Kansas is currently the Mybookie favorite to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament even though the Jayhawks have been largely underachievers in the Big Dance under Coach Bill Self – and this might be Self’s last season there with the school accused of major NCAA violations. We can’t guarantee you who is going to win this year’s tournament, but here are some key numbers for the first round. Let’s see how the College Basketball odds and Key Numbers will be for this 2020 March Madness.
Key Numbers for the 2020 March Madness Tournament
No. 1 seed vs. No. 16
Two years ago, UMBC stunned No. 1 overall seed Virginia in the first round as a 20-point underdog. It was the first win by a 16-seed over No. 1 seeds in 136 all-time meetings, and all four No. 1s cruised last year. In fact, every No. 1 seed won by at least 15 points against the No. 16 seeds they faced.
Dating back to 1998, only four of 84 matchups have been decided by single digits, all of which came in a three-year span (2012-14). Fifteen games have been decided by fewer than 10 points.
No. 2 vs. No. 15
Only eight times in 140 games has a No. 2 seed lost to a 15 seed. Three of those eight losses came in 2012 and 2013. The most recent shocker came when No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee never trailed in 2016 on the way to upsetting No. 2 seed Michigan State, 90-81. Last year, No. 15 Colgate pushed No. 2 Tennessee but lost 77-70.
Of the eight No. 15 seeds to win a game, seven of them finished in the top two in their standings. The only exception was Santa Clara in 1993, which finished third in the West Coast Conference. Only one No. 15 seed has advanced past the second round, when Florida Gulf Coast made it to the Sweet 16 in 2013.
No. 3 vs. No. 14
In 18 NCAA Tournaments since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, at least one No. 14 seed has triumphed over a No. 3 seed. However, in the past three seasons, No. 14 seeds went winless in their opening-round games, which prior to 2017, hadn’t happened since 2012. The last No. 14 seed to pull off an opening-round upset came in 2016 when Stephen F. Austin defeated No. 3 West Virginia, 70-56. Call it a coincidence, but the past three No. 3s to lose in the first round all came from the Big 12: West Virginia (2016), Baylor (2015) and Iowa State (2015).
No. 4 vs. No. 13
There have been 29 No. 13 seeds that have upset a No. 4 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but they’re 3-5 against No. 4 seeds in the last two seasons. Last year, UC Irvine beat No. 4 seed Kansas State 70-64 before losing to No. 12 seed Oregon 73-54 in the second round. A No. 13 seed has won at least one game in 25 of 35 years but in just four years have two No. 13s won, last in 2018.
No. 5 vs. No. 12
The most popular upset as only five times since 1985 has at least one No. 12 seed failed to defeat a 5-seed in a single tournament. The only exceptions were in 1988, 2000, 2007, 2015 and 2018. Three No. 12s won last year, but never have all four done so. A 12 seed has never reached the Final Four and just once the Elite Eight. A No. 5 has never won the NCAA Tournament.
No. 6 vs. No. 11
No. 11 seeds have won 52 out of 140 opening round matchups, or 37.1 percent of the time. In 1989, all four No. 11s beat No. 6s. Last year, No. 11 seed Ohio State beat No. 6 seed Iowa State 62-59 before losing to No. 3 seed Houston 74-59 in the second round. A No. 11 seed is the lowest to ever make the Final Four, happening a couple of times.
No. 7 vs. No. 10
The No. 10 seeds are 55-85 against No. 7 seeds to date in the NCAA tournament, including a 3-1 mark in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, and 11-15 in games decided by three points or less. Twenty-three teams seeded 10th have reached the Sweet 16 and eight of those teams have advanced to the Elite Eight. Just one has reached the Final Four: Syracuse in 2016.
No. 8 vs. No. 9
A No. 8 is the lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament, being Villanova in 1985. In the last 35 years, 9 seeds have won 72 of 140 games — so, just over half. About 60 percent of those games played have been decided by fewer than 10 points. The lone No. 9 to reach the Final Four was Wichita State in 2013.