The anticipation keeps building just two weeks before the 2016 NCAA Tournament, so we continue our eight-part seeding trend series today by featuring the 6-seeds and 11-seeds.
We are now just two weeks removed from the start of the most exciting three weeks in sports, the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament! It all begins with the First Four from Dayton Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15th and 16th and continues with the round of 64 Thursday and Friday, March 17th and 18th. While we will still have our daily NCAA basketball picks here, today we offer the fifth of our eight-part series on seeding trends since 2001 starting with that round of 64.
The round of 64 is now officially the Second Round and it takes place at various sites as usual. This year, the Thursday venues are Denver, Des Moines, Providence and Raleigh while the Friday venues are Brooklyn, Oklahoma City, St. Louis and Spokane. Teams are not allowed to be seeded literally on their home floors, but the selection committee gives preference to the top seeds geographically, usually placing them in either their home state or very close by.
NCAA Tournament ATS Records are Since 2001
Now, we have gone back and analyzed the NCAA basketball odds boards by individual seed for every round of every NCAA Tournament since 2001, and we are presenting the results here for two seeds daily. Today we turn our attention to the 6-seeds and 11-seeds, which as you probably know are the seeds that match up in the round of 64 (Second Round). We will briefly discuss straight up records by seed by round, but our primary focus will still be on ATS records.
Remember there was one format change that took place during the course of this 15-year study, which was in 2011 when the NCAA Tournament field expanded from65 to 68 teams. So unlike having just one play-in game between the 64th and 65th overall seeds for a spot in the main bracket, 2011 marked the birth of the First Four, which is essentially four play-in games to advance to that Second Round of 64 teams. Thus, the First Four is now the First Round.
So now with no further ado, here is our look at the seeding trends for the 6-seeds and the 11-seeds for the last 15 NCAA Basketball Tournaments since 2001. Keep in mind that all of these ATS records are based on the closing lines from Pinnacle Sports.
6-Seeds vs. 11-Seeds in Second Round
If you were with us for the previous part of this series, then you know that the 5-seed losing to the 12-seed has been the most poplar upset in the Round of 64 the last 15 years with the 5-seeds going just 34-26 straight up. We reference that because the 6-seeds have actually fared better on the court in their first game going 36-24 straight up vs. the 11-seeds, albeit while going a nondescript 29-30-1 ATS and winning by a fairly narrow average score of 67.9-65.4.
Last season was a mediocre one both on the court and ATS for the 6-seeds as they split the four matchups with the 11-seeds 2-2 both straight up and vs. the number. What was interesting was that one of the 6-seeds was an underdog in 2015, although Butler proved the oddsmakers wrong by winning 56-48 over the slightly favored 11-seeds from Texas.
What Have 6-Seeds Done Afterwards?
The 6-seeds that have made it to the round of 32 have proceeded to go just 15-21 straight up and 17-17-2 ATS. Remember though that when the seeding has held, the 6-seeds have been matched up with the better 3-seeds in this round. The 6-seeds are a dismal 10-21 straight up and 13-16-2 ATS when matched with 3-seeds despite losing narrowly by an average score of 69.0-70.1. Conversely, 6-seeds are 5-0 straight up and 4-1 ATS vs. 14-seeds, winning 73.8-58.8.
The 6-seeds that advanced to the round of 32 split 1-1 last season but they were a perfect 2-0 ATS. Xavier won and covered over the 14th seeded Cinderellas from Georgia State while Butler took third seeded Notre Dame down to the final buzzer, covering the number in a narrow 67-64 defeat.
Once the 6-seeds that have reached the Sweet 16, they have not fared well the last 15 years going 3-12 straight up although they are a decent 8-6-1 ATS. But once again, remember that many of those defeats came vs. higher seeded 2-seeds. The 6-seeds have gone 2-10 straight up against 2-seeds this round, but they are actually 7-4-1 ATS in those games while losing by an average of 67.6-74.0.
Last year was par for the course when Xavier lost outright but covered ATS in a 68-60 defeat to second seeded Arizona. However, 6-seeds are also a disappointing 1-2 both straight up and ATS vs. lower seeds in this Sweet 16 since 2001 despite marginally outscoring those foes 61.0-60.3.
The Elite Eight has been the end of the line for 6-seeds over the last 15 years as they are 0-3 straight up this round, although it is worth noting that they have gone 2-1 ATS despite losing by an average of 73.3-79.0. In a bit of irony, both of the ATS covers have come when matched up with 1-seeds while the ATS loss came when Tennessee lost by double-digits to a 5-seed in Michigan State in 2010.
What Have 11-Seeds Done Afterwards?
The 11-seeds that pulled upsets in the round of 64 held their momentum pretty well in the round of 32, going a better than expected 10-14 straight up although they are just 11-12-1 ATS. What makes that 10-14 record even better is that 22 of the 24 matchups have been vs. 3-seeds, against whom the 11-seeds are 8-14 straight up and 9-12-1 ATS while losing by an average of 65.9-72.4.
Last year marked the second matchup between an 11-seed and a 14-seed this round in the last 15 years and 11th seeded UCLA won and covered in a 17-point blowout of UAB. The other 11-seed to advance last year was not as fortunate as Dayton drew third seeded Oklahoma and failed to cover the spread in defeat.
Next, the 11-seeds that have reached the Sweet 16 have been respectable for the most part, going 4-6 straight up and 5-4-1 ATS while not getting outscored terribly 66.9-69.8 despite facing higher seeds every time. Last year was not a good one though as UCLA failed to cover ATS in a 12-point loss to second seeded Gonzaga.
Moreover, two of the 11-seeds that have reached the Elite Eight have continued their Cinderella runs by winning yet again, going 2-2 straight up and 2-1-1 ATS with all four matchups coming vs. 1-seeds, only getting outscored 67.8-69.0.
However, the Final Four round proved to be midnight for the two 11th seeded Cinderellas that advanced to the final weekend of the tournament, which were George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011, as not only did they go no further but they also went 0-2 ATS, losing by an average score of 60.0-71.5.