NOTE: This is last year’s blog, which has been updated with 2015 numbers and 2016 projections.
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).
|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|
|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|
|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|
|12 Richmond||36||59||5 Vandy||12||129||95||141|
|13 Morehead St||117||73||4 Louisville||55||3||190||58|
|14 Georgia St||56||102||3 Baylor||13||32||158||45|
|14 UAB||129||128||3 Iowa State||7||82||257||89|
*There have been 19 such upsets in the last five years.
*Of the 19 upsets, 17 of the higher-seeded teams had either an offensive or defensive efficiency outside of the Top 50. Wichita St. in 2012 and Baylor last year were the only 1-5 seeded teams to lose in the last five years with both a Top 50 offense and defense.
*Of the 19 upsets, 17 of the teams had a combined ranking of 225 or less. The only outliers: Norfolk State in 2012 with a combined ranking of 358, and UAB last year with a combined ranking of 257.
*Only two of the upsets featured lower-seeded teams with an offensive or defensive efficiency ranking outside the Top 150. (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 one team (Temple in 2012) had either a Top 20 ranked offense or defense.
*No 12 or 13 seeds won last year…look for that to change this year.
2015 Efficiency Ratings
|12 UT-Chatt||149||77||5 Indiana||7||66||226||73|
|12 S. Dakota St||79||108||5 Maryland||26||37||187||63|
|12 Yale||92||21||5 Baylor||13||72||113||85|
|12 UALR||85||35||5 Purdue||21||18||120||39|
|13 Stony Brook||131||61||4 Kentucky||1||70||192||71|
|13 Iona||60||119||4 Iowa State||3||100||179||103|
|13 Hawaii||105||41||4 California||47||15||146||62|
|13 UNC-Wilm||74||105||4 Duke||6||111||179||117|
|14 SF Austin||65||29||3 WVU||23||6||94||29|
|14 Buffalo||148||148||3 Miami||12||44||296||56|
|14 Fresno St||124||101||3 Utah||27||51||225||78|
|14 Green Bay||96||168||3 Texas A&M||36||12||264||48|
|15 CS Bakersfield||198||25||2 Oklahoma||20||11||223||31|
|15 MTSU||197||71||2 Michigan St||2||19||268||21|
|15 Weber St||184||92||2 Xavier||18||36||276||54|
|15 UNC-Ash||190||60||2 Villanova||11||7||250||18|
Higher-Seeded Teams at Risk
Five 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 Yale vs 5 Baylor
13 Stony Brook vs 4 Kentucky
13 UNC-Wilmington vs 4 Duke
13 Iona vs 4 Iowa State
14 Fresno State vs 3 Utah
The strongest overall teams in the 12-15 seed range (according to combined efficiency ranking) include: 1) SF Austin, 2) Yale, 3) UALR, and 4) Hawaii.
Most Likely Upsets
12 Yale over 5 Baylor – Baylor only has a +27 combined rating over Yale, who is going to try to slow this down to a snail’s pace with their Top 25 defensive efficiency.
13 Iona over 4 Iowa State – ISU’s defensive efficiency of 100 puts them in jeopardy, especially if Iona gets hot. First team to 100 wins.
14 SF Austin over 3 WVU – Well, these numbers prove that Stone Cold was dramatically underseeded. They have the best combined efficiency numbers of the 12-15 seeds. Remember, they have won their last 9 games by 20+ points.
13 UNC Wilmington over 4 Duke – Duke doesn’t play defense and doesn’t have depth. The Colonial is an underrated conference, and Wilmington has the motivation of playing an in-state opponent.