NCAA Tournament Stats To Help You Make Picks For Your Bracket

NCAA tournament time is here and the cultural phenom of millions filling out NCAA tournament brackets will start.

Whether it’s just the random person who never watches sports or the ultimate data analytic excel spreadsheet guru, the numbers don’t lie in how some of the first round games play out.

In this post I will outline some trends for the first round games. Hopefully this helps you pick some winners. If you happen to see me use “ATS”, that is Against The Spread and is a gambling term. (Example, Duke is favored to beat North Carolina by 7 points or more and they end up winning by 8 points or more, that means they won against the spread. Or vice versa, Duke is favored to win by 7 points and North Carolina loses by 6 points or even wins, that means they won against the spread.)

I gleamed a ton of information from for the straight up wins stats. In the website link provided, they have a lot of useful Against The Spread betting stats to help the bettors. Please visit them!

Best of luck with your NCAA Tournament bracket!
#1 Seed vs #16 Seed

#16 seed has NEVER won a game……NEVER! That doesn’t mean it can’t happen or there hasn’t even been close games. Here’s one of the bigger stats for #1 seeds, they have won 9 of the last 13 national championships. So if you know nothing about basketball, focus on your #1 seeds and you will have a legitimate shot in going far in your bracket pool.
#2 Seed vs #15 Seed

Things get tricky here. #2 seed moving on was a given until about 2012. Since then there have been four upsets which have absolutely destroyed brackets. You still have a great chance of winning by picking the #2 seed, but players and fans are starting to sense a curse developing on these games.
#3 Seed vs #14 Seed

Since 2012, each year in the tournament one #14 seed has knocked off a #3 seed. You should be ok picking your #3 seeds to advance but if you lose a #3 that is going deep in your bracket, you will be hurtin’. So try to predict an upset in one of these four games.

If you’re thinking of advancing a #14 seed deep into the tournament, there has only been two that have gone to the Sweet 16. The last being 21 years ago.
#4 Seed vs #13 Seed

In the last 30 years, twenty-six #13 seeds have pulled off upsets. Twelve of those were in the last 17 years. Six have made it to the Sweet 16 game but ZERO have won in the third round.
#5 Seed vs #12 Seed

UPSET ALERT: These games are folklore legends for NCAA basketball fans. #12 seeds have caused major headaches for bracket predictions. In the past five seasons, ten #12 seeds have moved onto the second round. If you do pick a #12 seed to win, they do not go very deep. Since 1985, 25% of the forty-eight teams who have advanced to the second round win the game.
#6 Seed vs #11 Seed

In the last five years, the #11 seed has a 55% chance moving onto the second round as they have won 11 out 20. In the last two years, #11 seeds are 6-2 vs #6 seeds. Twenty four #11 seeds have made it to the Sweet 16.
#7 Seed vs #10 Seed

#10 seeds are 21-15 against #7 seeds since 2009. Last two years though they are only 3-5 against the #7 seed. Remember, #10 seeds can be semi-struggling teams from a power conference now facing a team who was better in a mediocre conference. Athleticism usually wins out.
#8 Seed vs #9 Seed

This game is where you want to check the “Against The Spread” before picking a winner. In the last seven years, fourteen #8 seeds have been predicted by Las Vegas to lose (underdogs). These seeds have won 9 of those 14 games. In the last three seasons, #8 seeds are 8-4 against #9 seeds.

Don’t go too crazy advancing these seeds as they face the #1 seed in the second round.


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