Teams most vulnerable to upsets 

March, 6, 2012
03/06/12
11:47
AM ET

With bracketological debates reaching a fever pitch, here are the nation's 10 most vulnerable Giants, as projected by our 2012 Giant Killers statistical model.

A few reminders: A Giant Killer is any team that beats an NCAA tournament opponent seeded at least five spots higher in any round, except for squads from the six BCS power conferences plus Butler, BYU, Gonzaga, Memphis, Temple, UNLV and Xavier, who are ineligible. And a Giant is simply any team that could lose to a Killer.

Our model doesn't care about RPI, quality wins or any kind of wins. Instead, through regression analysis of tempo-free, team-level statistics, we determine which of this season's programs most closely resemble teams who have slain Giants or fallen to Killers since 2004. Our model rates all possible Giants from zero to 100, based on their likelihood of falling to a hypothetical Killer; we will proceed to matchup scores once we get actual tournament seedings.

We have rated all Giants among the top 36 teams in Joe Lunardi's latest S-curve. These have a 90 percent or better chance to make the tournament, and are likely to get seeded ninth or higher in their brackets, according to Lunardi.

Look out below! Here are the top 10 potential Goliaths who could go down:


To see the full list of vulnerable "Giants", and get access to all of Insider's March Madness tips, sign up today.

Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

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