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Recent History of One Seeds in the NCAA Tournament

How have One Seeds fared in the NCAA Tournament the last five years?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Wisconsin vs Florida Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to many “experts,” it did not matter what Virginia did last night in Brooklyn against North Carolina because they were locked in to not only a one seed, but the number one overall seed.

Well, the Hoos went ahead and won anyway to leave no doubt. Obviously nobody knows for sure where UVa will be seeded given the Selection Show is not until 6 PM tonight, but let’s just assume they are a 1 seed and the number one overall seed for the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

With that information in mind, looking back at how the one seeds have fared over the last five tournaments might give an idea of what to expect from the Cavaliers and who they might play before a Final Four berth.

One Seeds’ Average Opponent

Obviously, a one seed is always going to face a 16 seed in the first round, and given the only two options for the 2nd round is an 8 or a 9 seed, it is not surprising to see the average in the 2nd round to be about 8.5. It is curious to note that over the last five years, the one seeds have averaged facing higher than a 4 seed in both the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Over the last two years, they’ve faced an easier Elite 8 game than Sweet 16 game (in theory).

No. 1 Overall Seed’s Average Opponent

The good news for UVa fans hoping for a long run in the tournament is only one No. 1 overall seed in the past 5 years failed to make the Elite 8. Last year’s Villanova team fell to Wisconsin in the Round of 32. The average seed opponent for the No. 1 overall seed is not all that different from the other 1 seeds.

Elite 8 Bound?
As noted above, three of the last five No. 1 overall seeds made at least the Elite 8. Even better news is that of the 20 one seeds the last five years, only seven failed to make it to the Elite 8. Only four one seeds have fallen before the Elite 8 the last four years, with Villanova accomplishing the feat twice in that time period (UVa is one of the four because Michigan State cheated).

Final Four Bound?
As the tournament progresses, the good news is harder to come by, but the one seeds should have the easiest path to the Final Four. While seven of the last 20 one seeds failed to make the Elite 8, eight of those 20 made the Final Four. A historical 40% chance at making the Final Four? Lock it up.

What could be better than 40%? How about 60%. Although Villanova last year and Kansas in 2016 did not make the Final Four, the three number one overall seeds before that did advance to the Final Four.

Even though recent history, the national media, simpleton college basketball fans, and being a UVa fan in general might lead us to believe the Hoos don’t have what it takes for a long run, being a one seed and the top seed overall means the Cavaliers are more than good enough for a sustained run to San Antonio.