Whereas I like the sight of a contemporary, clear NCAA event bracket, there’s nothing I sit up for extra annually than filling it in on Choice Sunday.
Fortunate for me — truly, because you’re studying this, fortunate for us — the time has come. We all know the 68 groups that can make the following three weeks go by manner too shortly, so let’s dig deep and unearth some information that you would be able to tuck away for conversations with your mates because the event performs out, and perhaps some others that you should utilize to affect your bracket choices.
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As at all times, I need to be clear about what this column is designed to be: informative and hopefully enjoyable to learn for these of you who love the NCAA event. It is not meant to foretell the outcomes of the video games, solely to offer you traits to pay attention to.
That mentioned, our nice faculty basketball writers will provide their predictions upfront of the opening tip, and our ESPN+ Tourney Instruments — Bracket Predictor, Bracket Analyzer and PickCenter — are a terrific useful resource for these in search of assist navigating their bracket.
NOTE: All stats referenced are since 1985, except in any other case famous. Moreover, any historic reference to the “first spherical” pertains to the spherical of 64, and “second spherical” is identical because the spherical of 32. The First 4 stands by itself for the needs of this column to keep away from confusion.
Quickie to say off the highest
Let’s get this one out of the best way. No crew has ever received a nationwide championship after shedding its first sport within the convention event. Final 12 months, just one top-four seed (Auburn) misplaced in its convention tourney opener. The Tigers had been blown out within the second spherical by Clemson. This 12 months, a trio of top-four seeds misplaced their convention tourney opener: LSU, Texas Tech and Purdue. Different notable tourney groups that additionally did so are Baylor, Ole Miss, VCU, UCF and Temple.
Why you must take note of the First 4 video games
Most bracket contests do not rely the Tuesday and Wednesday evening NCAA tourney video games, however there may be knowledge from the previous eight years which will assist establish an early upset candidate.
Precisely one crew from the First 4 has superior to the second spherical annually since its inception in 2011. However what’s extra fascinating is that, in seven of the eight years, it has been the crew that received Wednesday’s non-16-seed sport. In all, Tuesday evening winners have received only one extra sport within the tourney (Wichita State in 2016), whereas Wednesday’s winners have received 13 extra video games in these eight years. Final 12 months, it was Syracuse profitable two extra video games to achieve the Candy 16.
So, who performs within the late sport on Wednesday, you ask? Arizona State and St. John’s. That is the second straight 12 months Bobby Hurley’s Solar Devils are enjoying within the First 4.
First 4 members to win in spherical of 64
Superior To2018 Syracuse (11)Candy 162017 USC (11)Second spherical2016 Wichita State** (11)Second spherical2015 Dayton (11)Second spherical2014 Tennessee (11)Candy 162013 La Salle (13)Candy 162012 South Florida (12)Second spherical2011 VCU (11)Closing 4**Solely Tuesday evening winner to advance to second spherical
Easy methods to method excessive seeds that began season unranked
In two phrases: tread frivolously.
Houston and Texas Tech had been unranked within the preseason, however are top-three seeds and will enter the NCAA event within the AP prime 10 (the official ballot comes out Monday, click on right here).
Prime-Three seed & Prime 10 in AP ballot
After getting into season unranked
Misplaced in first round4Lost in second spherical20Misplaced in Candy 1616Misplaced in Elite Eight11Reached Closing Four2Since 1985
Historical past has not been variety to the 53 groups becoming that profile within the fashionable event period. Of these 53 groups, solely two reached the Closing 4 (2011 nationwide champion UConn and 2018 runner-up Michigan). In different phrases, extremely profitable regular-season groups from utterly off the radar do not sometimes emerge as nationwide title contenders.
Almost half of these 53 groups (24) did not even make it out of the primary weekend, with nearly all of these bowing out within the second spherical.
Whereas Nos. 1 and a pair of seeds that match this profile have by no means reached the Closing 4, at the least the information is not so dangerous for No. Three seeds. Connecticut was a nationwide champion in 2011, Michigan reached the title sport final 12 months, and general, 15 of the 21 No. Three seeds with this profile reached the Candy 16, with six advancing to the Elite Eight. Solely two had been bounced within the first spherical (New Mexico in 2013, West Virginia in 2016).
This 12 months’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds had been all ranked within the preseason AP prime 5, so they’re “protected” from the potential wrath of this pattern.
Is there any benefit to being the No. 1 general seed?
Since 2017, the No. 1 general seed has had the best to decide on one of many eight early-round websites to start out its tourney journey. Sadly for the primary two groups to earn that proper, their journey additionally ended the place it began. Final 12 months, Virginia suffered the sure-to-never-be-forgotten upset loss to UMBC in Charlotte. And two years in the past in Buffalo, Villanova’s protection of its nationwide title ended within the second spherical by the hands of Wisconsin.
Duke is the general No. 1 seed this 12 months. Since 2004, when the choice committee started asserting the general No. 1 seed, that crew has reached the Closing 4 46.7 p.c of the time (seven out of 15), and that is regardless of failing to get that far every of the previous three years. In the meantime, the opposite three No. 1 seeds have mixed to achieve the Closing 4 simply 35.6 p.c of the time (16 of 45).
On this 15-year span, the No. 1 general seed has received the title thrice (20 p.c), however has didn’t survive the primary weekend 4 instances. In the meantime, the opposite No. 1 seeds have mixed to win seven championships (15.6 p.c). At greatest, there’s solely a slight edge to incomes prime billing, it could seem.
The one different time Duke was the No. 1 general seed (2006), it misplaced within the Candy 16 to fourth-seeded LSU, which had Glen “Huge Child” Davis and Tyrus Thomas within the frontcourt.
Total No. 1 seeds in NCAA event
YearTeamResult2018VirginiaFirst Spherical2017VillanovaSecond Spherical2016KansasElite Eight2015KentuckyFinal 42014FloridaFinal 42013LouisvilleWon title2012KentuckyWon title2011Ohio StateSweet 162010KansasSecond Spherical2009LouisvilleElite Eight2008North CarolinaFinal 42007FloridaWon title2006DukeSweet 162005IllinoisRunner-up2004KentuckySecond Spherical
Three No. 1 seeds from the identical convention
Atlantic Coast Convention groups Duke, Virginia and North Carolina all grabbed No. 1 seeds this 12 months. That is the 10-year anniversary of the opposite different time that three prime seeds got here from the identical convention. In 2009, Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh earned No. 1s out of the Huge East.
That 12 months, whereas all three made it to the Elite Eight, solely UConn reached the Closing 4 and none of them made the title sport. The opposite No. 1 seed that 12 months: North Carolina, which went on to win the nationwide championship.
At-large groups with shedding convention information do not final
For the second straight 12 months, the bubble was thought of extraordinarily weak. There isn’t any better proof of that than seeing 4 at-large groups within the event that completed under .500 in convention play. Final 12 months, an NCAA tournament-record 5 such groups made the sector.
Of the 41 earlier groups with shedding convention information to get at-large bids since 1985, practically half (20) received their first-round sport, however solely six superior to the Candy 16, together with Syracuse final 12 months. Within the fashionable period, the one crew with a sub-.500 convention file to win greater than two video games (not counting the First 4) was LSU in 1987, when the Tigers reached the Elite Eight.
This 12 months, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio State and St. John’s match this description.
The Buckeyes (Eight-12 within the Huge Ten) and Sooners (7-11 within the Huge 12) grew to become the third and fourth groups ever to earn an at-large bid regardless of being 4 video games underneath .500 in convention play. The earlier two groups to do it each received their first-round sport earlier than bowing out within the second spherical.
In 1992, Iowa State was simply 5-9 within the Huge Eight, however acquired a No. 10 seed and beat Charlotte earlier than falling to second-seeded Kentucky. In 1998, Florida State went 6-10 within the ACC, obtained a No. 12 seed and knocked off TCU earlier than shedding to No. 13 seed Valparaiso in OT.
It is not straightforward to repeat
Villanova is trying to change into the primary repeat champion since 2006-07 Florida. Even getting again to the Closing 4 can be fairly an accomplishment, and never simply because the Wildcats aren’t anticipated to take action, as their No. 6 seed would counsel. Simply seven defending champs have returned to the Closing 4 since seeding started.
