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NCAA Tournament 2017: Seeding Trends and How UVA as a #5 Seed Fits In

Time to look at some stats!

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Virginia vs Pittsburgh
Kyle Guy and the Hoos are both fives this year.
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Selection Sunday has come and gone, it is time to print out - and fill out - your brackets. The key to winning your NCAA pool is to pick upsets, but which ones will happen this season?

Looking at the trends from the past 31 seasons by round we can see how the Virginia Cavaliers as a #5 seed fits into the picture.

First Round:

#5 seeds go down in the first round 36% of the time, compared to only 20% for #4 seeds and 16% for #3 seeds. Last year two #5 seeds were upset, as well as one #4 (Cal) and one #3 (WVU). A #12 seed has upset a #5 seed in 28 of the past 31 tournaments, so UVA cannot overlook UNC-Wilmington.

The #8/#9 matchup is a coin flip since the two seeds have split the 124 total games, 62-62, over the past 31 years.

#1 seeds have never lost in the first round but #2 seeds have been upset eight times, including the Michigan State stunner to Middle Tennessee State last year.

Second round:

Only 33% of #5 seeds make the Sweet 16 with Indiana and Maryland making it last year. Virginia would most likely face #4 seed Florida, which is ranked 9th in KenPom and 10th in RPI.

Only 13% of the time has a region gone #1, #2, #3, #4.

37% of #2 seeds have been upset by the #7/#10 winner (#2 Xavier was upset last year by #7 Wisconsin).

Meanwhile #1 seeds are only upset 13% of the time, but has happened in three of the past four years.

Sweet 16:

Only 6% of #5 seeds have made the elite eight and none since 2011. UVA would most likely have to upset #1 seed defending champion Villanova in reach the elite eight for the second straight year.

On the bottom half of the region, 70% are either #2 or #3 seeds (50% last year).

On the other side of the region, 69% of #1 seeds make the elite eight (All four #1 seeds made the Elite 8 last year for the first time since 2009).

Elite Eight:

Only 5% of #5 seeds made the final four, but two made it in 2010. If Virginia makes it this far, they would most likely face #2 seed Duke or #3 seed Baylor, both of which are in the top #15 in RPI and KenPom rankings.

Only one time in 31 years of the 64 team bracket have all four #1 seeds made the Final Four (which was no exception last year).

The #2 seeds? They make it only 22% of the time (two made it last year after none made it the year before).

Forty percent of #1 seeds make the Final Four (only one made it last year).

If you add up all the seeds that make the Final Four, the average total is 11. Meaning if you pick all #1 seeds, that's less than half the average, or if you throw in a #11 George Mason with a #3, #2, and #1, that's double the average. (Last year's total of 15 (#1, #2, #2, #10) was above the average, due to #10 Syracuse, booooo.) If you go with #5 UVA to make the Final Four, it would be wise to include a couple lower seeds to average it out.