Undeserving 1-seeds have consistently under-performed, and this year North Carolina and Kansas fit the bill.

I am using team ratings from my computer model to determine if a team is over-seeded in the tournament.  1-seeds should be one of the top four teams, 2-seeds should be teams 5-8, and so on.  I’d like to mention that my model’s not too shabby, either.  It performed better than ESPN’s model at picking against the spread.

Historically (going back to 2013), only the top seeds (1 through 6) have demonstrated a clear trend of under-performing when my model says they were over-seeded

Overrated 2-seeds

  • My model says Duke and Arizona both should’ve been 4-seeds
  • 26 of the last 60 2-seeds were over-rated by that much or more.
    • None won the championship
    • Two (including Duke in 2012) lost in the first round
    • Ten lost in the Second Round
    • Only 5 reached the Final Four
  • Duke and Arizona do, however, have the DNA of a championship team

Overrated 3-seeds

  • 3-seeds that should be be 6-seeds or worse have consistently under-performed
  • This year, only Baylor is that overrated
  • There is one outlier – in 2011, Connecticut should’ve been a 6-seed, but they won it all
  • There have been 16 other 3-seeds that overrated
    • None reached the Final Four
    • Two lost in the First Round
    • Seven lost in the Second Round

Overrated 4-seeds

  • Purdue should’ve been a 5 and Butler a 6
  • 27 of the last 60 4-seeds were over-seeded
    • None reached the Championship game
    • Only 2 reached the Elite 8 and one reached the Final Four
    • 8 lost in the First Round
    • 9 lost in the Second Round

Overrated 5-seeds

  • Minnesota should’ve been an 8-seed
  • 24 of the last 60 5-seed have been  as grossly over-seeded as Minnesota or more
    • 13 (over half!) of them lost in the First Round
    • In 2010, Butler surprised everyone by reaching the Championship game as a 5-seed
    • Besides Butler, none of the other over-seeded 5’s in this group reached even the Elite 8

Overrated 6-seeds

  • Maryland shouldn’t have even made it into the tournament
  • 22 of the last 60 6-seeds were significantly over-seeded
    • 13 (59%) of them lost in the First Round
    • None of the reached the Final Four
    • 5 of them actually won multiple games, so all is not lost for Maryland.  Forget about a Final Four run, though.