After the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it was hard to ignore the large amounts of red covering most brackets.
After 32 games, there was not a single perfect bracket on either ESPN or Yahoo. On Yahoo, there wasn’t even a bracket that had only one incorrect; each of the top two had two games picked incorrectly.
There were a couple of major upsets, with No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast defeating No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 14 seed Harvard upsetting No. 3 seed New Mexico.
Of the more than 8 million people that filled out brackets on ESPN, only 5.6 percent had Harvard winning and only 2.3 percent foresaw Florida Gulf Coast pulling off the upset.
However, the three seeds went 3-1 in first round games this year, which is not too far off from their averages since 1985 given that the current sample size is only four games.
One of the brackets that was tied for first after the first round picked the Harvard upset correctly, but picked Kansas State to beat La Salle.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats were upset by the No. 13 seed, but they were the only four seed that was upset. Fourth seeds went 3-1, almost matching their historical first round winning mark of 78 percent.
The problem this year may not lie within the upsets that are happening, but in the upsets that were picked that are not happening.
In the ESPN Bracket Challenge, almost 65 percent of participants picked ninth-seeded Missouri to upset eighth-seeded Colorado State, but the Rams beat the Tigers soundly, 84-72.
Only 85.7 percent of users predicted that No. 3 seed Marquette would move past the first round, which is much lower than the almost 96 percent averaged by the other three seeds.
The extreme parity seen during the regular season this year seemed to lead people to believe that many major upsets were a given, but the tournament has followed pretty predictable historic patterns.
The only outlier seems to be the twelve seeds. In the first round this year, twelve seeds went 3-1, winning 75 percent of their games. Historically, twelve seeds have only won about 35 percent of their first-round games.
Picking an upset and then seeing that prediction come true in the first round is one thing, but real issues lie in how far a person expects a team to go.
Three twelve seeds advanced past the first round this year, but in the last 27 years no team seeded lower than eighth has made it to the National Championship game, much less won the title.
ESPN bracket makers seem to understand this, as no team lower than a four seed was picked to move into the National Championship game by more than one percent of people.
One seeds Louisville and Indiana are the favorites to make it to the title game, with 21.9 and 17.9 percent of users putting them in the final game, respectively.
Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Monday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.