March Madness Seeds: Betting Trends

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A No. 16 seed has never defeated a No. 1 seed in March Madness, and there have not really been too many close calls in the past dozen or so years. In fact, just five times since 2001 has a No. 16 stayed within 10 points of a top seed. However, four of those times have taken place within the last three years, with three No. 16 seeds covering the spread in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Seed vs Seed Stats: 1 vs 16 | 2 vs 15 | 3 vs 14 | 4 vs 13 | 5 vs 12 | 6 vs 11 | 7 vs 10 | 8 vs 9

Of those three No. 16 seeds that covered in 2014, Weber State was the only one to stay within double-digits as a 20-point underdog in a 68-59 loss to Arizona in the West Region. Coastal Carolina (+20) and Albany (+21.5) both stayed within 12 points though as they covered against Virginia and Florida, respectively.

In 2013, Western Kentucky (+20.5) hung around against Kansas before falling 64-57 in the South Region and Southern (+22.5) lost 64-58 to Gonzaga in the West Region. Before that, UNC-Asheville (+15.5) fell 72-65 to Syracuse in 2012 and East Tennessee State (+20.5) lost 72-62 to Pitt in 2009.

While 1 vs. 16 first-round matchups have primarily been blowouts historically in March Madness, the lower seeds have enjoyed a lot of success against the spread recently. In the last two years, the No. 16 seed went 6-2 ATS after going 2-6 versus the number against the top seed in the previous two combined.

The closest a No. 16 seed has ever come to upsetting a No. 1 seed came in 1989 when Georgetown edged Princeton 50-49. Two years later, Michigan State topped Murray State 75-71 and Purdue held off Western Carolina 73-71 in 1996.

Duke has been a No. 1 more than any other team since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, earning the top seed a record 12 times and winning three national championships under that scenario. Kansas and North Carolina have each been a top seed 11 times but have combined for just four NCAA titles as a No. 1.

The average score for a No. 1 vs. No. 16 game is 84-60, with the top seed capturing 19 national titles overall dating back to 1985. Over the past decade, a No. 1 seed has won the NCAA championship seven times.

Seed vs Seed Stats: 1 vs 16 | 2 vs 15 | 3 vs 14 | 4 vs 13 | 5 vs 12 | 6 vs 11 | 7 vs 10 | 8 vs 9

1 Seed vs 16 Seed
16 Seed Score 1 Seed Score Date ATS Win Seed Win ATS Seed
Coastal Carolina 59 Virginia 70 2014-03-21 Coastal Carolina 1 16
Cal Poly 37 Wichita State 64 2014-03-21 Wichita State 1 1
Weber State 59 Arizona 68 2014-03-21 Weber State 1 16
Albany 55 Florida 67 2014-03-20 Albany 1 16
James Madison 62 Indiana 83 2013-03-22 James Madison 1 16
W. Kentucky 57 Kansas 64 2013-03-22 W. Kentucky 1 16
NC A&T 48 Louisville 79 2013-03-21 Louisville 1 1
Southern 58 Gonzaga 64 2013-03-21 Southern 1 16
Michigan State 89 Long Island 67 2012-03-16 Michigan State 1 1
North Carolina 77 Vermont 58 2012-03-16 North Carolina 1 1
Kentucky 81 Western Kentucky 66 2012-03-15 Western Kentucky 1 16
Syracuse 72 UNC Asheville 65 2012-03-15 UNC Asheville 1 16
Kansas 72 Boston University 53 2011-03-18 Boston University 1 16
Ohio State 75 Texas-San Antonio 46 2011-03-18 Ohio State 1 1
Duke 87 Hampton 45 2011-03-18 Duke 1 1
Pittsburgh 74 UNC Asheville 51 2011-03-17 Pittsburgh 1 1
Syracuse 79 Vermont 56 2010-03-19 Syracuse 1 1
Duke 73 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 44 2010-03-19 Duke 1 1
Kansas 90 Lehigh 74 2010-03-18 Lehigh 1 16
Kentucky 100 East Tennessee State 71 2010-03-18 Kentucky 1 1
Louisville 74 Morehead State 54 2009-03-20 Morehead State 1 16
Pittsburgh 72 East Tennessee State 62 2009-03-20 East Tennessee State 1 16
Connecticut 103 Chattanooga 47 2009-03-19 Connecticut 1 1
North Carolina 101 Radford 58 2009-03-19 North Carolina 1 1
Memphis 87 Texas-Arlington 63 2008-03-21 Texas-Arlington 1 16
North Carolina 113 Mount St. Mary’s 74 2008-03-21 North Carolina 1 1
UCLA 70 Miss Valley State 29 2008-03-20 UCLA 1 1
Kansas 85 Portland State 61 2008-03-20 Kansas 1 1
Florida 112 Jackson State 69 2007-03-16 Florida 1 1
Kansas 107 Niagara 67 2007-03-16 Kansas 1 1
North Carolina 86 Eastern Kentucky 65 2007-03-15 Eastern Kentucky 1 16
Ohio State 78 Cent Conn State 57 2007-03-15 Ohio State 1 1
Connecticut 72 Albany 59 2006-03-17 Albany 1 16
Memphis 94 Oral Roberts 78 2006-03-17 Memphis 1 1
Villanova 58 Monmouth 45 2006-03-17 Monmouth 1 16
Duke 70 Southern 54 2006-03-16 Southern 1 16
Duke 57 Delaware State 46 2005-03-18 Delaware State 1 16
North Carolina 96 Oakland 68 2005-03-18 Push 1 0
Illinois 67 Fairleigh Dickinson 55 2005-03-17 Fairleigh Dickinson 1 16
Washington 88 Montana 77 2005-03-17 Montana 1 16
Kentucky 96 Florida A&M 76 2004-03-19 Florida A&M 1 16
Duke 96 Alabama State 61 2004-03-18 Duke 1 1
Stanford 71 Texas-San Antonio 45 2004-03-18 Stanford 1 1
Saint Joseph’s 82 Liberty 63 2004-03-18 Liberty 1 16
Texas 82 UNC Asheville 61 2003-03-21 UNC Asheville 1 16
Kentucky 95 IUPUI 64 2003-03-21 Kentucky 1 1
Arizona 80 Vermont 51 2003-03-20 Arizona 1 1
Oklahoma 71 South Carolina State 54 2003-03-20 South Carolina State 1 16
Maryland 85 Siena 70 2002-03-15 Siena 1 16
Cincinnati 90 Boston University 52 2002-03-15 Cincinnati 1 1
Duke 84 Winthrop 37 2002-03-14 Duke 1 1
Kansas 70 Holy Cross 59 2002-03-14 Holy Cross 1 16
Illinois 96 Northwestern State 54 2001-03-16 Illinois 1 1
Michigan State 69 Alabama State 35 2001-03-16 Michigan State 1 1
Stanford 89 UNC Greensboro 60 2001-03-15 Stanford 1 1
Duke 95 Monmouth 52 2001-03-15 Duke 1 1
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