2014 wrap-up: maddest dance, most upsets in 30 years

2014_madometer_FINAL

UConn’s victory over Kentucky on Monday made official what we already knew: this year’s tourney broke 30-year records for the highest level of unpredictability and most upsets.

Before this year, the record Madometer reading was 20.8% deviation from perfect high-seed dominance, set in 2013. One dance later, the record now stands at 21.4%. And before the Shabazz Shocker, there were five tournaments with 13 upsets (seed gap between opponents of four or more). 2014 saw 15 upsets. It takes some serious craziness to reach that level, particularly since the later rounds usually feature so few games with upset potential.

We’ve now seen the Madometer reach record levels in three of the last four seasons. In fact, the last five years have easily been the craziest of the 30-year 64-team era. In the first 25 years of the modern bracket, the average dance deviated from higher-seed perfection by 13.6%. In the last five years, that deviation is 19.2%, more than 40% wilder. Coincidence? I don’t think so. There are lots of reasons to explain it: one-and-done, rise of the Mid-Majors, the three-point equalizer, the vanishing big man, mis-seeding mayhem, the perils of parity, ¬†havoc of shifting rules. It reads like a list Hardy Boys titles.

I’m not quite sure what the real reason is for the Madder March Madness, but I do know this: it’s going to make filling out your bracket that much more difficult. About the only thing I got right this year was my December prediction that the tourney would be crazier than ever. That and my assessment, after¬†comparing the 2014 quality curves with past tourneys, that this year most resembled 2011. I just didn’t know how much it would resemble that year. Kemba Chaos morphed into Shabazz Shock.

The bracket models took a beating. Even the best one, “Coaching + Efficiency” would not have won a pool. Heck, you would’ve done about as well as Nate Silver by just picking the higher seed in every match-up. And you would’ve trounced KenPom and ESPN BPI. Maybe when every single ESPN analyst picked MSU to cut down the nets, we should’ve known that something strange was up. Here are the final results of the models:

  • 85.7% – 4 Coach+Efficiency
  • 80.7% – 13 Nate Silver
  • 77.6% – 8 Baseline
  • 69.4% – 16 Keeper Small
  • 69.4% – 5 Pulse Check
  • 69.4% – 7 Upset/Toss-up
  • 62.1% – 2 Final Four/Champ
  • 62.1% – 0 From the Gut
  • 46.9% – 1 KenPom
  • 43.2% – 11 ESPN BPI
  • 39.7% – 9 Seed Match-ups
  • 33.3% – 3 Outcome Match
  • 27.4% – 6 Factor PASE
  • 24.8% – 15 Billion Dollar
  • 22.3% – 12 Contrarian
  • 16.0% – 14 Brackomatic

All in all, 2014 was one nutty year. We could pass it off as an outlier and go back to our conventional ways of predicting the tourney. But given the last five seasons of madness, I don’t think that’s the right approach. I have seven months now to ponder the results and come out with a new way of looking at the tournament. As rugged as this year was, I’m looking forward to trying to make sense of it–knowing that I might never get there.

Thanks, everyone, for thinking alongside me.

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60 Responses to 2014 wrap-up: maddest dance, most upsets in 30 years

  1. Alex says:

    I went 13-16 and correctly picked all three upsets. My wrong picks were St. Joes, NC State and Arizona St. I would like to say those were impossible to predict because you cannot account for “random luck”. So technically I am still perfect until I lose a game I clearly lost.

    I don’t get why people are picking NDSU over SDSU? I love NDSU alot but SDSU is not as bad as people are making them seem to be.

    The Cinderella’s I pegged this tournament are Baylor and Oregon (if you can call em Cinderellas).

    • ptiernan says:

      I have Oregon in a few brackets getting past Wisconsin. I’d feel more solid about them if that game wasn’t a virtual home game for the Badgers in Milwaukee.

      • Bullets-and-Blazers!! says:

        Good luck with that, because that isn’t going to happen.

