Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NCAA Bracket Facts

Here are some important things to remember when you are filling out your NCAA Tournament pool:

* A #16 seed is not going to upset a #1. It has never happened and probably never will. Those #1’s are there for a reason. According to ESPN, the average margin of victory for a #1 seed in the First Round is 29.6 points.
* A #15 seed is probably not going to fair much better against a #2 seed. Yes, it has happened before, but only four times since 1985. The last #2 seed to flop in the opening round was Iowa State when they were upended by Hampton 58-57 in 2001.

* A #14 seed has been known to spring an upset as it has happened 16 times since 1986 (full disclosure, being a St. Bonaventure alum, they have already been selected in my pool). It has happened three times since 2005: 2010- Ohio over Georgetown, 2006-Northwestern State over Iowa, and 2005- Bucknell over Kansas.

* Since 2001, 11 #13 seeds have knocked off a #4 seed and has happened in the last four years. 2011- Morehead State over Louisville, 2010- Murray State over Vanderbilt, 2009- Cleveland State over Wake Forest, and twice in 2008- Siena over Vanderbilt and San Diego over UConn.

* Everyone knows that a #12 seed will in fact upend a #5 seed as it has happened 36 times since the Tourney was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. For you stat geeks out there, that is 1.3 times per year. Only three times since 1985 has their not been a #12 to advance (1988, 2000 and 2007). In fact, some years, multiple #5 seeds have been upset including three in 2006 and 2009 and twice in 1990, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008.

* Just like the #5 seed, a #6 seed as fallen 36 times as well since 1985. In the last two tourney’s, an #11 seed has advanced five out of eight opportunities (three times in 2011 and twice in 2010).

* Since 2008, five #12 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16 (2011- Richmond; 2010- Cornell; 2009- Arizona; 2008- Western Kentucky and Villanova).

* A #11 seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the last two tournaments (2011- Marquette and VCU; 2010- Washington).

* There has only been one #12 seed to advance past the Sweet 16: 2002 when Missouri advanced to the Elite 8.
* Only 10 teams have reached the Sweet 16 as a #8 seed. Keep in mind the #8 seed will draw the region’s #1 seed in the second round. But, if a #8 gets to the Sweet 16, they usually advance to the Elite 8. It has happened seven times out of those 10 and four of those teams have advanced to the Final Four.
* No #9 seed has ever made the Final Four. Same goes for a #10 as well as #12 through #16).

* The top four teams in each region rarely end up all in the Sweet 16. While, the #1 seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 over the last 27 years 93% of the time, the rest don’t fare as well. A #2 seed has done it 68%, while a #3 seed makes it 61%. A #4 seed only advanced to the Sweet 16 only 36% of the time.

* At least one double-digit seed (#10 through #16) has reached the Sweet 16 in 25 of the past 27 years, and at least two have done so in 12 of the past 15 years. Four double-digit seeds advanced last year.

* It is a safe bet for an underdog to get to the Elite 8. At least one team seeded #6 or higher has reached the Elite Eight in 22 of the past 27 years. In 2011, #8 Butler advanced to the national championship and #11 seed VCU made the Final Four.

* There have only been three teams to advance to the Four Four as a #11 seed:
2011: VCU
2006: George Mason
1985: LSU

Good luck!

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