We are just three weeks away from the start of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, and today we present the third of our eight-part series on seeding trends featuring 3-seeds and 14-seeds.
The NCAA Tournament is now just three weeks away as it begins with the First Four from Dayton on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15th and 16th. That is followed by the round of 64, now known to as the Second Round, on Thursday and Friday, March 17th and 18th, and while we will continue to provide NCAA Basketball picks almost daily here at Sportsbook Review, this is the third of our eight-part series on seeding trends since 2001 beginning with that round of 64.
The second round will take place at various sites as always, with the Thursday venues this year being Denver, Des Moines, Providence and Raleigh and the Friday venues being Brooklyn, Oklahoma City, St. Louis and Spokane. Keep in mind that while teams are not allowed to be seeded literally on their home floors, the selection committee does give preference geographically to the top seeds, usually placing them in either their home states or very close by.
NCAA Tournament ATS Records are Since 2001
So what we have done is go back and analyze the NCAA Basketball odds by individual seed for every round of every NCAA Tournament since 2001, presenting the results for two seeds daily in this series. Today we look at the 3-seeds and 14-seeds, which are the seeds that match up in the round of 64 or Second Round. We briefly discuss straight up records by seed by round, but since our focus is on betting, the primary emphasis will be on ATS performance.
There was one format change that occurred during the course of this study in 2011, as until then there was only one play-in game between the 64th and 65th seeds in the entire tournament. But then the tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011, thus creating the First Four which is essentially four play-in games, although those games are now officially known as the First Round.
And so with no further ado, here is our look at the seeding trends for the 3-seeds and 14-seeds over the 15 NCAA Basketball Tournaments since 2001, with all ATS records based on the closing lines at Pinnacle Sports.
3-Seeds vs. 14-Seeds in Second Round
If you were paying attention during the first two parts of this series, you should be very well aware that 1-seeds are a perfect 60-0 and 2-seeds are 56-4 straight up in the Round of 64 since 2001. Well, the 3-seeds have also dominated in general vs. the 14-seeds during this span going 53-7 straight up, but they have still been very modest betting propositions this round going 31-27-2, 53.4 percent ATS while winning by an average score of 71.9-61.2!
Times could be changing for 3-seeds though as two of the straight up losses came last year in games completed within minutes of each other, as 14th seeded Georgia State nipped Baylor 57-56 and then a few minutes later UAB duplicated the trick edging Iowa State 60-59! Moreover, backers of the 3-seeds in the round of 64 were not happy as they went 0-4 ATS, with Notre Dame beating Northeastern by just four points and Oklahoma beating Albany by only nine.
What Have 3-Seeds Done Afterwards?
The 3-seeds have advanced to the Round of 32 have gone 35-18 straight up, but more importantly they have been good bets going 28-22-3, 56.0 percent ATS overall while winning be an average score of 72.0-67.2. The 3-seeds swept their two games last year in this round but they went 1-1 ATS, as Notre Dame just missed the cover beating Butler by three points as a four-point favorite.
Oklahoma did not have an easy time with Dayton either, but at least its six-point win was good enough to get the money with the Sooners also being four-point chalk.
The Sweet 16 has not been a great round for the 3-seeds as they are just 17-18 straight up and 16-19, 45.7 percent ATS. It has not really mattered from a betting standpoint if the 3-seeds have been matched up with 2-seeds or lower seeds either, as they are 7-12 straight up and 9-10 ATS vs. 2-seeds while getting outscored by an average of 69.4-71.6, and 10-6 straight up but 7-9 ATS vs. lower seeds while slightly outscoring those opponents 70.1-68.2.
Interestingly, both 3-seeds drew lower 7-seeds in this Sweet 16 last year but they still only split both straight up at ATS. To be fair though, Oklahoma did not lose to a typical 7-seed in Michigan State as the Spartans went on to reach the Final Four.
Once the 3-seeds that advanced to the Elite Eight, they have gone 7-10 straight up and 8-9 ATS, but they have actually been more competitive vs. 1-seeds this round than vs. lower seeds. The 3-seeds are 7-6 ATS and a respectable 5-8 straight up vs. 1-seeds while narrowly losing by an average score of just 74.7-74.2! Notre Dame very nearly made it 8-9 straight up last year just getting nipped 68-66 by then undefeated Kentucky, although the Irish obviously covered ATS.
Conversely, when 3-seeds have been matched up with lower seeds this Elite Eight round, they have gone 2-2 straight up but just 1-3 ATS while actually getting outscored by the lower seeds 60-5-67.0.
As for the Final Four round, the 3-seeds have gotten this far have gone 4-3 both straight up and ATS, but they are only 2-3 straight up and ATS when matched up with higher seeded 1-seeds or 2-seeds, getting outscored in those games 75.2-84.2. On the flip side, the 3-seeds are 2-0 both straight up and ATS when facing lower seeds, winning by an average score of 64.5-56.5.
It is interesting that the 3-seeds that have made it to the National Championship Game have tended to finish the deal, being crowned NCAA Basketball Champions in three of their four trips while also going 3-1 ATS. The 3-seeds have faced 2-seeds for the national title three times going 2-1 both straight up and ATS while winning by an average of 75.7-72.3. The only 3-seed not to face a 2-seed was Connecticut in 2011, which beat an eighth-seeded Cinderella in Butler 53-41.
What Have 14-Seeds Done Afterwards?
Unfortunately the seven Cinderella 14-seeds that sprung upsets in the round of 64 have gone no further losing all seven round of 32 contests while going 1-6 ATS, with the first 14-seed to win during the course of our study, the 2005 Bucknell Bison, being the only one to cover the spread in a 71-62 loss to Wisconsin. That had been the only single-digit loss for a 14-seed until last year when, despite not covering, Georgia State (+6) lost by only eight points to Xavier.