Taking it a step additional …
Neglect about repeating, or following up a title with a Closing 4 look. It has been a problem for defending champions to win greater than a sport or two. Since Florida’s repeat in 2007, no defending champion has gotten previous the Candy 16. Final 12 months, defending-champion North Carolina misplaced within the second spherical, regardless of being a No. 2 seed. The 12 months earlier than that, Villanova was the No. 1 general seed and could not get previous the second spherical, both.
Filling out your bracket is a ton of enjoyable, however selecting the correct upsets is tough. One factor that occurs most years however is troublesome to foretell is a top-four seed shedding its first sport. Solely as soon as up to now 11 years have the entire prime 4 seeds in every area survived the primary spherical, and 5 instances in 34 years (1994, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2017).
Here is a have a look at seed-versus-seed knowledge for every of the first-round matchups and traits which have emerged in recent times.
1 vs. 16
Lastly, we have now a reference level to say that No. 16 seeds do have an opportunity … even when it is a actually small one.
UMBC’s stunning 20-point win towards Virginia final 12 months was the primary by a 16-seed over No. 1 seeds in 136 all-time conferences. That enormous margin of victory is true according to what No. 1s have carried out to No. 16s via the years. Relationship again to 1998, solely 4 of 84 matchups have been determined by single digits, all of which got here in a three-year span (2012-14). Certainly one of this 12 months’s prime seeds, Gonzaga, performed in a type of 4 video games when it acquired a scare from Southern in 2013 earlier than profitable by six.
2 vs. 15
Solely eight instances in 34 years has a No. 2 seed misplaced to a 15-seed. Three of these eight losses got here in 2012 and 2013, nevertheless. Since then, 18 of the 20 conferences have been determined by double figures (common margin of 18.Three factors). The one upset up to now 5 years was Center Tennessee’s 90-81 resolution over Michigan State in 2016, when the Spartans had been a preferred decide to win the title.
Of the eight No. 15 seeds to win a sport, seven of them completed within the prime two of their standings. The one exception was Santa Clara in 1993, which completed third within the West Coast Convention.
Amongst this 12 months’s No. 15s, three of the 4 completed within the prime two of their convention through the common season: Abilene Christian, Colgate and Montana. Bradley tied for fifth place within the Missouri Valley Convention.
The final 14-seed to win within the event was Stephen F. Austin, led by Thomas Walkup, when it knocked off West Virginia in 2016. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports activities
Three vs. 14
No. Three seeds have received 84.6 p.c of all-time conferences with No. 14 seeds, and have swept all 4 tourney matchups in back-to-back years for the primary time since 2011-12. That is noteworthy as a result of 14-seeds loved a formidable four-year run once they received 5 video games from 2013-16. The final time No. 14 seeds didn’t win a sport in three straight years? A decade in the past, from 2007 to 2009.
Name it a coincidence, however the previous three No. 3s to lose within the first spherical all got here from the Huge 12: West Virginia (2016), Baylor (2015) and Iowa State (2015). Final 12 months, Texas Tech was in peril of becoming a member of that group earlier than coming again to beat Stephen F. Austin with a 13-2 run within the last 4 minutes to win by 10. And the Purple Raiders are No. Three seeds once more this 12 months. They will face the Norse of Northern Kentucky on Friday in Tulsa.
Four vs. 13
No. 13 seeds entered final 12 months’s event of their worst drought ever. They’d only one win within the earlier 4 years, after profitable at the least one sport in six straight tourneys from 2008 to 2013.
Final 12 months, No. 13s acquired their upset mojo again, as Buffalo throttled Arizona and Marshall knocked off Wichita State — and the opposite two (UNC Greensboro and Charleston) misplaced by simply 4 factors. That marked simply the fourth time in 34 years that two 13-seeds received a first-round sport in the identical event (additionally 1987, 2001, 2008).
Clearly selecting the correct 13-over-Four upset is not straightforward, however as a rule it’s one thing that occurs at the least as soon as annually. A No. 13 seed has received at the least one sport in 24 of 34 years.
5 vs. 12
For years, the primary upset discussions as soon as the bracket is revealed have centered across the 5-12 matchup, and the historic knowledge explains why.
Solely 5 instances since 1985 has at the least one No. 12 seed didn’t defeat a 5-seed in a single event. Nonetheless, two of these 5 cases have occurred up to now 4 years (2015, 2018).
Total, No. 5 seeds have received 65.Four p.c of matchups with No. 12s. The latest 12-seed to win a sport was Center Tennessee in 2017 when the Blue Raiders knocked off Minnesota, nevertheless it wasn’t even an upset, as they had been favored within the sport.
For these of you into wagering, this is a tidbit of notice: Since 2000, No. 5 seeds have misplaced straight up all thrice they weren’t favored towards No. 12 seeds.
No. 5 seeds when not favored in first spherical
Yr/No. 5 SeedOpponentSpreadResult2017 MinnesotaMiddle Tennessee+1.5Lost by 92006 SyracuseTexas A&MEvenLost by 82001 VirginiaGonzaga+Three.5Lost by 1Since 2000
6 vs. 11
No seed matchup has been turned on its head like this one.
From 1985 to 2009, No. 6 seeds received 69 p.c of the conferences, however up to now 9 years, they’ve received simply 44 p.c. It has been decidedly worse for 6-seeds up to now three years, as they’ve misplaced eight of the 12 matchups.
The tide could have turned between these seeds, however one factor that has remained unlikely is a sweep. It has been 15 years for the reason that No. 6 seeds swept all 4 conferences, and this 12 months marks the 30th anniversary of the one time No. 11 seeds received all 4 conferences.
7 vs. 10
The 7-10 pairing was once a lot nearer to a toss-up than it has been in recent times.
From 1985 to 2012, No. 7 seeds received 59.Eight p.c of conferences with 10-seeds. However since 2013, 7-seeds have received 71 p.c of the matchups, profitable three of the 4 first-round conferences in 5 of these six years.
By comparability, No. 10 seeds have carried out that simply 4 instances ever, even when you return to when seeding started in 1979.
However do not let the current dominance by 7-seeds idiot you, the video games have nonetheless been extraordinarily aggressive. Since 2010, no first-round seed pairing has had extra video games determined by single digits than this one (27), together with 12 determined by three factors or fewer or in time beyond regulation. Final 12 months, a pair of 7-10 matchups went to OT (Nevada over Texas, Rhode Island over Oklahoma).
Not that it means something, however we have now seen a No. 7 Cincinnati versus No. 10 Iowa matchup within the South area earlier than, again in 2005. In that one, the Bearcats beat the Hawkeyes, 76-64.
Eight vs. 9
You count on these to be 50/50 video games, and traditionally they’re precisely that, as they’ve cut up the 136 conferences within the fashionable period. In case you’re in search of one thing current to seize onto, No. 9 seeds have received three of the 4 conferences two instances up to now three years. That is one thing they did not do even as soon as from 2008 to 2015.
Candy 16/Elite Eight
How do the highest 16 seeds typically fare?
We already touched upon how unlikely it’s that the entire prime 4 seeds in every area will escape the primary spherical, however this is what historical past says about development to the second week of tourney play within the fashionable period:
• On common, 9.9 of the highest 16 seeded groups advance to the Candy 16 annually. Final 12 months, solely seven did so, which tied the file for the fewest in a single event (it additionally occurred in 1986, 1990 and 2000). Will these “protected seeds” do any higher at avoiding early-round heartbreak this 12 months?
• The highest 4 seeds in a area have reached the Candy 16 in solely 17 of 136 areas (12.5 p.c) since 1985. Primarily, which means it occurs in a single area each two years on common. It did not occur in final 12 months’s event, for what that is price.
In case you want any extra causes to assume outdoors the field, the highest 4 seeds in two areas have superior previous the primary weekend in the identical event simply thrice (1989, 1991, 2009), however solely as soon as up to now 27 years.
• Solely as soon as up to now 22 years have we had a Candy 16 through which all of the 2-seeds had been nonetheless alive, and a complete of simply 4 instances within the fashionable period (1989, 1995, 1996, 2009).
• Fewer than three No. Three seeds have reached the Candy 16 in seven of the previous 9 tournaments. Solely twice have all 4 Three-seeds made it (2008, 2009) and simply as soon as have they been shut out solely (1997).
