Sports

How many 12 seeds have won in March Madness? History of 12 vs. 5 upsets, statistics for NCAA Tournament



Fun fact: If you fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket and don’t pick at least one 12-over-5 upset, your submission is automatically thrown out. True story. 

OK, that’s not actually a true story. But if you’re not picking a 12-over-5, why are you even filling out a bracket? It’s a double-digit upset, which is fun, and history shows us there’s a pretty darn good chance at least one 12 seed is going to be playing at least two games. 

Here’s a complete breakdown of the history of 12 vs. 5 matchups in the NCAA Tournament, including the most memorable upsets and important numbers to know while filling out your March Madness bracket.

MORE: Ranking the top 80 upsets in March Madness history

History of 12 seed vs. 5 seed upsets in NCAA Tournament

There really is something magical about these 12-5 games. Think about this: In the past 40 years, there have been 50 12-over-5 upsets, and at the same time there have only been 52 11-over-6 wins and 55 10-over-7 results. Remember, teams seeded on the No. 5 seed line are generally ranked in the top 20 in the polls, whereas teams on the 7 seed line are barely in the “also receiving votes” category, and yet the 5 seeds lose almost as much as the 7 seeds.

And instead of telling you every year there’s been a 12-over-5 upset, it’s much — MUCH — easier to just list the years it didn’t happen: 1988, 2000, 2007, 2015 and 2018. That’s it, five years. That’s the entire list.

How many times have at least two No. 12 seeds won? Let’s look: 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009. 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019. That’s 13, if you didn’t feel like counting. History shows us it’s more than TWICE as likely to have at least two 12 seeds win than to have zero 12 seeds win.

But wait, there’s more!

Here’s a list of the years where THREE 12 seeds beat a 5 seed: 2002, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2019. Yep, five times. So in the past 40 years, we’ve seen as many years with three 12 seeds winning games as we’ve seen zero 12 seeds winning games. Heck, in the 2013-14 tournaments, No. 12 seeds went 6-2 against No. 5 seeds.

So, y’know, pick at least one 12-over-5 upset, folks. 

Year Result Score
1985 Kentucky def. Washington 66-58
1986 DePaul def. Virginia 72-68
1987 Wyoming def. Virginia 64-60
1989 DePaul def. Memphis State 66-63
1990 Dayton def. Illinois 88-86
1990 Ball State def. Oregon State 54-53
1991 Eastern Michigan def. Mississippi State 76-56
1992 New Mexico State def. DePaul 81-73
1993 George Washington def. New Mexico 82-68
1994 UW-Green Bay def. California 61-57
1994 Tulsa def. UCLA 112-102
1995 Miami (Ohio) def. Arizona 71-62
1996 Drexel def. Memphis 75-63
1996 Arkansas def. Penn State 86-80
1997 College of Charleston def. Maryland 75-66
1998 Florida State def. TCU 96-87
1999 Detroit def. UCLA 56-53
1999 Missouri State def. TCU 96-87
2001 Utah State def. Ohio State 77-68 (OT)
2001 Gonzaga def. Virginia 86-85
2002 Tulsa def. Marquette 71-69
2002 Missouri def. Miami (Fla.) 93-80
2002 Creighton def. Florida 83-82 (2OT)
2003 Butler def. Mississippi State 47-46
2004 Pacific def. Providence 66-58
2005 Milwaukee def. Alabama 83-73
2006 Montana def. Nevada 87-79
2006 Texas A&M def. Syracuse 66-58
2008 Villanova def. Clemson 75-69
2008 Western Kentucky def. Drake 101-99 (OT)
2009 Wisconsin def. Florida State 61-59 (OT)
2009 Arizona def. Utah 84-71
2009 Western Kentucky def. Illinois 76-72
2010 Cornell def. Temple 78-65
2011 Richmond def. Vanderbilt 69-66
2012 South Florida def. Temple 58-44
2012 VCU def. Wichita State 62-59
2013 Ole Miss def. Wisconsin 57-46
2013 California def. UNLV 64-61
2013 Oregon def. Oklahoma State 68-55
2014 Harvard def. Cincinnati 61-57
2014 North Dakota State def. Oklahoma 80-75 (OT)
2014 Stephen F. Austin def. VCU 77-75 (OT)
2016 Little Rock def. Purdue 85-83 (2OT)
2016 Yale def. Baylor 79-75
2017 Middle Tennessee def. Minnesota 81-72
2019 Oregon def. Wisconsin 72-54
2019 Liberty def. Mississippi St. 80-76
2019 Murray St. def. Marquette 83-64

