We are looking at all NCAA Tournament seeding trends in the Round of 64 since 2001, and in the sixth of our eight-part series, we take a look at the 6-seed vs. 11-seed matchups.
The NCAA Tournament is upon us as it commences in just eight days with the First Four from Dayton on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17th and 18th. However, of greater interest is the Round of 64 that follows, now officially called the Second Round, as that is when the vast majority of bracket contests begin including the Free NCAA Bracket Contest at SBR! And today is the sixth of our eight-part series looking at seeding trends for the Round of 64.
The Second Round will take place Thursday and Friday, March 19th and 20th at various venues across the land, as Thursday’s games will be played in Jacksonville, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Portland, while Friday’s venues are Charlotte, Columbus, Omaha, and Seattle. Teams are not allowed to be seeded on their home floors, but the committee gives geographical preferences to the upper seeds, usually seeding them either in their home state or very close to it.
NCAA Tournament ATS Records are Since 2001
Now, what we have done is gone back and analyzed seeding trends for the Round of 64 for every NCAA Tournament since 2001, and we are presenting the results in this series one matchup at a time, continuing today with the 6 vs. 11 matchups. And while we may mention straight up records in passing, our primary emphasis will be on ATS performance for each seeding matchup, as well as trying to find possible changes in those trends over recent seasons.
Note there has been one format change since the beginning of this study, as up until 2011 there was just one play-in game between the 64th and 65th seeds in the entire tournament. But 2011 brought the expansion of the NCAA Tournament to 68 teams and thus the First Four was born, which is in effect a round of four play-in games to get into the main bracket of 64 teams. The First Four is now officially the First Round and has been played in Dayton since it began.
So moving on and without any further ado, let us take a look at the 6-seed vs. 11-seed trends in the Round of 64 since 2001.
6-Seeds vs. 11-Seeds
As we mentioned in the previous part of this series, the 5-seed losing to the 12-seed has been the most poplar upset in the Round of 64 the last 14 years with the 5-seeds going just 30-26 straight up. We mention that here to point out that 6-seeds have actually fared better on the court in their first game going 34-22 straight up vs. the 11-seeds, although they are a nondescript 27-28-1 ATS in those games while winning fairly narrowly by an average score of 68.4-66.0.
That ATS mark took a hit last season with the 6-seeds going 1-3 ATS while only splitting 2-2 straight up, as Dayton upset the Ohio State Buckeyes and Tennessee blew out sixth seeded Massachusetts by 19 points. The other non-cover came when North Carolina nipped Providence 79-77, with only Baylor winning and covering among the 6s while topping Nebraska by 14 points.
What Have 6-Seeds Done Afterwards?
The 6-seeds that advanced to the round of 32 have proceeded to go just 14-20 straight up and 15-17-2 ATS. Keep in mind that when the seeding has held though, the 6-seeds have been matched up with the better 3-seeds in this round. The 6-seeds are a dismal 10-20 straight up and 12-16-2 ATS when matched with 3-seeds while losing by an average of 68.4-71.8. However the 6s are a perfect 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS when matched with 14-seeds, winning 73.8-58.8.
Last season, Baylor bucked the ugly 6-seed vs. 3-seed angle by routing Creighton 85-55, while form held for the other 6-seed that reached the Round of 32 as North Carolina lost straight up and ATS to the 3-seeds from Iowa State.
The 6-seeds that have reached the Sweet 16 have not fared well the last 14 years going 3-11 straight up although they are a decent 7-6-1 ATS. But again, many of those defeats came vs. higher seeded 2-seeds. On the other hand, 6-seeds have beaten 2-seeds twice going 2-9 straight up against them this round, and they are actually 6-4-1 ATS in those games while losing by an average of 68.3-74.5.
However, 6-seeds are only 1-2 both straight up and ATS when drawing lower seeds in the Sweet 16 despite marginally outscoring those foes 61.0-60.3.
No 6-seed had made it beyond the Elite Eight the last 14 years as they are 0-3 straight up this round, although they have gone 2-1 ATS despite losing by an average of 73.3-79.0. Ironically, both of the ATS covers came when matched up with 1-seeds and the ATS loss came when Tennessee lost 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 have gone on to go a better than expected 9-13 straight up in the Round of 32 although they are just 10-11-1 ATS. What makes that 9-13 record even better is that 21 of the 22 matchups have been vs. 3-seeds, against whom the 11-seeds are 8-13 straight up and 9-11-1 ATS while losing by an average of 65.9-72.4.
The only tine the 11-seed was not the lower seed in the Round of 32 was last year when Tennessee beat the 14-seeds from Mercer by 20-points 83-63. In fact it was a clean sweep for the 11-seeds that got this far last season with Dayton upsetting third seeds Syracuse in the other matchup
The 11-seeds have then continued to perform respectably when reaching the Sweet 16 the last 14 seasons, going 4-5 straight up and 5-3-1 ATS while only getting slightly outscored 67.4-69.3 despite facing higher seeds every time. The fourth straight up win came last year with Dayton beating Stanford and the 11s went 1-0-1 ATS in 2014 as Tennessee got a ‘push’ in a two-point loss to Michigan.
Furthermore, two of the 11-seeds that have advanced to the Elite Eight have continued their Cinderella runs by winning again to reach the Final Four, as they are 2-2 straight up and 2-1-1 ATS with all four matchups coming vs. 1-seeds, only getting outscored 69.0-67.8. Unfortunately Dayton was not that fortunate last year, although the Flyers did ‘push’ ATS losing to Florida 62-52.
Both 11-seeds to reach the Final Four saw those Cinderella dreams come crashing down while also going 0-2 ATS, losing by an average score of 60.0-71.5.