The 2016 NCAA Tournament is upon us as it is just one week away, so today we continue our eight-part series on seeding trends since 2001 by featuring the 7-seeds and 10-seeds.
Well, the most exciting three weeks in sports is just about here as the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament begins next week! The festivities kick off with the First Four from Dayton next Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the round of 64 next Thursday and Friday, March 17th and 18th. So while we will still be providing daily NCAA basketball picks here, today we have the seventh of our eight-part series on seeding trends since 2001 starting with that round of 64.
Semantically speaking, the round of 64 is now officially the Second Round and, as usual, it takes place at various sites. This year, the Thursday sites are Denver, Des Moines, Providence and Raleigh while the Friday venues shift to Brooklyn, Oklahoma City, St. Louis and Spokane. Teams are not allowed to be seeded literally on their home floors, but the selection committee does give geographic preference to the top seeds, placing them in their home state or nearby.
NCAA Tournament ATS Records are Since 2001
So we have gone back and analyzed the NCAA basketball odds boards by individual seed for every round for the last 15 NCAA Tournaments since 2001, and we are presenting the results here for two seeds daily. Today we are analyzing the 6-seeds and 11-seeds, which as you know are the seeds that match up in the Second Round, or round of 64. And while we briefly discuss straight up records by seed by round, our main focus of course will still be on ATS performance.
Keep in mind one format change that took place during the course of this 15-year study happened in 2011, when the NCAA Tournament field expanded from 65 to 68 teams. So instead of having just one play-in game between the 64th and 65th overall seeds for a spot in the round of 64, the First Four was born in 2011, which is effectively four play-in games to advance to the Second Round of 64 teams. Therefore, the First Four is now officially called the First Round.
And now without any further ado, here is our look at the seeding trends for the 7-seeds and the 10-seeds in the NCAA Basketball Tournament since 2001. Remember that all of these ATS records are based on the closing lines from Pinnacle Sports.
7-Seeds vs. 10-Seeds in Second Round
If you have been following this series, you are aware that the 12-seed beating the 5-seed has been the most popular big upset in the Round of 64 with 5-seeds going just 34-26 straight up, and even 6-seeds have had a better straight up record at 36-24. Well, that anomaly has continued with the 7-seeds, as they have a better record than 6-seeds at 38-22 straight up, and 7-seeds also have the best ATS record of all seeds in the Second Round at 35-25, 58.3 percent ATS!
The 7-seeds have beaten the 10-seeds by an average score of 70.3-66.8.
Last season was more of the same with the 7-seeds going 3-1 both ATS and straight up in this round, but not all won straight up and covered in the same game. That is because seventh seeded VCU was an underdog to 10th seeded Ohio State but covered the spread in a 75-72 loss, while seventh seeded Wichita State failed to cover the spread in an 81-76 win over the 10-seeds from Indiana.
What Have 7-Seeds Done Afterwards?
Now, the 7-seeds that have advanced to the Round of 32 are just 12-26 straight up, although they are a respectable 19-18-1 ATS and it is worth noting that 11 of the 12 straight up wins were over higher 2-seeds. The 7-seeds have gone 11-25 straight up and 18-17-1 ATS when matched up with 2-seeds whole losing by an average score of 69.8-73.3.
Last year was a banner year for the 7-seeds that advanced as they went 2-1 both straight up and ATS despite being matched with 2-seeds on all three games. To be fair, Wichita State actually closed as a favorite when the Shockers beat Kansas 78-65, although seventh seeded Michigan State was a legitimate underdog in its upset of second seeded Virginia.
Interestingly, 7-seeds are only 1-1 straight up and ATS when matched up with 15-seeds in this round of 32 despite outscoring them 77.5-65.5, as an 84-50 rout by Florida over Norfolk State in 2012 was more than offset by the Cinderellas from Florida Gulf Coast becoming the only 15-seed to win a game in the Round of 32, upsetting the 7-seeds from San Diego State in 2013.
The 7-seeds that have advanced to the Sweet 16 are now 6-6 both straight up and ATS, but ironically 7-seeds are 6-4 both straight up and ATS this round when matched up with higher seeds, actually winning by an average of 68.5-67.4. Last season saw the 7-seeds split 1-1 both straight up and ATS, but once again the win came over a higher seed when Michigan State knocked of third seeded Oklahoma 62-58!
However, 7-seeds were upset outright both times they faced lower seeds in this round while getting outscored 63.5-73.5. 11th seeded Temple beat Penn State way back in 2001 and then 11th seeded George Mason upset Wichita State during Mason’s improbable run to the Final Four in 2006.
Michigan State then became the second 7-seed to win a game in the Elite Eight in as many years, joining Connecticut in 2014, after the 7-seeds had been 0-4 straight up since 2001 prior to that. However, despite that 2-4 straight up mark, the 7-seeds are now 4-2 ATS in the Elite Eight while being outscored by an average of only 71.3-73.3 despite facing higher seeds every time.
Michigan then could not match the feat of Connecticut in the Final Four Round, as the Spartans lost and failed to cover ATS last year in a blowout loss to Duke after Connecticut upset top seeded Florida 63-53 this round in 2014.
Thus, those 2014 Huskies remain the only 7-seeds to reach the National Championship Game, and they completed the deed despite being underdogs to eighth seeded Kentucky, prevailing by a 60-54 count to win the championship.
What Have 10-Seeds Done Afterwards?
If you like NCAA Tournament oddities, consider that the 10-seeds that have advanced to the round of 32 have gone 10-12 straight up, presenting great potential for profit on the money line, as well as going a very solid 13-9, 59.1 percent ATS. Those records are more impressive when you consider 20 of the 22 matchups for the 10-seeds this round have been vs. 2-seeds, and the 10-seeds are 8-12 straight up and 11-9 ATS in those games getting outscored 66.8-70.9.
Unfortunately, Ohio State did not fare as well last season getting blown out by second seeded Arizona 73-58. And on the two occasions when 10-seeds have been matched with 15-seeds since 2001, the 10-seeds are 2-0 both straight up and ATS while winning comfortably 73.0-57.5.
The Sweet 16 has been the end of the line more often than not for the 10-seeds as they are 2-8 straight up and 4-6 ATS this round. The 10-seeds have gone 2-6 straight up and 4-4 ATS when matched up with higher seeds despite hanging in reasonably well getting outscored 67.1-71.0. Surprisingly however, when 10-seeds have had the seemingly good fortune to meet 11-seeds, they are 0-2 straight up and ATS while getting outscored 71.5-77.0.
The Elite Eight was then definitely been the end of the line for the pair of 10-seeds that have gotten this far, as both lost straight up vs. higher seeds by an average score of 63.0-70.0, although they have gone 1-1 ATS thanks to Davidson, led by a young Stephen Curry, almost shocking Kansas in a two-point loss back in 2008.