The 7-seed has done relatively well against their first opponent, but there is a steep drop off in performance after that. At least three of the 7-seeds have advanced to the Second Round in all but four (out of 32) years. Nearly half the time, not a single 7-seed advances to the Sweet 16. This isn’t too surprising, as the 7-seed usually runs into the 2-seed for their second game. Until 2014, the 7-seed was the only single-digit seed to not make a single appearance in the Final 4.
Overall, 78 (of 128) 7-seeds advanced to the Round of 32. 23 went on to the Sweet 16, and 9 reached the Elite 8. Only two 7-seeds have reached the Final 4, and one of them won the championship.
Over the last 10 years, 25 (of 40) advanced to the Round of 32. 7 went on to the Sweet 16, and 3 reached the Elite 8. Only two 7-seeds have reached the Final 4, and one of them won the championship.
Record in the Second Round (by seed matchup)
- vs 2-seeds: 21-54
- 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-seed to reach the Final Four was Michigan State in 2015 – which my 7-year old son somehow predicted in his first ever attempted at filling out a bracket.
- The 2012 Florida Gators are the only other 7-seed to reach the Elite 8 in the last 11 years, where they lost to 4-seed Louisville by 4.
- Two 7-seeds have reached the Sweet 16 in the same tournament five times: in ’86, ’90, ’93, and ‘15.
Two 7-seeds will win their first games. One of them will advance one more round, but that’s it.
Most likely, two or three 7-seeds will advance to the Second Round. There’s a 49% chance none of them go any further. Seeing as how it’s happened 6 times in the last decade, I’ll go ahead and say we can expect one of them to make it to the Sweet 16.
Pick two or three 7-seeds to win in the First Round. The average number over the last decade is 2.5, so you can go either way here. Picking one to reach the Sweet 16 isn’t too risky. Don’t bother advancing them any further. It’s only happened 9 times – ever. We’re due for a rest.