• Final 12 months, just one No. Four seed made the Candy 16, ending a streak of seven straight tournaments through which a number of Four-seeds acquired that far. Included in that streak are the one two instances through which all 4 No. 4s survived the primary weekend (2014, 2017).
• Solely thrice have all Elite Eight members been seeded fourth or higher (1995, 2007, 2009). The truth is, there have been a number of groups seeded worse than fourth within the Elite Eight in 18 of 34 years. And in every of the previous three years, and 4 of the previous 5, we have had a number of groups seeded sixth or worse within the Elite Eight.
• There has by no means been an Elite Eight and not using a No. 1 seed current, and 31 of 34 Elite Eights have featured at the least two prime seeds (2000, 2011 and 2013 are the one tourneys with only one No. 1 seed). In case you are questioning, all 4 No. 1 seeds have reached the Elite Eight on eight events, though that has occurred solely as soon as up to now 9 years (2016).
• In every of the previous 11 tournaments, we have now seen one or two No. 2 seeds attain the Elite Eight. Included on this span is a streak of eight straight years through which precisely two No. 2 seeds made it there from 2009 to 2016.
What number of double-digit seeds will make the Candy 16?
You’ll be able to count on at the least one crew seeded 10th or worse to advance to the second week of play. It has occurred in 32 of the 34 years for the reason that area expanded to 64 groups. Typically, you will notice between one and three double-digit seeds attain the Candy 16.
Variety of double-digit seeds in Candy 16
Single event, Since 1985
No. of instancesLast timeZero22007One82017Two92018Three122014422011511999
Proof that 11 is the brand new 12
One of many extra fascinating traits up to now handful of years has been the annual presence of an 11-seed within the Candy 16. As bracket numerologists can certainly attest, this dialogue was once concerning the No. 12 seeds, however now not (extra on that in a second).
No less than one No. 11 seed has reached the Candy 16 in every of the previous 5 tournaments, its longest such streak. By comparability, zero No. 12 seeds have made the Candy 16 in the identical span.
Wanting on the previous 4 years, No. 11s have received a formidable 18 video games (and that is not counting the First 4 video games), whereas 12-seeds have simply three wins. Solely 15- and 16-seeds have fewer in that span.
This is not simply coincidence, although. Blame it on the enlargement of the sector to 68 groups, together with the addition of one other higher-major computerized bid when the American Athletic Convention was shaped.
In these previous 4 years, all 22 groups seeded 12th or worse have been computerized qualifiers (which is the case once more this 12 months). Which means the ultimate at-large groups within the event — typically major-conference groups with a mixture of high-quality wins and puzzling losses, or harmful mid-majors whose seeds could have been impacted by uninspiring energy of schedule — have all been No. 11 seeds. This doesn’t suggest you must draw back from No. 12s altogether, however the basic high quality of those groups has been altered some.
SeedAppearancesNo. 128No. 221No. 318No. 421No. 510No. 67No. 79No. 84No. 94No. 105No. 1111No. 123No. 132No. 151
Half of the cases (11 of 22) through which No. 11 seeds have made the Candy 16 have are available in simply the previous 9 years. How good is that? Apart from the highest 4 seeds, No. 11s have reached the second weekend extra typically than every other seed on this span.
As soon as there, No. 11 seeds have had an inexpensive quantity of success — or at the least greater than you would possibly count on from such a low seed. However, as you additionally would possibly count on, it relies on the opposition.
They’re Eight-14 general in Candy 16 video games, however simply 2-13 when going through No. 2 seeds (Four-Zero versus No. 7s and 2-1 towards No. 10s). As soon as once more attributable to powerful opposition, No. 12 seeds are simply 1-19 in Candy 16 video games, with all 19 losses coming towards No. 1 seeds (the one win coming in 2002 when Missouri beat No. Eight seed UCLA).
No. 6s feeling the pinch
Naturally, the success of No. 11 seeds is affecting their first-round pairing associate. For simply the second time ever, no 6-seeds have reached the Candy 16 in back-to-back years (additionally in 2008-09). Will they keep away from being shut out from advancing to the second week of play three years in a row for the primary time?
Elite Eight dry spells
The final time a No. 5 seed reached the Elite Eight was 2011, when Arizona defeated Duke to get there. Since then, 5-seeds have misplaced seven straight Candy 16 video games, together with three final 12 months.
One more damaging notice on 6-seeds: They’ve only one Elite Eight look up to now eight years (2016 Notre Dame). In that span, No. 7 seeds have made 4 Elite Eights. (Sadly, I am not carried out detailing the struggles for No. 6 seeds, as you will see within the Closing 4 part under.)
What number of No. 1 seeds typically make the Closing 4?
The protected play is to choose one or two.
No less than one No. 1 seed has reached the Closing 4 seven straight years and 11 of the previous 12. A number of 1-seeds have made the Closing 4 thrice up to now 4 years after it did not occur in any respect from 2010 to 2014. In 2011, no 1- or 2-seeds made it, marking the one time that has ever occurred. As you undergo your bracket, it might be exhausting to get rid of a No. 1 seed, however do not forget that historical past exhibits it is extra doubtless that no prime seeds attain the Closing 4 than it’s that every one 4 of them do. The one time all 4 No. 1s get there was 11 years in the past.
Here’s a breakdown of what number of No. 1 seeds have reached the Closing 4 for the reason that starting of seeding in 1979:
None — Three instances
One — 15 instances
Two — 17 instances
Three — Four instances
4 — 1 time
Loyola-Chicago’s Cinderella story final 12 months started with Donte Ingram’s game-winning Three-pointer to beat Miami. AP Photograph/Tony Gutierrez
Will we see one more shock Closing 4 squad?
It has been a reasonably outstanding run for Cinderella within the Huge Dance these days. Final 12 months, the slipper match for 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago. There was at the least one Closing 4 crew seeded seventh or worse every of the previous six years, which is definitely the longest such streak in NCAA event historical past (extra on a possible connection within the subsequent notice under).
Since seeding started in 1979, solely 17 groups seeded seventh or worse have reached the Closing 4, however 9 of these have come up to now eight years!
Closing 4 members seeded seventh or worse
Seed2018 Loyola-Chicago112017 South Carolina72016 Syracuse102015 Michigan State72014 Kentucky82014 Connecticut**72013 Wichita State92011 VCU112011 Butler8**Received championship
Discovering Cinderella … in Virginia’s bracket?
I feel this is likely one of the extra fascinating traits going.
Constructing off of the notice above, every of the previous 5 years the Closing 4 crew to come back from Virginia’s bracket has been seeded seventh or worse. In 4 of these 5 years, the Cavaliers had been seeded a No. 1 or 2 … which is once more the case this 12 months. In two of those years (2015, 2016) UVA misplaced to the crew that reached the Closing 4. Will Virginia lastly carry out as much as its seed? If not, which shock crew would you decide to come back out of the South area?
Group to achieve Closing 4 from Virginia’s area
Previous 5 years
YearUVA seedWhen UVA lostFinal 4 crew (Seed)20181First roundLoyola-Chicago (11)20175Second roundSouth Carolina (7)20161Elite EightSyracuse (10)20152Second roundMichigan State (7)20141Candy 16Connecticut (7)
• For simply the fourth time ever — and the primary time since 1999-2000 — back-to-back Closing Fours have been held and not using a No. 2 seed. It has by no means occurred in three straight years.
• We have now had consecutive Closing Fours involving at the least one No. Three seed, solely the third time that has occurred. It occurred in three straight tournaments from 1989 to 1991.
• The final Closing 4 look by a No. Four seed got here in 2013, when each Michigan and Syracuse squared off within the nationwide semis. The final Closing 4 journey for a No. 5 seed got here in 2010 underneath comparable circumstances, as Butler and Michigan State confronted one another. Among the many seeds which have reached the Closing 4 at the least as soon as — assume 11-seed or higher — the one seed experiencing a much bigger drought is …
• Guess who? Solely three No. 6 seeds have made it to the Closing 4, nevertheless it has been 27 years for the reason that final time it occurred (Michigan in 1992, Kansas in 1988 and Windfall in 1987).
