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Brian Mull | | March 18, 2016

March Madness: Yale, Little Rock bust open the Bracket Challenge

  Baylor's loss to Yale contributed to a wide range of busted brackets.

Bracket busted?

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Those two 12-5 opening round upsets Thursday in the 2016 NCAA tournament shattered almost 99 percent of March Madness brackets entered in the NCAA March Madness Capital One Bracket Challenge. Other games reported a similar number of busted brackets Thursday.

In recent years, the 12 seed vs. 5 seed game has been a virtual tossup in the first round. Going back to 2008, the 5s hold a slim 18-17 lead in the series.

Yale, a 12 seed, is in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 54 years and wasted no time leaving its mark. The Bulldogs pulled the stunner as they defeated Baylor 79-75 behind 31 points from point guard Makai Mason

Only 20 percent of the participants in the Bracket Challenge picked Yale, which will face No. 4 Duke on Saturday in the second round.

A couple hours later, Purdue lost to Little Rock 87-85 in double overtime. And this was even a bigger surprise as 87 percent of the Bracket Challenge entrants had the Boilermakers advancing. Instead, Little Rock guard Josh Hagins was more than Purdue could handle. Hagins had 31 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals on his birthday to lead the Trojans into the second round against No. 4 Iowa State.

Later in the evening, No. 11 Wichita State destroyed No. 6 Arizona. The Wildcats were selected by 72 percent of the entrants. There were other mild upsets, but nothing that disrupted a large swath of brackets.

At ESPN, it was reported that 99 percent of its brackets were busted in their game. Yahoo reported that Yale’s upset of Baylor and Little Rock’s upset of Purdue - a pair of 12 seeds over 5 seeds - ruined 99 percent of the brackets in its game, although there were still plenty of perfect brackets remaining through the evening sessions.

Kansas and Michigan State are the popular picks to win the Bracket Challenge. The Jayhawks, who are the No. 1 overall seed, were selected by 25 percent of the entrants, and they had little trouble dispatching No. 16 Austin Peay 105-79 on Thursday to set up a South Region second round matchup with No. 9 Connecticut. Michigan State, the 2 seed, in the Midwest was the pick by 22 percent of participants. The Spartans open the tournament at 2:45 p.m. Friday against Middle Tennessee State, champions of Conference USA.

College basketball rankings: Even unranked teams find success in the NCAA tournament

Since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 — its modern format — only four of 35 national champions were unranked to start the season. That’s about one in every nine years.

Only .025 percent predicted the 2021 Final Four teams in the Bracket Challenge Game

UCLA's upset of No. 1 Michigan in the Elite Eight turned what could have been a record-high number of perfect picks into a tiny number that went 4-for-4.

A huge majority of NCAA brackets have a No. 1 seed winning the 2021 championship

Here is how many brackets predicted each seed to win the national championship, from Gonzaga and the No. 1 seeds through Drexel and the rest of the No. 16 seeds.
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