NCAA Tournament Betting: Sweet 16 and Elite Eight seeding trends

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, March 25, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

16 teams remain in the Big Dance, so here are seeing trends for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Some notables in the NCAA Tournament are Gonzaga’s early exit and a 15-seeed in the Sweet 16.

Well, the first week of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and before making your NCAA Basketball picks when the Big Dance resumes on Thursday, we have analyzed the ATS seeding trends for the last 12 tournaments since 2001, and we are presenting the results for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds this week.

This is the second of a three-part series as we will have the seeding trends for the Final Four and Championship Game next Monday after the participants are set.

As usual, there were many upsets over the first two rounds. As mentioned last week that the Miami Hurricanes should have been a one seed and Gonzaga should have been a two-seed, and as we suspected, Gonzaga was the first one seed eliminated as the Bulldogs lost to ninth seeded Wichita State in the round of 32 while Miami has advanced through to the Sweet 16.

Besides Wichita State, there other teams seeded lower than eighth are in the Sweet 16 as 12th seeded Oregon upset Saint Louis, 13th seeded LaSalle has actually won three games already as it beat Boise State in the First Four before knocking off Kansas State and Mississippi, and Florida Gulf Coast has made history by becoming the first 15-seed to ever advance to the Sweet 16!

So let us now move on to the seeding trends for the Sweet 16 and for the Elite eight for all the seed numbers that still have teams alive. All results stated are from the last 12 NCAA Tournaments since 2001, and are based on the closing odds at Pinnacle Sports.

One-seeds: The 43 top seeds that have advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2001 have gone 35-8 straight up, and they went 3-1 last season with only Michigan State tasting defeat vs. Louisville. However, those one-seeds went just 1-3 ATS last year, dropping them to 23-20, 53.5 percent record ATS in this round. Speaking of Louisville, they have been the most impressive one-seed this year so far, and they are joining two other one-seeds in Kansas and Indiana.

The Elite Eight has been the graveyard of many a one-seed the past 12 years, as they are an extremely mediocre 18-17 straight up in this round including two more losses last season with North Carolina losing to Kansas and Syracuse falling to Ohio State. Given that fact, is it really that surprising that all four one-seeds have reached the Final Four only once? One-seeds are now a miserable 13-22, 37.1 percent ATS in the Elite Eight.

Two-seeds: The two-seeds have gone 22-8 straight up in the Sweet 16 the last 12 years including a perfect 2-0 last season, but they are a rather nondescript 15-14-1 ATS in those games including 1-1 ATS last year with Kansas failing to cover the spread in a three-point win over NC State. There are three strong two-seeds that advanced this season in an attempt to improve that Sweet 16 ATS mark in the Miami Hurricanes, Duke Blue Devils and Ohio State Buckkeyes. The one two-seed not to advance was Georgetown, which was Florida Gulf Coast’s first upset victim.

Two-seeds that have advanced to the Elite Eight have gone just 12-10 straight up and 11-10-1 ATS, which while not great was improved upon by both two-seeds winning and covering rather handily last season, both beating one-seeds as mentioned earlier. Interestingly, that makes the two-seeds 10-5, 66.7 percent both straight up and ATS when matched up against one-seeds in the Elite Eight, but just 1-5-1 ATS when matched up with lower seeds the last 12 seasons!

Three-seeds: Three-seeds are an identical 14-15 both straight up and ATS in the Sweet 16. The two three-seeds that advanced to this round last season split on the court but they went 0-2 ATS as Baylor failed to cover the 6½-point spread in a five-point win over Xavier. Three three-seeds have advanced this season in Florida, Michigan State and Marquette, as the fourth three-seed New Mexico failed to win its first game vs. Harvard.

Once the three-seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight, they have gone 7-7 both straight up and ATS. Interestingly, the three-seed was only the favorite once in those 14 Elite Eight battles and that was in 2011 when Connecticut failed to cover the spread, winning only 65-63 as three-point favorites over fifth-seeded Arizona Thus the three seeds are actually a quite good 6-7 straight up as underdogs.

Four-seeds: The 19 four-seeds that advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2001 have performed dismally, going just 5-14 straight up. Louisville was able to buck this trend last season while upsetting Michigan State, but Wisconsin and Indiana were not, although Wisconsin did cover the spread in a one-point loss to Syracuse. That 2-1 ATS showing last year put the four-seeds at 10-9 ATS in the Sweet 16 since 2001. There are two four-seeds participating in this round this season in Michigan and Syracuse.

The winning four-seeds have then gone on to go 4-1 straight up and 3-2 ATS in the Elite Eight. Louisville was the latest four-seed to win and cover last season, overcoming a double-digit second half deficit to beat Florida as a tiny one-point underdog.

Six-seeds: No five-seeds made it to the Sweet 16 this year, so we are jumping right to the six seeds. There have been 12 six-seeds to reach the Sweet 16 the last 12 years, and those clubs have gone 3-9 both straight up and ATS. The latest victim was Cincinnati last season, which was blown out by Ohio State. This year, the Arizona Wildcats carry the hopes of the six-seeds after getting a nice draw in the round of 32 and beating Harvard.

None of the six-seeds that reached the Elite Eight since 2001 have advanced any further, so the Wildcats may be up against it even if they do win one more game. The three three-seeds to get this far did go 2-1 ATS however. The ATS loss was by the last six-seed to reach this round, that being Tennessee in 2010.

Nine-seeds: Jumping to the next highest live seed this year, only two nine-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 since 2001, and both have lost straight up and ATS with the most recent being Northern Iowa in 2010. Now it is the Wichita State Shockers trying to become the first nine-seed to advance to the Elite Eight in the last 12 years after shocking the top seeds from Gonzaga.

12-seeds: The next live seed is the 12-seed, and unfortunately, of the nine 12-seeds to advance to the Sweet 16, only one of them won outright with those teams going 2-7 ATS. The last one was Richmond, which met its demise at the hands of Kansas in 2011. This year, seemingly underseeded Oregon is seeking to become the second 12-seed in 12 year to advance out of the Sweet 16.

The only 12-seed to advance to the Elite Eight was the 2002 Missouri Tigers, who then lost to Oklahoma while pushing the six-point spread.

13-seeds: Only two 13-seeds had reached the Sweet 16 since 2001 prior to this year, and while Bradley was promptly blown out by Memphis in 2006, Ohio covered ATS while losing to North Carolina last season. Now it is La Salle that has advanced as a 13-seed, and it even had to win an extra game to get here.

15-seeds: There are no seeding trends for 15-seeds in the Sweet 16 as this is unchartered territory. And we are not only taking about our 12-year study either, as Florida Gulf Coast is the first 15-seed in history to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.