Before you go out and blindly fill out your bracket, here are some historical information on the seeds and how well they have performed.
First of all, I can’t stand people who fill out brackets and you have all four #1 seeds in your Final Four. People got lucky when all four of them did make it to the Final 4 two years ago as that had never happened in history before. As a matter of fact, 3 #1 seeds have made it to the Final 4 only three other times since 1979 (1993, 1997 and 1999).
Be careful on making bold predictions for teams making a long run though. Everyone knows a 16-seed has yet to win a game in the tournament but be on the lookout for Lehigh and Vermont teams giving Kansas and Syracuse some trouble before bowing out. I am hopeful that the 1/16 upset happens this year (sans the Duke game) but you never know. Did you know no 14 or 15 seed has won a game in the tournament in the past 3 years, and they have won a combined 3 games in the past decade? You should be comfortable in advancing all the top three seeds without much hesitation.
Teams seeded 13th or lower in the NCAA tournament have been first-round “giant killers” 41 times since the field was expanded to 64 teams. Of those surprises, 30 have been decided by fewer than 6 points or in overtime. So if you feel confident about Siena or Murray State, go for it and take that chance.
The dreaded 5/12 upset seems to happen every year. Only twice in the past 20 years (2000 and 2007) has there not been a 12-seed advancing at least into the second round but the furthest a 12-seed has made it is the Elite 8. The only double digit seeds to make it to the Final 4 are LSU (’86) and George Mason (’06) who were both 11-seeds.
The 8/9 games are statistically a toss-up. Since 1985, the 8-seed has won 46 times but has lost 54 times but over the course of the tournament, the 8-seed is 66-99 while the 9th seed are 58-100.
When determining teams for your Final 4, you’re safe to have team that are seeded 5th or higher. In the past decade, only 3 teams seeded 6th or lower have made the Final 4 and it has only happened in 2 years (2000, 2006).
No seed ranked 9th or lower has ever won the Championship. No 5th or 7th seed has ever won a Championship but they have made it to the Title Game 3 times (1984, 2000 and 2002). Unlikely champions are a 4th seed (once – 1997), 6th seed (twice – 1983, 1988) and 8th seed (once – 1985).
Let me know who you have in your Final 4 and your eventual champions. What kind of upsets are you expecting? Do you believe that Purdue will really be that bad and lose to Siena? Which #1-seed goes down first?
My answers: expecting two 5/12 upsets a couple of 10 and 11 seeds winning. Think Purdue will keep the game close but Siena will win it in the end. First #1 seed to go down will be Kentucky because of their youth and inexperience.