Tuck: March Madness Bracket Advice

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

PICKING A CHAMPION

- Since tournament expansion in 1985 the national champions by seed: #1 (17), #2 (4), #3 (4), #4 (1), #6 (1), #8 (1)

- Only 3 of 74 champions never won 6 in a row during the regular season: 1981 Indiana, 1983 NC State, and 1997 Arizona.  The Hoosiers never won 6, as they only needed 5 wins in the tournament that year prior to expansion.

- Only 3 of 74 champions won the title after having missed the tournament in the year previous: 1986 Louisville, 2003 Syracuse, and 2011 Connecticut.

- Only 2 of 74 champions lost games by more than 25 during the season: 1965 UCLA and 1993 North Carolina.

- Only 2011 UConn didn’t have a winning record in conference, finishing 9-9 in the Big East.

- Only 1 champion, 1997 Arizona, had a losing road record, finishing 5-8 that season away from Tucson.

Never has a national champion:

Had a losing record in conference

Lost in the opening game of their conference tournament

That was never ranked during the year at any point

Lost 5 games in a row during the season

 

Now that you’ve narrowed in on a champion, here are some hints for the rest of your bracket.

 

Since 1985 First round breakdown:

#1  112-0

#2  106-6

#3  96-16

#4  88-24

#5 74-38

#6  75-38

#7  67-45

#8  54-58

Only once in the past 16 years have all the #2 seeds advanced past the first weekend.

A #4 seed has lost to #13 in each of the last 5 years.  If you don’t think that will happen, at least understand that never once since 1985 expansion have all four #4 seeds advanced to the Sweet 16.

Don’t go 1-2-3-4 in any region.  Believe it or not, that’s only happened 4 times since 1985, last in 2007.

Since 1985, 15 double digit seeds have reached the Elite 8: #10 (7), #11 (5), #12 (1), #14 (2)

Last year, none did.  Xavier, NC State, and Ohio all made it to the Sweet 16.  With an every-other-year average, perhaps this is the year to peg one double-digit seed.

Of the last 20 Final Four teams…

* 9 of 20 (45%) have been in Ken Pom’s Top 5 for defensive efficiency
* 16 of 20 (80%) have been in Ken Pom’s Top 20 for defensive efficiency
* 18 of 20 (90%) have been in Ken Pom’s Top 30 for defensive efficiency

Top 5?  Louisville, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgetown, Kansas

6-10: Ohio State, St. Louis, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, San Diego State

Other notables: New Mexico (11), Gonzaga (14), Indiana (19), Miami (21), Syracuse (22), Duke (25)

That is 16 teams that are most likely to fill the 4 spots in Atlanta.

 

With all that said, my best advice is to completely ignore the seeding after the first round.  I’ve watched enough basketball this year to tell you there is little difference between the supposed best teams and the rest.  The record for most unranked teams beating AP Top 5 teams was set this year, so anything truly can happen.

Think of it this way.  Florida (3) lost to Ole Miss (12).  Oregon (12) beat UCLA (6).  LaSalle (13) beat VCU (5).  Indiana (1) lost to Minnesota (11).  Louisville (1) lost to Villanova (9).  I can go on, but you get the idea.  There is little difference in talent for some teams that are as much 6 seeds apart, and even the best teams have lost to bubble teams or others that didn’t even make the tournament.  Just ignore the seeds and think about match-ups.

 

 

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