        • Ryan Tressler says:

          I wouldnt be sure, Wisconsin may have crushed a completely over-matched American, but Oregon dominated their game against a much better BYU . . . I picked Oregon for that game as well, and I’ve seen nothing to make me question that pick today, haha

          • Bullets-and-Blazers!! says:

            Terrible defense, Mike Moser, need to say more?

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            Well, what I see is a Wisconsin team that doesnt play great defense either (especially against the 3), plus they don’t rebound offensively, and they don’t generate turnovers (meaning very few extra possessions) . . . meanwhile, Oregon is a team that is one of the better 3 pt shooting teams in the country and they are not afraid to pull the trigger from deep often . . . they are very efficient on offense and oregon actually does guard the perimeter well, generating a decent amount of turnovers and keeping opponents to a low 3 pt percentage (much lower than Wisconsin) . . . so, I dont see how this is a lock for you but to each his own, haha

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            Oregon looking real good at halftime, haha

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            And I will now go eat some crow, haha, way to play terribly the 2nd half Oregon, haha, that was like two completely different games between halves

  2. Dee says:

    Out on a limb today with Providence over NC, and Gonzaga over OK St.

    14/16 so far, Harvard and meltdown of NCST got me.

    Cannot wait for the Tenn VS Duke, make it or break it for me this year. Go VOLS.

  3. Ben T says:

    I calculated the Madometer rating for the first 2 days combined and if my calculations are correct then it should be close to 18%! If some more cinderellas advance to the sweet 16 and a couple 1 seeds lose their next game we could be looking at the highest madness ever… WOW!

    • ptiernan says:

      You are correct Ben. I just updated the Madometer. 12 of the 16 games have upset implications. If the average holds, we’ll see three shockers. Nine after round 2 is on track for record numbers.

  4. Sarosh Nizami says:

    Not a big deal, but #8s didn’t sweep – Pitt was a #9 over #8 Colorado. Just wanted you to have all the data right =]

  5. Andy says:

    Three upsets you says? Well I got three of them for today.

    1. The seed model doesn’t like North Dakota State, but also doesn’t like San Diego State. The upset model does like the Bison though, and had San Diego State as a possible victim to New Mexico State. San Diego State is also vulnerable to a pre-Sweet 16 exit by the Contender/Pretender model. Plus, I liked how North Dakota State looked against Oklahoma, but did not like how San Diego State looked against New Mexico State. Both went into overtime, NDSU forced it and took over while SDSU allowed it and survived. Then again, maybe I’m biased since I picked this one to begin with.

    2. I’m a little nervous about Dayton’s chances over the Orange (I also picked this upset), but I still hold onto the fact that Syracuse has only won 2 of its last ten, lost its last game coming into the tournament, and has a victory margin of less than 10 points. I ran a Bracketmaster query for that last night for 1-3 seeds, and none have reached the Sweet 16 (though I think the sample size was four). The seed model also gives Dayton a decent shot at advancing. Dayton also won at Georgia Tech early in the season, while Syracuse lost to them at home recently.

    3. I know it’s in Milwaukee, but I still really like Oregon’s chances over Wisconsin. The Badgers cannot get off to a slow start again, because this isn’t exactly American we’re talking about here. We have a team that scores quickly and often, is really talented, and surprised quite a few people (me included) by going to the Sweet 16 as a 12 seed. I know Dana Altman is snakebit, but he has had double digit seeds most of his career, and I have a hunch he has found the right fit at Oregon.

    As for the games tomorrow, I would say Stanford over Kansas and Stephen F. Austin over UCLA are decent picks. Kansas was really sputtering coming into the tournament with only six wins in its last ten (and their last one was in overtime surrounded by two losses), and Stanford is only missing the victory margin (and only by .1, after a Bracketmaster query with everything else that only lowers their odds to 50% of winning). Meanwhile, I still think Steve Alford isn’t going to the Sweet 16, and one ESPN model likes Stephen F. Austin as a giant killer.

    I look for the Madometer to really go up this weekend!

    • Andy says:

      Whoops, goofed badly on one area! Syracuse has won two its last seven. And only five of its last ten. Bracketmaster results of my aforementioned query are still the same though.

