March Madness Sleepers: Does A Perfect Bracket Still Remain?

March Madness Sleepers: Does A Perfect Bracket Still Remain?
Image © Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Kuthula Magubane
🗓 Updated
May 19th 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day and happy March Madness. We'll be here all day long over the next two days tracking how many verifiably perfect brackets there are across all the major networks. We expect some to break soon, based on how the earlier games went. We’re completely done with Thursday’s slate of games, and most brackets are already broken. Just 1.05 percent of Men's Bracket Challenge Games brackets remained unscathed heading into the final eight games of the day.

BUT, before we get into this week's picks please remember that you can get an exclusive BetMGM Promo Code here.

Here are the biggest bracket-busting culprits:

  • No. 11 Michigan knocked out about half of the brackets with its upset win over No. 6 Colorado State in the first game.
  • No. 4 Providence beat No. 13 South Dakota State, knocking out a popular upset pick.
  • No. 9 Memphis beat No. 8 Boise State, after which less than 20 percent percent of perfect brackets remained.
  • Later, No. 12 Richmond, which was picked by just 9.63 percent of brackets to win, took out another huge chunk of remaining perfect brackets with its win over No. 4 Iowa.

Two of the most popular upset picks also happened within the first two games. More than half of the completed Men's Bracket Challenge Game brackets (50.79%) had No. 11 Michigan beating No. 6 Colorado State. No. 13 South Dakota State was the third-most-popular upset pick with 38.36% of brackets predicting the Jackrabbits to advance.

Here's a more complete look at the upset picks, broken down by seed. The most popular upset pick for each seed in the MBCG is listed at the top.

#1 Seed vs #16 Seed

Matchup Upset Pick Percentage
#16 Norfolk State over #1 Baylor 3.38%
#16 Wright State over #1 Arizona 2.40%
#16 Texas Southern over #1 Kansas 2.30%
#16 Georgia State over #1 Gonzaga 2.28%

Baylor is the defending champion, but the Bears are the fourth No. 1 this year. Fans also might be thinking Norfolk State could work some magic again. Ten years ago, Norfolk State became the fifth No. 15 seed to shock a No. 2, as the Spartans stunned No. 2 Missouri — the first 15-over-2 since 2001.

#2 Seed vs #15 Seed

Matchup Upset Pick Percentage
#15 Jacksonville State over #2 Auburn 4.41%
#15 Delaware over #2 Villanova 3.99%
#15 Saint Peters over #2 Kentucky 3.04%
#15 Cal State Fullerton over #2 Duke 2.84%

The percentages are lower this year, as big-name powers help make up the seed list and Auburn seemed poised to grab a top seed not too long ago.

For those curious, Oral Roberts was picked on 4.25 percent of brackets against Ohio State. We know how that turned out.

#3 seed vs #14 seed

Matchup Upset Pick Percentage
#14 Colgate over #3 Wisconsin 13.9%
#14 Montana State over #3 Texas Tech 10.89%
#14 Longwood over #3 Tennessee 6.20%
#14 Yale over #3 Purdue 6.15%

They're back. Colgate is the top 14 seed pick once more, with the Raiders following up 2021's 16.52 percent vs. No. 3 Arkansas with a 13.82 this year. Last season, only 8 percent foresaw Abilene Christian eliminating Texas.

#4 Seed vs #13 Seed

Matchup Upset Pick Percentage
#13 South Dakota State over #4 Providence 38.36%
#13 Vermont over #4 Arkansas 28.25%
#13 Chattanooga over #4 Illinois 19.29%
#13 Akron over #4 UCLA 7.00%

Two 13 seeds successfully upset 4s in 2021: Ohio (vs. Virginia) and North Texas (vs. Purdue). That could be keeping folks' eyes open for more this time, as we're seeing a dramatic rise in picks. In 2021, adding up the No. 13 seeds' percentages totaled 53.61 percent. This year they're getting to 92.48 percent.

You can also thank South Dakota State and Vermont for that rise. The Jackrabbbits are 30-4, haven't lost since Dec. 15 and have one of the most lethal offenses in the nation. Vermont is 28-5, has lost just once since Dec. 7 and won its three America East tournament games by 39, 32 and 39 points.

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