A few weeks ago I started wondering about what teams/schools have had the easiest route to the final four. As soon as the bracket is announced every year people start talking about which top seeds have the “easiest” bracket and who will have the best chance of making it to the Final Four.
Whenever these conversations take place, I immediately think “doesn’t it have more to do with which region has the most upsets, rather than what the other top seeds are in the region?”
For example, this year you would have likely looked at Xavier (a 10-seed) and thought they wouldn’t even survive the first weekend, because even if they managed to upset 7-seed Notre Dame, they would then have to face 2-seed Duke in their second game. Well, Duke got upset by 15-seed Lehigh, and next thing you know Xavier is a favorite in their second game and went on to make it to the Sweet 16.
Baylor didn’t even have to play a single-digit seed until they lost to Kentucky in the Elite Eight. They played 14-seed South Dakota State in the round of 64, 11-seed Colorado in the round of 32, and then 10-seed Xavier in the Sweet 16.
The amazing thing is that I came up with those two examples by only looking at one half of one region in one year’s bracket. Imagine what we could find if we looked at all four regions from every tournament from this millennium.
That’s exactly what I did. Check it out after the jump. (more…)