This year there have been some big upsets in the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.
But, how upsetting has it been compared to previous tournaments?
Each year, I keep track of two numbers during the tournament. The first is UF or Upset Factor. The second one is BP or Bracket Points.
UF (Upset Factor) is a number that is a sum of the seed differences when a lower seed knocks off a team with a higher seeding. For instance, when a 15 seed knocks off a 2 seed the UF is incremented by 13. If a 9 seed knocks off an 8 seed then the UF goes up by 1. If a 10 seed beats a 15 seed, there are no UF points since the higher seed was the winner.
BP (Bracket Points) is probably familiar to most sports fans. When scoring your bracket you get 1 point for a first round win, 2 points for the second round and then 4, 8, 16 and 32 for the following rounds. Basically, you fill out a bracket with the higher seeded team winning each game. If your bracket matches the reference bracket and they win, then you get points. For the Final Four, the points are given when a #1 seed wins.
So, now for the big question after the fourth round: How upsetting is this tournament?
Since Kansas won the BP increased to 110 which makes it just below average (111). If they had lost in the semi-finals, it would have been the second lowest of all time. So, based on BP, this is just an average year for upsets.
If we look at the three highest totals we see very different tournaments.
Last year was the record for UF, but the BP was 132 which is 9th all time. In 2014 the BP was the 3rd lowest of all time. This year the BP was right in the middle.
I am not sure that BP is the best indicator of how upsetting a tournament is. If the number 1 seeds make it to the Final Four and win you will always get a higher number. I think that UF is a better indicator.
2014, 2021 and 2022 all have good claims as to being the most upsetting tournament. However, I think that 2022 will be long remembered for the big upsets and for the dynasty teams that made the Final Four.
In any case, it has been a fun tournament to follow this year.
Each year I add something new to my stats. Perhaps next year I will look at the trend over time for UF and BP. Is the tournament becoming more upsetting over time?