The poor 8-seeds.  First they play against a team (the 9-seed in their region) that should be a fairly even match.  Then if they win, they have to face the 1-seed in the very next round.  Only the 13-16 seeds have a lower chance of reaching the Sweet 16 than the 8- and 9-seeds.  Overall, the 8-vs-9 games are split evenly, 66-66.  In the last decade, however, the 8-seeds have had little bit more success (25-15).  In an evenly matched series, though, you’d expect streaks and trends to go back and forth a little.

Overall Performance

  • 66 (of 132) advanced to the Second Round
  • 12 went on to the Sweet 16
  • 7 reached the Elite 8
  • 4 reached the Final 4
  • 3 made the championship game
  • 1 was crowned champion

Performance Over the Last 10 Years

  • 25 (of 40) advanced to the Second Round
  • 4 went on to the Sweet 16
  • 2 advanced all the way to the Championship Game where they both lost

Bracket Performance History and Advice

  • First Round:  Flip a coin.  The 8-seed has won exactly half of their First Round games.
  • Second Round:  Only 9% of 8-seeds advance past the Second Round.
  • Sweet 16:  Of the 12 teams to reach this round, seven of them continued to the next.
  • Elite 8:  Only 5% of all 8-seeds make it this far.
  • Final 4:  It’s happened four times, ever.
  • Final:  Three 8-seeds have played for the title, but only one pulled off the improbable championship run.

Record in the Second Round

  • vs 1-seeds:  12-54

Feats of Strength

  • The only three 8-seeds to make a run all the way to the Championship Game:
    • 2014:  Kentucky
    • 2011:  Butler
    • 1985:  Villanova went on to win the Championship in the first year the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams.
  • An 8-seed advanced to the Sweet 16 every other year from 1996-2004.
  • All four 8-seeds advanced to the Round of 32 once – in 2002, one year after none of them advanced.  Crazy!


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