While none of the below statistics guarantee that something will happen, they can give you an indication of how likely certain seeded teams will be at winning over their opponents. This will allow you to make better predictions and strategically choose what teams you think might upset a higher seeded team. Here are some statistics that can be helpful when picking your bracket.
16 seeds never win
A number 1 seed in the tournament has never lost to a number 16 seed team since the men’s tournament has gone to a 64 game format. There ave been a number of close calls, but in the end, the number 1 seeds have come out on top 100% of the time. While there is never a sure thing in college basketball, this is as close as you’re going to get to it.
15 seeds rarely win
While the odds of a number 2 seed losing to a 15 seed aren’t quite as high as a number 1 seed losing to a 16 seed team, they are pretty darn close. 15 seed teams have only been able to win one time (4% of the time) against 15 seed teams, so it’s a pretty rare event. Again, while there is never a sure thing in college basketball, after a number 1 seed winning in the first round, the number 2 seed winning its first round game comes in close behind.
13 & 14 seeds hardly ever win
Number 14 seeds win 15% of the time while number 13 seeds win 21% of the time against their opponents in the first round of the tournament. That means that the odds still favor all the number 3 and 4 seeds to win in the first round. While these higher seeds do win from time to time, it would still be considered a major upset if it were to happen.
5, 6 and 7 seeds win two-thirds of the time
When you begin to look at the number 5 seed (vs. number 12), the number 6 seed (vs. number 11) and the number 7 seed (vs number 10), you can expect a few upsets. The number 5 and number 6 seeds both win 67% of the time, while the number 7 seed wins 60% of the time. Since there are 4 teams with these seeds, we can expect at least one of the lower seeds to win one of the four games in the first round.
9 seed usually beats 8 seed
The number 8 and 9 seeds are about the same, and it shows in their past performance with them basically splitting the games they have had against each other. What’s a bit of a surprise is that the number 9 seed actually beats the number 8 seed a bit more often, winning 53% of the time.
All four 1 seeds rarely make the Final Four
Since 1985, there has only been once instance when all four of the number 1 seeds made it to the Final Four. That means that at least one of the number 1 seeds is likely to get upset during the tournament.
It’s likely there will be a 1 seed in the final four
While it isn’t likely that all four number 1 teams will make it to the Final Four, there is a very good chance that at least one of them will make it there. There have only been three instances (12%) when none of the number 1 seeds advanced to the Final Four.
A 1 seed is likely to win the tournament
A number 1 seed team has a better than half (52%) chance of winning the tournament from past performances. The lowest seed to ever win the tournament was a number 8 seed.
Having the above knowledge should help you pick your bracket a little better even if you don’t know a whole lot about basketball or the teams playing in the tournament. Best of luck!