• Once you’re in search of potential Closing 4 groups, your eyes do not wander to the 7/10 matchups on the bracket. However final 12 months was the primary time in 5 years that neither a No. 7 nor a No. 10 was among the many final 4 standing. Earlier than UConn’s 2014 run to start the streak, neither seed had gotten that far within the fashionable period.
• Final 12 months, Loyola-Chicago grew to become the fourth No. 11 seed to achieve the Closing 4 (becoming a member of LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011). These 4 journeys are greater than the Nos. 6, 7, 9 and 10 seeds have within the fashionable period.
For what it is price, there are undoubtedly some 7s and 10s with event pedigree this 12 months, like Louisville, Cincinnati and Florida.
They’re No. 1s for a cause
Regardless of all of the discuss upsets on this column, relating to choosing a winner, going with a No. 1 seed is a robust proportion play. Within the fashionable period, 62 p.c of champions have been 1-seeds, however the No. 1 vibe is even stronger once we have a look at the previous 20 years.
• No. 1s have received 14 titles in that span. The opposite six titles have been cut up by Three-seeds (three), 2-seeds (two) and 7-seeds (one). Up to now 12 years, No. 1 seeds have received 9 championships and no different seed has multiple.
• 1-seeds even have essentially the most championship-game losses up to now twenty years with seven. Nonetheless, six of these seven losses got here towards different No. 1 seeds. The one exception got here in 2016, when No. 2 seed Villanova beat No. 1 seed North Carolina on Kris Jenkins’ buzzer-beater.
Widespread traits of current champions
What do every of the previous 10 champions have in widespread?
• Prime 35 in each adjusted offensive and defensive effectivity
• Prime 30 energy of schedule, in accordance with KenPom.com
• Member of a serious convention
• Had received a nationwide championship beforehand
• Had a participant who was a first-, second- or third-team All-American
Which groups on this 12 months’s area match the invoice?>/p>
Since All-America groups will not be introduced for one more couple of weeks, we’ll change that ingredient with groups who’ve a first-team all-conference choice as a substitute. Listed here are the groups we’re left to select from:
(Listed so as of seed)
Duke (1), North Carolina (1), Kentucky (2), Michigan State (2), Kansas (Four), Maryland (6)
Listed here are different information of notice, associated to chopping down the nets on April Eight:
• Within the fashionable event period (for the reason that area expanded to 64 groups in 1985), solely two champions got here from a convention that obtained fewer than 4 bids … and none since 1990. Louisville and “By no means Nervous” Pervis Ellison received in 1986 from the three-bid Metro Convention, whereas Tark the Shark and the dynamic 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels represented the Huge West Convention, which additionally obtained three bids. This 12 months, Gonzaga is the one top-four seed from a convention that obtained fewer than 4 bids.
• A lot has been mentioned on this column concerning the shortcomings of No. 6 seeds within the event, however they’ve received two championships. Which is 2 greater than No. 5 seeds have. Three 5-seeds have reached the title sport, nevertheless it has been 9 years since that has occurred (Butler in 2010, as well as toalso Indiana in 2002 and Florida in 2000). No. 5s stay the one top-eight seed and not using a championship.
NOTE: References are since 1985, except in any other case famous
Beneath is just a little one thing on every of the 32 conferences. Some are often known as underachievers, whereas others are perennial threats to tug a shock.
The America East can without end lay declare because the convention that equipped the primary No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1. UMBC’s stunning blowout of Virginia was solely the convention’s fourth win within the first spherical, and its first since 2005. However do not let the dearth of wins cloud your view of how aggressive America East groups have been towards excessive seeds. Two years in the past, Vermont hung round towards No. Four seed Purdue earlier than falling by 10, and Albany put up combat three years in a row, from 2013 to 2015, towards No. 2 Duke (misplaced by 12), No. 1 Florida (misplaced by 12) and No. Three Oklahoma (misplaced by 9). This 12 months, Vermont acquired a 13-seed and can face Florida State on Thursday in Hartford.
Followers of the American Athletic Convention prefer to assume again to easier instances, when issues had been contemporary and new, as a result of there have not been many good recollections since. In 2014, 4 groups made the event, two made the Candy 16 and one crew, UConn, grew to become the primary No. 7 seed within the fashionable period to not solely attain the Closing 4 however win the championship. Within the 4 years since, no American crew has made it previous the primary weekend, and the convention has a complete of 5 wins in that span. The video games haven’t lacked for drama, although, as six of the 10 first-round video games up to now 4 years have been determined by one or two factors. Final 12 months, Houston suffered a heart-breaking loss to Michigan on Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beater within the second spherical, however the Cougars are again and much more harmful this 12 months, as a Three-seed.
With regards to Atlantic 10 groups within the tourney, there’s a lot to say, and it is actually about whether or not you’re a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full individual.
Conferences with most wins by double-digit seeds
Atlantic 1025Huge East24WCC20Missouri Valley19SEC19ACC18Colonial18Pac-1218MAC17Since 1985 (not together with First 4 video games)
In case you are the previous, you’ll say that no A-10 groups have reached the Candy 16 up to now 4 years, the convention’s longest such dry spell. In case you are the latter, you’ll level out that the league hasn’t had a crew seeded greater than seventh in these 4 years, so that they weren’t anticipated to get that far. Then you definately would fortunately clarify the next:
The A-10 had a double-digit seed win a first-round sport seven straight years (2011-17), a streak that got here to an finish final 12 months. No different convention in NCAA event historical past has carried out that in additional than 4 consecutive tournaments (Pac-12 from 2012-15 and Convention USA from 2015-18). And for good measure, you’ll add that the previous 4 Candy 16 groups from the Atlantic 10 have been seeded 10th or worse.
That is the primary time in 12 years the convention didn’t get at the least three bids. Nonetheless, in case your glass is really half full, Saint Louis is double-digit seed (13).
No convention has been extra prolific than the ACC, when it comes to sending groups to the event in recent times. That is the fourth straight 12 months the league has despatched at the least seven groups to the Dance, the longest present streak within the nation. However getting via the primary weekend has been problematic, even for the best seeds.
Two years in the past, simply one of many ACC’s 9 tourney groups reached the Candy 16 (nationwide champion North Carolina), as two No. 2 seeds and a No. Three misplaced within the second spherical. Final 12 months, whereas 4 of the 9 groups acquired to the Candy 16, No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 North Carolina had been eradicated within the first two rounds, and no groups reached the Closing 4 for the primary time in 4 years.
As talked about earlier, the ACC obtained a trio of No. 1 seeds. Will they keep away from the upset bug this time round?
Atlantic Solar groups have been very aggressive in recent times, together with 14th-seeded Mercer’s upset of Duke in 2014 and FGCU changing into the primary No. 15 seed to achieve the Candy 16 in 2013. This 12 months, Liberty obtained a No. 12, the convention’s greatest seed since 2001.
You possibly can say the Huge 12 has typically underachieved within the first 22 years of existence, when you think about it averages 5.7 bids per 12 months (1.Three of that are top-two seeds).
Regardless of these numbers, the convention has totaled simply 9 Closing Fours, three championship-game appearances and one title (2008 Kansas in 2008). Getting over the hump has been exhausting for the league, as groups are simply Three-10 in Elite Eight video games over the previous 10 years.
The previous two years have supplied some hope within the early rounds, although. After seeing seven top-five seeds eradicated in Spherical 1 between 2012 and 2016, that did not occur in any respect in 2017 and 2018. And up to now three tournaments, Huge 12 groups are 10-1 within the second spherical.
That mentioned, it is a better problem than regular this 12 months, as a result of the convention is and not using a top-two seed for the primary time in 20 years, and simply the second time ever.!
The Huge 12 obtained six bids, however there is not any powerhouse Kansas crew to lean on this time round, because the Jayhawks are a No. Four this 12 months. Texas Tech is the highest-seeded Huge 12 crew this 12 months, as a No. Three within the West area.
