1 Florida Gators vs. 16 Albany Great Danes, 4:10 pm ET, TBS
What is there to say about a 1 vs. 16 game?
We all know that a 16-seed has yet to beat a 1-seed, and it's not going to happen here. Is there anything at all that this kind of game can tell us?
I looked through all of the 1 vs. 16 games from the past 10 tournaments to see what I could find. What I determined is that a blowout here doesn't necessarily mean anything. In 2009, UNC beat Radford by 43 on the way to the national title. In 2011, Duke beat Hampton by 42 on the way to losing in the Sweet 16. Stanford blew out UTSA by 26 in 2004 and lost the very next round. A large margin on victory doesn't necessarily mean a 1-seed is on its way to the Final Four.
A low margin of victory is a sign of trouble, though. Nine 1-seeds failed to win their opening games by at least 15, and of them, only 2005 Illinois made the Final Four. In fact, only two of the 18 1-seeds that won their first round game by 20 points or fewer made the Final Four (11%). On the flip side, 12 of the 22 1-seeds that won by more than 20 in the first round did make the Final Four (54.5%).
So what we are looking for in this one is to see if the Gators win by more than 20. If they do, recent history says that while they could lose early, they've got a decent chance of going far too. If they win by less than 20, then it's bad news for their national title hopes. Kentucky in 2012 may have won the tournament championship after beating WKU by only 15 in the first round, but that's the exception, not the rule.
But enough about that game. It's the first day of the tournament! Use this as your game thread for the day. Good luck to you and your brackets. May the game that causes you to tear yours up be an overtime thriller.