The glass slipper doesn't fit everyone. The unpredictable teams wear it best
This feature appears in the March 22 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Why do teams win? It may seem like a silly question, especially when an extreme imbalance of talent and athleticism makes it all too obvious which team will emerge victorious. But not every matchup is so easy to figure. What makes the NCAA Tournament so compelling is it allows most favorites to triumph. Most, but not all. And picking those few underdogs is, in the end, more scientific than you realize.
We've combed through bales of stats from the past four Marches for our online Giant-Killers series -- the one in which we try to predict big upsets at the Big Dance -- and you know what? We've actually learned a thing or two. Like this: The most reliable indicators of upsets are offensive and defensive efficiency, schedule strength, turnover rate and three-point shooting. They help identify not only the Davids most likely to topple Goliaths but also bracket-busters further down the line.
To see the key factors that increase the likelihood of NCAA tournament upsets -- and the teams likely to benefit -- you must be an ESPN Insider.
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ESPN The Magazine: March 22, 2010 Issue
Check out all the content from ESPN The Magazine's March 22, 2010 issue. Where noted, the content is for ESPN Insiders. If the hyperlink doesn't exist yet, the story hasn't been posted to the web. Keep checking back.