It has actually been championship or bust for the “new” Huge East, throughout its 5 years with the present membership. And once I say “Huge East,” I actually imply Villanova. The Wildcats have received two of the previous three nationwide championships, however apart from that, it has been fairly ugly. Regardless of receiving 28 bids on this five-year span — 10 of which have been top-four seeds — the convention has had simply 5 groups attain the Candy 16 (they’re 5-12 in second-round video games). Whereas Villanova has clearly carried the mail for the league, they’ve additionally didn’t ship by shedding within the second around the three years they did not win the title … all as a top-two seed. To make issues worse this 12 months, whereas the league was ultra-competitive, this 12 months’s highest seed is Marquette, which acquired a No. 5 within the West area. The one different time the Huge East’s greatest crew did not get a top-four seed was within the convention’s second 12 months, again in 1981, when Boston Faculty was a 5-seed. Heck, that is the primary time the Huge East did not have a top-two seed since 2001 (additionally Boston Faculty, as a Three-seed).
The Huge Sky is simply Three-34 within the NCAA event since 1985 and has only one win within the 2000s, when Montana defeated Nevada in 2006 as a 12-seed. The convention has not obtained a seed that prime since then. This 12 months, Montana is making its second straight look, as a No. 15 within the West area. The Grizzlies will get a rematch of their first-round sport from final 12 months, once they gave eventual nationwide runner-up Michigan some bother early earlier than falling by 14.
The Huge South hasn’t had it straightforward within the NCAA event. That is the 18th time in 28 appearances that the convention’s consultant acquired a 16-seed. That goes a good distance towards explaining why the Huge South has only one win within the spherical of 64. That win got here 12 years in the past, and by the one convention crew ever seeded higher than 13th (Winthrop, as a No. 11 seed, defeated Notre Dame). Gardner-Webb is making its NCAA event debut, and the Bulldogs will face a tall order by the title of Virginia on Friday.
Mateen Cleaves helped lead Michigan State to the championship in 2000, the final time a Huge Ten crew hoisted the trophy. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Photographs
It has been a protracted anticipate a championship for the Huge Ten. It has been 19 years since Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Charlie Bell took Michigan State all the best way. Since then, the seven convention groups to achieve the title sport have come up brief, together with Michigan final 12 months. Is that this the 12 months the Huge Ten will get again within the winner’s circle? Michigan State and Michigan are each 2-seeds, and Purdue is a No. Three.
Huge West Convention groups have only one win within the spherical of 64 up to now 13 years (No. 13 seed Hawaii over Maryland in 2016). Merely put, Huge West groups have not been in a position to overcome the low seeds which have change into an everyday factor. That 2016 Hawaii crew truly has the Huge West’s solely first-round win for groups seeded 13th or worse (1-19). Apparently, No. 12 seeds are Three-Three within the fashionable period, and solely as soon as up to now 26 years has the convention earned a greater seed than that. This 12 months, 13-seed UC Irvine enters the event with 16 straight wins.
The Colonial Athletic Affiliation has been giving NCAA event opponents suits for years, however does not have a ton of wins to point out for it. The CAA hasn’t received a first-round sport in every of the previous six years, its longest such streak within the fashionable period. Whereas 2006 George Mason and 2011 VCU had been 11-seeds once they reached the Closing 4, the final win by a CAA squad seeded 13th or worse got here in 2002, when Brett Blizzard and UNC Wilmington knocked off USC. That mentioned, when you return to 2001, 18 of the previous 22 first-round video games involving CAA groups have led to victory or a single-digit loss (14 by 5 factors or much less). Northeastern is that this 12 months’s rep, which ought to make Kansas nervous.
CAA groups in first spherical, Previous Four years
Yr/Group (Seed)End result2018 Charleston (13)Misplaced to Auburn by 42017 UNC Wilmington (12)Misplaced to Virginia by 52016 UNC Wilmington (12)Misplaced to Duke by 82015 Northeastern (14)Misplaced to Notre Dame by Four
Regardless of receiving only one bid and getting no higher than a 12-seed, Convention USA has received a sport in every of the previous 4 years. Final 12 months, Jon Elmore led 13-seeded Marshall previous Wichita State. The 2 years earlier than that, Center Tennessee took down a pair of Huge Ten groups as a 12- and 15-seed, and in 2015 14th-seeded UAB upset Iowa State. Will 14th-seeded Previous Dominion lengthen the streak this 12 months? The Monarchs will sq. off with Purdue on Thursday.
Issues simply have not been the identical for the Horizon League since Butler left. The league’s seven-year winless streak within the event win is its longest ever. Butler has 13 of the Horizon’s previous 14 tourney wins (Cleveland State has the opposite), which dates again to 2007. Poor seeding has the Horizon swimming upstream, as that is the eighth straight 12 months the convention consultant has been seeded 13th or worse (Northern Kentucky is a No. 14 seed within the West area). The bottom-seeded league crew to win an NCAA event sport was 14th-seeded Xavier in 1991, when it was referred to as the Midwestern Collegiate Convention.
The Ivy League champion has been a handful for first-round opponents in recent times. Ivy groups are Four-5 within the first around the previous 9 years, with the one double-digit loss coming final 12 months from a No. 16 seed (Penn misplaced by 16 to Kansas). Of the opposite 4 losses in that span, three have come by precisely two factors. There was a distinction in competitiveness between 12- and 13- seeds and groups seeded 14th or worse, as you would possibly count on.
Groups seeded 14th or worse are 1-13 with three single-digit losses. No. 13 seeds nonetheless have only one win (1-6), however with a pair of two-point losses to bluebloods in 2011 (Princeton vs. Kentucky) and 2015 (Harvard vs. North Carolina). No. 12s have had essentially the most success (Three-Four, with all losses by single digits).
This 12 months, Yale is a 14-seed within the East, so LSU ought to count on a combat on Thursday. The Bulldogs received their first NCAA event sport in 2016 once they beat Baylor as a No. 12 seed.
The MAAC hasn’t had a crew win a sport since 2009, when Fran McCaffery was teaching No. 9 seed Siena to a double-OT victory over Ohio State. For the fourth straight 12 months, Iona received the MAAC event, and the Gaels have had a unique seed every of these years. They’ve misplaced by a mean of 17 factors within the first spherical as a 13-, 14- and 15- seed, and this 12 months they may play North Carolina as a 16-seed.
Final 12 months, the Mid-American Convention acquired a monkey off its again when Buffalo grew to become the primary MAC crew to win an NCAA event sport since 2012, when it throttled Arizona by 21. That was as a No. 13 seed. This 12 months, it is a utterly completely different story, because the expectations sixth-seeded Buffalo carries into this 12 months’s Huge Dance are in contrast to any a MAC crew has skilled within the fashionable period. Since 1985, the best seed the MAC had obtained till this 12 months was a No. 9, carried out on three events (1989 Ball State in 1989, 1996 Japanese Michigan in 1996, 2008 Kent State in 2008). In case you return to 1979, when seeding started and the sector was smaller, Toledo was a No. 5 that 12 months and received one sport to achieve the spherical of 16. The MAC has had only one Candy 16 crew up to now 16 years (Ohio in 2012) and one Elite Eight crew within the fashionable period (2002 Kent State in 2002). On the 20th anniversary of Wally Szczerbiak and Miami (Ohio) dashing to the Candy 16 as a 10-seed, will Buffalo give the MAC one thing new to have fun?
The MEAC hasn’t performed a first-round sport since 2016, as its groups have misplaced within the First 4 the previous two years. On the optimistic facet, the convention does personal three of the eight wins by No. 15 seeds within the first spherical (the one convention with a number of wins as a 15-seed), the final coming when Norfolk State shocked Missouri in 2012. Quite the opposite, all 25 of their losses within the first spherical have come by double digits (a mean of 23.Eight factors). The MEAC has by no means obtained something higher than a 14-seed, and even that has occurred solely twice up to now 35 years. For the fourth time in 5 years, the MEAC rep (North Carolina Central) will trek to Dayton for the First 4. If NCCU beats North Dakota State, it’s going to face top-seeded Duke on Friday.
Missouri Valley Convention groups are on fairly a run, with the most recent hit being Loyola-Chicago’s enjoyable experience to the Closing 4 final 12 months as an 11-seed. However the convention has one other feather in its cap, too. The Valley is the one convention to win a first-round sport every of the previous six years and not using a loss (9-Zero), and has carried out so regardless of its groups being seeded fifth or worse in eight of these 9 video games, together with 4 double-digit seeds the previous three years. The MVC has at the least one NCAA tourney win in seven straight years regardless of supplying not more than two groups in any of these years. That is the third straight 12 months the convention has only one consultant, as Bradley makes its first look since making a its stunning run to the Candy 16 as a No. 13 seed in 2006. The duty is even taller this time round, because the Braves are the lowest-seeded Valley crew ever, as a No. 15 within the East. They’ll face Michigan State within the first spherical.
