The poor 9-seeds. First they play against a team (the 8-seed in their region) that should be a fairly even match. Not an easy win and there’s no fanfare if they do win. Then, if they win, they have to face the 1-seed in the very next round. Only the 13-16 seeds reach the Sweet 16 less frequently than the 8- and 9-seeds. Actually, 9-seeds have the same number of Sweet 16 appearances as 13-seeds. Overall, 9-seeds have had a slight upper hand in their series against the 8-seeds. In the last decade, however, the trend has reversed and the 8-seeds have been a little bit more successful. In an evenly matched series, though, you’d expect streaks and trends to go back and forth a little.
Overall, 65 (of 128) 9-seeds advanced to the Round of 32. 6 went on to the Sweet 16, and 3 reached the Elite 8. Two 9-seeds have reached the Final 4.
Over the last 10 years, 17 (of 40) advanced to the Round of 32. 2 went on to the Sweet 16, 1 reached the Elite 8, and 1 made it to the Final 4.
Record in the Second Round (by seed matchup)
- vs 1-seeds: 6-60
Feats of Strength
- The only two 9-seeds to make a Final 4 run are:
- 2013: Wichita State
- 2000: Wisconsin
- All four 9-seeds have advanced to the Round of 32 four times (’89, ’94, ’99, and ’01)
- Only twice did none of the 9-seeds advance (’02 and ‘15)
At least one 9-seed will win their first game. Assuming the trend over the last decade holds, only one or two 9-seeds will advance. Now, there’s a 50-50 chance a 1-seed will lose in the Round of 32, but there’s also an equal chance that it’ll be an 8- or a 9-seed that beats them.
You might as well flip a coin to pick these First Round matchups. If you really like a 9-seed, go ahead and pick them to win their first game. You probably shouldn’t pick a 9-seed to beat a 1-seed, but hey, you could do a lot worse.