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Tapp-ing into the Numbers -- Which seeds will play for NCAA title?

Posted on Friday, March 31, 2017



BY JERRY TAPP


The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four begins Saturday with two games… the winners will advance to the championship game on Monday night.

There is a possibility that two number one seeds will face off in the title game: Number one Gonzaga faces #7 South Carolina in one semi-final game and North Carolina, the other #1 seed, will play #3 Oregon in the other contest.

Over the past 37 years (since 1980) of the tournament, a #1 seed has played in the championship game in 27 of the 37 games. But a #1 seed versus another #1 seed is not the more frequent seed matchup in the title game. It has happened seven times since 1980; the most frequent matchup, however, has been a #1 seed versus a #2 seed… that has occurred nine times since 1980.

Here’s a breakdown of the seed matchups in the NCAA men’s basketball (Division I) title game since 1980 (last 37 years).

9 times: #1 seed versus #2 seed
7 times: #1 seed versus #1 seed
6 times: #2 seed versus #3 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #4 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #5 seed
3 times: #1 seed versus #6 seed
1 time: #1 seed versus #3 seed
1 time: #1 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #2 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #3 seed versus #3 seed
1 time: #3 seed versus #8 seed
1 time: #7 seed versus #8 seed

A number #1 seed has won the championship in 21 of the last 37 years in the Div. I men’s tourney. Number 2 seeds have won six titles… the #3 seeds have won five times… and the #6 seed has won twice. The #4, #7 and #8 seeds have each won once since 1980.

In addition to winning the most titles since ’80, the #1 seeds have also lost the most titles with 13. They are followed by #2 seeds (10 losses), #3 seeds (five losses), #5 seeds and #8 seeds (three losses each), #4 seeds (two losses), and #6 seeds (one loss).

A title game featuring #3 Oregon versus #7 South Carolina would be only the fourth time since 1980 where both teams in the finale were a #3 seed or lower.


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