NCAA tournament fans never forget. But in case you did: Last year, Virginia became the first-ever 1-seed to lose its opening-round game to a 16-seed.
So it follows that this year, out of millions of brackets in our Bracket Challenge Game, the Cavaliers were the 1 seed picked most often to be upset in the first round.
In total, 2.9 percent of all brackets picked Gardner-Webb to beat Virginia in Friday’s first-round game. That may not seem like much, but 16 seeds have won just 0.7 percent of the 136 games they’ve played (and even that number is probably a misrepresentation of the real odds).
Last year, we saw a staggering eight percent of all brackets pick a 16 seed to win. That was the most in the eight-year history of the tournament. Since 2011, when just under two percent of all brackets picked a 16 seed, we had seen a fairly steady rise year over year.
But this year’s tournament saw users wise up a bit. Only 4.4 percent of all brackets had a 16 seed taking down a 1 seed this year — the fewest percentage since 2013.
Exactly why that number dropped is a mystery, but we’re guessing the gambler’s fallacy is at play — since it happened just last year, it can’t possibly happen again for a long time, right?
Back to this year's picks. Naturally, the most popular champion pick in our bracket game — Duke — received the most confidence in the first round. The Blue Devils were picked to win in 98.5 percent of all brackets.
Here are all four 1-v-16 game matchups ranked:
|Seed||Team||Picked to win||Seed||Team||Picked to win|