What really is a upset?

As the Sweet Sixteen starts for March Madness tomorrow it makes me wonder why March madness is so great and with all the “upset’s” this year what really constitutes a upset?

First off, what is a upset exactly? Mostly, people will say that if the lower seed, or lower ranked, team wins thats considered a upset. Normally those people would be right, but this year is different. There were 13 “upsets” (UConn, Hawaii, Wichita State, Yale, Northern Iowa, VCU, Syracuse, Middle Tennessee, Gonzaga, Arkansas-Little Rock (AR-Little Rock), Butler, Stephen F. Austin (SF Austin), and Providence) in the first round this year.

Now there is one specific game now matter the year that I don’t consider a “upset worthy game”, that is the 8-9 matchup. So automatically UConn, Providence and Butler are out and only 10 upsets remain.

There were third major upsets this year, AR Little-Rock over Purdue, SF Austin over West Virginia, and Midd. Tenn. over Michigan State. These were all top 3 seeds in their respective regions that lost, and most had Purdue and Mich. St. in the final four. West Virginia was expected in at least the sweet sixteen if not Elite Eight. These were legitimate upsets because each team had high expectations but now 7 upsets remain.

There were four upsets that were expected to happen, or less shocking, in Yale over Baylor, Northern Iowa over Texas, VCU over Oregon State, and Syracuse over Dayton. These games were games in which the lower seed had a expected advantage over the higher seed. For example Yale had the bigs to out-rebound and hang with Baylor, and Northern Iowa was coming into the tourney hot and was expected to keep that streak going. Another reason is that both Dayton and Oregon State were grossly over rated, and conversely VCU and Syracuse too low. So with this combo of bad seeding as well as a expected advantage there are only 3 remaining upsets.

Gonzaga over Seton Hall was a interesting game as neither team was completely favored and either team could have won. I don’t consider this a upset because Seton Hall came in on a down slide while Zaga was riding high.

The next upset was Hawaii over Cal, and the reason that this wasn’t included in the last section is that Cal was not severely over-rated. Rather the whole Pac-12 was over rated, and the proof is that only Oregon remains out of the, tied for most total in the tourney, seven schools. So obviously that means that the last upset, Wichita State over Arizona, was the least surprising. Wichita State has been the lately cinderella/ tournament darling and Zona hasn’t played great all year. This is the epitome of all the upsets and reasons for them this year, Zona was absurdly overrated and Hawaii somewhat underrated and Hawaii also matched up really well with them. But the most interesting part was that Hawaii was favored by most, or not all, analyst’s.

What really is a upset then? Well rankings has a little to do with it, especially if you are highly rated. But what really matter is the degree of win, if a team wins by more than 2 possessions it should be a considered a upset, if they were not expected to win. A la Middle Tennessee.

Thats what March Madness is all about upsets, cinderellas, and fun, fun college basketball. It is the most wonderful time of the sporting year, as they play 48 games in a span of 4 days and then the last 15 games. There is always excitement and drama in this time of year, and it makes a lot of people mad but they still love it.

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