Teams eligible for the “Dark Horse” tag are any seeds that fall between the 5-11 seed lines. Since 2013, 43 teams have been tabbed “Dark Horses” by Tournament Index out of a possible 252 teams, which equates to approximately 4.7 “Dark Horses” per tournament.
Using wins expectation by seed, the 43 teams were projected to win a combined 36.9 tournament games. Instead, the “Dark Horse” teams won a combined 58 tournament games, significantly exceeding expectations. Some previous “Dark Horse” selections include 7-seed UConn and 8-seed Kentucky that met in the 2014 championship, 7-seed Michigan State that reached the 2015 Final Four and 2021 USC that advanced to the Elite Eight as a 6-seed.
To be chosen as a “Dark Horse,” a team’s Elite Eight probability must be at least one standard deviation above what an average team at that seed line would be expected to have.
|Seed||Avg. Elite Eight Likelihood||“Dark Horse” Probability Threshold|
The current teams that meet our “Dark Horse” thresholds are in the table below, available to HC+ subscribers.
Tournament Index: 2022-23 Dark Horse Ratings
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