When March Madness was canceled in 2020, it also meant a year without one of America’s favorite (and sometimes most frustrating) seasonal competitions: group pools. Now that the tournament is back, we kick off the first Morning Madness newsletter with some tips. Here are five guiding principles for 2021:
1. Understand where the value of early discomfort is
How often does a surprise occur at an NCAA men’s tournament? Take a look at these historical first-round matchup breakdowns:
Incompetencies between the seeds No. 10 vs No. 7: 39.3% of the time
N ° 11 vs N ° 6 losses of seeds: 37.1%
No. 12 vs No. 5 nuisance seeds: 35.7%
N ° 13 vs N ° 4 losses of seeds: 20.7%
Causes of No. 14 vs. No. 3: 15.0%
No. 15 vs. No. 2 deranged seeds: 5.7%
It’s pretty common to pick a No. 11 or No. 12 seed to win in the first round, but what if I told you that of those in those spots that make it to the second round, 42.2% have become the Sweet 16? ? There have been 102 No. 11 or No. 12 seeds combined to win a first-round matchup; 43 have won a second game.
If you are going to choose the first round surprise between those two seeds, understand that there is probably a greater chance than you think that they will do it again. But there’s a caveat: When it comes to No. 12 seeds, the last large median to make it to Sweet 16 was in 2011.
2. Remember where the most points are
Correctly predicting an upset in the first or second round is certainly an exciting feeling, but in traditional group pool scoring systems, any singular pick up front carries far less weight than getting picks in rounds like Elite Eight, Final Four, and the game for the national title correctly. . Having a clairvoyant first weekend will only win your group if your support is not undone later, so do not spend as well Long time researching which number 12 seed you think will make it to Sweet 16 and neglect the most important process of figuring out exactly which top seeds you trust to dig deep, and especially to win it all.
3. In the end, you don’t understand as well wild
It’s true that in six of the last seven men’s tournaments (2019 being the exception), at least one No. 7 or fewer seeded team reached the Final Four. But in those seven tournaments, 11 of the 28 Final Four spots (39.3%) were filled by No. 1 seeds, and 18 of the 28 (64.3%) came from the seeded lines. No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3. Plus, 10 of the past 14 champions were seeded No. 1. At some point, most of the insanity tends to give way to order.
4. Consider the influence of COVID-19 this season
This has been a college basketball season like no other. There have been breaks (both short and long), postponements, cancellations, make-ups, individual players and coaches stopped outside of games, and more. Crackled data by Evan Miyakawa has shown a tangible negative effect on teams coming out of COVID-19 breaks, which means you need to be careful reading too much in certain previous singular games (for example, when Michigan State came out of a 20-day hiatus, you got 37 points in a 30-point loss to Rutgers).
5. … And make peace now with the fact that I could flip your stand upside down
Look, no one knows what will happen in the next few days, much less weeks. That’s always true in March, but this season, it’s true on a new level. The NCAA will take unprecedented steps to try to run a safe and successful tournament, but it won’t be easy and it could very well mean losses. In the end, the health of the players, coaches, stadium workers, umpires, and everyone else involved is infinitely more important than anyone’s support.
SI college basketball writers have filled their men’s parentheses. Do you agree?
Gonzaga seems to be in a good position to get out of the West Region. (By Jeremy Woo)
What to watch out for in the Midwest region: Emerging Illinois, two disrespected seeds, and oh yeah, Cade Cunningham. (By Pat Forde)
Baylor has wobbled a bit lately, but the Bears still look like the South Region class. (By Jason Jordan)
Is a Michigan team vulnerable without Isaiah Livers at the top of the Eastern Region? (By Kevin Sweeney)
It was a tough pick Sunday for Louisville, earning the badge for the biggest surprise snub. (By Pat Forde)
For you gamers, the starting lines are outside the bettors. (By Frankie Taddeo)
Get ready for a great weekend with the full first round TV show.
The best we saw
We really missed these moments a year ago.
Pick ‘Em: West Region
SI’s Molly Geary makes her picks for the initial roster of games in the West Region.
No. 1 Gonzaga over No. 16 Norfolk State / Appalachian State: March locks don’t get any bigger than this, folks.
No. 8 Oklahoma over No. 9 Missouri: These teams stumbled on this pair, but I give Austin Reaves and the Sooners a slight lead.
No. 12 UC Santa Barbara over No. 5 Creighton: It’s difficult to determine which Creighton will appear, especially after the Big East championship debacle, and the Gauchos are not far behind.
No. 13 Ohio over No. 4 Virginia: This is a classic clash of styles (the Bobcats play fast and the Cavaliers, well, no), but the news that most of UVA will be in quarantine until Thursday gives me pause.
No. 6 USC over No. 11 Drake / Wichita State: Evan Mobley and the Trojans’ inside defense will be a handful for whoever wins Thursday.
No. 3 Kansas over No. 14 Eastern Washington: This is another COVID-19 situation to watch, but after receiving a scare from UTEP recently, I think the Jayhawks will be focused enough even if they have few people.
No. 7 Oregon over No. 10 VCU: The Rams’ proprietary havoc defense collides with a team that is safe and not prone to being blocked.
No. 2 Iowa over No. 15 Grand Canyon: Antelopes are a fun story and they even have a very capable 7-footer (Asbjorn Midtgaard) to throw at Luka Garza, but Hawkeyes’ shot will be too much.
While it will ultimately be a losing effort, Oral Roberts 6’1 “second-year guard Max Abmas will lose at least 30 points over Ohio State on Friday afternoon in one of the tournament’s first brilliant individual efforts. .
On the buzzer
Before we go, here is a link to our printable ncaa men’s tournament bracket (come back Monday night to see the women). Be sure to sign up to play Sports Illustrated Support game as well. And we leave you with this:
Twenty years ago, the advance issue of SI’s March 2001 Madness included a history by Jack McCallum titled “The Spirit of 76”. The motto of the story read: “It has been a quarter of a century since there was a champion, the Indiana Hoosiers from 75 to 76, strong enough to be undefeated.”
Well, we are in 2021 and we are still waiting for a “strong enough” men’s team. All eyes are on Gonzaga, the first men’s team since 2014-15 Kentucky to enter the Big Dance with a perfect record, to see if Mark Few’s team can do what no one has done in 45 years. (For what it’s worth, I say yes).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.