The first round of the NCAA Tournament is one of the most exciting spectacles in the world of sport. For all the same reasons NASCAR is so inexplicably popular fans gather around the TV screen waiting for top seeded teams to crash into the wall.
When you study this years brackets the most likely Cinderella's are Western Kentucky, Mississippi State, Virgina Commonwealth, and Northern Iowa. All these teams have the ability to advance if the ball bounces the right way. History tells us that we can't come close to predicting who will end up wearing the slipper this year.
Here are a few of what I think are the top upsets in the first round in recent memory.
- 1996 Princeton 43 UCLA 41
- 1999 Weber State 76 North Carolina 74
- 1991 Richmond 73 Syracuse 69
- 1998 Valparaiso 70 Mississippi 69
- 1993 Santa Clara 64 Arizona 61
- 1997 Coppin State 78 South Carolina 65
- 2001 Hampton 58 Iowa State 57
- 1986 Cleveland State 83 Indiana 79
- 2005 Bucknell 64 Kansas 63
- 2006 Northwestern State 63 Iowa 63
- 1987 Austin Peay 68 Illinois 67
- 2005 Vermont 60 Syracuse 57
- 2008 Sienna 83 Vanderbilt 62
- 1992 East Tennessee State 87 Arizona 80
- 1988 Murray State 78 North Carolina State 75
The Science of Upsetology from the Wall Street Journals Matthew Futterman uses computer models to try to pick this years Cinderella Story.
Every year, the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament unfolds like a wild showcase of seemingly shocking upsets and Cinderella stories that long ago earned the event the nickname March Madness. But when players are given mathematical descriptions by a computer model that reduces their performances to a rolling series of probabilities, many of those upsets are not so shocking after all.
Mike Huegenin from Rivals breaks down his recipes for NCAA Tournament upsets.
Most of the fun and excitement in the NCAA tournament comes about because this is the chance for the little guy to jump up and knock out the bully on the block. Most folks don’t celebrate a No. 2 seed’s 25-point beatdown of a No. 15 seed. Instead, folks remember when Richmond upsets Syracuse, Hampton shocks Iowa State and Santa Clara stuns Arizona.
Huskies Vs Mississippi State
Washington plays its own potential Cinderella in the first round in Mississippi State. Calling the SEC Tournament champion a Cinderella is bit of a stretch but if the Huskies bow to a 13th seed no matter how ridiculous the seeding was it will get the nations attention.
Since we are down to only one daily newspaper in Seattle we turn to the pro's over at the Seattle Times for their analysis of Thursdays first round contest.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has his keys to the opening round game against Mississippi State. He has a lot of great stuff listed but I think number may be the most important factor going into this one. I think fatigue can play a big factor in this one.
No. 2: Wear 'em out: This is kind of an off-shoot of the first key. But while MSU players and coaches say they don't think fatigue will be an issue, four games in four days and then a cross-country flight is a lot to ask. UW has to force the pace all game long and hope it wears out the Bulldogs at the end.
Jerry Brewer of the Times is focusing on Venoy Overton and for good reason. Overton has the ability to disrupt the tempo of any opponent with his aggressive play.
"He's the kind of guy you don't want to play against," Harden said. "He's a great defender. He's one of those guys where you see him on the court, and he makes you a little nervous."