To say the Mountain West Convention has struggled within the event can be an understatement. The convention is 22-47 general (.319 win pct.) and simply six groups have superior to the Candy 16 within the first 17 years of its existence. The MW has by no means had a crew attain the Elite Eight, and No. 7 seed Nevada and No. Eight seed Utah State hope to be the primary to try this.
The Northeast Convention is the one convention that has by no means received a first-round sport (Zero-30), and NEC groups have not come near that elusive victory fairly often, both. Solely as soon as up to now 20 years has an NEC crew come inside single digits of its opponent within the spherical of 64 (Robert Morris misplaced to Villanova by Three in time beyond regulation in 2010). As is commonly the case, the shortcoming to earn a greater seed is a continuing wrestle. No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson is that this 12 months’s computerized qualifier, making it 17 straight years the convention has gotten a 15- or 16-seed. Even worse, that is the seventh straight 12 months the choice committee has despatched the NEC rep to First 4, that means a visit to the spherical of 64 remains to be a win away. Total, NEC groups are simply 2-Four within the First 4.
Ja Morant has been must-see TV this season. Will he lead Murray State to its first tourney victory in seven years? Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports activities
Since 1985, the Ohio Valley Convention has received simply six first-round video games, all coming in a pair of three-year bunches (one win every from 1987-89 and 2010-12). In all different years, the convention is Zero-28 within the first spherical, with every loss the previous six years coming by double digits. Murray State is again as a 12-seed this 12 months, however the actual information is 11th-seeded Belmont making the sector as an at-large.
The one different time the OVC positioned a number of groups within the area was 1987. That 12 months, the automated qualifier, No. 14 seed Austin Peay, shocked Illinois, making Dick Vitale ship on his promise to face on his head if the Govs received (look it up!), whereas the at-large entry, No. 12 seed Center Tennessee, misplaced to Notre Dame by 13.
Murray State is the final OVC crew to win a sport within the tourney, once they beat Colorado State as a No. 6 seed in 2012.
Final 12 months, the Pac-12 grew to become the primary energy convention to go winless in an NCAA event for the reason that SEC in 1989. If the common season is any indication, the convention’s outlook is not any extra optimistic this 12 months. The Pac-12 obtained three bids, due to Oregon stealing one, and the best seed is No. 9 Washington, making this the primary time since 2012 that the convention did not have a crew seeded sixth or higher. So far as Arizona State and Oregon are involved, there’s a optimistic spin to placed on each being double-digit seeds. Up to now 10 years, Pac-12 groups seeded 10th or worse are 9-2 within the first spherical. The Pac-12 has had 4 groups positioned within the First 4 up to now three years, together with ASU every of the previous two years. Total, the convention is simply 1-Four within the First 4.
The Patriot League has received simply three first-round video games in its historical past and only one up to now 12 years. The previous two years, although, Bucknell has put up combat, shedding by 4 to No. Three Michigan State final 12 months, and by six to No. Four West Virginia in 2017. This 12 months, Colgate is making its first event look since 1996, when Adonal Foyle was the massive man on campus and the Raiders hung powerful with top-seeded UConn. They’re the No. 15 seed within the South and can face Tennessee on Friday.
Final 12 months, the SEC obtained eight bids, its most ever, however solely two groups reached the Candy 16, and none made the Elite Eight. That is not the norm, although, because the convention has had at the least one crew attain the Elite Eight in 21 of the previous 27 years. It has been seven years for the reason that convention’s final championship, however with seven groups on this 12 months’s area, together with excessive seeds like Tennessee (2), Kentucky (2) and LSU (Three), the SEC is poised to make some noise.
The dearth of NCAA event wins for the Southern Convention is moderately stunning when you think about how aggressive its groups have been over time. Would you imagine that the one wins the convention has up to now 21 years are the three that Stephen Curry and Davidson strung collectively on the best way to the Elite Eight in 2010? Since 1985, SoCon groups are simply Three-31 within the first spherical. Nonetheless, in six of the previous 9 years, the convention rep misplaced by eight factors or fewer, regardless of being seeded 12th or worse in every sport. Final 12 months, UNC Greensboro simply fell simply brief towards fourth-seeded Gonzaga, 68-64. This season, Wofford ran the desk within the SoCon and is able to finish this dry spell as a No. 7 seed, the second-highest seed in convention historical past. The Terriers will face Seton Corridor on Thursday.
Stephen F. Austin has represented the Southland Convention fairly nicely overin the previous 5 years, with a pair of wins (as a 12- and 14-seed) and a pair of aggressive losses (additionally as a 12- and 14-seed) within the first spherical. That was a refreshing change from the earlier struggles for the convention. From 1986 to 2013, Southland groups had been 1-26 within the first spherical. Will NCAA event first-timer Abilene Christian have the ability to pull a shock as a 15 seed?
The SWAC has only one first-round win in its historical past. That was 26 years in the past, when Southern upset Georgia Tech by 15 factors. That Jaguars crew was seeded 13th, which is the final time a SWAC crew wasn’t a 15- or 16-seed within the event. Since then, the convention has misplaced 17 straight first-round video games, 10 of which have been determined by greater than 20 factors. Prairie View A&M will face Fairleigh Dickinson within the First 4, the eighth time in 11 years the SWAC has had a crew within the First 4 or opening-round sport. The convention is simply 2-Eight in such video games, courting again to 2002.
That is the ninth straight 12 months that both North Dakota State or South Dakota State has been the Summit League’s computerized qualifier. North Dakota State, which is a 16-seed this 12 months, has the convention’s solely first-round win up to now 20 years. The Bison upended No. 5 seed Oklahoma in time beyond regulation in 2014. NDSU pushed No. 2 seed Gonzaga in its final journey to the Dance in 2015. If they’re to get an opportunity to offer one other excessive seed bother, the Bison must deal with North Carolina Central within the First 4.
The Solar Belt has actually had its share of moments in recent times. The convention has received 4 first-round video games up to now 11 years, three as a 12-seed (Little Rock in 2016 and Western Kentucky in 2008-09) and one as a 14- seed (Georgia State in 2015). This 12 months, Ron Hunter and No. 14 seed Georgia State hope to supply one other bracket-busting second for the Solar Belt when the Panthers face Houston on Friday.
The West Coast Convention has received at the least one first-round sport 11 straight years and 15 of 16. However let’s be actual right here:, Iit’s nearly solely about Gonzaga placing the WCC on its again. The Zags have received their first-round sport 10 straight years, whereas the remainder of the convention has simply 5 wins complete up to now 22 years, not counting the First 4. Additionally, due to Gonzaga, the WCC has had a Candy 16 crew in a conference-record 4 straight years. This 12 months, the convention has two groups within the area (Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s). Solely thrice in convention historical past have two WCC groups received first-round video games in the identical 12 months (2000, 2010, 2017).
It has been 12 years since a Western Athletic Convention crew has received a sport within the tourney. In every of the previous 4 years, the losses have come by double digits. New Mexico State is making its seventh journey up to now eight years, as a 12-seed within the Midwest area. The Aggies will face Auburn on Thursday.
Beneath are extra notable information about many (however not all) of the groups and coaches on this 12 months’s area. They’re listed in alphabetical order in order that discovering one which pursuits you is less complicated.
Information are from the fashionable period (since 1985) except famous in any other case.
Since seeding started 40 years in the past, the Solar Devils have simply six event wins and have received multiple sport in a single tourney simply as soon as. In 1995, they reached the Candy 16 as a No. 5 seed, led by Mario Bennett and Ron Riley. ASU’s solely win up to now 15 years got here in 2009 over 11th-seeded Temple.
That is the primary time the Tigers have been to back-to-back tournaments since 1999-2000. Auburn has by no means misplaced a spherical of 64 sport (Eight-Zero), and that is even though it was a 7-seed or worse in six of these eight video games. Most of these first-round video games have been nail-biters, too, with six of the eight determined by 4 factors or much less. Bruce Pearl is hoping to achieve the Candy 16 together with his third completely different college (Milwaukee, Tennessee).
