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Is this the most upset-filled NCAA Tournament ever?

Apr 1, 2013, 6:45 PM EST

NCAA FGCU Basketball AP

From Florida Gulf Coast to La Salle to Wichita State, this year’s NCAA  Tournament hasn’t been short on upsets. But has it been the most upset-filled tournament ever?

One math professor thinks so.

Jeffery Bergen, who teaches at DePaul Unversity, came up with a formula to decipher whether or not this is true. It involves a point system based on math within the seeds of each team that played in an upset victory.

In this season, those shouldn’t be too hard to find. For starters, three 12 seeds beat three five seeds.

To you, Mr. Bergen:

All we need to do is agree on what an upset is and that not all upsets are created equal. For example, a 6th seed beating an 11th seed is not an upset, a 10th seed beating a 7th seed is a small upset, and a 15th seed beating a 2nd seed is a really big upset.

Every time a lower seed beats a higher seed, we can give that game “upset points” equal to the difference in their seeds.So no. 9 Wichita State’s win over no. 8 Pittsburgh was only worth 1 upset point whereas no. 15 Florida Gulf Coast’s win over no. 2 Georgetown was worth 13 upset points.

By his logic, this tournament received 105 upset points, which is now tied with the 1986 tournament for the most. That year, an 11-seed in LSU crashed the Final Four as well.

Ironically, that was also the year of Louisville’s last national title. Which is also part of Bergen’s system.

Whether 2013 will stand alone as the most upsetting tournament will be determined by Louisville. If Louisville does not win the tournament, then 2013 will stand alone on top. But if Louisville does win the tournament, then 1986 and 2013 will remain tied for the top spot.This somehow seems appropriate. After all, who do you think won the tournament in 1986? Louisville!

Maybe he has a point, but one subjective caveat remains. The title “most upsets” in a tournament can vary. For example, the 2000 and 2011 Final Fours had more surprising entrants, by seed, than any other year, with an 11-seed (VCU) and eight-seed (Butler) in 2011 and two eight seeds (North Carolina and Wisconsin) and a five-seed (Florida) in 2000.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

  1. trapshoot - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Certainly one of the most interesting in years. Bookies can’t be too thrilled.

  2. manchestermiracle - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    The variable that cannot be accounted for is the selection committee. Perhaps this year was simply one of their worst in assigning seeds, tied with ’86.

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