In this final write-up of an eight-part series exploring seeding trends for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, we examine the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds & their past betting trends with March Madness right around the corner.
Selection Sunday for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament takes place March 12. 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. It poured through historic betting market data since 2001 to provide ATS records and more for each of the first-round pairings. Do note the results look over the past play-in game arrangement involving the 64th and 65th seeds as well as the expanded 68-team format starting in 2011.
No. 8 Vs. No. 9
It’s logical that the 8-9 first round matchup is the tightest over the last 15 years. Eight-seeds are 35-29 SU and 32-30-2 ATS since 2001, winning by 0.8 points per game. This is the lowest winning percentage by a higher rank in the Round of 64, just edging out 5-seeds. In 2016, in fact, only one 8 seed prevailed: St Joe’s survived a too-late dunk at the buzzer by Cincinnati's Octavius Ellisto beat the Bearcats 78-76 as 3.5-point underdogs.
No. 8 Post First-Round Performance
The Round of 32 is where 8 seeds run into a wall. No top seed has fallen in the first round, which means every 8 seed has faced a No. 1 if they advanced. Since 2001, the results are not pretty: 5-30 SU and 15-20 ATS. St. Joe’s covered a 7-point spread in a 69-64 loss vs. Oregon last season. The few 8 seeds to advance to the Sweet 16 are 3-2 SU and ATS. Two of these winners progressed through the regional and national semifinals to play in the championship game: Butler in 2011 and Kentucky in 2014. Each dropped the title game to UConn, coincidentally.
No. 9 Post First-Round Performance
Well, if you thought the 8-seed records in the second round stunk, look again. Nine seeds are 3-26 SU and 14-15 ATS vs. No. 1 teams in the Round of 32 over the last 15 seasons. UConn, Providence and Butler each faltered last year. Overall, 9 seeds lose by 11.7 points per game in this matchup.
Wichita State, in 2013, is the only 9 seed to win a Sweet 16 matchup during this span. It lucked out by drawing No. 13 La Salle, sending the Explorers back home with a 72-58 victory. The Shockers were not finished and became the only 9 seed since 2001 to win an Elite Eight contest. They beat Ohio State 70-66 as 6.5-point underdogs. The run ended in the Final Four, losing 72-68 to eventual national champions Louisville.