We are looking at all NCAA Tournament seeding trends in the Round of 64 since 2001, and in the seventh of our eight-part series, we take a look at the 7-seed vs. 10-seed matchups.
We are now just one week away from the official start of the NCAA Tournament as it begins with the First Four from Dayton on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17th and 18th. The greater interest though is in 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 seventh of our eight-part series looking at seeding trends for the Round of 64.
The Second Round takes place Thursday and Friday, March 19th and 20th at various venues across the country, with Thursday’s festivities taking place in Jacksonville, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Portland, while Friday’s venues are Charlotte, Columbus, Omaha, and Seattle. Teams are not allowed to literally be seeded on their home floors, but the selection committee does give geographical preferences to upper seeds, usually seeding them close to home.
NCAA Tournament ATS Records are Since 2001
So what we have done is go back and analyze seeding trends for the Round of 64 for every NCAA Tournament since 2001, and we are presenting the results in this series here one matchup at a time, continuing today with the 7 vs. 10 matchups. And while we oftentimes reference straight up records, our primary focus is on ATS performance for each seeding matchup, as well as trying to find possible shifts in those ATS trends over recent tournaments.
Note that there has been one format change since the inception of this study, as until 2011 there was just one play-in game between the 64th and 65th seeds in the entire tournament. But 2011 was the year the NCAA Tournament expanded to 68 teams and thus the First Four was created, which is effectively a round of four play-in games to get into the main bracket of 64 teams. The First Four is officially the First Round and has been played in Dayton since it began.
So now without further ado, here are our 7-seed vs. 10-seed trends in the Round of 64 since 2001.
7-Seeds vs. 10-Seeds
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 30-26 straight up, and even 6-seeds have had a better straight up record at 34-22. Well, that anomalous pattern has continued with 7-seeds having a better record that 6-seeds as the 7s are 35-21 straight up and a very good 32-24, 57.1 percent ATS vs. the 10-seeds winning by an average score of 70.3-66.8.
That straight up pattern continued last season with 7-seeds going 3-1 in their initial contests, and one of those 7-seeds, the Connecticut Huskies eventually won the national championship! The lone 7-seed to taste defeat was New Mexico, which fell to 10th seeded Stanford. The 7-seeds were only 2-2 ATS in the Round of 64 though with Texas narrowly missing covering the 2½-point spread in an 87-85 win over
What Have 7-Seeds Done Afterwards?
Unfortunately, 7-seeds that have advanced to the Round of 32 are just 10-25 straight up, although they are 17-17-1 ATS and it is worth noting that nine of the 10 straight up wins were outright upsets of 2-seeds, including Connecticut over Villanova last season. The 7-seeds have gone 9-24 straight up and 16-16-1 ATS when matched up with 2-seeds whole losing by an average score of 69.8-73.7.
Just as noteworthy is that 7-seeds are only 1-1 straight up and ATS when matched up with 15-seeds despite outscoring them 77.5-65.5, as an 84-50 rout by Florida over Norfolk State in 2012 was offset by Florida Gulf Coast becoming the first and still only 15-seed to win a game in the Round of 32 by upsetting the 7-seeds from San Diego State in 2013. Connecticut was the only 7-seed to get out of this round last year with Oregon and Texas both tasting defeat.
UConn became the 10th 7-seed to advance to the Sweet 16 since 2001, and they are now 5-5 both straight up and ATS after the Huskies covered while beating third seeded Iowa State. Ironically, that made the 7-seeds 5-3 both straight up and ATS this round when matched up with higher seeds, winning by an average of 69.1-66.9. However, 7-seeds were upset outright both times they faced lower seeds, getting outscored 63.5-73.5!
First, Temple beat Penn State way back in 2001 and then George Mason beat Wichita State during the 11th seeded Patriots’ improbable run to the 2006 Final Four.
Connecticut also became the first 7-seed to win a game in the Elite Eight over the duration of this 14-year study last year, which obviously made them the first and only 7-seeds to win a game in the Final Four round and National Championship Game also. However, the Huskies did improve the 7-seeds to 3-2 ATS in the Elite Eight as they were outscored by an average of only 70.4-74.0 despite facing higher seeds every time.
Connecticut then completed its amazing run last year by beating top seeded Florida 63-53 in the Final Four round and eighth seeded Kentucky 60-54 for the championship, covering the point spread each time.
What Have 10-Seeds Done Afterwards?
In one of the more pleasant surprises of the entire tournament, 10-seeds have gone 10-11 straight up when advancing to the Round of 32, which has resulted in a fat profit by playing the 10s on the money line. The 10-seeds have also been good bets vs. the number going 13-8 ATS.
What makes those marks more impressive is that the 10-seeds have been matched up with 2-seeds 19 times, going 8-11 straight up and 11-8 ATS in those games while only getting outscored 67.3-70.7. The most recent straight up upset came last season with Stanford topping Kansas. On the two occasions when 10-seeds have been matched with 15-seeds, the 10s are 2-0 both straight up and ATS while winning comfortably 73.0-57.5.
The Sweet 16 has usually been the end of the line for the 10-seeds as they are 2-8 straight up and 4-6 ATS this round. The 10-seeds are 2-6 straight up and 4-4 ATS when matched up with higher seeds while getting outscored by less than you may think 67.1-71.0. Surprisingly though, when the 10-seeds have had the seemingly good fortune to draw 11-seeds, they are 0-2 straight up and ATS getting outscored 71.5-77.0, including Stanford losing to 11th seeded Dayton!
The two 10-seeds that have reached the Elite Eight both lost straight up vs. higher seeds by an average score of 63.0-70.0, although they did go 1-1 ATS with Davidson, led by Stephen Curry, nearly shocking Kansas in a two-point loss in 2008.