19 March 2016

2016 NCAAs: Round One Recap

The first round of the 2016 NCAAs is in the books, and it was a historic first two days.  My pretty much any measure, this was the most tumultuous first round since the move to 64+ teams.  MSU was the biggest upset victim, but fans of 13 teams saw their NCAA dreams vaporize at the hands of a lesser seeded team.  There were but 32 games in Round One.  If you exclude the four 16-1 games that have never resulted in an upset, one could've done just about as well flipping coin to determine the outcome of the remaining 28 games than immersing oneself into hours or research in pursuit of bracket pool glory.  That is a stunning statement on so many different levels.

The sun has risen for the weekend with Round two set to tip off shortly, and the results of the Round One carnage is everywhere in your carefully planned brackets.  For example today there is just one out of eight games that held to chalk. Tomorrow just three of eight games held to chalk.  But fret not that your bracket has been taken over by the red tide of march madness.  Even if you were smart enough to use kenpom ratings as your guide to filling out your brackets your bracket would look wiped out (8/32 first round misses, 3/16 sweet 16 spots already guaranteed to be wrong, 2/8 of elite eight are sayonara) but it is still good enough for 93rd percentile amongst all brackets.

Below is the conference level summary of the round one carnage.  Amongst the major conferences the ACC and Big East withstood the lower seed barrage and actually outperformed expectations with one more team still playing than implied by the seeding.  The Pac12 was the biggest loser as they were expected to have 7 teams playing over this weekend but are left with just two standing.  The Big 12 which has been widely lauded as the best conference in the land (and we still agree) but of the seven teams expected to advance only three survived round one.  The B1G also got bloodied with Sparty and Purdue going down.

Amonst the midmajors the MVC looks pretty darn good right about now.  The conference was projected to be done by now yet both of its teams (Wichita St and N Iowa) still stand (Wichita St alone has matched the Pac 12's two win output).  And let's hear it for the one-bid smaller conferences!  None were supposed to have teams remaining yet six of those teams remain standing.  

All told the NCAA seeding implied teams from just seven conferences would be playing in Round Two.  Fifteen conferences are still alive.  Thank goodness that games are not played in the minds of the committee members.