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The first signs of madness

Some of this year's hoops Giants are primed for an early demise

Originally Published: March 7, 2013
By Jordan Brenner and Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine

A version of this story appears in ESPN The Magazine's March 18 One Day One Game issue. Subscribe today!

BACK IN 2006, The Mag started a March tradition by forecasting the likeliest Giant Killers -- the underdogs poised to make big NCAA tourney runs. And over the next seven years, our GK statistical model helped us call more than our fair share of upsets. But this season, in an issue dedicated to Michigan and Ohio State, it seemed appropriate to train our model on the Giants, those high seeds most vulnerable to a tiny terror.

In case you're stumbling onto our GK project for the first time, here's a quick refresher: A Giant Killer is a team that beats an opponent seeded at least five seeds better in the NCAA tournament. Typically, these teams employ high-risk, high-reward strategies, such as shooting a ton of 3s or playing pressure defense.

What makes a top seed susceptible to the kill? We'll spare you the gory math and simply give you the results -- six leading indicators of shaky Giants. And of course we're naming names so that you can start a March tradition of your own: winning your tournament pool.

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