2018 March Madness Bracket Trends for Seeds
The unofficial start of the 2018 NCAA Tournament begins tomorrow, which means the deadline for completing your bracket is on the horizon. Most NCAA Tournament brackets do not require you to pick the winners of the first four "play in" games, so you still have a few days to get your research in and finalize your bracket.
The purpose of this article is to help you get your research started (or completed) by giving you the records and trends of every possible matchup leading up to the National Championship Game on April 2. You will see how certain seeds fare from the Round of 64 right down to the Final Four. However, I must caution you that these trends and records are not the be all and end all of putting together a solid bracket. You must really dig deep on each team to find their strengths and weaknesses and what kind of style of play they have. The biggest downfall of a good team come tournament time is playing an opponent that is a matchup nightmare. Another thing you must be willing to do is take a chance with an underdog or two. I'm not saying take every higher seed and hope for the best. I'm saying you should look at the No. 5 vs No. 12 trend or No. 7 vs No. 10 to find a few upsets.
Every tournament is different, and you will need to catch a lucky break or two along the way. If you've been filling out a bracket for any extended period of time then you already know that the odds of a perfect bracket are one-in-never-going-to-happen. In number form, that equates to around 9.2-quintillion-to-1. You have a better chance of winning the Powerball Lottery than picking a perfect bracket.
With that said, let's take a look at which seeds could be prime candidates to pull off a shock upset.
NCAA Tournament Seeds - By the Numbers
--No. 1 seeds are a perfect 132-0 against No. 16 Seeds. You can almost blindly pencil them in to the Round of 32 each year.
--In the Round of 32, No. 1 Seeds have a record of 54-13 vs. No. 8 seeds and 60-5 vs. No. 9 seeds.
--In the Sweet 16, the win-loss records of No. 1 seeds are as follows:
No. 1 vs. No. 4 - 37-15
No. 1 vs. No. 5 - 32-7
No. 1 vs. No. 12 -19-0
No. 1 vs. No. 13 - 4-0
--In the Elite Eight, No. 1 seeds hold win-loss records against the following seeds:
No. 1 vs. No. 2 - 22-23
No. 1 vs. No. 3 - 13-9
No. 1 vs. No. 6 - 7-2
No. 1 vs. No. 7 - 4-0
No. 1 vs. No. 10- 4-1
No. 1 vs. No. 11 - 4-3
There has been only one occasion where all four No. 1 seeds won their region and proceeded to the Final Four. The year was 2008, and those teams were Kansas, UCLA, UNC and Memphis.
The No. 2 seed is 124-8 against the No. 15 seed (.938).
The last No. 2 seed to lose to a 15-seed was Michigan State in 2016. They were defeated by Middle Tennessee State. The furthest a 15 seed has progressed in the tournament was the Sweet 16. That was done by Florida Gulf Coast in 2013.
--In the Round of 32, No. 2 Seeds have a record of 55-23 vs. No. 7 seeds and 28-18 vs. No. 10 seeds.
--In the Round of 16, the win-loss records of No. 2 seeds are as follows:
No. 2 vs. No. 3 - 26-14
No. 2 vs. No. 6 - 23-6
No. 2 vs. No. 11 -12-2
--In the Elite 8, No. 2 seeds hold win-loss records against the following seeds:
No. 2 vs. No. 1 - 23-22
No. 2 vs. No. 4 - 2-4
No. 2 vs. No 5 - 0-3
No. 2 vs. No. 8- 2-3
No. 2 vs. No. 9- 0-1
No. 2 vs. No. 12 - 1-0
--For the sake of space, the rest of the records for opening-round matchups for Nos. 3 through 8 are as follows:
The No. 3 seed is 111-21 against the No. 14 seed (.841)
The No. 4 seed is 106-26 against the No. 13 seed (.803)
The No. 5 seed is 85-44 against the No. 12 seed (.644)
The No. 6 seed is 83-49 against the No. 11 seed (.629)
The No. 7 seed is 81-51 against the No. 10 seed (.614)
The No. 8 seed is 67-65 against the No. 9 seed (.508)
Going off the numbers alone, the likeliest upset pick seems to be the No. 10 seed over the No. 7 seed. If we take a look at the game lines this year, we will see two No. 10 seeds favored over their opponents. Texas is currently a one-point favorite over No. 7 Nevada, and Butler is a one-and-a-half-point favorite over No. 7 Arkansas.
The most popular upset pick bettors and fans tend to look for is the No. 12 over No. 5 matchup. However, at first glance, I think this year's No. 5 seeds are the strongest we've seen in a while, so when filling out my bracket I may go with zero or one upset. The last No. 12 team to beat a No. 5 was Middle Tennessee just last season when they beat a poor Minnesota squad.
As I mentioned earlier, if you want to win a March Madness pool, you will have to rely on luck and trends that back you up. What makes a bracket stand out is the Cinderella school that you picked to reach the Elite Eight or Final Four. This is usually make-or-break, but if that team connects and gets deep into the tournament then you will reap the benefits and rack up a ton of points off that great selection.
A Cinderella team is usually a lower-seeded mid-major school that plays in a smaller non-Power 5 conference. A recent example of this is Florida Gulf Coast in 2013. They were playing in their first-ever NCAA Tournament and won two games before ultimately falling short in the Sweet 16. Normally "Cinderellas" are well-coached, can spread the floor well, and are solid rebounding teams.
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