Tournament Challenge: Chalk keeps taking hits

There are now 28 games complete (out of 32) in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament. And while No. 15 Middle Tennessee stole the upset spotlight earlier with its win over No. 2 Michigan State, another significant upset took place during the evening slate when No. 14 Stephen F. Austin defeated No. 3 West Virginia.

The Mountaineers were picked to win in a whopping 91.2 percent of brackets. Plus, WVU was tabbed to advance deep in the tourney: 66.4 percent of brackets had West Virginia going to the Sweet 16; 39.9 person picked it to make the Elite Eight; 10.8 percent had it advancing to the Final Four; 3.4 percent picked it to play in the championship game (10th most of any team); and 1.5 percent had WVU winning the title (10th most). In fact, more brackets picked the Mountaineers to make the Final Four than 2-seed Xavier, with WVU getting picked 56 percent of the time over Xavier in a Sweet 16 matchup.

In contrast, SFA was picked to make it out of the first round in just 8.8 percent of brackets and to the Sweet 16 in just 3.2 percent of brackets. The Lumberjacks will play the winner of No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 11 Michigan.

In other Friday evening games, 7-seed Wisconsin beat 10-seed Pitt, 3-seed Texas A&M defeated 14-seed Green Bay, and 1-seed Oregon beat 16-seed Holy Cross.

While the Ducks and Aggies were picked in the vast majority of brackets (90-plus percent), Wisconsin was picked in 65 percent.


At the top of the leaderboard, 27 brackets have correctly picked 27 of 28 games, and another 1,454 have correctly picked 26 of 28.

Chalk it up to upsets

Through 28 games, 12 lower-seeded teams (those seeded worse) have won, putting an all-chalk bracket at 16-12 (14th percentile). Last year, after the round of 64, an all-chalk bracket netted a 27-5 record, good for the 98.7th percentile.

Friday upset watch

  • 15-seed Middle Tennessee over 2-seed Michigan State

  • 14-seed Stephen F. Austin over 3-seed West Virginia

  • 13-seed Hawaii over 4-seed Cal

  • 10-seed Syracuse over 7-seed Dayton

  • 10-seed VCU over 7-seed Oregon State

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