Five seeds and their success (or lack thereof) in the tournament

We've heard all we can about the dreaded 5/12 upset. Every year (it seems) a five seed drops a game or two or three against a twelve seed. That's what faces Utah today against Arizona, the possibility of being upset in the first round. But is it really a cause for concern? Well maybe not, especially with Western Kentucky's victory over Illinois yesterday. 

Here's a look at how every five seed has faired since the 2000 season. We'll begin with the 2009 tournament and move backwards, to see if this is really an issue facing the Utes. 

The findings after the jump...



2009 (not complete):

Purdue - Defeated Northern Iowa 61-56 to advance to the second round.

Illinois - Lost to Western Kentucky 76-72.


Notre Dame - Defeated George Mason, lost to Washington State (4) in second Round.

Clemson - Lost to Villanova.

Michigan State - Defeated Temple, Pittsburgh (4) and lost to Memphis (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.

Drake - Lost to Western Kentucky


Butler - Defeated Old Dominion, Maryland (4) and lost to Florida (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.

Virginia Tech - Defeated Illinois, lost to So. Illinois (4) in the second round.

USC - Defeated Arkansas, Texas (4) and lost to North Carolina (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.

Tennessee - Defeated Long Beach State, Virginia (4) and lost to Ohio State (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.


Syracuse - Lost to Texas A&M.

Pittsburgh  - Defeated Kent State, lost to Bradley (13) in the second round.

Nevada - Lost to Montana.

Washington - Defeated Utah State, Illinois (4) and lost to Connecticut in the Sweet Sixteen.


Alabama - Lost to UW-Milwaukee.

Georgia Tech - Defeated George Washington, lost to Louisville (4) in the second round. 

Villanova - Defeated New Mexico, Florida (4) and lost to North Carolina (1) in the Sweet Sixteen. 

Michigan State - Defeated Old Dominion, Vermont (13), Duke (1) Kentucky (4) and lost to North Carolina (1) in the Final Four. 


Florida - Lost to Manhattan.

Providence - Lost to Pacific.

Illinois - Defeated Murray State, Cincinnati (4) and lost to Duke (1) in the Sweet Sixteen. 

Syracuse - Defeated BYU (ha!), Maryland (4) and lost to Alabama (8) in the Sweet Sixteen. 


Mississippi State - Lost to Butler.

Connecticut - Defeated BYU (ha!), Stanford (4) and lost to Texas (1) in the Sweet Sixteen. 

Wisconsin - Defeated Weber State, Tulsa (13) lost to Kentucky (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.

Notre Dame - Defeated UW-Milwaukee, Illinois (4) and lost to Arizona (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.


Marquette - Lost to Tulsa.

Florida - Lost to Creighton.

Indiana - Defeated Utah (boo), UNC-Wilmington (13), Duke (1), Kent State (10), Oklahoma (2) and lost to Maryland in the championship game. 

Miami (FL) - Lost to Missouri.


Ohio State - Lost to Utah State.

Cincinnati - Defeated BYU (ha!), Kent State (13) and lost to Stanford (1) in the Sweet Sixteen.

Virginia - Lost to Gonzaga.

Syracuse - Defeated Hawaii and lost to Kansas (4).


Florida - Defeated Butler, Illinois (4), Duke (1), Oklahoma State (3), North Carolina (8) and lost to Michigan State (1) in the championship game. 

Connecticut - Defeated Utah State and lost to Tennessee (4) in the second round.

Kentucky - Defeated St. Bonaventure and lost to Syracuse (4) in the second round.

Texas - Defeated Indiana State and lost to LSU (4) in the second round. 

So there you have it. A lot to digest, however, roughly 65% of five seeds have advanced beyond the first round. That isn't an extremely high number when you consider the seed discrepancy, but it's still decent enough, especially with one five seed already going down (Illinois). 

Of course, the most interesting thing I found out from this was how successful five seeds are in reaching the Sweet Sixteen when they beat their first round opponent. 

In every tournament this decade, at least one five seed has reached the Sweet Sixteen. It's happened a total of 15 times in eight years, which means if you're a five seed and you make it into the secound round, you actually stand a pretty good chance of at least making it to the regional semifinals. 

Unfortunately for Utah, it's not very likely they make it beyond the Sweet Sixteen if they do advance that far. Only three teams own extremely deep tournament runs as a five seed: Michigan State (Final Four, 2005), Indiana (NC game, 2002) and Florida (NC game, 2000).

So what does this tell us? Well upsets happen with these pairings, but they're not as common as some would lead you to believe.

If you play it by the odds, and I know some totally discount that theory, Illinois' loss is a boon for Utah.

But we'll see...


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