clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rick Neuheisel's March Madness Seed Tips

New, 3 comments


Yes, I am filling out a bracket this year and I have the Bruins out in Round 2

Before the seeds are actually announced, I always like to remind myself of the following facts about the success of tournament seeding. Why? So, I avoid the fact that I fall in love with teams that have a run in their conference tournament or a team that every prognosticator picks over Duke.

First Round Odds since 2000
1 v 16 = 32-0
2 v 15 = 31-1 (2001)
3 v 14 = 30-2 (2005, 2006)
4 v 13 = 26-6
5 v 12 = 21-11
6 v 11 = 21-11
7 v 10 = 21-11
8 v 9 = 17-15 (this actually used to favor the 9’s)

Second Round Odds of Note
3 v 6 = 25-25 since 1985 which is when the 64 team field was introduced. That is surprising to a lot of people. Beware the 3 that makes it through here -- keep reading.
1 v 8/9 = 76-12 (86% WP, however, the 8s have nine of the twelve wins in 45% of the games) That means that a 1 loses about every other year (just 1). It also means 3 1s win that same year, and all 4 win the next year.
4 v 12 = 12-10 (it doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is a toss-up)
5 v 13 = 10-2 (not nearly as contested)
2 v 7 = 40-14 (74% WP; Wisconsin lost to UNLV last year)
2 v 10 = 16-14 (ridiculously close given seed disparity; usually the 4th or 5th best team from a big conference)

Sweet 16 Odds of Note
The 1’s are 62-14 (82% WP). No potential match-ups are particularly favorable. The 4 seeds hold 9 of the 14 wins but the 1 v 4 match-up still favors the 1 over 70% of the time.

The 2’s are a little less reliable at 41-15 (73% WP). No potential match-ups are particularly favorable. The 3 seeds do hold 9 of the 15 wins over the 2s but surprisingly, in the 2-3 match-up, the 2 is 17-9 (65% WP) – that is a significant edge in that tight a seed match-up.

Elite Eight Odds of Note
In the 22 years since the introduction of the 64-team field, the Elite 8 W-L breakdown as follows:
#1 – 38-24, 61% (all four made the Elite 8 last year)
#2 – 20-21, 49% (2s were 2-1 over the 1s last year)
#3 – 11-9, 55%
#4 – 8-5, 62%
#5 – 4-1, 80%
#6 – 3-9, 25%
#7 – 0-6
#8 - 3-3, 50%
#9 – 0-1
#10 – 0-6
#11 – 1-2, 33%
#12 – 0-1

Forget all of the upset hysteria of March Madness. That happens in the first weekend of the tourney. Ones make the Final Four (38) as often as the 2, 3, and 4 seeds combined (39).

However, when it is a 1-2 or 1-3 match-up, it is a virtual coin toss at 16-15 and 7-6, respectively.

Outside of the 1-2 and 1-3 match-ups, the higher seeded teams are 31-13, 70%.

Final Four Odds of Note
If you made it this far, you are damn good and the seeds don’t mean a whole lot.

Like seeds squaring off occurred 10 of 44 times. Of the other 34 games, when the difference in seeding is just 1 or 2, the higher seed is only 11-10. When a larger seeding disparity exists, the higher seed is a solid 9-4.

If you are looking for an edge, try the 3 seeds. They are 7-4 in Final Four games.

Championship Game Odds of Note
Of the 22 games, five had like seeds playing (four 1 v 1, one 3 v 3). The higher seed is 12-5 in the others.

Lower seeds that won it all:
8 Villanova over Georgetown in 1985
6 Kansas over Oklahoma in 1988
4 Arizona over Kentucky in 1997
3 Syracuse over Kansas in 2003


Rollie Massamino loves you, Ed Pinckney.
Patrick Ewing does not.

H/T to Bracketville & All Brackets.