    • B D says:

      Have all of those upsets picked in my main going by the same logic. The most difficult one was Oregon over Wisky since Wisky plays very hard at home, they will slow down the tempo and Altman is Snakebit. There has to be a correction to the snakebit factor after a coach changes teams.

      • Andy says:

        This is also only the third time he has had a single digit seed. Especially after last year, I question if Dana Altman is really that snakebit. I have also been saying for a while that I think Bo Ryan is really a snakebit coach. He may have an Elite Eight appearance, as a 6 seed at that, but he got really lucky to play only double digit seeds during that run.

        It’s for similar reasons why I couldn’t go with Baylor either, plus their bad turnover margin. Two runs to the Elite Eight for Scott Drew looks impressive, but he beat 14′s, 11′s, and 10′s both times en route. He has yet to beat a team seeded higher than his, and has yet to beat a single digit seed. I just can’t see Baylor beating Creighton, though this would be Greg McDermott’s first appearance in the Sweet 16, and their turnover margin also isn’t favorable. It’s for those reasons all put together why I took Oregon to the Elite Eight.

        • Andy says:

          Out of curiosity, I ran a query for teams seeded 1 or 2 with a victory margin of less than 10 points per game, winning 6 or fewer games in the last ten, and losing the most recent pre-tournament game. Five teams met these criteria, and not one made the Sweet 16.

          One 2 seed this year meets these criteria. That’s Kansas. Feeling even better now about Stanford making at least the Sweet 16.

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            Kansas certainly doesnt look as formidable without Embiid . . . going to be a very good game . . . I have Kansas losing in the sweet 16 anyway, so I wouldnt mind seeing Stanford pull it off

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            Kansas’ strength of schedule was absurd this year though, which I think would help explain that scoring margin, wonder what the numbers would look like with the teams sos factored into that selection of teams

          • Andy says:

            That’s a good point about Kansas having the #1 SOS, but I think I recall a post some time ago where the teams with SOS’s of 1-5 actually underachieve.

          • Ryan Tressler says:

            Just looked this up, isolating 2 seeds . . . there have been two other 2 seeds with a top 10 sos, a margin of victory between 7-10, and an overall win % between .700-.750 . . . those teams combined had a PASE of -.905, almost a whole game underachievement . . . however, expand the same criteria to include both 1 and 3 seeds, and the PASE becomes +.268 (largely because of UConn’s 2011 championship run)

          • Tommy says:

            The way to beat Kansas is to speed them up, force turnovers, hit 3-pointers and drive the lane. But that’s not how Stanford plays, at all. They play like KU does. Not sure Stanford’s equipped to be beat KU strength on strength.

          • Brian says:

            So, what’s it say that going into the Sweet 16 that we’ve already lost one 1-seed, two 2-seeds, three 3-seeds, but no 4-seeds?

          • ptiernan says:

            Brian – I guess that quality curve showing unusually strong four seeds wasn’t lying. http://wp.bracketscience.com/?p=930

  6. Tom says:

    Oddly enough, the biggest Vegas spread in any of this weekend’s games is the one 4v5 matchup of the weekend. Louisville is a 9.5-point favorite over St. Louis, largely because Vegas views Louisville and St. Louis a lot differently than the Selection Committee does. According to kenpom this is much more like a 1v9 matchup than a 4v5.

  7. Andy says:

    Well so much for North Dakota State. Guess being in a smaller conference could have had something to do with it. But there are still Dayton, Oregon, and Stanford. I think it’s somewhat encouraging that it’s a close game for Dayton with them up at the half. We’ll see about Oregon but they are off to a decent start. And I’ve beaten to death my case for Stanford in the Sweet 16 over Kansas by now.

  8. Ryan Tressler says:

    Oregon is looking good so far . . . Dayton needs to hope Syracuse doesnt get going, so far so good though, haha

  9. Marc says:

    At this point my bracket’s looking good in my 60 man pool. Banking on Creighton getting to the E8 as well as ‘Nova. Bracket Science has been pretty much on point. Had Dayton to the S16 but pulled off 10 min before. Never trust Ohio St or Duke.