MORE: The 14 most humiliating first-round chokes in Big Dance history

12 seeds vs. 5 seeds by the numbers

  • 50-90: Record for 12 seeds vs. No. 5 seeds
  • 35.7 percent: Overall winning percentage for 12 seeds since 1985
  • 20: Largest margin of victory for a 12 seed; Eastern Michigan over Mississippi State (76-56)
  • 1. Smallest margin of victory for a 12 seed; four times, first by Ball State over Oregon State (54-53)
  • 7: Number of times a 12 seed has won in overtime
  • 2: Number of times a 12 seed has won in double overtime
  • 1: Buzzer-beater wins for 12 seeds: Western Kentucky over Drake (101-99)
  • 21: 12 seeds to reach the Sweet 16
  • 1: 12 seeds to reach the Elite Eight 

Has a 12 seed ever won March Madness?

No, a 12 seed has never won the NCAA Tournament, but you should keep the idea in the “not very likely but not impossible” category. Remember, there have been multiple 11 seeds to crash the Final Four, and crazy things can happen in a 40-minute basketball game. 

Of the 21 12 seeds to reach the Sweet 16, only the 2002 Missouri Tigers actually won that Sweet 16 contest to advance to the Elite Eight. That was a talented but inconsistent team headlined by Kareem Rush, the junior with the smooth left-handed shot, with sophomores Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson and shot-happy senior Clarence Gilbert.

The Tigers knocked off Miami (Fla.) in the opener, then cruised past 4-seed Ohio State by 16 in the second round. Instead of facing the No. 1 seed in the Sweet 16, they played No. 8 UCLA; the Bruins had upended Cincinnati in double overtime. Mizzou cruised past UCLA, too, winning 82-73. In the Elite Eight game against No. 2 Oklahoma — a Big 12 rival that was 34-5 entering the game and had beaten the Tigers by 13 points in their lone regular-season matchup — Mizzou hung tough despite foul trouble and Gilbert’s shooting woes (he finished the game 1-for-16 from the field).

The Tigers cut Oklahoma’s lead to three points at 70-67 with under three minutes left, but never got any closer in an 81-75 loss. 

MORE: March Madness Cinderella players we’ll never forget

Lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament

Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, we’ve seen five double-digit seeds reach the Final Four:

  • 11 seed LSU in 1986
  • 11 seed George Mason in 2006
  • 11 seed VCU in 2011
  • 10 seed Syracuse in 2016
  • 11 seed Loyola Chicago in 2018

All four lost before reaching the title game. Only four teams seeded lower than the No. 3 seed line have ever won the national title: one 4 seed (Arizona in 1997), one 6 seed (Kansas in 1988), one seven seed (UConn in 2014) and one 8 seed (Villanova in 1985). No 5 seed has ever won. The Villanova story is the stuff of legend; a plucky, methodical 8 seed that reached the title game by grinding out a series of narrow wins (three by three points or fewer) and facing off against the might Georgetown Hoyas in the championship game.

It’s considered by some as the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history. But here’s the thing: It makes for a great David and Goliath story, but Villanova was pretty darn good. In the 1985 and 1986 NBA Drafts, three starters from that 1985 team went in the top 30 picks (Ed Pinckney at 10 and Dwayne McClain at 27 in 1985 and Harold Pressley at 17 in 1986; Gary McLain went in the seventh round in 1985). Factor in that Villanova had already played Georgetown tough TWICE that year — losses by only two points and seven points — and, sorry, it doesn’t make for a top-five all-time upset. 

It does, though, make for a pretty cool championship story. 





Source link

Back to top button