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NCAA Basketball Tournament
First Round Winners by Seed Number

The chart below shows the seed number of each team that won its first round game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament over the past twelve years (since 1990). It is broken down into years and also by the four different regions of the bracket. At the bottom of the chart are two numbers under each contest (1 vs 16, 8 vs 9, etc.). The first number indicates the upset total in that matchup over the past 12 years, with the percent of those games that end in an upset. The second number indicates the average number of times each year these upsets occur. This number is out of four possibilities (because thereís a 1 vs 16 matchp in the (1)South, (2)West, (3)East, and (4)Midwest).


As you can see, upsets are most likely in the 8 vs 9 game. In fact, the 9 seed beats the 8 seed more than the 8 beats the 9. The second most likely upset, as you might expect, is the 10 seed beating the 7 seed. The notorious 5 vs 12 matchup is the next most likely upset. Surprisingly, it is more likely for a 12 to beat a 5 than an 11 to beat a 6. The 4 vs 13 contest is next, followed by the 3 vs 14 game. A number 15 seed has only beaten a 2 seed four times in the past twelve years. A number 1 seed has never been beaten by a number 16 seeded team.

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