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NCAA Basketball

What’s The Probability Of Each Potential First Round NCAA Tournament Upset?


As I recently preached, there is no better predictor of sporting events for average fans than the point spread. So instead of asking some dumb “expert” for NCAA Tournament bracket picking advice, just look at the damn point spreads.

The other tool you should use is KenPom.com, whose predictive ratings are always very similar to the point spread. Oddsmakers use them.

So, here are your NCAA “second” round win probabilities (if you’re sane, you call the round of 64 the first round), and the current point spreads for all of the games.

(Note: Win probabilities come from KenPom. Point spreads come from BetOnline. They are usually fairly close, but not directly related.) Also, the lines will move around a bit. But these are both fantastic tools, regardless.)

You should pick upsets. But you should be aware of how likely they are, and you should know not to brag when you pick Harvard over Cincinnati as just 3-point favorites. Be more proud of picking Colorado over Pittsburgh, seeds be damned. Damn the seeds, friend.

SOUTH REGION

1 Florida (- A LOT) (like 95%) over 16 Albany/Mount St. Mary’s.

9 Pittsburgh -5.5 (72%) over 8 Colorado

5 VCU -5 (73%) over 12 Stephen F. Austin

4 UCLA -8.5 (73%) over 13 Tulsa

6 Ohio State -5.5 (68%) Over 11 Dayton

3 Syracuse -12.5 (84%) over 14 Western Michigan

7 New Mexico -4 (57%) over 10 Stanford

2 Kansas -15 (88%) over 15 Eastern Kentucky

EAST REGION

1 Virginia -20.5 (97%) over 16 Coastal Carolina

8 Memphis -3.5 (50%) over George Washington

5 Cincinnati -3 (56%) over 12 Harvard

4 Michigan State -14 (84%) over 13 Delaware

6 UNC -4 (60%) over 11 Providence

3 Iowa State -9 (73%) over 14 NC Central

7 Connecticut -4 (63%) over St. Joe’s

2 Villanova -16.5 (92%) over 15 Milwaukee

WEST REGION

1 Arizona -19.5 (96%) over 16 Weber St.

9 Oklahoma State -2.5 over 8 Gonzaga (51%)

5 Oklahoma -4 (63%) over 12 North Dakota St.

4 San Diego State -7 (73%) over 13 New Mexico St.

6 Baylor -3 (59%) over 11 Nebraska

3 Creighton -14 (87%) over 14 Louisiana-Lafayette

7 Oregon -5.5 (60%) over 10 BYU

2 Wisconsin -13 (82%) over 15 American

MIDWEST REGION

1 Wichita State (-A LOT) (like 97%) over 16 Cal Poly/Texas Southern

8 Kentucky -4.5 (65%) over 9 Kansas St.

5 Saint Louis (fairly small favorites) over 12 NC St./Xavier

4 Louisville -15.5 (87%) over 13 Manhattan

6 UMass over 11 Iowa/Tennessee (fairly big favorites)

3 Duke -13.5 (88%) over 14 Mercer

7 Texas -2.5 (52%) over 10 Arizona St.

2 Michigan -15 (91%) over 15 Wofford

NOTE: Teams with significantly higher expected win percentages than historical seed probabilities: Pittsburgh, Harvard, Providence, NC Central, Nebraska, Kentucky, Iowa/Tennessee, Arizona State.

Just saying.

Use this all as merely a point of reference, to be aware of how weird you’re getting with your upsets. But don’t ever feel weird about getting weird. Good luck.

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