Picking March Madness Brackets: Choker’s Index 2018

Photo of Iowa St basketball players
Iowa State will not be in this year’s NCAA tournament (dead last in the Big 12) but if they were, you’d be wise to not pick them in your brackets.

It started out as a simple experiment. Which NCAA men’s basketball teams historically choked the most. It has now become a yearly obsession. Picking March Madness brackets is now an annual ritual—one that comes with fierce emotions. These emotions strongly pull most fans to move their team forward in the tournament while X’ing off the teams they hate.

Don’t let emotions rule you. You’re better than that! Use data instead.

With that in mind, I present the 2018 Edition of the Choker’s Index. What is the Choker’s Index you say? Well, I’m glad you asked.

The Choker’s Index began in 2013. Each year after I added a bit more.  Last year I published this piece right here on TrePryor.com, even though college basketball is a far cry from Louisville real estate. I say, “Adios!” to convention.

This year, I’ve updated all the data that stretches back to the beginning of the expanded NCAA field in 1985. Here are the criteria:

  • I’m only looking at schools who’ve made the tournament at least 15 years. Here are the 11 teams I added this year: Georgia Tech, Iowa, Iowa State, LSU, Marquette, N. Carolina State, Stanford, Utah, Virginia, W. Virginia and Wake Forest.
  • The Index is weighted. Opening rounds games count the most, and as the tournament progresses, the factor is reduced slightly each round.
  • When you are a higher seed and lose that’s the only thing that matters. Losing to a better team doesn’t affect the team’s Choker’s Index.
  • The bigger the defeat, the more it costs you! If you’re the #1 seed and you fall to the #2 in the fourth round, that only costs you a half point. No biggie. But when the #15 knocks out the #2 in the opening round, that’s 13 points!

Biggest Upsets in NCAA Tournament History

Speaking of which, here are the biggest upsets (choke jobs) in the history of the NCAA Tournament! I’ve linked up video highlights on those game scores. Enjoy!

Year Choker Underdog Game
1991 Syracuse Richmond 69-73
1993 Arizona Santa Clara 61-64
1997 South Carolina Coppin State 78-65
2001 Iowa State Hampton 57-58
2012 Missouri Norfolk State 84-96
2012 Duke Lehigh 70-75
2013 Georgetown Florida Gulf Coast 68-78
2016 Michigan State Middle Tennessee State 81-90

 

Choker’s in the 2017 NCAA Tournament

So before we get to the updated index, let’s see who laid down last year. Who wet the bed? Which teams simply laid an egg?

As it turns out, 2017 wasn’t a big year for upsets with just 7. Seeds held strong, even though all the experts thought the tournament was wide open. Go figure.

But here’s who did choke last year:

  1. Arizona (2) lost to Xavier (11) in the third round: -6
  2. Villanova (1) lost to Wisconsin (8) in the second round: -5.9
  3. Maryland (6) lost to Xavier (11) in the first round: -5
  4. Duke (2) lost to S. Carolina (7) in the second round: -4.2
  5. Louisville (2) lost to Michigan (7) in the second round: -4.2
  6. Florida (4) lost to Wisconsin (8) in the third round: -2
  7. Kansas (1) lost to Oregon (3) in the fourth round: -1

Putting all those together only results in a Choker Index of 28.3 for the year. Lame! It’s just a little better than the lowest year on record—a -19.2 index points in 2007.

We want more upsets. How about this year we see another year like 2001 where the index sky-rocketed up to 78.12! Let’s go underdogs.

The 2018 Choker’s Index

Ok, enough of the preliminaries, let’s get the chart so you can know who not to select when you pick March Madness brackets this year. This year I kept the negative sign so that we can better see that it’s a problem a large number next to your favorite team’s name. The Choker’s Index is the average

2018 Choker's Index
Here’s the updated Choker’s Index for 2018 so you can pick your March Madness brackets with confidence.

So we see some newcomers rise to the top of the list. Last year’s report went Missouri, Notre Dame and then UCLA. Now we’ve got Iowa State, Missouri, and West Virginia. It’s crazy because West Virginia doesn’t choke often, just 20% of the time but when they do… look out!

The inverse is Iowa State who only choked 3 games out of their 18 tournament appearances but 2 of those were massive choke jobs.

The average Choker’s Index for all the of teams in this report is -4.07, which is where the red line lives.

It’s really up to you whether to devalue teams that choke more often or those that perform the biggest chokes.

Fun Facts

  • Average Number of Upsets Per Year: 8.82
  • Biggest Upset Year: 2006 (17 Upsets)
  • Average Choker Index Total Per Year: 34.22
  • Largest Choker Index Total: 2001 (78.12 Choker Index Points)

So there you have it. Go forth and win your bracket contest!

2017 Choker’s Index: Teams That Will Wreck Your Brackets

Photo of an NCAA men's basketball team who might be the biggest chokers in the game
I’m not going to say the name of the NCAA’s biggest chokers but it rhymes with Boater Lame.

What began as a simple experiment three years ago has now become a yearly obsession! I must complete this year’s version of the Choker’s Index at all costs! You know why? Because I need to be able to identify the teams that will wreck your brackets.

If you’re not familiar with the Choker’s Index, it’s a deep-dive into the data that surrounds which NCAA men’s basketball teams have a historical record of choking the big game and thusly… destroying your bracket. It’s heady stuff.

I hear you cry, “But this isn’t real estate? What’s going on Tre?!?”

Continue reading “2017 Choker’s Index: Teams That Will Wreck Your Brackets”

Today I Was Told I Look Like Darren Gersh

Darren Gersh
Darren Gersh

Real estate is ever entertaining. Why? Because you’re always meeting new people. New people mean more exposure to new things. All kind of things. There’s never a dull moment in real estate.

Take today for instance. I met a very nice man considering a move to Louisville. We sat at Starbucks and chatted for an hour or so. During our time, I asked him how he had found me. He mentioned that he did some Google searches and found my site that way. He appreciated the writing on my site, and almost as an aside, mentioned I reminded him of Darren Gersh from Nightly Business Report on PBS. How great is that?!?

My previous celebrity comparison was Brian Boitano. I’m so glad to have moved up!