Does the Slipper Fit? Finding Cinderella

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 7 years to give you a little more information to find Cinderella.  Last year, the only “upset” was MTSU over Minnesota in a 12/5.

(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).

2017 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 MTSU 55 47 5 Minnesota 81 18 102 99
2016 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 Yale 92 21 5 Baylor 13 72 113 85
12 UALR 85 35 5 Purdue 21 18 120 39
13 Hawaii 105 41 4 California 47 15 146 62
14 SF Austin 65 29 3 WVU 23 6 94 29
15 MTSU 197 71 2 Michigan St 2 19 268 21
2015 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
14 Georgia St 56 102 3 Baylor 13 32 158 45
14 UAB 129 128 3 Iowa State 7 82 257 89
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

Let’s look at some trends since 2011:

*There have been 25 such upsets in the last seven years…so pick at least 3-4 in your bracket if you want to live a little.

*20 of 25 upsets included teams with an offensive or defensive efficiency outside of the Top 50.  In 2017, Minnesota’s offensive efficiency was outside of the Top 50.

*Of the 25 upsets, 22 of the teams had a combined ranking of 225 or less.

*Only three of the upsets featured lower-seeded teams with an offensive or defensive efficiency ranking outside the Top 150.

*Since 2011:  12 seeds are 12-16; 13 seeds are 4-24; 14 seeds are 5-23; 15 seeds are 4-24.

*The last six upsets, the 12-15s were more efficient on defense than offense.

2018 Efficiency Ratings

2018 O-EF D-EF O-EF D-EF DOG FAV
12 Davidson 18 115 5 Kentucky 25 23 133 48
12 S. Dakota St 41 148 5 Ohio State 27 16 189 43
12 Murray St 56 82 5 WVU 14 39 138 53
12 New Mex St 116 14 5 Clemson 48 8 130 56
13 Buffalo 42 138 4 Arizona 15 70 180 85
13 UNCG 164 30 4 Gonzaga 12 17 194 29
13 Marshall 96 144 4 Wichita St 5 107 240 108
13 Charleston 87 167 4 Auburn 16 44 254 60
14 Wright St 248 53 3 Tennessee 40 4 301 44
14 Montana 82 65 3 Michigan 29 5 147 34
14 SF Austin 177 67 3 Texas Tech 46 3 244 49
14 Bucknell 99 112 3 Michigan St 9 9 211 18
15 Georgia St 101 106 2 Cincinnati 54 2 207 56
15 Lipscomb 197 131 2 UNC 4 34 328 38
15 CS Fullerton 176 134 2 Purdue 2 28 310 30
15 Iona 80 212 2 Duke 3 7 292 10

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

13 Buffalo vs 4 Arizona
15 Georgia St vs 2 Cincinnati

Most Likely Upsets (one per line)

12 New Mexico St vs. 5 Clemson

This one is going to be a defensive battle, as both teams are in the Top 15 in defensive efficiency.  Clemson has played pretty well since Grantham went out, but I like the Aggies in an upset here.

13 Marshall vs 4 Wichita St

I may be in the minority here, but I don’t think Wichita is that good.  They are 107th in defensive efficiency, and Marshall is red hot.  This one wouldn’t surprise me.

14 Montana vs. 3 Michigan

Michigan is a popular Elite 8/Final 4 team, and Bilas/Greenberg/Williams all have them going that far.  According to the rankings, Montana is the 4th strongest team on the 12-15 lines.  The Grizzlies have won 19 of 21.

15 Georgia State vs. 2 Cincinnati

When teams struggle to score, they can be ripe for an upset.  This one fits the bill with the recipe for an upset with Georgia State under 225 in combined ranking, and Cincinnati’s 54th ranked offense.

Plus, Ron Hunter falling off the chair will always be classic.

 

 

 

 

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