More Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Facts

March 18, 2009

I went back through the brackets all the way to 1985 – the first year the NCAA men’s tournament went to 64 teams – and found some more info that you may or may not find useful when filling out your brackets. Here are some of the highlights by seed:

 

         No 16 seed has ever beaten a 1 seed.

         15 seeds have won just four times over 2 seeds, but are currently on a seven-year drought – the longest since failing to win in six straight years from 1985 to 1990.

         No. 14 seeds have a 15.6 winning percentage in first round games, but have won only 5.5% of the time in the last nine years. At least one 14 seed won for seven straight years from 1986 to 1992, but only seven have won since with the latest coming in 2006.

         Last year was just the third time since 1985 that two 13 seeds won in the first round. No. 13s have averaged one first-round victory per tournament during the last 11 years, but have won just one second-round game since 1999.

         No. 12 seeds have won in the first round at a higher clip than No. 11 seeds (32.3% to 31.3%) overall, but those numbers have been skewed towards the 12s even more the last 10 years – 37.5% to 30%.

         No. 11 seeds have won just one second-round game in the last six years and just four times in the last 17 years.

         After winning just four second-round games from 1985 to 1996, 10 seeds have won 14 in the last 12 tournaments – but just one in the last three years.

         No. 9 seeds defeat No. 8 seeds 54.2% of the time, but have defeated No. 1 seeds in the second round only three times – just once in the last 14 years (2004).

         Although No. 8 seeds lose slightly more first round games then they win, they have won three times as many second-round games against No. 1 seeds than No. 9 seeds. The 8s have four of their nine wins over No. 1s in the last nine years.

         Of the six No. 7 seeds to make the Elite 8, none has ever advanced to the Final Four. Three of those six No. 7s got to the Elite 8 in the last six years.

         Only one 6 seed has advanced past the Sweet 16 in the last six years and no 6th-seeded team has advanced to the Final Four since 1992. The only No. 6 seed to win the national championship was Kansas in 1988.

         Despite averaging 1.5 teams in the Sweet 16 since 1985, No. 5 seeds have advanced to the Elite 8 just five times – just once in the last six years. But of those five teams, four advanced to the Final Four and two to the championship game. Five seeds are the highest to never have won a national title.

         Even though No. 4 seeds that win in the first round are always favorites in the second round regardless of opponent, only seven have advanced to the Sweet 16 the last six years. Only three 4th-seeded teams have advanced beyond the Sweet 16 the last nine years. The only No. 4 seed to ever win the NCAA tournament was Arizona in 1997.

         No. 3 seeds average one Final Four appearance every other year, but have made it to the last weekend of the tournament just once the last four years. However, of the three No. 3 seeds to win national championships, two have come in the last six years. No. 3 seeds are also the only ones besides No. 1s to ever account for both representatives of a national championship game (1989).

         Only three times since 1985 have all No. 2 seeds reached the Sweet 16, with the last time being in 1996. No. 2 seeds have averaged just TWO Sweet 16 appearances per season since 1999. No. 2 seeds have won just four national titles, and only two in the last 17 years.

         All No. 1 seeds have advanced past the Sweet 16 just six times, with four of those coming in the last eight years. More than two No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Elite 8 just four times, and last season was the first time that all four No. 1s reached the Final Four. Since 1975, No. 1 seeds have averaged 1.75 Final Four berths per season.

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