Nietzsche said, “out of chaos, comes order.” Or maybe he didn’t. The infamous Howard Johnson of Rock-Ridge had quoted him, in a town meeting to discuss the new sheriff – so maybe it’s true. But maybe chaos theory explains it just as well as Nietzsche – the more complex system, the faster and easier it breaks down. That could apply to climate-change, governments and our bracket(s). There is a morbid Bedouin proverb that says: “As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn.” A Proverb is a proverb because it speaks to a permanent truth…which may or may not be exactly how we felt when we saw what happened in the opening rounds. All those 1 possession games, upsets…Seppuku
That is the word I was looking for when the Tigers of LSU missed 20 consecutive shots to lose the game against NC State. There wasn’t much to expect this year, but to lose that way was a terrible shock to every fiber of my body. It’s like your heart goes limp and the air is kicked out of your lungs for 20-30 seconds after seeing the final score and how it came to be – I fell sideways into a plate of tacos, like I was whacked in the head with a baseball bat. Momentarily, I might have blacked out, but the room had already emptied except for two girls who were snickering at me as they walked out the door. I was so swollen with shame that I felt like a fat kid after halloween – and that was when I thought about reaching for my gold-handled sword, as Dean Martin sang about kicks in the head – it was the only honorable way out. Just then I got a text message, taunting me and my thoughts moved from melancholy ceremony to vendetta. A feeling I’m sure is shared with any fan of Virginia, Kansas, Iowa St or Villanova.
In our attempt to breakdown the bracket and build us all a better mousetrap – it appears we accomplished that. If only we actually listened to what the tea leaves told us. What we built, ended up getting 28 out of 32 correct on Thursday and Friday – 13 out of 16 for the weekend – that’s 84.4% overall! Now if we had only listened to our own model…but that’s the trick isn’t it? Just because you got UCLA correct and the system got it wrong – you blame the minor flaw for the whole – like Seinfeld and the numerous women he dumps because they are a low-talker, has man hands, or eats peas one at a time – and it all seems justifiable. We chose poorly – the game is rigged, it knows you need the 12/5 upset, there was none. It knows you have to find two #10 seed upsets and it gave one, Ohio St. It counts on you selecting a #15 seed beating a #2 because the last 3 years it has happened, becoming a trend – but shuts that door on you as well. Much like it knew the record of the #3 seeds, and yet the game crushed you with UAB over Iowa St (also a double-digit favorite), Georgia St over Baylor and almost gave you Northeastern over Notre Dame. Only 3 times has 2 #14 seeds won a game in the same tournament – 1986 and 1995, and the last time a 12 did not beat a 5 was in 2007. Hell, #8 seeds only win 53% of the time in the tournament the last 16 years and that did not stop all of them winning this year. She’s a cruel mistress.
The system says Villanova and Virginia and your brain says they will fall – you know this, but when do you switch your faith in the design, to what is rationally dependent. Is there any bigger set of teams that consistently choke away their chances more than Villanova and Kansas? Of course you could be an entire state, like Texas, who failed to show up. Even when the advice tells you to pick with the cruel logic over the bleeding heart, you still line up and get slaughtered. The NCAA fattens us up so Vegas can eat well in the Spring. But I digress, our bracket is hanging on and is tied with several other prognosticators having more final four teams than most and being the only one out of 8 that has Arizona and Duke in the title game. If only we had listened to our own March-Madness Frankenstein – who says this is how the next round shakes out:
- Notre Dame close
- Wisconsin close
Further advancing Oklahoma over Louisville, Duke over Gonzaga, Arizona over Wisconsin and ‘Tucky over Notre Dame.
Aside from our DiRT Canon Analyzer, here are other “entertainment purposes only” trends in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8:
- the Sweet 16 is usually where double digit seeds go down like a soccer player. Better seeds have won 50 of the past 72 games SU (69%) the last nine years, but are only 29% ATS since 2012 (7-17)
- From 2003-2010 favorites of at least 5.5 were 22-1 SU in the Sweet 16. However, 4 big upsets have occurred since: Arizona (+9.5) over Duke in 2011, Kentucky (+5.5) over Ohio St in 2011, Louisville (+5.5) over Michigan St in 2012 and Marquette (+5.5) over Miami in 2013. These big favorites are only 17-18-1 ATS since 2003.
- Last year’s Sweet 16 featured six teams seeded 6th or worse, and three advanced to the Elite Eight, including #11 Dayton beating #10 Stanford. That makes the lesser seed 8-2 SU and ATS (80%) in the last 10 situations when two teams seeded #6 or worse met in the Sweet 16. (none this year)
- Double-digit seeds are just 4-24 SU in the Sweet 16 round since 2003, with the only such win coming when #11 Dayton beat #10 Stanford, 82-72. (UCLA is the only double digit seed remaining).
- In games where the total is 128 points or less, the UNDER is 14-5-1 (74%) since 1999.
- Since 1998, lesser seeds hold an overall advantage in the Elite 8, going 44-22-3 ATS (66%), including 3-0-1 in 2014.
- Lesser seeds in the Elite 8 had been 7-9 ATS (6-10 SU) from 2007-2010 before a 12-3-1 ATS run (11-5 SU) overthe past four tournaments with #8 Kentucky, #7 UConn and #2 Wisconsin all advancing as lesser seeds in 2014.
- Teams favored by 8+ points in this round have won 12 of the last 15 games, but are just 4-10-1 (29%). Florida beat Dayton last year 62-52, giving up 10 points.
- When the difference in the seeds was five or more from 1998-2010, the better seeds were 12-1 SU, 4-8-1 ATS (33%). But since then, #11 VCU beat #1 Kansas, #8 Butler beat #2 Florida, #8 Kentucky beat #2 Michigan and #9 Wichita St beat Ohio St.
- In games with the total is less than 145, the OVER has won 73% of the time (33-12). However was just 1-3 last year with only Kentucky/Michigan surpassing the total.
continue to follow us @TheDiRTCanon for updates and sign up and win money with us on FanDuel+DraftKings – if you’ve been playing, you’d be up several hundreds of dollars from our suggestions last week, in just the $2 tournaments. It’s been an amazing week of basketball both college and pro – regardless of what happens in Vegas – because we are all damn fine Americans!