  10. Andy says:

    Man I can’t believe Oregon gave it away like that. Guess Dana Altman is still snakebit after all, or maybe they just weren’t ready yet. Plus having the game in Milwaukee probably didn’t help much. I think at this point the door is wide open for Arizona to go to the Final Four. The only non-snakebit coach left in this region is Baylor, and their turnover margin is hideous, would be a HORRIBLE matchup for Arizona’s defense.

    Of course I’m not surprised that Michigan State beat Harvard. However, I’m also not surprised that Harvard made it close. Harvard is a tough team and met the metrics to be a Sweet 16 team as a digit seed. I can think of 10 teams seeded 1-4 that I would have taken Harvard over, including Wichita State and Virginia. About the only teams I can think of who I am completely confident I would take over Harvard are Arizona and maybe Louisville. They would have been a really good Cinderella in the South, and I think would have even given Florida a really tough game. I would have had to think long and hard about the winner of that one, but probably gone with the Gators. Decided by five points or less. I was looking at bracketology runs before the tournament and on a lot of them Harvard was going really far, even Final Four on a few. I know don’t ever take a 12 that far, but if there was ever a time to do so, this might have been it.

    • Tom says:

      Ummm… Steve “I’ve Won A National Championship” Fisher is NOT snakebit. Neither is Bo Ryan, for that matter (he did make the Elite Eight once.)

      • Andy says:

        I never talked about Steve Fisher, but I will talk about Bo Ryan. Yes, he isn’t snakebit by definition, but he has still only made one Elite Eight (back in 2005, has since then he has had 2-5 seeds almost every year), and he beat double digit seeds the entire way en route. He has also only beaten a team seeded higher than his once, when his team upset Florida State in 2009.

        The only reasons I thought San Diego State would underachieve were that a lot of the models indicated they would be a good pick to get upset beforehand, and the Mountain West almost always underachieves in the tournament. That conference still hasn’t taken a single team to the Elite Eight. It had nothing to do with Steve Fisher, yes he has won a championship at Michigan and I am well aware of that.

  11. B D says:

    I love how us bracketscientists have adopted the phrase “snakebit” around here and more importantly how incredibly powerful a factor it is while filling up the brackets.

  12. Andy says:

    Called it from the start! Stanford taking on Dayton in the Sweet 16. I don’t think anyone else in my pool picked that one either. We also score not only by points per round, but also per seed. Therefore this was worth 12 points and Dayton 13. That’s 25 points I don’t think anyone else got! With successfully picking so many of the first rounders like Harvard and North Dakota State, you can probably guess where I stand right now.

    Big credit to you Pete. If I had never found this website/blog and kenpom.com, I don’t think I would have been brave enough to pick these upsets!

  13. Jay Morris says:

    After watching the first weekend, I know in the future, I will put much more emphasis on scoring efficiency. Most teams have proven in this tournament that they cannot shoot. Teams that can shoot, have advanced, with some good underdog teams nearly advancing.

  14. Mike Callaro says:

    Pete,

    You said there are 3 opportunities for upsets. What about Baylor v. Wisconsin?

  15. B D says:

    Peter

    We need to have our own scientist group/pool next year. How come we didn’t have it this time? There are some real pundits here, will make it a lot of fun next time around.

  16. Bullets-and-Blazers says:

    Anyone here knows about a second chance bracket contests? I would appreciate if you provide links it here. My upsets pick for sweet 16 are: 7 uconn over 3 isu (uconn can defend the interior well); 4 msu over 1 virginia (pack-line defense is not new for izzo, whom defeated bo ryan’s pack-line defense). 8 uk over 4 louisville (no behanan to rebound the ball, and the twins improved. Plus, they already defeated louisville).

    baylor over wisconsin? let’s debate on it. Scott Drew took over Baylor and to four NCAA appearances.
    2008 – (lost in round one as a 11 seed to 6 Purdue)
    2009 – [NIT Runner-up]
    2010 – (elite eight as a number 3 seed) -> defeating 14 Sam Houston State, 11 Old Dominion, and 10 St. Mary’s (CA). He then lost to 1 Duke whom won it all.
    2011 – [post-season absent]
    2012 – (elite eight as a number 3 seed) -> defeating 14 South Dakota State, 11 Colorado, and 10 Xavier. Hen then lost to 1 Kentucky whom won it all.
    2013 – [NIT Champion]

