The Most Overseeded, Underseeded Teams in the 2019 NCAA Tournament
Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Florida guard KeVaughn Allen
- Florida as a 10-seed? VCU as an 8-seed? Auburn as a 5?
- Bryan Mears uses The Action Network's proprietary power ratings to identify which teams are the most underseeded and overseeded in this year's Big Dance.
March Madness is here, and after a whole year of waiting we finally have our 68 teams. Ah, the smell of freshly printed brackets.
Before you fill ’em out, though, let’s look at the data to see which teams are the most underseeded and overseeded according to our proprietary college basketball power ratings, made by former oddsmaker Sean Koerner.
This is an interesting exercise because the NCAA selection committee doesn’t operate solely by numbers. It looks more at records and résumés rather than “who would win on a neutral court.” It’s a fine way to select a field, but it also provides some inefficiencies to exploit.
The process is pretty easy: Using our power ratings, I have calculated what seed each team should get. I did that for all teams in college basketball (fourth column) and just the teams in the tournament (sixth column). The difference columns represent how off the projected and actual seeds are.
Most Overseeded, Underseeded Teams in the 2019 NCAA Tournament
No. 11 Temple
The Owls were the 3-seed in the American Athletic Conference’s tournament, losing in the quarterfinals to 6-seed Wichita State. They finished the year 23-9 with a mostly uninspiring résumé.
They played just seven games all year against teams in the top 50 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency metric, going 2-5 in that sample. Their two wins were against 15th-ranked Houston and 46th-ranked UCF.
They do some things well, notably winning turnover battles: The Owls are 22nd in offensive turnover rate and 55th on the defensive end. But their overall metrics just aren’t as strong as those we usually see from a typical 11-seed. Based on our power ratings, we are projecting them to lose in the play-in game to Belmont.
No. 7 Wofford
This is probably a bit surprising since Wofford has been a favorite of hoops fans all year as an underrated mid-major team that could make a Sweet 16 run. And while the Terriers’ power rating of 35 is still strong, it’s more befitting of a team in the 10- or 11-seed range instead of a No. 7.
The Terriers are an impressive 29-4 on the year, although they haven’t had a real signature win yet. They played four teams in KenPom’s top 50 (UNC, Oklahoma, Kansas and Mississippi State), losing all of them. It should be noted, however, that they played against all of these teams except for UNC on the road.
When it comes to Wofford, our power ratings differ from KenPom’s metrics. He has the Terriers as the 19th-best team in the field; our power ratings have them ranked 43rd. As a result, we would have them as a double-digit seed.
But in the first round they match up against 11-seed Seton Hall, another team quite overseeded according to our metrics. Our numbers have the Terriers favored by a point.