Every year, we comb over the NCAA Tournament bracket for hours and struggle to commit to upset picks or who should advance far into the tournament. After all that time and thought put into your bracket, the person who doesn’t watch sports and completes their bracket based on colors or mascots had a far better bracket…
Lean on the Trends
While March Madness is fun for most, brackets can be frustrating. When it comes time to fill out ours, we overthink every season. And ultimately, some of the picks we were not brave enough to pick come back to bite us. It becomes all the more frustrating when money is on the line as well.
At the end of the day, picking a perfect bracket is near impossible. But you want to win your bracket group and reel in some big money. After several successful years of bracket picking and finishing within the top 0.5% of all brackets last year, I’m here to tell you to follow the trends.
It all starts in the Round of 64, and this is where brackets can really differentiate themselves. Hitting the upsets is the tricky part in the first round, but following the data can help guide you in picking the correct upsets.
Now, let’s dig into data to keep in mind when working through the Round of 64.
Round of 64 Data
Plenty of upsets must be picked in this round. Here are trends that will guide you in picking bold upsets:
These are the pieces of data that could be the most useful for filling out the Round of 64 in brackets. However, there is a massive amount of data on the first round, check out the rest:
General Data for Round of 64:
- Do not pick more than 10 double-digit seeds in the first round. The most in history is 10 double-digit seed wins in 2016.
- In the last 5 tournaments, 38 double-digit seeds have won in the Round of 6
- 30 of 38 (78.9%) double-digit seeds have ranked top 50 in Kenpom’s offensive or defensive efficiency.
- The First Four has existed since 2011. In these 10 tournaments, 9 First Four game teams have made at least the Round of 32.
- 5 of 9 advancing made at least the Sweet 16.
- 2 of 9 advancing made the Final 4 — which were VCU in 2011 UCLA in 2021.
- 2 teams in the Round of 32 has never happened; pick only one First Four team to advance to the Round of 32.
16 seed, 15 seed Data:
- One 16 seed has upset a No. 1 seed in the Round of 64: UMBC over Virginia in 2018.
- Nine 15 seeds have beaten No. 2 seeds and have a 9-135 all-time record against 2 seeds (only 6.25% win percentage).
- Two 15 seeds have won in the last 5 tournaments: Middle Tennessee over Michigan State in 2016 Oral Roberts over Ohio State in 2021.
14 seed, 13 seed trends/stats:
- In 19 of 36 years with 14 seeds in the tournament, at least one 14 seed has won.
- It has happened twice in the last 5 tournaments.
- Abilene Christian (14 seed) beat Texas (3 seed) last year, this was the first time over the last 4 tournaments.
- 13 seeds are 23-121 all-time in the Round of 64 (15.97% win percentage).
- After not occurring for 3 tournaments, two 13 seeds won last year.
5 seed vs 12 seed Data:
- In 31 of 36 years, at least one 12 seed has won.
- 12 seeds are 16-24 in the first round (40% win percentage) in the last 10 tournaments.
- Multiple 12 seeds have won in 5 of the last 10 tournaments.
- We are coming off 2021 where only one 12 seed won (Oregon State).
6 seed vs 11 seed Data:
- 11 seeds have a win percentage of 37.5% in the Round of 64.
- Since 2000, at least one 11 seed has advanced to the Round of 32 in every tournament, except in 2004.
- In the last 5 tournaments, 11 seeds are 11-9 in the first round.
7 seed vs 10 seed Data:
- At least one 10 seed has won in the Round of 64 in every tournament since 2010.
- 10 seeds are 18-26 (40.9% win percentage) in the first round since 2010.
8 seed vs. 9 seed Data:
- This series is pretty evenly split with the 9 seeds holding an all-time record of 73-71.
- Since 2014, neither the 8 or 9 seed has dominated the series in the tournament.
- 8 seeds won 3 or more games in 4 of the last 7 tournaments.
- 9 seeds won 3 or more games in 3 of the last 7 tournaments.
Most of this data can be leaned upon to lead you to bracket glory. For instance, picking the correct seeds to dominate the 8 vs. 9 seed matchups is always a difference-maker. In addition, always picking at least one 12, 11, and 10 seed to win in the Round of 64 is vital information.
This was the most useful data to know for the Round of 64. Not every trend will be true for every tournament, but most end up ringing true.
Check back in to study the data for the Round of 32!