Dark Horses

Current RatingsHistorical Team Ratings
Upset AlertsCinderella Watch
Dark HorsesDraw Difficulty

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.

SeedAvg. 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

Log in to your HC+ account or sign up now to view this content.