    Those two elite eight appearances was straight forward. Now he has to deal against a veteran coach in Bo Ryan, whom many consider is a “snakebit” coach. Some people (not me) even have 7 Oregon over Wisconsin. Baylor ranks in the 200th on free throws and three-point field goal defense. They turn over the ball a lot. Wisconsin, on the other hand, averages nearly 75% on the line, the least team in commiting turnovers, and they have size to match up Baylor. Will athleticism rise? Ask Duke of 2010, when Baylor had greater athleticism. Zone defense? Wisconsin defeated Virginia on their court, as well as defensive-minded St. Louis. Wisconsin has a shot and I like them to win.

    • larry k says:

      You use an interesting phrase, “has a shot”… typically, this phrase is used to describe underdogs, or teams/horses that have less than an even money chance at winning… for example, UCLA in their upcoming tilt vs Florida

      Wisconsin is favored by 3.5 in Vegas.. i’d say they have more than just ‘a shot’……..

      • Bullets-and-Blazers says:

        Based on past tournaments, this is where Bo Ryans’ team end. He only made one elite eight trip. Saying he has a shot meaning he will break the losing streak, so this is the right way of saying it, factor in that everyone here doesn’t thik he will make past the sweet sixteen, let alone the round of 32. Do not reply on english stuff, I ask if anyone know of a second bracket challenge and I really don’t care about vegas odd, they are never reliable.

  17. Tom says:

    Interesting. This is the first time in the 64 (or 65, or 68) team era that all four #4 seeds have reached the Sweet 16.

    • BUCats says:

      Not terribly surprising when you look at Pete’s analysis of the 4 seeds vs historical 4 seeds. Some of the strongest historically (let by underseeded UofL and MSU).

  18. Tom says:

    Tournament records by conference (counting PIG; conferences not listed are 0-1):

    ACC: 6-5 (Virginia)
    American: 5-2 (Louisville, UConn)
    America East: 1-1
    Atlantic 10: 3-5 (Dayton)
    Atlantic Sun: 1-1
    Big 12: 6-4 (Baylor, Iowa State)
    Big East: 2-4
    Big Ten: 6-3 (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin)
    Big West: 1-1
    Ivy: 1-1
    MWC: 2-1 (San Diego State)
    Pac-12: 7-3 (Arizona, Stanford, UCLA)
    SEC: 7-0 (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee)
    Southland: 1-1
    Summit: 1-1

  19. Dee says:

    I just ran my stat model and it says Iowa ST will meet Louisville in the final, and Louisville will win.

    I don’t believe it but we’ll see.

    I pick Michigan State today before the sweet 16 games begin.

    Enjoy.

  20. Dee says:

    Pts All american Last 10 Margin AA/Turnover Pyth Off eff eye test

    These 7 categories, the highest total wins in each match up.

    Projected Iowa State VS Lousiville 5to3. See below kinda out of line, you have to see the Speadsheet to view straight.
    ISU 82.9 x all a x 8 9 1.76 x 23 115.9 3
    Lousiville 82.1 all a x 9 x 21.1 x 1.52 2 x 117.4 x 5 Winner Lousiville

  21. Dee says:

    Do or die night for me tonight.
    I have TN beating Mich in my pool, worth 15 pts. 11 as the seed and 4 for the win.

    I am currently in 3rd place out of 81 but have the highest total of games left, with a Louisville cutting down the nets.

    Interesting out of 81 only 2 picked Louisville and I’m one of them.

