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Beside The Points For Monday, March 19, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Unlikely but inevitable happened!

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County accomplished what college basketball fans have long considered inevitable if strikingly unlikely, becoming the first-ever No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the University of Virginia. This year looked rather good for a 16-over-1 upset, but analysts were actually more bullish on University of Pennsylvania to be the underdog to pull it off. UMBC’s ride in the tourney was ended by Kansas State in the round of 32 on Sunday, but their ticket into the history books is punched. [FiveThirtyEight]

Top four, out

For the first time since seeding began in 1979, a region will not have a single team left in the Sweet Sixteen who entered the tournament a top-four seed — in the South, No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Arizona all lost. Moreover, Florida State and Kansas State become the first pair of 9-seeds to make the 16. [ESPN]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

Villanova and Duke, pick your poison

Two teams combine for a 2-in-5 chance of winning the NCAA Men’s tournament, No. 2-seed Duke and No. 1-seed Villanova, the latter of which we give a 22 percent chance of victory. Other possible contenders include Kentucky (11 percent chance), Kansas (11 percent chance) and last year’s runner-up Gonzaga (8 percent chance). [FiveThirtyEight]

A bit overkill, you think?

The University of Connecticut, the top seed in the NCAA Women’s tourney, won their opening round game 140-52 against Saint Francis University. They put up 94 points in the first half. They remain the overwhelming favorite to win, with a 76 percent chance of winning. [FiveThirtyEight]

Last team in remains in

Syracuse University, the last team to make the field of 68, has made it to the Sweet Sixteen. They’ve got the hardest road of any ahead of them – we give them a 15 percent chance of beating Duke, and the numbers get worse for them going further. [ESPN]

New York Jets make a move

The Indianapolis Colts have traded their No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL draft to the New York Jets in exchange for the No. 6 pick, the No. 37 pick, No. 49 pick and a 2019 second round pick. It seems like the Jets think they can get that elusive franchise quarterback with the third pick. Let’s see if the New York Jets can make a great front office decision. [The Ringer]

Big Number

28 brackets

Right before the University of Virginia ate it and lost to UMBC, there were only 28 perfect brackets still remaining across ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sports and Bleacher Report out of tens of millions submitted. After the loss, there wasn’t a single bracket left alive out there. [MarketWatch]

Leaks from Slack: FiveThirtyEight office bracket

FiveThirtyEight has an in-house bracket contest that assigns points based on how many people picked a team to win that game, rewarding upsets.


after Day No. 1, Nate is in last place of the FiveThirtyEight men’s NCAA basketball pool. :smile:


how does Neil win everything?!



(Fwiw I tend to do pretty well in these opening rounds but fade late in the tourney…)


He’s better at spotting first round upsets than anyone else in the game but the aggregate uncertainty of later rounds hurts him

these brackets are won and lost in the NCAAW side though


^ oh interesting @walt, why is that? We know less about them so are collectively worse at predicting upsets? (for example)?


lotta people go straight chalk on them
I’ve won the womens bracket a couple of times iirc and when I did it was because I picked it with a specific high risk/reward algorithm that exploits everyone picking Uconn to win
aka the “ignore all quaffles and just catch the damn snitch” style of bracket play


I made a sentimental pick for tennessee at one point, because I loved the Lady Vols in the Pat Summitt era

(although I also still picked UConn to win it all)


Here’s who you all picked to win NCAAM: VILLANOVA (x4), VIRGINIA (x3), DUKE (x3), CINCINNATI (x2), AUBURN, PURDUE, NORTH CAROLINA

and NCAAW: UCONN (x11), BAY (x2)




thats the bold kind of move that wins brackets

[After a weekend of games this trash talking aged like fine wine, as Julia leads overall, Neil is still in 3rd, Nate is in 5th, and Micah is in overall last place]


Oh, and don’t forget

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.