On Friday night, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County defeated Virginia in the NCAA tournament, becoming the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 in the tournament’s history. In an article in The New York Times on Saturday, writer Marc Tracy explained how such a shocking upset could happen. His article included a reference to the work of three Furman mathematics professors—John Harris, Liz Bouzarth and Kevin Hutson—who have studied NCAA tournament upsets. The bottom line? Virginia plays slow, and the fewer possessions a stronger team has in a game, the fewer chances that team has to show its superiority. “It’s the reason,” Harris said, “why you don’t play the World Series in one game.”
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