When it comes to the NCAA tournament, the only thing better than watching small schools made up of lightly-recruited players upsetting major-conference schools made up of blue-chippers is being the only one in your pool who knew it would happen. Upsets are a surefire part of March, and predicting them is integral when filling out your bracket. Before we get to this year's best sleepers and Cinderellas, though, let's take a closer look at recent history and seed trends to remember when picking your upsets.
The 12-over-5 upset pick is typically the most popular--and for good reason. After a pair of 12-seeds (Little Rock and Yale) advanced past the Round of 64 last year, there has now been at least one such upset in eight of the last nine tournaments. In fact, since 2012, picking this game has been a 50-50 proposition, with the 5's and 12's evenly splitting 20 matchups.
Recently, 11-seeds have been even more likely to ruin--or save--your bracket. Gonzaga, Wichita State and Northern Iowa all got it done last year (and all advanced to the Sweet 16, as well), pushing the No. 11's to 7-5 against the No. 6's over the last three years.
Interestingly enough, 10 seeds have been less successful than than their higher-digit counterparts, going 2-4 last year but just 7-13 since 2012. That said, Syracuse turned a 10-seed into a Final Four appearance last year, so there is some danger in completely dismissing the 10's.
Finally, while the 10's, 11's and 12's are obviously the most likely to pull off some upsets, don't be afraid to stop there. A 13 (Hawaii), 14 (Stephen F. Austin) and 15 (Middle Tennessee) all won last year, while 14's have been particular good Giant Killers lately, knocking out a No. 3 in each of the last four tournaments.
So, while the mid-major teams boast somewhat weaker resumes in 2017, and while a number of conference tournament upsets only thin out that pool, you can rest assured there are going to be upsets, and you can click through the gallery for my favorite double-digit seeds to win at least a game in 2017. (Getty)
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