MethodologyHistorical team ratings
Upset AlertsCinderella Index

Tournament Index’s Upset Alert

Heat Check CBB defines a “first-round upset” as a win by any team seeded 6th or better falling in the tournament’s first round. Thus, wins by 10-seeds and 9-seeds are not considered upsets for our purposes.

An “Upset Alert” occurs when a team’s first-round win probability is at least one standard deviation below the seed matchup average.

Seed MatchupAverage Win Probability“Upset Alert” Win Probability Threshold
1 vs. 1694.6%92.9%
2 vs. 1590.9%87.4%
3 vs. 1484.1%78.8%
4 vs. 1381.9%75.2%
5 vs. 1270.3%60.8%
6 vs. 1161.3%48.6%
Ex.: If a 1-seed’s first-round win probability is lower than 92.9%, it will be marked as an “Upset Alert.”

The table below includes the full list of first-round Tournament Index “Upset Alerts” since 2013.

Tournament Index’s “Upset Alerts” — 2013-21
Year Team (seed) Team (seed)Win ProbabilityResultTournament ResultUnderperformed?
2021Purdue (4)North Texas (13)71.8%L, 78-69 (OT)First roundYes
2021Arkansas (3)Colgate (14)76.6%W, 85-68Elite EightNo
2019Wisconsin (5)Oregon (12)54.0%L, 72-54First roundYes
2019Marquette (5)Murray State (12)53.9%L, 83-64First roundYes
2019Kansas State (4)UC Irvine (13)72.9%L, 70-64First roundYes
2018Xavier (1)Texas Southern (16)91.4%W, 102-83Second roundYes
2018Kansas (1)Penn (16)90.0%W, 76-60Final FourNo
2018Clemson (5)New Mexico State (12)58.9%W, 79-68Sweet 16No
2017Minnesota (5)Middle Tennessee (12)53.1%L, 81-72First roundYes
2017Maryland (6)Xavier (11)39.3%L, 76-65First roundYes
2016Xavier (2)Weber State (15)80.3%W, 71-53Second roundYes
2016West Virginia (3)Stephen F. Austin (14)74.2%L, 70-56First roundYes
2016Seton Hall (6)Gonzaga (11)33.7%L, 68-52First roundYes
2016Oregon (1)Holy Cross (16)91.8%W, 91-52Elite EightYes
2015Maryland (4)Valparaiso (13)63.2%W, 65-62Second roundYes
2015Kansas (2)New Mexico State (15)86.8%W, 75-56Second roundYes
2015Butler (6)Texas (11)33.8%W, 56-48Second roundNo
2015Baylor (3)Georgia State (14)75.1%L, 57-56First roundYes
2014Wisconsin (2)American (15)83.1%W, 75-35Final FourNo
2014Wichita State (1)Cal Poly (16)92.0%W, 64-37Second roundYes
2014Virginia (1)Coastal Carolina (16)92.4%W, 70-59Sweet 16Yes
2014San Diego State (4)New Mexico State (13)71.5%W, 73-69 (OT)Sweet 16No
2014Saint Louis (5)NC State (12)59.8%W, 83-80 (OT)Second roundNo
2014UMass (6)Tennessee (11)31.3%L, 86-67First roundYes
2014Iowa State (3)NC Central (14)76.7%W, 93-75Sweet 16Yes
2014Cincinnati (5)Harvard (12)58.9%L, 61-57First roundYes
2013VCU (5)Akron (12)59.4%W, 88-42Second roundNo
2013UCLA (6)Minnesota (11)45.2%L, 83-63First roundYes
2013Saint Louis (4)New Mexico State (13)73.6%W, 64-44Second roundYes
2013Oklahoma State (5)Oregon (12)59.2%L, 68-55First roundYes
2013Miami FL (2)Pacific (15)87.2%W, 78-49Sweet 16Yes
2013Marquette (3)Davidson (14)73.1%W, 59-58Elite EightNo
2013Kansas State (4)La Salle (13)70.3%L, 63-61First roundYes
2013Georgetown (2)Florida Gulf Coast (15)85.8%L, 78-68First roundYes

Since 2013, a total of 34 teams have been put on “Upset Alert” by the Tournament Index. Let’s see how teams with the “Upset Alert” label have performed compared to those that didn’t.

Seeds 1-3
StatOn “Upset Alert”Not on “Upset Alert”
Avg. wins per tournament1.802.53
Reached second round80.0%91.4%
Reached Sweet 1653.3%66.7%
Seeds 4-6
StatOn “Upset Alert”Not on “Upset Alert”
Avg. wins per tournament0.471.25
Reached second round36.8%68.8%
Reached Sweet 1610.5%40.2%

Below is a look at how teams at each seed line are expected to perform against one another, expressed in win probability.

Tournament Index’s Seed vs. Seed Win Probability Chart