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OHIO As An Upset Pick: Not As Popular As They're Saying

Obligatory DJ Cooper shootaround pictcure.
Obligatory DJ Cooper shootaround pictcure.

OK, so this happens tonight. Everybody's got their game preview in order? Check.

Now let's look at 'em. I'm noticing a trend here. A couple choice lines from game previews and interviews on the OHIO-Michigan game:

"For many bracket experts and fans, No. 13 Ohio is a popular pick to upset No. 4 Michigan in the first round." — Detroit News

"When the brackets were unveiled, Ohio immediately became a sexy upset pick." —

"[H]ow do you guys react from a lot of people picking Ohio as a chic pick in a game like this for an upset?" — Scout

And on and on. Maybe they do this for every game, especially a 4-vs-13 seed. They want you to watch. The "12 over 5" pick is usually the wildest of surprise victories and the 4-vs-13 is just on that edge of being predictable vs. shocking.

The obvious place I'm going to is Yahoo's pick distribution. If they're managing millions of brackets they ought to have enough data. An OHIO win is taken just 10.1 percent of the time, and that includes my bracket — and even I'm not very sure OHIO is going to win. They were the second-most-likely 4-seed taken, two percent behind New Mexico State, who didn't stand much of a chance against Indiana last night.

OK, maybe the groupthink isn't helping. Let's go to specific people! One of ESPN's 17 "featured" brackets had an OHIO victory: former NFL lineman and current analyst Mark Schlereth, who actually has them winning their second game too. His reasoning is unprovided, and for all we know it could be that hunch that helped me correctly select 13-seeded Bradley to reach the Sweet 16 in 2006 (an annual bragging point of mine).

CBS Sports' gaggle of basketball writers selected the four most likely upsets in this Round of 64 ... it ain't on there. The experts just do not seem to be putting this game on their top shelf of probable upsets. Corner them in a room and they'll discuss how OHIO can absolutely win. Well of course they can win. Anybody "can" win. Asheville "could" have beaten Syracuse.

As I've done in Q&As these days (this one and this one and also this one which is radio!) the matchup favors OHIO, but there's a reason Michigan's the 4.

I will say this: as the 51st most likely team to make the Round of 32 per Yahoo's collective, they're the 40th most likely team to get into the Sweet 16. Still a bit of a longshot but it seems like there is a nice little group of those who think they can go further.

What we can say, halfway through the Round of 64, is that we're all wanting for one of those stunners. VCU over Wichita State wasn't something that caught our eye too much. Whoa, boy, a team from last year's Final Four really shocked the world! And I hope the surprise of this round doesn't happen until Friday night, but with every powerhouse domino crushing the opposition, the law of averages gives the Bobcats that much more of a chance to be the one everybody starts discussing when they wake up Saturday.