Three 12-5 upsets spice up tournament
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
Even the most conservative bracketeers feel confident in picking one upset in the round of 64: A No. 12 seed over a No. 5 seed.
And why not? Since 1985, when the field expanded to 64 teams, that’s happened 41 times. Yes, that’s 41 times in 28 years. A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1. Only seven No. 15s have taken out No. 2s, including Florida Gulf Coast’s stunning upset of Georgetown on Friday.
Though the 12-5 upset is fairly common, it’s unusual to have three in the same tournament, which is what 2013 has brought us in Oregon, California and Mississippi. Two of those (Oregon and Ole Miss) were conference tournament champions riding momentum into the NCAA tournament, and the third (Cal) was a 20-win team that finished in the top half of its league.
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So what’s causing all the 12-5 upsets? Seeding and bracketing mistakes by the NCAA selection committee? Those involved think not; they credit the normal madness of March.
“As (NCAA) chair Mike Bobinski said throughout and following the selection process, this season had a very balanced field,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, a member of the selection committee, told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. Bobinski said that after the bracket was unveiled Oregon should have been on the 11-seed line, but got moved down a line for bracketing reasons.
Though the 12th-seeded coaches wouldn’t criticize the selection committee, one of their opponents – victims, really – did. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said Thursday he thought members of the selection committee would admit they made a mistake putting Oregon at No. 12.
“I think they watch TV and every single person you run into has said the same thing,” Ford said. “I think they would admit to that. You could see they’re a really good basketball team. 26 wins, at UNLV, won the Pac-12 tournament. That (Oregon seed) has kind of been the talk of the tournament.”
Oregon coach Dana Altman has said all along the low seed didn’t bother him, and he said his team “downplayed it … [For more on Three 12-5 upsets spice up tournament early on, click here.]