For Scott Drew and his Bears, the second-round sport has by no means been the issue. It is only a matter of whether or not they get there. Underneath Drew, Baylor is Four-Three within the first spherical, with two of these losses coming as a No. Three and No. 5 seed. However within the 4 years the Bears received their first-round matchup, they made a pair of Elite Eights (2010, 2012) and a pair of Candy 16s (2014, 2017). The diploma of issue might be a bit greater this 12 months, as that is the primary time since 2008 they’re worse than a 6-seed.
Rick Byrd and the Bruins are in search of their first NCAA event victory (Zero-7). Of their earlier seven appearances, they misplaced by at the least 12 factors six instances. The one exception was their near-upset of Duke again in 2008, once they fell simply brief 71-70. This ties for Belmont’s greatest seed, as they misplaced to Arizona as an 11-seed again in 2013.
C.J. Massinburg is the engine for a veteran Buffalo crew with designs on a deep event run. Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire
The Bulls are within the event for the fourth time in 5 years, however the earlier three journeys got here as Nos. 12, 13 and 14 seeds. Whereas they performed nicely in every of these appearances, together with a formidable 21-point win over fourth-seeded Arizona final 12 months, the expectations might be utterly completely different this time round. Fascinating storyline alert: Nate Oats was an assistant underneath Bobby Hurley, who left for Arizona State after taking Buffalo to the 2015 event. The Bulls will face Hurley’s Solar Devils within the spherical of 64 if ASU beats St. John’s within the First 4.
That is the Bearcats’ ninth straight event look, all underneath Mick Cronin. Cincinnati has only one Candy 16 look up to now 17 years (2012 as a No. 6 seed).
Duke as 1-seed, Previous 20 years
YearResult2015Received title2011Candy 162010Received title2006Candy 162005Candy 162004Nationwide semis2002Candy 162001Received title2000Candy 161999Runner-up
Mike Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to 12 Closing Fours in 34 event appearances, together with 5 nationwide championships (4 as a No. 1 seed, one as a No. 2). That is simply the second time up to now eight years that Duke earned a No. 1 seed. The significance of the Blue Devils’ ascension again into 1-seed territory within the season’s last week, which had every little thing to do with the return of Zion Williamson, can’t be overstated. Why, you ask?
Duke has not reached the Closing 4 in any of its previous seven appearances as a No. 2 seed, courting again to 1997. In that span, they’ve didn’t survive the primary weekend 4 instances.
In the meantime, the Blue Devils have received the championship two of the previous thrice they had been a No. 1 seed. Primarily, it has been title sport or bust for them as a prime seed. The previous 10 instances they’ve been a No. 1 — courting again to 1999 — Duke has reached the title sport 5 instances (profitable three championships) and misplaced within the Candy 16 the opposite 5 instances. There has merely been no in between.
That is simply the third time the Gators have been seeded worse than seventh. The earlier two instances, they misplaced within the first spherical as a No. 10 seed in 1995 and 2010. The Gators are as soon as once more a 10-seed this 12 months.
Final 12 months, the Seminoles reached the Elite Eight for the primary time in 25 years, and did in order a No. 9 seed. This 12 months, as a No. Four seed, the street should not be as troublesome early on … or so it could appear. The final two instances they obtained a seed this excessive, they had been bounced within the second spherical. In each 2012 and 2017, they had been Three-seeds, solely to be eradicated by No. 6 Cincinnati and No. 11 Xavier, respectively.
The Zags are a event fixture, with this being their 21st consecutive look. That is proper, it is the 20-year anniversary of their run to the Elite Eight as a 10-seed. Not solely has Gonzaga received 10 straight first-round video games, it’s the solely crew to achieve the Candy 16 every of the previous 4 years. This 12 months marks their third look as a No. 1 seed. In 2013, they had been upset by Wichita State within the second spherical, however in 2017 they reached the title sport earlier than falling to North Carolina.
Houston Cougars basketball is formally again! Final 12 months, they received their first event sport since Phi Slama Jama made three straight Closing 4 journeys from 1982 to 1984. That was good after a 34-year wait, however there may be unfinished enterprise to deal with after final 12 months’s heartbreaking second-round defeat by the hands of No. Three seed Michigan when Jordan Poole beat the buzzer. This 12 months, the Cougars are a No. Three seed.
Quirky stat alert: The Hawkeyes have simply three NCAA event wins within the 2000s, all as a No. 7 seed within the first spherical (2001, 2015, 2016). This 12 months, their mission is to take down a No. 7 seed within the first spherical.
All good issues should come to an finish. And so it’s that two wonderful Jayhawks streaks got here to an finish this 12 months: 14 straight years with at the least a share of the Huge 12 regular-season title and 9 straight years as a No. 1 or 2 seed within the NCAA event. This 12 months’s No. Four seed is their lowest since 2006, once they had been additionally a No. Four and misplaced to Bradley within the first spherical. KU, nevertheless, did lengthen its file of consecutive NCAA event appearances to 30.
And there are extra streaks to maintain alive as nicely. KU has received 12 straight first-round video games and, extra impressively, has made three straight Elite Eight appearances. By no means earlier than have they made 4 Elite Eights in a row.
The Wildcats ran all the best way to the Elite Eight final 12 months as a No. 9 seed. This 12 months, they may attempt to be the primary Okay-State crew within the fashionable event period to achieve the Candy 16 in consecutive years.
John Calipari’s groups have reached the Elite Eight in 9 of his previous 12 journeys to the Dance (six out of eight at Kentucky). This 12 months, the Wildcats are a No. 2 seed, which has been excellent news for Huge Blue Nation lately. In 4 journeys as a top-two seed underneath Calipari, the ‘Cats have reached the Elite Eight all 4 instances, shedding within the nationwide semis twice and profitable the title in 2012. In Calipari’s previous 10 tourney appearances as a top-two seed — at Kentucky, Memphis and UMass — he didn’t get so far as the Elite Eight simply as soon as (2009 at Memphis, shedding within the Candy 16).
The Tigers earned their greatest seed since getting back-to-back No. 1 seeds in 1980 and 1981. Regardless of 4 Closing 4 journeys in class historical past, they’ve by no means made it to the championship sport. In 2006, John Brady coached LSU to the Closing 4 as a No. Four seed, however the Tigers have only one NCAA event win since then, in 2009 as a No. Eight seed. Will this proficient crew have the ability to keep away from distractions and make a run?
Louisville has had loads of event success via the years, however by no means when seeded worse than sixth, as is the case this 12 months (it’s the No. 7 within the East area). The Playing cards have only one win within the six appearances through which they had been seeded seventh or worse, they usually misplaced by double digits in 5 of the six losses, as nicely. That win got here in 1992 as a No. Eight seed over Wake Forest.
The Terrapins have received 12 of their previous 13 first-round video games, courting again to 1998. Nonetheless, that success hasn’t carried over to the second spherical, at the least not in recent times. The Terps have only one Candy 16 look up to now 15 years (2016); they’ve misplaced 5 of their previous six second-round video games.
It is not exhausting to understand what John Beilein has carried out in Ann Arbor. Again in 2012, the Wolverines had been upset within the first spherical by No. 13 seed Ohio in a disappointing finish to season, one which put Michigan basketball again within the nationwide dialog.
The sting from that loss did not final lengthy, and it is price noting how the Wolverines have fared the previous thrice they had been a top-four seed. Final 12 months, they misplaced within the championship sport as a No. Three seed. In 2014, they reached the Elite Eight as a 2-seed. And in 2013, they fell within the title sport as a Four-seed. This 12 months’s crew is actually proficient sufficient to make one other run, as a 2-seed within the West.
The Spartans are in uncharted territory. They’ve failed to achieve the Candy 16 in three consecutive years for the primary time through the Tom Izzo period. Because the No. 2 seed within the East area, they’re favored to finish this mini-drought, however then once more Michigan State has been a top-three seed twice in these previous three years. It does not harm to have Huge Ten Participant of the Yr, Cassius Winston, operating the present for a Corridor of Fame coach.
