Madness Seeding Trends

Brian Gabrielle from has the lowdown on the major betting trends for the NCAA tournament, which kicks off Thursday. Plan on betting on the games or filling out your bracket? Well do a little homework first.

When it comes to dancing in March, all teams are not created equal.

Pay close attention to seeds and HOW teams get there. Automatic bids are much better bets than At Large bids.

Here's some historic seeding notes to keep in mind when filling out your brackets.


  • 16th seeds are 0-80 since the tournament moved to a 64 team format in 1985
  • 15th seeds are 4-76
  • 14th seeds are 16-64 and 13th seeds are 18-62 , giving them a combined record of 35-125 . Last season both Vermont & Bucknell both pulled the upset as a 13 & 14 respectively.
  • of the 35 13th & 14th seeds to win a first round match, only 5 have gone on to win in the second round. All five of the 13 & 14 seeds to advance to the Elite 8 were Conference Champions - an 'At Large' bid has never pulled an upset from the 13/14 hole and gone on to win in the second round. Bucknell lost to Wisconsin by 9 in the 2nd round last season while Vermont lost by 11 to Michigan State.
  • 5th through 12th seeds is the land of upsets. 6 out of every 7 occasions an upset comes from an Automatic Bid rising to the occasion and upsetting an At Large bid. The notion that "it doesn't matter how you got here" is nonsense. Character teams who were good enough to win their conference tournaments are ALWAYS more dangerous than those invited through the good ol' boys network. In every sense of the word, astute handicappers know that the Conference Tournaments are an "audition" for the main event. Wisconsin-Milwaukee was the best example from 2005, beating both Alabama and Boston College to advance to the Sweet 16 from the 12 seed.
  • There is a very high percentage of "upsets" when 2 "At Large" bids face each other. The underdog will pull the upset near 50% of the time when two top ranked (top 32) "at large" teams face each other, so when we are looking for upsets, look for them when 2 at large bids meet and when teams who are seeded 9th through 12th are teams who are earned bids facing favored teams who are "At Large" bids.
  • Since 1985, a #1 seed has won 12 titles and finished second 8 times but never have all four #1s made it to the Final Four. Last season, two #1's met in the final with North Carolina beating Illinois 75-70.
  • There have been 23 teams with records of .500 or worse. They have never won a game in the field of 64.
  • Only two teams (North Carolina and Wisconsin in 2000) have made the Final Four with 13 or more losses.
  • Since they started seeding teams in 1979, no seed lower than #8 (Villanova, 1985) has won a national title.
  • No 5 or 7 seed has ever won a national title.
  • There have only been two teams seeded lower than eighth to make a Final Four.
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