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NCAA upsets crush bracket hopes

Busted! Upsets by Dayton and Harvard send brackets crumpling on NCAA tournament's first day

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 7:12 p.m.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — So you were confident in your bracket, hoping to win the office pool, maybe get lucky and take down that $1 billion prize Warren Buffett is offering for a perfect run of picks.

One game in and ... done.

Way to go, Dayton.

Thanks for piling on, Harvard.

And North Dakota State — you’ve got to be kidding.

The first full day of the NCAA tournament got off to what has become its usual scream-at-the-TV start on Thursday, opening with three upsets that sent a wave of crumpled brackets — at least 95 percent missed at least one game before the tournament was 12 hours old — flying from Buffalo to San Diego. By the end of the night, fewer than 1 percent of brackets remained unblemished in contests by ESPN and CBSSports.com.

“Being bounced from the billion THAT early definitely made me feel some type of way,” said Marcus Arman of Portland, Ore. “I can tell you this: I will not be supporting the city of Dayton in any shape, form or fashion so long as my foam finger still points upward.”

Dayton, the No. 11 seed in the South Regional, got it started in the first game of the 64-team bracket, knocking off sixth-seeded Ohio State 60-59 in Buffalo, N.Y.

A few hours later, No. 12 East seed Harvard had its David-vs-Goliath thing working for the second straight year, taking down fifth-seeded Cincinnati 61-57 in Spokane, Wash.

Two upsets, and almost everyone shooting for perfection was eliminated before they got home from work.

North Dakota State, No. 12 in the West, finished off the day of dead pools by outlasting fifth-seeded Oklahoma 80-75 in Spokane’s second upset of the day.

Thanks for playing everyone.

With Dayton’s win, about 83 percent of the brackets in Yahoo’s Tourney Pick ‘Em game were one and done, perfection flushed in 40 minutes. Wins by Harvard and North Dakota State only figured to add to the number of disappointed would-be billionaires once the official numbers were released.

It was a 9.2 quintillion-to-1 pipe dream to begin with, and Buffett has to like his chances even more now.

“Yesssssssssss HARVARD!!!!!!! Messing up a lot of peoples chances at $1 billion lol,” former Harvard and current Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin said on Twitter.

At CBSSports.com, Dayton took out 81 percent of the poolers in the bracket challenge. By the time the Bison roamed over the Sooners in the evening, 0.4 percent of the brackets were still perfect.

Of the 11 million brackets in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, over 80 percent had Ohio State advancing to the next round. That’s about 8.8 million brackets with a blemish after one game.

And to the 2.2 percent that had the Buckeyes going all the way to the Final Four: Oops!

Through 12 games, there were 41,315 perfect brackets out of the original 11 million — or about 0.3 percent.

This, of course, is nothing new.

We are in the era of upsets, where seedings and status have little bearing on the bracket.

A year ago, not a single person of the 11 million who entered on ESPN’s website was perfect after a first day filled with upsets. Just four got 15 out of 16 right.

By now, we’ve learned that Cinderella’s carriage doesn’t turn into a pumpkin once the NCAA tournament starts. It becomes a Formula One car racing through the bracket — and it may be moving at an even faster pace this year.

AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this story.




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