Now that the selection committee has handed out all the seeds, it's time to fill out your brackets. The key to winning tournament pools is picking upsets, but which ones will we see this year?
Let's take look at the trends from the past 29 seasons by round including how the Virginia Cavaliers as a #2 seed fits into the picture.
- #12 seeds upset the #5 seeds 37% of the time (last year it was 75% with #12 seeds Stephen F. Austin, Harvard, and St. pulling off the upsets)
- Meanwhile only 15% of #3 seeds lose their first game (last year #3 Duke was upset though)
- #2 seeds have only been upset 7 times (6%), but this happened two years ago to Georgetown, so UVA needs to stay focused against Belmont.
- #1 seeds were only upset 13% of the time (#1 Wichita St. was upset by eventual runner up Kentucky, the second year in a row a #1 seed has not made the Sweet 16)
- Only 12% of the time has a region gone #1, #2, #3, #4
- Meanwhile 36% of #2 seeds have been upset by the #7/#10 winner (both #2 Kansas and #2 Villanova were upset last year). Virginia would have no problem focusing on a possible matchup with in this round, having been eliminated by Sparty last year.
- 69% of #1 seeds make the elite eight (was 50% last year with only Florida and Arizona advancing)
- On the other side of the region, 72% are either #2 or #3 seeds (50% last year). UVA could face an easier matchup in this round vs. the 10-loss Oklahoma Sooners or the 11-loss Providence Friars.
- Only one time in 34 years of the 64 team bracket has all four #1 seeds made the Final Four (which was no exception last year)
- 41% of #1 seeds make the Final Four (only one #1 seed made it last year)
- #2 seeds make it only 22% of the time (only #2 Wisconsin made it last year). Virginia's opponents could be the #1 and red-hot Villanova Wildcats, the 30-3 Northern Iowa Panthers, or a rematch with the Louisville Cardinals. Meanwhile most experts and the majority of brackets have two other #2 seeds (Kansas and Gonzaga) going down early.
If you add up all the seeds that make the Final Four, the average total is 11. Meaning if you pick all #1 seeds, that's less than half the average, or if you throw in a #11 George Mason with a #3, #2, and #1, that's double the average. (Last year's total of 18 (#1, #2, #7, #8) was way above average.) If you go with #2 UVA, and three #1 seeds for a total of 5, you would be at half the average.
Or you could just pickto win like everyone else and hope for the best.