The World-Herald opening round, like all good NCAA tournaments, featured unpredictability and upsets.
In the East Region, our panel of local experts liked Liberty while those who participated in the Twitter fan vote liked Auburn. The No. 12 seed pulled off the upset and moved on.
In the West, our readers liked Texas Tech while the experts chose Virginia, making the defending champions essentially a 60-40 favorite in our simulation. But the Cavaliers went down. Utah State won as a 10 seed, though both our readers and experts picked them.
In the Midwest, sixth-seeded Iowa lost to Cincinnati, though our readers and experts gave the Hawkeyes better than a 70% chance to win. It’s worth noting that No. 12 seed East Tennessee State upset Butler, though the Pirates were a slight favorite in the simulation thanks to strong support from the experts. Wichita State, a 10 seed, beat Arizona, setting up a second-round showdown with an old Missouri Valley rival.
In the West, Penn State performed like the football school it has always been. Despite being favored by 86% of our experts and 58% of readers, the Nittany Lions fell to another football school, Oklahoma.
Other notable results: No. 9 Rutgers moved on with a win over LSU, a game slated for Omaha. The Big East performed well, as Creighton, Seton Hall, Providence, Villanova and Marquette all won. Only Butler lost.
The four 12-vs.-5 matchups were split. But no team seeded 13 or worse pulled an upset. That sets up an intriguing second round highlighted by Michigan State-West Virginia, Oregon-BYU, Kentucky-Ohio State (in Omaha), Michigan-Seton Hall and, best of all, Creighton-Wichita State in St. Louis.
Voting begins Friday at twitter.com/owhsports. We’ll publish probabilities Saturday for the simulation based on votes and experts’ picks. We’ll unveil the second-round results and Sweet 16 field Sunday.
See the full bracket and rules below.
First-round voting concluded Wednesday, and the results were run through a number generator Thursday afternoon.
The numbers plugged into the generator were based on 50% fan vote/50% expert vote. Nos. 1 to 100 were put into the generator. Using the Florida State-Arkansas-Little Rock matchup as an example, the Seminoles were picked by 100% of our experts and 90% of the readers — so they got 95 out of 100 numbers. The generator then picked one number, and whichever team was assigned that number was the winner.