Does the Slipper Fit? – Breaking Down Potential Thurs/Fri Upsets

When looking for possible upsets to pencil in the bracket, there are multiple sets of metrics to sort through.  I prefer the KenPom offensive and defensive efficiency rankings when making the decision on what upsets are most likely.  Of course, this tournament is so unpredictable and that’s what makes it fantastic.  I have compiled data on the 12-15 seed upsets for the last 5 years to give the few of you who actually read this a little more information to find Cinderella.

(Note: O-EF is offensive efficiency, D-EF is defensive efficiency, DOG is the underdog’s added rankings, and FAV is the favorite’s added rankings).

2014 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 Harvard 47 34 5 Cincinnati 110 8 81 118
12 SF Austin 38 102 5 VCU 107 6 140 113
12 NDSU 29 131 5 Oklahoma 16 91 160 107
14 Mercer 76 119 3 Duke 2 116 195 118
2013 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 Oregon 94 10 5 Ok State 68 15 104 83
12 Ole Miss 31 63 5 Wisconsin 108 1 94 109
14 Harvard 73 145 3 New Mexico 53 18 218 71
15 FGCU 104 109 2 G’Town 78 2 213 80
12 Cal 100 38 5 UNLV 135 11 138 146
13 LaSalle 36 99 4 Kansas St 15 56 135 71
2012 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 VCU 102 19 5 Wichita St 14 31 121 45
15 Lehigh 71 102 2 Duke 10 81 173 91
15 Norfolk St 181 177 2 Missouri 1 146 358 147
12 S. Florida 169 4 5 Temple 27 104 173 130
13 Ohio 88 40 4 Michigan 19 61 128 80
2011 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 Richmond 36 59 5 Vandy 12 129 95 141
13 Morehead St 117 73 4 Louisville 55 3 190 58
2010 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
14 Ohio 68 111 3 G’Town 10 61 179 71
13 Murray St 75 33 4 Vandy 30 70 108 100
12 Cornell 4 174 5 Temple 89 6 178 95

Some notes:

*There have been 20 such upsets in the last five years.

*Of the 20 upsets, 19 of the higher-seeded teams had either an offensive or defensive efficiency outside of the Top 50.  Wichita St. in 2012 was the only 1-5 seeded team to lose in the last five years with both a Top 50 offense and defense.

*Of the 20 upsets, 19 of the teams had a combined ranking of 225 or less.  The only outlier:  Norfolk State in 2012 with a combined ranking of 358.

*Only three of the upsets featured lower-seeded teams with an offensive or defensive efficiency ranking outside the Top 150. (Cornell in 2010, Norfolk St. in 2012, and S. Florida in 2012).

*Looking at the higher seeds that have lost in the last five years, the majority of them were not balanced.  All but two teams (Vandy in 2010 and Temple in 2012) had either a Top 20 ranked offense or defense.

2015 Efficiency Ratings

2015 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 Buffalo 48 93 5 WVU 33 46 141 79
12 Wofford 145 77 5 Arkansas 20 81 222 101
12 Wyoming 177 68 5 UNI 15 17 245 32
12 SF Austin 22 104 5 Utah 18 8 126 26
13 Valpo 135 31 4 Maryland 58 36 166 94
13 Harvard 172 34 4 UNC 12 45 206 57
13 UC Irvine 124 90 4 Louisville 97 6 214 103
13 E. Wash 47 280 4 G’Town 41 24 327 65
14 N’Eastern 89 169 3 ND 2 111 258 113
14 Georgia St. 56 102 3 Baylor 13 32 158 45
14 Albany 122 154 3 OU 51 5 276 56
14 UAB 129 128 3 Iowa St. 7 82 257 89
15 NMSU 121 86 2 Kansas 37 7 207 44
15 Tx Southern 179 220 2 Arizona 11 3 399 14
15 Belmont 64 251 2 Virginia 26 1 315 27
15 NDSU 194 121 2 Gonzaga 6 21 315 27

Higher-Seeded Teams at Risk

Only three matchups feature higher seeds with at least one sub Top 50 efficiency rating and lower seeds with a combined ranking of 225 or less.

12 Wofford vs. 5 Arkansas

13 Valpo vs. 4 Maryland

13 UC Irvine vs. 4 Louisville

I would definitely have been concerned if ND had been matched up with Georgia State, after doing this research.  The Irish have almost identical efficiency ratings as Duke last year; however, Mercer was a better team than Northeastern, according to the ratings.

The strongest overall teams in the 12-15 seed range (according to combined efficiency ranking) include: 1) SF Austin, 2) Buffalo, 3) Georgia St., and 4) Valparaiso.

Most Likely Upsets

12 Stone Cold over 5 Utah – While KenPom rates Utah as one of the most efficient teams in this tournament, I am going with the eye test on this one.  I just don’t believe Utah is a good basketball team, and they face a team that won a 12/5 game last year and is the strongest low seed.

12 Buffalo over 5 WVU – This one may depend on the health of Moss for Buffalo and Staten for the Mountaineers.  Buffalo is the only team seeded 12 or below to have Top 100 offensive and defensive efficiency ratings.  Vegas also thinks this is the most likely 12/5 as it currently has the smallest point spread:  WVU -4.5

13 Valpo over 4 Maryland – I can’t believe I am writing this after watching Valpo last Monday, but the Crusaders have a chance.  They play excellent defense, the Terps struggle at times on the offensive end, and Vegas is begging bettors to wager on Maryland -5.

14 Georgia St. over 3 Baylor  – Georgia State is a very strong 14 seed…if Ryan Harrow is healthy.  He certainly didn’t look healthy when he was put in at the end of the 1st half on Sunday for one offensive possession.  The spread is in the single digits, so Vegas expects this to be a game.

15 New Mexico St. over 2 Kansas – Though Kansas does not fall into the category of high seeds at risk for an upset based on efficiency, Ellis is banged up and Alexander’s status remains in flux.  New Mexico St. has a combined efficiency rank less than 225 and is inside the Top 150 both offensively and defensively.  And the spread is only 10.5? Sign me up.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s