After failing to reach the Final 4 during the first 29 years of the tournament, we’ve seen a 7-seed in the Final 4 in three of the last six.  The 7-seed has done relatively well against their first opponent, but there is a steep drop off in performance after that.  At least two 7-seeds have advanced to the Second Round in all but five (out of 35) years.

Overall Performance

  • 85 (of 140) advanced to the Second Round
  • 27 went on to the Sweet 16
  • 10 reached the Elite 8
  • 3 reached the Final 4
  • 1 won the championship

Performance Over the Last 10 Years

  • 24 (of 40) advanced to the Second Round
  • 9 went on to the Sweet 16
  • 4 reached the Elite 8
  • 3 reached the Final 4
  • 1 won the championship

Bracket Performance History and Advice

  • First Round:  Only 61% of all 7-seeds have won their first game of the tournament.  This equates to an 86% chance of at least one upset.
  • Second Round:  Only 19% of 7-seeds advance past the Second Round.
  • Sweet 16:  There is a 42% chance not a single 7-seed gets this far.  This isn’t too surprising, as the 7-seed usually runs into the 2-seed for their Second Round game.
  • Elite 8:  Only 7% of all 7-seeds make it this far.
  • Final 4:  A 7-seed reached the Final 4 for the first time in 2014, but has repeated the feat twice since then.
  • Final:  Only one 7-seed has made it this far, but they won the title.

Record in the Second Round

  • vs 2-seeds:  23-56
  • vs 15-seeds:  2-1

Feats of Strength

  • In 2014, Connecticut became the first 7-seed to not only reach the Final 4, but to win the championship.
  • The only other 7-seeds to reach the Final Four were Michigan State in 2015 – which my 7 year old son somehow predicted in his first ever attempt at filling out a bracket – and South Carolina in 2017.
  • The 2012 Florida Gators are the only other 7-seed to reach the Elite 8 since 2005, where they lost to 4-seed Louisville by 4.
  • Two 7-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 in the same tournament six times:  in ’86, ’90, ’93, ‘15, and ’17.

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