Worst Seeded Tournament

March Madness is finally over and it was the worst seeded tournament since the expansion to 64 teams.

However, it was not the most upsetting tournament.

There are two stats that I keep during the tournament each year.

UF (Upset Factor) is a number that is a sum off the seed differences when a lower seed knocks of a team with a higher seeding. For instance, when a 15 seed knocks off a 2 seed the UF is incremented by 13. If an 9 seed knocks off a 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 the bracket with the higher seeded team winning each game. You then add up the points based on the tourney results. For the Final Four, the points are given when a #1 seed wins.

Disclaimer: The First Four is ignored as all four games are against teams of equal seeding. There are no upsets in the First Four games. The traditional first round is now sometimes referred to as the second round. It is the first round to me.

In the Final Four how were the UF and BP affected?

BP, UF, Upset Factor, NCAA Tournament, poor seedingHere are the numbers through the entire tournament. You can see that there were no upsets in the semi-finals and the final.   You can see that because of earlier upsets there were no BP after the 4th round. The expected seeds were all out of the tournament.

How do these numbers stack up to the previous 37 tournaments?

BP, UF, Upset Factor, NCAA Tournament, poor seedingThere was still a possibility of more upsets in the last three games, but the higher seed won each game.

The UF ended up at 95 which is 12th all-time.

I also keep track of how many double digit seeds make it to each round.

BP, UF, Upset Factor, NCAA Tournament, poor seeding


NCAA Tournament, Final Four, Upset Factor, Bracket Points, Most upsetting, metrics






This year five double digit seeds made it to the second round but only one survived to make it to the third round. That lone survivor did not make it to the 4th round. There were five years where a double digit seed made it to the Final Four.

The lack of double digit seeds in later rounds contributed to the lower UF. There were upsets, but not big ones.

BP, UF, Upset Factor, NCAA Tournament, poor seedingHere is the final BP. There were no possibilities for BP after the third round so the final tally is 47. This year the tournament has gone the least according to plan. It was the worst seeded tournament since the expansion to 64 teams. The previous lowest BP was in 2011 when only one top seed made it to the Final Four.

Was this year heavily influenced by the Transfer Portal? Many of the teams had top players who transferred into their program during the past couple of years. It is much easier now to put together a team of experienced players if they are developed by other schools. For instance one team that made it far into the tournament had a starting roster where all the players had earlier played for other colleges.

Why were the bracket points so low? Was it because of injuries or poor coaching? Or, was it because of greater parity among the teams that led to moderate upsets. Perhaps it was just that the seeding was done poorly. There are so many things that effect the relative strength between schools.

In any case, this tournament will be looked at closely by coaches to see what they will need to do to be prepared for the next one.




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