Oh, how we lengthy for the times of Bobby Jackson and Sam Jacobson. Because the Golden Gophers’ Closing 4 season in 1997, they’ve only one NCAA event win. On a optimistic notice, that is simply the second time since then that they’ve certified for the tourney in consecutive years.
The Bulldogs are again within the Dance for the primary time in 10 years. The final time they superior to the second week of play was 23 years in the past, when Erick Dampier, Darryl Wilson, Dontae’ Jones & Co. made a stunning run to the Closing 4 as a 5-seed. Perhaps getting a No. 5 seed this 12 months is an effective omen.
The Martin twins, Caleb and Cody, hope to assist Nevada advance even additional than final 12 months’s journey to the Candy 16. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports activities
The Wolf Pack had been this near their first Elite Eight final 12 months, however misplaced to Loyola-Chicago by one level. They’re attempting to win an NCAA event sport in consecutive years for simply the second time in class historical past (2004-05).
New Mexico State
It has been 26 years for the reason that Aggies received an NCAA event sport. They’ve misplaced their previous 10 video games since then, all as a No. 12 seed or worse. The seeding points stay, as they’re a 12-seed. They’ll face Auburn within the first spherical.
Finest first-round win pct.
TeamW-LPct.North Carolina16-01.000Kentucky16-1.941Maryland10-1.909Kansas17-2.985Texas A&M7-1.875Minimal Four first-round video games performed
With regards to Roy Williams and the Tar Heels, you’ll be able to rely on a win within the first spherical. As drivers hope to do within the Daytona 500 annually, Williams has prevented “the massive one” and is 28-Zero in his profession within the spherical of 64.
Of the 115 groups to play at the least 4 first-round video games since 2000, North Carolina is the one one to not lose. The truth is, the Heels are 30-1 within the spherical of 64 all time. The one loss got here in 1999 when the third-seeded Tar Heels had been upset by Weber State, who had been led by Harold “The Present” Arceneaux with 36 factors.
Expectations are excessive as soon as once more in Chapel Hill, and Coach Williams’ UNC groups have dealt with them extraordinarily nicely. In seven earlier appearances as a No. 1 seed underneath Williams, North Carolina has reached at the least the Elite Eight each time, they usually received the title thrice in 5 Closing 4 journeys.
As a top-four seed, the Boilermakers have typically disenchanted and by no means exceeded the expectations associated to their seed. In 12 appearances as a Four-seed or higher, they’ve failed to achieve the second weekend half the time and have superior to the Elite Eight simply as soon as. Purdue’s historical past as a No. Three — which is what the Boilers are this 12 months — is especially troubling. All 4 earlier instances they’ve been a Three-seed, they’ve misplaced within the second spherical.
Purdue as top-Four seed, Since 1979
YearSeedResult20182Candy 1620174Candy 1620113Second spherical20104Candy 1619982Candy 1619961Second spherical19953Second spherical19941Elite Eight19902Second spherical19881Candy 1619873Second spherical19833Second spherical
Any faculty basketball fan can let you know it has been some time since St. John’s was a consider March Insanity. However do you know the Johnnies have simply 5 wins since legendary coach Lou Carnesecca retired following the 1992 event? To make issues worse, three of these wins got here throughout their 1999 journey to the Elite Eight.
Final 12 months, the Pirates acquired their first event victory since 2004. This 12 months, they may attempt to do one thing they have not carried out since 2000 — win two video games. That 12 months, the Corridor received a pair of time beyond regulation video games as a No. 10 seed, earlier than shedding to Oklahoma State by two within the Candy 16 with out star level guard Shaheen Holloway, who was injured within the earlier sport. And guess what? The Pirates are a 10-seed this 12 months. Wofford awaits in Spherical 1.
The Orange have reached the Candy 16 in 4 of their previous 5 journeys to the tourney, together with an Elite Eight (2012) and two Closing Fours (2013 and 2016). They had been seeded first, fourth, 10th and 11th in these journeys, so being a No. Eight seed this 12 months is not going to have an effect on them one bit.
Fran Dunphy, who will step away as head coach following the event, is 2-7 at Temple within the Huge Dance. These wins got here as a No. 7 and 9 seed, however his solely tourney win whereas at Penn (his earlier cease) got here as a No. 11 seed in 1994 over Nebraska. That is precisely what the Owls are seeded this 12 months, as they face Belmont within the First 4.
This ties for the best seed in class historical past. The earlier two instances the Vols earned a No. 2 seed, each underneath Bruce Pearl, the ending was moderately disappointing. In 2008, they misplaced to third-seeded Louisville within the Candy 16 by 19 factors, taking pictures 34 p.c from the sector. In 2006, they had been upset by No. 7 Wichita State within the second spherical. Final 12 months, Tennessee suffered comparable disappointment as a No. Three seed, shedding to 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago when Clayton Custer’s shot bounced in with Three.6 seconds left. So, why ought to Vols followers have hope this 12 months?
Apart from clearly having a proficient crew, Rick Barnes reached the Elite Eight every of his three earlier NCAA tourney journeys as a top-two seed — all whereas at Texas — together with a Closing 4 journey as a No. 1 seed in 2003. Tennessee remains to be in search of its first Closing 4 look in class historical past, and its solely Elite Eight got here in 2010 as a No. 6 seed.
For the second straight 12 months, the Purple Raiders are a No. Three seed, this time regardless of shedding their Huge 12 event opener (a nasty omen for nationwide title hopefuls, as mentioned above). Final 12 months, Chris Beard took them to their first Elite Eight, and he has a star in Jarrett Culver who can provide them an opportunity to do it once more. Tech might be seeking to win a event sport in back-to-back years for simply the third time in class historical past.
It is OK when you do not bear in mind the Aggies’ 1970 crew that reached the West regional last. Sadly for Utah State followers, they’re simply 1-15 within the NCAA event since then. That win got here in 2001 over Ohio State in time beyond regulation as a No. 12 seed. This 12 months, the Aggies obtained their greatest seed ever, a No. Eight within the Midwest area.
Up to now three years, Villanova has one fewer NCAA event win (13) than the Pac-12 has as a complete convention (14). For the primary time in six years, the Wildcats aren’t a top-two seed (they’re a No. 6). They’ve been hit and miss of their previous 9 appearances, both reaching the Closing 4 (together with two titles up to now three years) or failing to flee the primary weekend. How will the defending champs fare with out the strain of being a excessive seed?
Earlier within the column, we detailed how Virginia’s bracket has been dwelling of the Cinderella the previous 5 years. The ‘Hoos have been eradicated by a crew seeded at the least 5 spots decrease in three of the previous 4 years, so is that this the 12 months the Cavaliers flip issues round? Their current historical past as a No. 1 seed does not paint a reasonably image.
In three earlier journeys as a No. 1 underneath Tony Bennett (2014, 2016, 2018), they misplaced within the Candy 16, Elite Eight and first spherical, respectively. As the highest seed within the South area, whether or not UVA can attain the Closing 4 for the primary time in 35 years might be one of many prime storylines to comply with on this event.
The one time the Hokies ever received multiple sport in a single event was of their first look again in 1967, once they received a pair of video games to achieve the Elite Eight. Since then, they’ve only one tourney win in 4 completely different many years (’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s). Buzz Williams took Marquette to a few consecutive Candy 16s (together with one Elite Eight) from 2011 to 2013, however he is nonetheless in search of his first event win in Blacksburg. The previous two years, the Hokies had been seeded eighth and ninth, however this 12 months they’re a No. Four, the most effective seed in class historical past.
In simply his second season, Mike Hopkins has the Huskies within the event for the primary time in eight years. They’ve received their first-round sport in every of their previous 5 appearances, courting again to 2005.
The Badgers return to the tourney after that they had their streak of 19 consecutive appearances snapped final 12 months. Not solely has Wisconsin received 10 of its previous 11 first-round video games, nevertheless it has reached the Candy 16 in every of its previous 4 appearances and 6 of the previous seven. The true check of how tournament-tough the Badgers have been lies within the various seeds they’ve had in these previous 4 journeys: Eight, 7, 1 and a pair of. This 12 months, they’re a No. 5 seed.
Thanks to Chris Fallica and Bryan Ives from ESPN Stats & Data for his or her contributions to this column.