Most likely first-round tournament upsets
March, 16, 2014
AP Photo/Charles KrupaChaz Williams and UMass will be on upset watch against either Iowa or Tennessee.Here at GK Central, we've been issuing warnings for a while that this was shaping up to be a bad season for big upsets, and this weekend has confirmed our fears. Two more teams with solid Cinderella potential (Louisiana Tech and Georgia State) went down in their conference tournaments. The NCAA selection committee left out some of our statistical model's favorite squads (Southern Mississippi, Minnesota), bumped key "wounded assassins" into middle-bracket territory (Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh) and gave some Killers terrible matchups (Eastern Kentucky vs. Kansas, Dayton vs. Ohio State).
Here's the cherry on top: Iowa and Tennessee, the two strongest Killers in the field of 68, will now face off in the first round. Result: As groups, the No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13 and No. 12 seeds in this year's brackets are all worse than average, according to our historical spreadsheets. Take that in the spirit of a financial adviser urging you to play it safe in an overvalued market.
We'll get to a full analysis of Giant vs. Killer matchups in the coming days, but for now, here's our instant reading of the top 10 potential upsets in the round of 64.
No. 6 Massachusetts Minutemen vs. No. 11 Iowa Hawkeyes or Tennessee Volunteers
Upset odds for Iowa: 78.4 percent
Upset odds for Tennessee: 70.1 percent
Apparently, the selection committee misinterpreted a memo stating that UMass had been seeded sixth in its conference tournament and instead took it as a directive for how to slot the Midwest Region. Not only is our model's power rating skeptical of the Minutemen, calling them the 48th-best team in the nation, but it says Iowa (14th) and Tennessee (21st) are just as badly underseeded.