March Madness Bracket Buster: This 66% ATS Underdog System has Produced Two Outright Upsets

March Madness Bracket Buster: This 66% ATS Underdog System has Produced Two Outright Upsets article feature image

Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Abilene Christian players celebrate a win against Texas.

The NCAA Tournament is bound to bring some upsets. We know that with almost certainty.

They call it March Madness for a reason.

So, how do we identify a possible upset? Looking at historical trends and data can tell you a lot about what it takes to knock off one of the top seeds in the tournament.

We have identified a set of criteria that has caused two 3 vs. 14 outright upsets since 2016 and is 13-1-1 ATS in its last 15 games in the NCAA Tournament.

Remember last year when Abilene Christian knocked off Texas in the first round? That came as a surprise to people.

But it taught us something: if you can force turnovers, you can beat just about anybody. Abilene Christian was the No. 1 team in the country in forcing them heading into that game. Texas had 23 turnovers in the loss.

Higher seeds in the NCAA Tournament that force at least 16 turnovers per game are 44-22-1 ATS (66.7%) in the last 15-plus years and 13-1-1 ATS in the last 15 games.

The loss was Abilene Christian's second-round matchup against UCLA.

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The other No. 14 seed we have seen pull of the upset that fit the criteria was Stephen F. Austin over West Virginia back in 2016. The Lumberjacks forced 22 turnovers in that game.

There are three higher seeds that force at least 16 turnovers per game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament: UAB (vs. Houston), Georgia State (vs. Gonzaga) and Iowa State (vs. LSU).

If Texas A&M-Corpus Christi wins its play-in game, they will also fit the criteria in the first round against Kansas.

The favorites have to take care of the basketball or their NCAA Tournament dreams will turn into a nightmare.

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Nick Sterling
Jun 16, 2024 UTC