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Ranking the NCAA Teams by Victory Thrill Factor

Ryan Kelly #34 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 2, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.
Not these guys. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The glory and fun of the NCAA Tournament, for the casual fan, lies in its potential for upsets: We all want the underdog to take down the established brand names. We, essentially, want to see Lehigh beat Duke. When the tournament tips off at 12:15 this afternoon, you will be cheering for schools you’ve never heard of in towns you’d never dream of visiting, and it will be outstanding. But we wanted to help you, casual fan, have a better idea of just how excited to be by any potential upset on the board. We thought we’d put together a list, in order, of the most exciting teams to see win in the next two days.

Now, several factors went into the making of this list.

  • Historic import: No 16 seed has ever beaten a 1 seed. So that would be a big deal.
  • Likability of the winning team: St. Louis, for a myriad of reasons, will be more fun to watch win than, say, Ohio State.
  • Unlikability of the losing team: We’re talking mostly about Duke here.
  • Local rootability: We’re aware that a ton of people we work with went to Syracuse.

So, let’s get to it: The 64 teams in order of enjoyment one should receive from their victory.

  1. Albany
  2. James Madison
  3. North Carolina A&T
  4. Iona
  5. Pacific
  6. Florida Gulf Coast
  7. South Dakota State
  8. Northwestern State
  9. Valparaiso
  10. Davidson
  11. Belmont
  12. Harvard
  13. Western Kentucky
  14. Bucknell
  15. Southern
  16. Butler
  17. Akron
  18. Montana
  19. Syracuse
  20. Mississippi
  21. St. Louis
  22. La Salle
  23. St. Mary’s
  24. Virginia Commonwealth
  25. New Mexico
  26. Illinois
  27. Villanova
  28. Oregon
  29. Wichita State
  30. California
  31. Temple
  32. Iowa State
  33. San Diego State
  34. New Mexico State
  35. Gonzaga
  36. Creighton
  37. Oklahoma
  38. Colorado
  39. UCLA
  40. UNLV
  41. North Carolina State
  42. Pittsburgh
  43. Oklahoma State
  44. Wisconsin
  45. Kansas State
  46. Memphis
  47. Missouri
  48. Colorado State
  49. Cincinnati
  50. Arizona
  51. Marquette
  52. Notre Dame
  53. Minnesota
  54. North Carolina
  55. Georgetown
  56. Michigan
  57. Florida
  58. Michigan State
  59. Ohio State
  60. Miami (Fla.)
  61. Kansas
  62. Louisville
  63. Indiana
  64. Duke (obviously)

Ranking the NCAA Teams by Victory Thrill Factor