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


You’d think that 10-seeds have performed the best among all the double-digit seeds.  Not so fast, my friend!  Up to the Sweet 16, their historical performance is virtually equal to that of the 12-seeds.  Like the 12-seed, at least one 10-seed almost always advances to the Round of 32.

Overall, 50 (of 128) 10-seeds advanced to the Round of 32.  23 went on to the Sweet 16, and 8 reached the Elite 8.

Over the last 10 years, 15 (of 40) advanced to the Round of 32.  6 went on to the Sweet 16, and 2 reached the Elite 8.

Record in the Second Round (by seed matchup)

  • vs 2-seeds:  18-27
  • vs 15-seeds:  5-0

Interesting that 10-seed’s winning percentage vs (First Round opponent) 7-seeds  is about the same as vs 2-seeds.

Feats of Strength

  • Last year, Syracuse became the first 10-seed to advance to the Final Four.
  • In 1999 all four 10-seeds advanced to the second round.  Three of them went on to the Sweet 16.
  • Besides Syracuse last year, Davidson is the only 10-seed to advance to the Elite 8 in the last 14 years.  Led by Steph Curry, Davidson lost by 2 points to eventual champion Kansas.
  • 10-seeds reached the Elite 8 a total of 8 times:  ’87, ’90, ’91, ’97, ’99, ’02, ’08, and ‘16.

2017 Advice

Two 10-seeds will get past the First Round.  One of them will advance to the Sweet 16, but that’s probably as far as they’ll go.

There will be at least one 7-10 upset this year.  In the last two decades, only once has a 10-seed failed to advance.  If four of the last ten years, we had at least two 10-seeds advance.  Six out of the last 10 Sweet 16’s had a 10-seed among them.  We probably won’t see one get to the Elite 8, though.  It happened last year, and it’s only happened in consecutive years once – in ’90 and ’91.

Pick one or two 10-seeds to win in the First Round.  The average number over the last decade is 1.5, so you can go either way here.  Don’t pick more than one to reach the Sweet 16.  That only happened three times.  The risk-seekers may like to advance a 10-seed to the Elite 8 this year.

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