from guards / # of points from top 5 scorers


        # of points among top 5 scorers from guards / total # of points by entire team

        • Ryan Tressler says:

          those numbers are all calculated for you in the spreadsheet by Pete . . . he would have the specific answer to this question, but I believe its the first equation

  9. ptiernan says:

    It’s less rigorous…but I’ve been doing it the same way for 29 tourneys. I get the average points of the top five scorers, divide them into G and F/C (in the case of G/F listed players, I split the point averages). Then I divide guard point averages by top five point averages. It ain’t exact…and I wish I started doing it differently way back in 1990, but consistency is important.

    • Travis says:

      So for Georgetown last year, just to clarify. You wrote that they qualified as a #2 seed victim, but their guards scored 42.2% of the team’s points, which was on the wrong side of the 37% threshold that a victim must be under to qualify. So I was just curious if there was a different calculation.

  10. Mitch says:

    I found some interesting info with the Contender-Pretender article. Baylor comes up as a pretender so historically they would be lucky to make the sweet 16 (hasn’t been done by a 6 seed pretender). Every 10 seed is a pretender and their average wins is equivalent to that of the pretender 13 seeds (.2 wins average). Every 5 seed is a pretender so the 5-12 upsets look to continue. Villanova is the only 2 seed contender and the average wins (2.9) is behind only Florida and Arizona (3.9).

  11. Paul says:

    a couple thoughts on upsets
    – Iowa is hideous right now they can beat no one at this point.
    – BYU without one of their best players has no chance.
    – UMass is not playing well. Tennessee has a dream path first 2 games.
    – Same goes for St Louis. I see NC State getting 2 wins.

    And here you go the shocker – you heard it here first (well maybe not) NC Central will beat Iowa State. We’ve seen at least 1 of these type of games for the last 2 or 3 years now its been a bit of a trend.

    • BoDEAN says:

      I don’t think Iowa State is as bad as you think

      • Paul says:

        I don’t think Iowa St is bad. I like how they played in the Big 12 tourney. I like how Missouri played in it a couple years ago. All my numbers come up NC Central. They’ve won 20 straight.

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      I’ve been looking long and hard at them for a while too, might be the way to go if picking a 14 over a 3, though I like Iowa State

    • Andy says:

      I think some of you guys are reading his comment wrong. He says Iowa can’t beat anyone right now, which is accurate. Their only recent win came at home against the last place team in the Big Ten. I fully agree Tennessee will beat them.

      Iowa State? They have won four in a row and have a coach who is building a winning culture fast. I will grant that NC Central looks like a tough 14, until you see their #337 SOS. They did beat NC State early in the year, but the Cyclones went undefeated in heir non-conference and has an electric offense.

      • Andy says:

        Never mind, I missed a comment where he suggested that upset too. Still can’t see it though with that weak SOS, but it could be close.

  12. Terry says:

    What’s the reasons for UCLA for being vulnerable? Is it because Alford is the coach? I know he hasn’t done well but those were at lesser schools. UCLA sure looked impressive in Vegas last weekend!

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      In the seed guide it is because they meet all these requirements:

      their guard’s score more than 80% of their points (its 87%)
      their winning % is below .840
      they have won 8 or less of their last 10 (only won 7)
      their scoring margin percentage is below 17% (its 15.7%)

    • Ryan Tressler says:

      It the upset/toss up article, its they are vulnerable because of their high percentage of guard scoring

      • Terry says:

        As far as the guard scoring Kyle Anderson is 6’8” and not rely a guard. They don’t rely on the three like most guard oriented teams. i think they’re in for a deep run.

  13. Bryan says:

    Did anyone do an analysis for all the 8 vs 9 games? Thanks.

    • Kevin says:

      Bryan – I did, here it is:

      9 seed victims: None – Pitt, G Wash, and Ok. St have all made less than 3 trips in a row, but all have a scoring
      margin over 6ppg so it cancels out. (G Wash is close though at 6.5). As for K-State, their margin is under 6 ppg,
      but they have made 5 trips in a row.

      8 seeds- Memphis and Gonzaga pass all 5 things in the criteria. Colorado and UK don’t though (Colorado’s
      scoring margin is too low & UK didn’t go to last year’s dance).

      **Note on Gonzaga. Not nearly as strong as last year losing key layers (and they still flopped) and secondly,
      Pangos, arguably their best player has been battling turf toe so that’s one where I’m leaning Ok. St and
      ignoring the numbers.

      • Blazers! says:

        I will give you a link to help out on that matchup:

        They played each other last season and Gonzaga edged them. Without Harris and Olynyk, who is more favorbale?

        • Kevin says:

          Olynyk & Harris added so much versatility and height. They are huge losses. Gonzaga is not the same team this year andOk St is another year older. I think the pokes get this one before falling to Zona

      • Bryan says:

        Thanks Kevin. Even though the 8 vs 9 are toss ups, I like to use the stats to give me any edge I can get, especially when you realize that a lot of office pools come down to just 1 or 2 points for finishing in the money.

  14. John S says:

    Can’t help but notice that Harvard is a potential Cinderella in each of the first three rounds. It seems crazy to think of them knocking off Cincy, Michigan State and Virginia but maybe a little crazy is what its going to take this year. Not sure I have the guts to take them but definitely worth a second thought especially with all the “experts” jumping all over MSU.

    • Kevin says:

      John – 100% agree. Sometimes it’s hard advancing teams just because it’s so weird seeing a name like Harvard that far out on your bracket. I pulled the trigger on La Salle last year because I saw them twice and loved the athleticism and it paid off. I really think Harvard could do it, but definitely a scary move. As for Mich St, I agree there too. Don’t get me wrong, now that they’re healthy they seem to have all the ingredients (Good D, strong interior, star player in Harris, Izzo etc.) but they literally became “Thee pick” in a 36 hour span over the weekend. That scares me. Florida got no love and I bet they were watching…Your thoughts on the possible New Mex/Kansas game? I wanna pull the New Mex trigger with no Embiid for KU, but it’s no guarantee the Lobos get by Stanford. UGH bracketing haha

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