Evidence-Based Bracketology

March 13, 2017
Evidence-Based Bracketology

While this post is from two years ago and some of these statistics may have slightly changed, it might still have a few good tidbits of information to take into consideration when filling out your 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket. Good Luck!

With the NCAA tournament play-in games set to tip-off tonight, chances are many of you are like millions of other Americans filling out your NCAA bracket today. Long gone are the days of holding out hope for completing a perfect bracket. According to USA Today Sports, the chances of accomplishing this are about 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Yes, that's quintillion.

Regardless of these astronomical odds, we still attempt the impossible. Before you pour over trying to determine the first big seed to fall or the lower seed poised to make a deep run, here are a few fun facts based on historical evidence since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, that might cause you to rethink a few of your picks.

No. 1 seeds reign supreme

  • No. 1 seeds have won 6 of the past 8 championships and 11 of the past 16
  • In total, a No. 1 seed has accounted for 18 titles

How do No. 1 Overall seeds fair?

  • Despite the fact that No. 1 seeds have won the majority of titles, it does not mean it's going to be the overall No. 1 seed to win the tournament
  • In the 11 years an overall No. 1 seed has been announced by the selection committee, only 3 have won the tournament

Don't bet on a No. 2 seed to win it all

  • Since expansion 30 years ago, No. 2 seeds have only 4 championships
  • No. 3 seeds have the same amount of titles during this timespan
  • In fact, a No. 2 seed has only captured one title in the past 16 years

At least one 2-seed won't survive the first weekend 

  • Only twice in the past 18 seasons have all No. 2 seeds reached the Sweet 16

Rarely as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4

  • Only 4 times since 1985 have the top four seeds in each region survived the first round

Don't bet on No. 5's either

  • Despite a No. 7 seed winning it all last year (Connecticut), a No. 5 seed has never won the NCAA tournament
  • The No. 5 seed is the highest seed to never have won a title

All No. 1's in the Final Four? Not likely

  • Going back even further, since seeding began in 1979, only once have all four No. 1 seeds advanced to the Final Four