    • larry k says:

      wow, only TWO louisville?? we have 58 in one pool, and 188 in another.. in the 58, there were 12… in the 188 there were over 30 !!! yours sounds like quite the abberation…

      thanks to peter, in the 58 entry pool i’m in, i come either first or second in very possible combination of the final 4 teams ……. in the 188 pool, not as fortunate.. have a very outside chance to come 2nd or 3rd, but it requires that UCONN beats florida, a very tall task indeed…

      in both of my pools, FLA was easily the heaviest selected to win it all .. no surprise, considering they were number one, but proof nonetheless that the general public is full of lemmings… with peter in our stable, we own the edge over all of them :-)

  22. Andy says:

    OK, I’ve licked my wounds a little and have thought about this Final Four in hindsight.

    Florida was obviously a good choice. However, even then, the upset model did actually give Dayton a shot at the upset. If you study the teams a little according to what we have, this was the easiest regional to predict the Elite Eight. Florida was first served with a choice of the weakest 8 seed by far, or a coach who never pulls off upsets and won for the first time ever as a lower seed than his opponent (Jamie Dixon). UCLA had a snakebit coach, VCU lacked offensive firepower, and Stephen F. Austin had a very weak strength of schedule. As for the other side, there was no doubt that Kansas and Syracuse were going to be upset victims, as both lacked serious momentum. Ohio State’s shaky offense was also leaving a lot to be desired, while New Mexico underachieves perennially and plays in the weak Mountain West. That should have left Stanford and Dayton. I went with Stanford (ugggg) simply due to better Pythag plus stronger strength of schedule. However, the models did all like Dayton to advance in that one. The upset model even gave Dayton a shot at knocking off Florida. But really, was that plausible, given how hungry Florida was almost certain to be to take that next step. At least I can say I got this Final Four pick right.

    Arizona also had no competition on its side of the West. Gonzaga has a snakebit coach who never pulls off upsets, and I am thinking Travis Ford is either snakebit or just about there as he has only one tournament win to his credit, and he has had single digit seeds four times now. San Diego State with its weak offense was going to be a bad matchup for Arizona, plus they play in the Mountain West. I was never high on Oklahoma due to their abysmal defense, and North Dakota State was very weak. The other side was tougher, as Creighton, Oregon, and BYU all have truly snakebit coaches, and Nebraska was arguably the weakest 11 seed. But it was so hard to trust Bo Ryan, but then Baylor had a horrible turnover margin that you had to know would catch up to it sooner rather than later. However, Arizona was less likely to make the Final Four than you might think. As a 1 seed, they entered the tournament with seven wins in their last ten, and losing their last pre-tournament game. Only two out of six 1 seeds with these credentials have made the Final Four, and the PASE is a dismal -0.853. Plus, there is the fact that Arizona cannot close it out in Anaheim. Add it up, and Wisconsin was actually the best alternative with their high scoring offense.

    Now onto the tougher regions, starting with the Midwest. Obviously, Wichita State was a no-no pick. Louisville was an obvious choice, but their strength of schedule was hardly better, and they went 0-2 in the only reasonably tough non-conference games. That is usually a very bad sign for a team with Final Four aspirations. St. Louis and Kansas State had very weak offenses, and should not have been taken seriously. NC State was also weak. The other side was just as messy. You had two teams with elite offenses, but horrible defenses in Michigan and Duke. Michigan’s coach is better these days at overachieving, but this was never going to be a Final Four team. But Texas never pulls off upsets, Arizona State had no momentum, UMass was an obvious upset victim, and Tennessee lacked experience and luck to make it that far. That really left only Kentucky. Although they didn’t go to the tournament last year, I compare this team to the Fab Five at Michigan, in that they are all underclassmen (though I believe one sophomore starter this time), but led by a really awesome coach. They also were far and away the best of the 8 seeds. Looking back, this really was probably the smart pick to make it this far.

    But what happened in the East? Yes, Michigan State was an obvious team to knock off Virginia, with Cincinnati, Memphis, and George Washington just not the answers. Harvard was actually a very strong underdog candidate that got the wrong team, but still played admirably. I think they would have gone farther in a different regional against another set of opponents. Villanova was an obvious team to avoid with Jay Wright’s very low SOAR and their very weak perimeter defense. Iowa State was weak, but got a good Sweet 16 draw and if they had gotten Villanova might have had a chance to overcome their flaws. Their draw was due to Roy Williams never reaching the Sweet 16 seeded lower than 4, although he is automatic at winning in the first round (so Providence was never going to be an issue). But man, if I had taken one more look at UConn, I might have recognized another team good enough to exploit Villanova’s weaknesses, and slow down Iowa State while finding ways to score on their porous defense, thus taking them to the Elite Eight against Michigan State. But picking them to beat them? I don’t know that I would have. I guess the one thing to be considered is that this was almost a home game for the Huskies, and Michigan State wasn’t doing so well down the stretch in true road games. And even that seems like a weak argument, but it is what it is.

