The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament are quite possibly the four most exciting days in all of sports. The non-stop coverage, mixed with the all-encompassing appeal of filling out a bracket makes us all basketball fans during this maddening month. But every year, the underdogs are the ones that pull on our heart strings, as we root for teams we’ve never heard of to accomplish the unthinkable.
We call them bracket busters, long shots and dark horses. They excite us because they are physical representations of the one-in-a-million. They remind us that impossible can happen. They remind us that rankings are just numbers when the game starts.
This year, the first round saw 13 higher seeds advance, which matched 2001’s record, dating back to the 1985 season when the field expanded to 64 teams.
But just how rare are upsets? According to political scientist Ivan Arreguin-Toft, who analyzed the wars over the last 200 years, underdogs won 28.5% of the time. However when underdogs address their weaknesses and take advantage of their atypical strengths, that win percentage increases to 63.6%.
We love to see underdogs take down the Goliaths because they give us hope. These stories fuel our own dreams and ambitions.
Every company starts as an idea. People need to buy into their unconventional strengths and believe they have a chance against the established players. This is crucial to help motivate us all during times of doubt.
So here is to the underdog. We salute your efforts and embrace the madness you create. Keep fighting.