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28 Jan
2020-01-28 18:30
STJON
VILLA
3 30%
-3 70%
143
2020-01-28 18:30
TENN
TEXAM
-11 61%
11 39%
123.5
2020-01-28 19:00
AKRON
BUFF
-7 49%
7 51%
159
2020-01-28 19:00
BOWLG
BALL
-1.5 65%
1.5 35%
139
2020-01-28 19:00
TOLDO
KENT
-4 52%
4 48%
148
2020-01-28 19:00
MIAOH
CMICH
-1.5 52%
1.5 48%
155.5
2020-01-28 19:00
VACOM
RICHM
-9 45%
9 55%
140
2020-01-28 19:00
GMASN
RHODEI
5 36%
-5 64%
140.5
2020-01-28 19:00
NEBRS
MICH
5 36%
-5 64%
147.5
2020-01-28 19:00
FLA
MISST
-5 71%
5 29%
134.5
2020-01-28 19:00
VIRGA
FLAST
-1 34%
1 66%
115
2020-01-28 19:00
CLEMS
SYRA
-2 40%
2 60%
134
2020-01-28 19:00
CINCY
SMU
-6 41%
6 59%
139.5
2020-01-28 20:00
N.ILL
OHIO
-3.5 60%
3.5 40%
135.5
2020-01-28 20:00
RUTGR
PURDU
-3.5 69%
3.5 31%
123.5
2020-01-28 20:00
MIAMI
VATEC
3 28%
-3 72%
140
2020-01-28 20:30
MIZZU
GA
-4 50%
4 50%
139.5
2020-01-28 21:00
DUKE
PITT
-16 63%
16 37%
138
2020-01-28 21:00
MISS
AUBRN
5 30%
-5 70%
141.5
2020-01-28 21:00
GTOWN
BUTLR
-1 35%
1 65%
141.5
2020-01-28 21:00
AIRFO
FRSNO
-2.5 99%
2.5 1%
141.5
2020-01-28 23:00
WYOM
UT.ST
13 50%
-13 50%
127

How to Spot a March Madness Upset: 4 Integral Trends

While it’s easy to predict that there will be chaos in the bracket every year, it’s a lot harder to pinpoint where the chaos will arise. Is there any way to spot March Madness upsets-in-the-making with 100% accuracy? Of course not. But looking at past results, there are certain identifiable traits and trends that are present in an alarming number of NCAA Tournament upsets.

Here are the four trends our research has identified.

NB: in this article, the term “Power Six conferences” refers to the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC.

1. Fade Mid-Majors with a Top-Five Seed

Over the last six years, mid-majors that get a top-five seed have been upset at a startling rate, especially the ones not named Gonzaga.

In the last six tournaments, 13 non-Gonzaga mid-majors have received a top-five seed. Six of those lost in the first round. Six more lost in the second round, and every one of them lost against the spread (ATS), as well.

Year Mid-Majors with a Top-Five Seed March Madness Result Score Spread
2018 #2 Cincinnati Lost to #7 Nevada (Round 2) 75-73 -4.5
2018 #4 Wichita State Lost to #13 Marshall (Round 1) 81-75 -13.0
2015 #5 Northern Iowa Lost to #4 Louisville (Round 2) 66-53 +2.0
2014 #5 VCU Lost to #12 Stephen F. Austin (Round 1) 77-75 OT -5.5
2014 #5 Cincinnati Lost to #12 Harvard (Round 1) 61-57 -3.5
2014 #4 San Diego State Lost to #1 Arizona (Sweet 16) 70-64 +6.5
2014 #5 St. Louis Lost to #4 Louisville (Round 2) 66-51 +9.0
2013 #5 VCU Lost to #4 Michigan (Round 2) 78-53 +3.0
2013 #5 UNLV Lost to #12 Cal (Round 1) 64-61 -3.0
2013 #4 St. Louis Lost to #12 Oregon (Round 2) 74-57 -3.5
2012 #5 Temple Lost to #12 USF (Round 1) 58-44 -2.0
2012 #5 Wichita St Lost to #12 VCU (Round 1) 62-59 -8.5
2012 #5 New Mexico Lost to #4 Louisville (Round 2) 59-56 +1.5

Meet the authors

Matt McEwan
Editor-in-Chief
Dave F.
Sports Writer
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