The last decade of Madness has indeed produced moments of bracket busting insanity. Here’s a quick flash back:
- UNC, as an 8 seed, beats 7 seed Tulsa (coached by Bill Self) to make the final four
- Wisconsin, also an 8 seed, makes the Final Four in a region where the Sweet 16 matchups are 8 v. 4 and 6 v. 10
- Florida reaches the title game as a 5 seed. They needed a Mike Miller shot in OT to defeat Butler in the opening round.
- Hampton becomes the second 15 seed to win a game in the tournament, beating Iowa State.
- Temple, as a 11 seed and one of the last teams in the field, makes it to the Elite 8.
- Mike Davis takes over as coach for Indiana and gets them to the title game as a 5 seed.
- Kent State turns into Cinderella, making the Elite 8 as a 10 seed before falling to Indiana.
- Missouri makes an Elite 8 run as a 12 seed, beating 8 seed UCLA in the Sweet 16.
- Carmelo Anthony leads Syracuse to a championship as a 3 seed.
- Michigan State becomes the third 5 seed in six years to make the Final Four.
- Bruce Pearl arrives on the national scene, coaching 12 seed UW-Milwaukee into the Sweet 16.
- 14 seed Bucknell stuns Kansas and becomes the first Patriot League team to win a game in the tournament.
- 11 seed George Mason makes the dream run to the Final Four, culminating with an OT thriller over the tournament favorites, UConn.
- 13 seed Bradley upsets Kansas in the opening round and then reaches the Sweet 16.
- Stephen Curry is introduced to the world as he leads 10 seed Davidson to the Elite 8, where they lose by 2 to eventual champs Kansas.
- Villanova, Siena, Western Kentucky, and San Diego defy the odds, creating two 12 v. 13 matchups in the second round.
- The first two, along with Davidson and Kansas State, create a region with 10, 11, 12, and 13 seeds advancing past the first round.
- Siena, USC, Dayton, Arizona, and Cleveland State create a region with 9 – 13 seeds advancing past the first round.
Every year there are awesome moments which defy logic and destroy millions of brackets. However, the last decade has left behind a guideline for surviving the chaos:
Trends Over the Last Ten Years
1. A #1 seed will make the Final Four (90%; there actually weren’t any in 2006)
2. There will be a #1 v. #2 matchup in the Elite 8 (90%)
3. A #3 seed will make the Elite 8 (90%)
4. A #10, #11 seed will reach the second round (90%)
5. A #7 seed will make the Sweet 16 (80%, was 8 out of 9 until last year)
6. A #12 seed will make the second round (80%)
Trends Over the Last Five Years
1. A #3 seed will make the Elite 8 (100%)
2. A #9 and #11 seed will make the second round (100%)
3. A #7 seed will make the Sweet 16 (80%)
4. A #12 seed will make the Sweet 16 (80%)
5. A #10, #12, #13 seed will make the second round (80%)
For those of you who like living in the present, the last two years have created a little bit of a shift of events in how the brackets have played out:
Trends Over the Last Two Years
1. Two #3 seeds will make the Elite 8
2. A #12 seed will make the Sweet 16
3. A region will have #10 - #13 seeds making the second round
4. Two #9 and #12 seeds will make the second round
With all the strategies out there, using history might yield a office pool victory and a year’s worth of bragging rights. Especially with the five and ten year trends, working “inside out” to fit the requirements and then filling out the gaps is a strategy for success.