    So now we look ahead. Florida is the obvious favorite, but I am still left thinking they aren’t going to win it, with their low-scoring offense. Even per possession, with their slow tempo, call me picky but I’m wanting just a bit more. I think it’s unlucky for them that they will have to certainly beat a team they lost to earlier in the year in UConn, and if they do, they may have to beat another in Wisconsin, or Kentucky who has got to be hungry to beat them and nearly did it in the SEC final. That said, UConn has by far the weakest offense, and I can’t imagine them winning the whole thing either. To me, it boils to Wisconsin and Kentucky. I already compared Kentucky to the Fab Five, but they didn’t win a championship, and had two chances to do so. They got blown out the first year (when they hadn’t made the previous year’s tournament). I’m just seeing that kind of vibe with Kentucky this go-around. Plus, it’s hard to imagine the weak SEC producing the champion. Which leaves Wisconsin, who I think has just the right combination of offense and defense this go-around to win it, and meets the basic criteria for a champ.

    It will be very close, but I predict the Badgers to win by one possession over the Gators next Monday.

  23. Andy says:

    And the Madometer is going up. Florida has one thing in common with only four other 1 seeds, and that is they averaged less than 73 points per game. Only one of the previous 1 seeds, Michigan State in 1999, made the Final Four, and none of them have made it any further. This really should not have been a great big surprise that Florida is not going to the championship. Further, their long winning streak should have been a huge indication that they had a massive target on their backs. The SEC was also a very weak major conference this year.

    Of course, the team they lost to is another story. UConn has the weakest offense per possession of all the Final Four. However, this is one of the only two teams to beat the Gators all year. Do I see UConn winning one more game? Quite frankly, no. I also just got reminded that UConn took a 33-point blowout loss to Louisville not long before the tournament, almost never a sign of a true champion contender.

    A lot of people have been high on Kentucky upsetting Wisconsin, but I’m not buying it. Frank Kaminsky is just going to be really difficult to match up against, and Wisconsin has the best offense of the teams left. Plus, though Wisconsin’s defense is lackluster, they are still coached by a defense-first coach in Bo Ryan. Plus, they meet the basic criteria for a champion and are undefeated against non-conference opponents. Kentucky has lost on a neutral court to Michigan State, and Wisconsin is probably about on the same level as the Spartans.

    • Andy says:

      Never mind….guess the rules are going to be broken.

      I cautiously predict Kentucky to win. But say it with me…craziest dance ever! Plus, who or what model would ever pick a 7 taking on an 8 in the final?!

      • Mike L. says:

        The only model that stood a chance at picking this outcome is Heidi Klum.

        I’m still sticking with my original explanation: BLAME THE COMMITTEE! It was their (broken) methods that led to the madness.

        • Andy says:

          I can think of one other model. The “I am an animal lover but most of all cats and dogs and my favorite color is blue” model! Seriously, I guarantee anyone who went that way is who came up with this final.

          No way I would have picked this. Not even with the benefit of hindsight.

  24. Flounder says:

    Hmm…maybe I’ll send Peter my model that picked a Kentucky/UConn final. I didn’t use it because other models showed this model as having a near 0% chance of happening. As for seeds, Kentucky, UConn and all the rest are
    #0 seeds in my models, as I’ve found that seeding doesn’t matter too much when it comes to the final.

  25. Gary Thomas says:

    As one of factors uniform has to have the color blue- UConn, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, etc… 12 of last fourteeen winners. Add UCLA historically. Or add color red and you have Louisville, Maryland and Arizona (with both colors) Only recent exception is MSU!

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