Most likely NCAA tourney upset victims
March, 14, 2014
By Jordan Brenner | ESPN.com
Dave Weaver/USA TODAY SportsStatistics suggest the Bluejays are susceptible, raising skepticism about their strength.
Back at my college paper, in the days between Selection Sunday and the first NCAA tournament game, we used to produce regional previews. It was largely a vanity exercise -- a chance to write about something other than track or lacrosse -- but we were expected to predict how the bracket would play out.
In 1997, I got assigned the Southeast region. And the one thing I knew was that Georgia, the No. 3 seed, wasn’t any good. So I looked up the small amount of info I could find about the Bulldogs’ opponent, the mighty Mocs of Chattanooga. They had a forward named Johnny Taylor who apparently was a future NBA player and seemed like a small-college version of Scottie Pippen. So, I talked myself into the idea that Taylor could overwhelm Georgia. And because I didn't like No. 6 seed Illinois, either, I penciled in Taylor and his anonymous teammates for an additional round. Sure enough, by the time the following weekend ended, Chattanooga was in the Sweet 16.
That was a happy accident. But these days, with the help of the Giant Killers project, we've come up with a (much) better way of pinpointing vulnerable top seeds using statistical similarities to past upset victims. So, with Selection Sunday just two days away, here are the Giants you can consider on upset alert -- the 10 weakest of Joe Lunardi’s projected top-six seeds across all four regions as of Friday morning.
10. Wichita State Shockers | 74.9
Our model continues to have an adverse reaction to Wichita State’s schedule. It is far and away the biggest reason why the Shockers have a negative “Secret Sauce,” although their average ability to force turnovers (18.5 percent of opponents’ possessions) doesn’t help. They’re also susceptible to a team of gunners -- Wichita State allows 35.3 percent of its opponents’ attempts to come from downtown. That could be a harbinger of a payback, as the Shockers used a stunning surge from 3-point range late in their round-of-32 game to topple No. 1 seed Gonzaga last season.