16 March 2011

Last Minute Bracket Toolbox: Picking Upsets

There's still time to join the RationalPastime.com ESPN Tournament Challenge group. Open to everyone, brackets lock at the beginning of Thursday's games.

As we all know, the most exciting part of filling out our March Madness brackets is picking upsets. Picking the right upsets will make or break your bracket. Pick the right 12-5 upset early and you'll be sitting pretty going forward while your friends (or enemies, as it may be) are stuck with empty chalk going deep into the tournament.

Of course, pick the wrong upset and miss and you fall behind. Even worse, pick the same upsets that everyone else picks without picking unique stunners and you'll finish out of the money.

So it might be useful to know which upsets the various systems are picking. There are certain upset picks that just about every system expects to occur. There are others that seem to come out of nowhere--here's a good place to look for  2011's  Mason over UConn or Vermont over Cuse.

The tables below reflects the upsets that the systems picked in the first four rounds of the tournament, separated by degree. The number next to each match-up reflects how many rating systems agree with the outcome. Match-ups in blue are picked by at least two systems. Also, keep in mind that three systems pick Kansas over Ohio State in the title game. This is technically an upset, since OSU is the overall number one.

Upset Consensus (Field of 64)
9 / 8 10 / 7 11 / 6 12 / 5 13 / 4
ODU / Butler 7 MSU / UCLA 7 Gonzaga / SJU 5 Utah St / Kansas St 6 Belmont / Wisconsin 2
Tenn / Michigan 7 FSU / Texas A&M 3 Marquette / Xavier 4 Richmond / Vandy 2

Illinois / UNLV 4

Mizzou / Cinci 1 Clemson / West VA 1

Nova / Mason 5



Memphis / Arizona 1

PSU / Temple 1








Other consensus upset picks after the jump.


Upset Consenus (Field of 32)
5 / 4 13 / 12 3 / 6 2 / 7 12 / 4
KSU / Wisconsin 1 Belmont / Utah St 1 G'town / Purdue 1 Washington / UNC 1 Utah St / Wisconsin 2




Cinci / UConn 1

Richmond / L'ville 1


Upset Consensus (Sweet 16)
3 / 2 4 / 1 7 / 3 5 / 1 12 / 1
BYU / Florida 7 Texas / Duke 1 Washington / Cuse 1 Kansas St / Pitt 1 Utah St / Pitt 1
Cuse / UNC 5







Purdue / NDU 5





13 / 1
UConn / SDSU 2





Belmont / Pitt 1


Upset Consensus (Elite 8)
2 / 1 4 / 3 3 / 1 13 / 1
SDSU / Duke 2 Texas / UConn 1 BYU / Pitt 2 Belmont / BYU 1

Image credit: Wikipedia

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