Was This First March Madness Weekend Different From Years Past?

Image result for UMBC

After the first weekend of every March Madness you often feel as though it was the craziest weekend you can remember. Also often, you are simply a prisoner of the moment and the weekend was actually pretty statistically average when it comes to upsets and Cinderella stories. Yet, this past weekend did feel a little different. Was it just because a 16 seed beat a 1 seed for the first time ever? Or was this past weekend truly special and will the numbers back up the madness that we felt we saw? Let’s find out:

2018 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 6.03 

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 6

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 11

2018 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.3

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 2

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 8

1st weekend story lines: UMBC becomes first ever 16 seed to beat a 1 seed against UVA, Sister Jean and Loyola survive two last second victories, last team in Syracuse advances to sweet 16, Nevada mounts biggest comeback in tournament history, South region has all top four seeds eliminated by sweet 16

Best moment from 1st weekend:

UMBC becomes the first ever 16 seed to beat a 1 seed

Image result for UMBC gif

 

2017 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.3  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 5  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 5  (2018: 11)

2017 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 4.06 (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 1  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 6  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: First weekend is historically chalky with only one team as a 12 or above advancing (MTSU over Minnesota in a game that was nearly a pick em), Northwestern wins first ever tournament game, 7 seed South Carolina begins final four run by upsetting Duke, Gonzaga looks poised to finally break through

Best moment from 1st weekend:

Northwestern crying kid after their first ever tournament run comes to an end

Image result for northwestern crying kid gif

 

2016 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 6.72  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 8  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 8  (2018: 11)

2016 Round of 32:

Average Seed Advancing: 4.1 (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 2  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 5  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: 15 seed Middle Tennessee beats 2 seed Michigan State, Hawaii, Arkansas Little Rock, Stephen F Austin and Yale all advance as 12 seeds or higher in an upset filled first two days, at least one 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 seed won a first-round game for the third time ever, Northern Iowa hits half court buzzer beater to upset 6 seed Texas.

Best moment from 1st weekend:

Half court buzzer beater for 11 seed Northern Iowa

Texas Paul GIF

 

2015 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.6  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 5  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 11  (2018: 11)

2015 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 4.4  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing 1  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 2  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: Georgia State and UAB both advance as 14 seeds, big guys dominate for 1 seeds as Karl Anthony Towns, Frank Kaminsky and Jahlil Okafor have Kentucky, Wisconsin and Duke rolling

Best moment from 1st weekend:

RJ Hunter hits dagger three for Georgia State to pull upset over 3 seed Baylor and sends his coach (his dad) flying:

Image result for rj hunter georgia state gif

 

2014 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.9  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 5  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 10  (2018: 11)

2014 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.9  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 3  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 2  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: 14 seed Mercer upsetDuke, Shabazz Napier and 7 seed UConn begin their championship run, 8 seed Kentucky upsets 1 seed Wichita State, Aderian Payne drops 41 for MSU in 1st round game against New Mexico State

Best moment from 1st weekend:

Duke continues 1 round struggles and loses to Mercer, two years after losing to Lehigh, tops it off with a great white boy dance

Image result for mercer vs duke gif

 

2013 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 6.5  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 8  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 10  (2018: 11)

2013 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.1  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 3  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 4  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast becomes national sensation advancing to sweet 16, West Region has 14 (Harvard), 13 (La Salle), 12 (Ole Miss), 10 (Iowa State), 9 (Wichita State) seeds all advance, world is introduced to Ron Baker and Wichita State as they begin their final four run,

Best moment from 1st weekend:

FGCU and Dunk City:

Image result for Florida Gulf Coast gif

 

2012 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 6.56  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 8  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 9  (2018: 11)

2012 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 4.5  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 4  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 6  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: 15 seeds Lehigh and Norfolk State advance over Duke and Missouri, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kentucky roll, despite big upsets all four 1 seeds advance to sweet 16 for first time in 4 years, BYU sets record for largest comeback in tournament history (25 points) against Iona in the play in game

Best moment from 1st weekend

CJ McCollum and Lehigh upset Duke as a 15 seed

Image result for lehigh cj gif

Image result for lehigh cj gif

 

2011 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5.6  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 6  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 11  (2018: 11)

2011 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 4  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 5  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: Kemba Walker and UConn build off Big East tourney magic, VCU and Butler begin their final four runs, Southwest region has 9 (Illinois), 10 (FSU), 11 (VCU), 12 (Richmond), and 13 (Moorehead State) seeds all advance, Jimmer puts up 32 and 34 as BYU advances to sweet 16

Best moment from 1st weekend:

Shaka Smart and VCU begin one of the most improbable final four runs ever

Image result for shaka smart vcu gif

 

2010 1st Round: 

Average Seed Advancing: 6  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 8  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 11  (2018: 11)

2010 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 5  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 3  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 6  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: 9 seed Northern Iowa and Ali Farokhmanesh upset 1 seed Kansas en route to the sweet 16, the world is introduced to Butler, Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens, Cornell advances to sweet 16

Best moment from 1st weekend:

Ali Farokhmansesh pulls up for 3 on a fast break to seal win over Kansas

Image result for ali farokhmanesh gif

 

2009 1st Round:

Average Seed Advancing: 5.9  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 7  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 9  (2018: 11)

2009 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 3.2  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 1  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 5  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: Siena upsets Ohio State in double OT, 3 out of the 4 12 seeds advance (Arizona, Wisconsin and WKU), Tyler Hansbourgh and UNC roll, Blake Griffin and Oklahoma advance, for the first time ever all twelve 1, 2, and 3 seeds advance to sweet 16

Best moment from 1st weekend:

One of greatest calls in NCAA history with the double ‘Onions’ from Bill Raferty as Siena beats OSU in 2 OT’s:

 

2008 1st Round:

Average Seed Advancing: 5.8  (2018: 6.03)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 6  (2018: 6)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 4  (2018: 11)

2008 Round of 32: 

Average Seed Advancing: 4.4  (2018: 5.3)

Double Digit Seeds Advancing: 3  (2018: 2)

Games Decided by 5 points or less: 6  (2018: 8)

1st weekend story lines: Two 12 seeds (WKU and Villanova) and two 13 seeds (Siena and San Diego) advance, Steph Curry and 10 seed Davidson advance to sweet 16, Mario Chalmers and Derrick Rose begin championship runs for Memphis and Kansas, Jack McClinton scores 38 for Miami U against St Mary’s

Best moment from 1st weekend: 

Steph Curry

Image result for steph curry  davidson gif

Related image

 

Conclusion:

After looking at the numbers from the last ten years, the first round of this years NCAA tournament was actually remarkably average. Although it did have tied for the most games decided by 5 points or less, the average seed and number of double digit seeds advancing were right around the mean of the last 10 years. However, this is not the case for the round of 32. This year’s tournament had the highest average seed of advancing teams and, most notably, had the most games decided by 5 points or less by a full two games over the next highest year. For a sample size that only includes 16 games, having a two game lead is extremely significant. Despite the first round being statistically very average, this years round of 32 was arguably the most exciting of the last 10 years, couple that with witnessing history in the 1st round by having a 16 seed defeat a 1 seed, and there is merit behind this year actually feeling special.

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