Bracketology 101 - No. 2 vs. No. 15 Seeding Trends

Kansas Jayhawks

Jay Pryce

Friday, February 17, 2017 7:10 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 7:10 PM UTC

In the second of an eight-part series exploring seeding trends for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, we examine the No. 2 and No. 15 teams.

For The First Part Of This Article, Click Here


Selection Sunday for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place March 12, but it's never too early to begin handicapping the much-anticipated event. To help, we will roll out an updated version of the eight-part series on March Madness seeding trends painstakingly put together last year by SBR Picks contributor LT Profits. LT Profits poured through historic betting market data since 2001 to provide ATS records and more for each of the first-round pairings. Look for updated write-ups on Thursday and Friday of each week heading into the Big Dance. Do note the results look over the past play-in game arrangement involving the 64th and 65th seed, as well as the expanded 68-team format starting in 2011.

No. 2 vs. No. 15

There are a handful of historic upsets marking this pairing, and overall its been favorable for underdog bettors. In 1991, Richmond became the first 15-seed to slay a giant, beating Syracuse 73-69 in what many consider the biggest upset in tournament history. Santa Clara and Coppin State followed suit in the decade. Since 2001, Hampton, Norfolk State, Lehigh, Florida Gulf Coast and Middle Tennessee St. have accomplished the feat. The Blue Raiders toppled mighty Michigan State 90-81 as 16.5-point pups in the first round of last year’s dance, dealing the Spartans their second biggest loss in program history (Texas Southern, +24.5, 2014). Since 2001, 2-seeds are 59-5 SU and 28-34-2 ATS in this pairing with an average winning margin of +15.5 points.

No. 2 Post First-Round Performance

The upsets keep coming in the round of 32 for 2-seeds. Since 2001, they are 39-20 SU, despite tipping off favorites in all but one contest. Xavier added to the list in last year’s tournament, falling 66-63 to Wisconsin as 5-point chalk in the NCAA Basketball odds. Overall, the 2-seed is 27-31-1 ATS in this round, winning by a +3.7 average margin.

The Sweet Sixteen has fared better for 2-seeds, going 30-9 SU and 20-17-2 ATS since 2001. The Elite Eight is where the competition gets toughest. They are 15-15 SU and 14-15-1 ATS. The surprising trend in this round is the 2-seeds solid performance against 1-seeds and lack of success against lesser. They are 13-8 SU and ATS versus top seeds, yet a dismal 2-7 SU and 1-7-1 ATS against 3-seeds and higher.

Since 2001, the Final Four has seen 2-seeds go 7-8 SU and 6-8-1 ATS in the semi-final round. This includes two matchups between 2-seeds: Kansas and Ohio State in 2012 and Villanova and Oklahoma last year. Versus other seeds, they are 5-6 SU and 4-6-1 ATS. Villanova, with its 3-pointer buzzer-beating win over North Carolina last year, bucked the trend for 2-seeds reaching the championship game. Including the Wildcats win, they are 2-5 SU and ATS in the title tilt.

No. 15 Post First-Round Performance

Since 2001, only five 15-seeds have advanced past the first round, and Florida Gulf Coast (2013) is the lone Cinderella to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. The magic has run out for the most part. Overall, 15-seeds are 1-4 SU and ATS in the second round. Syracuse routed Middle Tennessee State 75-50 as 6-point favorites last year. The four 15-seeds to fall in the round of 32 did so by an average margin of 22.5 points.

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