Giant Killers: Big Dogs, Beware

A deeper look at the 10 power teams most likely to be early tourney victims

Originally Published: March 13, 2009
By Peter Keating | ESPN Insider

Which wildly famous, nationally ranked, heavily favored teams are most likely to stumble early in the NCAA tournament? Glad you asked. We continue our Giant Killers series with a look at the 10 Giants that have the best chance of being upset, according to our statistical analysis (the likelihood of a GK upset is in parentheses). A few have already lost in conference tourneys, and a couple more might fall by Sunday. Now you'll know why they should be even more afraid of the low seeds they'll encounter once the brackets are set. (For a free preview of Giant Killers, click here.)

Florida State Seminoles (72.6 percent) The Seminoles have a record-high death rate for a Giant. The flip side of being the tallest team in the country is that they have few quality ball handlers, which explains why they turn the ball over on 22.7 percent of possessions -- the most of any Giant. And despite Toney Douglas' 20.8 ppg, they don't come close to scoring enough to make up for it: Their adjusted offensive efficiency is just 104.6, ranking them last once again on our list of Giants, in part because their effective field goal shooting percentage is just 48.7. Our analysis says that's a lethal combination.

Should Kansas fans be worried? What makes Michigan State vulnerable? That info is for ESPN Insiders. Insider
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.