Data and predictions related to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket


You’d expect the 1-seeds to be dominant, right?  Sure they get beat plenty.  Some of my most memorable games are ones where 1-seeds were upset in the second round (Bama over Stanford in 2004 and Northern Iowa over Kansas in 2010).  But…yeah.  The 1-seeds have been dominant.  They’ve won 61% of the past 33 tournaments and 7 of the last 10!

1-seeds are the only ones to have at least one representative in the Elite 8 of every tournament and in all but two Final Fours.  There has been at least one 1-seed in 25 of 33 (76%) championship games.  Seven Championship games (including 3 of the last 10) were a matchup of 1-seeds.

Overall, 132 (of 132) 1-seeds advanced to the Second Round.  114 went on to the Sweet 16, and 92 reached the Elite 8.  Fifty-five 1-seeds have reached the Final 4, and 32 made the championship game.  Twenty of them won the tournament.

Over the last 10 years, 40 (of 40) advanced to the Second Round.  34 went on to the Sweet 16, and 27 reached the Elite 8.  Sixteen 1-seeds have reached the Final 4, and 11 made it to the championship game.  Seven of them won the tournament.

Record in the Second Round (by seed matchup)

  • vs 8-seeds:  54-12
  • vs 9-seeds:  60-6

Feats of Strength

  • 2008 is the only year all four 1-seeds reached the Final 4.  Those teams were North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, and Kansas.
  • Seven championship games featured a 1-seed face-off:
    • 1993 – North Carolina beat Michigan
    • 1999 – Connecticut beat Duke
    • 2005 – North Carolina beat Illinois
    • 2007 – Florida beat Ohio State
    • 2008 – Kansas beat Memphis
    • 2015 – Duke beat Wisconsin
    • 2017 – North Carolina beat Gonzaga

2018 Advice

This will be the first year a 1-seed loses to a 16-seed.  You heard it here first!  Just kidding.  Three or four 1-seeds will make it to the Sweet 16 – probably all four of them.  We’ll probably see three of them in the Elite 8 and one or two in the Final 4.  Interestingly, only two of the last eight tournaments saw more than one in the Final 4.  A 1-seed will be in the final game and will probably win it.

If you wanna pick conservatively, pick a 1-seed as your champion.  Seven of the last ten champs were 1-seeds.  Picking one of them to get upset in the Second Round isn’t a horrible pick.  You need to have at least two 1-seeds in the Elite 8.  Don’t pick all four of them to reach the Final 4.  While you’re at it, I wouldn’t pick three of them to make it that far either.

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