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March Madness Seeds: 1 vs 16

March Madness 1 vs 16 History

It’s perhaps the best lock in all of sports — a No. 16 seed has never defeated a No. 1 seed in March Madness. There haven’t been too many close calls in the past dozen or so years, either. In fact, just six times since 2001 has a No. 16 stayed within 10 points of a top seed. However, five of those times have taken place within the last seven years, with three No. 16 seeds covering the spread in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Of those three No. 16 seeds that covered in 2014, Weber State was the only one to stay within single digits as a 20-point underdog in a 68-59 loss to Arizona in the West Region. Coastal Carolina (+20) and Albany (+21.5) both stayed within 12 points, though, as they covered against Virginia and Florida, respectively.

What seed has the recent ATS edge?

While 1 vs 16 first-round matchups have primarily been blowouts historically in March Madness, bettors have found little solace in backing the lower seed recently. The last two years, No. 16 seeds went just 2-6 ATS with the lone covers coming from South Dakota State and Florida Gulf Coast. 

Before the 2016 tournament, the No. 16 seed went 8-4 ATS in the previous three years, however, a scan of the table below shows that you’re likely to come out on the profitable end more often than not by blindly betting on the No. 1 seed to cover the spread.

Close calls

The closest a No. 16 seed has ever come to upsetting a No. 1 seed came in 1989 when Georgetown edged Princeton 50-49. Two years later, Michigan State topped Murray State 75-71, and Purdue held off Western Carolina 73-71 in 1996.

There haven’t been any nail-biters to match the intensity of those games recently, but in 2013, Western Kentucky (+20.5) hung around against Kansas before falling 64-57 in the South Region and Southern (+22.5) lost 64-58 to Gonzaga in the West Region.

The top seed has captured 21 national titles overall dating back to 1985. Over the past 13 years, a No. 1 seed has won the NCAA championship nine times.

Seed vs Seed Stats: 1 vs 16 | 2 vs 15 | 3 vs 14 | 4 vs 13 | 5 vs 12 | 6 vs 11 | 7 vs 10 | 8 vs 9

#1 Seed vs #16 Seed
#1 SeedScore#16 SeedScoreDateATS WinWin SeedATS Seed
Villanova-LIU Brooklyn/Radford-2018-03-15---
Xavier-NC CEntral/Texas Southern-2018-03-16---
Villanova76Mount St. Mary's562017-03-16Villanova11
Kansas100UC Davis622017-03-17Kansas11
Gonzaga66South Dakota St462017-03-16South Dakota St116
North Carolina103Texas Southern642017-03-16North Carolina11
Oregon91Holy Cross522016-03-18Oregon11
North Carolina83Florida Gulf Coast672016-03-17Florida Gulf Coast116
Kansas105Austin Peay792016-03-17Kansas11
Wisconsin86Coastal Carolina722015-03-20Coastal Carolina116
Duke85Robert Morris562015-03-20Duke11
Virginia70Coastal Carolina592014-03-21Coastal Carolina116
Wichita State64Cal Poly372014-03-21Wichita State11
Arizona68Weber State592014-03-21Weber State116
Kansas64Western Kentucky572013-03-22Western Kentucky116
Indiana83James Madison622013-03-22James Madison116
Louisville79North Carolina A&T482013-03-21Louisville11
Michigan State89Long Island672012-03-16Michigan State11
North Carolina77Vermont582012-03-16North Carolina11
Kentucky81Western Kentucky662012-03-15Western Kentucky116
Syracuse72UNC Asheville652012-03-15UNC Asheville116
Kansas72Boston University532011-03-18Boston University116
Ohio State75Texas-San Antonio462011-03-18Ohio State11
Pittsburgh74UNC Asheville512011-03-17Pittsburgh11
Duke73Arkansas-Pine Bluff442010-03-19Duke11
Kentucky100East Tennessee State712010-03-18Kentucky11
Louisville74Morehead State542009-03-20Morehead State116
Pittsburgh72East Tennessee State622009-03-20East Tennessee State116
North Carolina101Radford582009-03-19North Carolina11
North Carolina113Mount St. Mary's742008-03-21North Carolina11
UCLA70Miss Valley State292008-03-20UCLA11
Kansas85Portland State612008-03-20Kansas11
Florida112Jackson State692007-03-16Florida11
North Carolina86Eastern Kentucky652007-03-15Eastern Kentucky116
Ohio State78Cent Conn State572007-03-15Ohio State11
Memphis94Oral Roberts782006-03-17Memphis11
Duke57Delaware State462005-03-18Delaware State116
North Carolina96Oakland682005-03-18Push1 
Illinois67Fairleigh Dickinson552005-03-17Fairleigh Dickinson116
Kentucky96Florida A&M762004-03-19Florida A&M116
Duke96Alabama State612004-03-18Duke11
Stanford71Texas-San Antonio452004-03-18Stanford11
Saint Joseph's82Liberty632004-03-18Liberty116
Texas82UNC Asheville612003-03-21UNC Asheville116
Oklahoma71South Carolina State542003-03-20South Carolina State116
Cincinnati90Boston University522002-03-15Cincinnati11
Kansas70Holy Cross592002-03-14Holy Cross116
Illinois96Northwestern State542001-03-16Illinois11
Michigan State69Alabama State352001-03-16Michigan State11
Stanford89UNC Greensboro602001-03-15Stanford11
Stanford84South Carolina State652000-03-17South Carolina State116
Arizona71Jackson State472000-03-16Jackson State116
Michigan State65Valparaiso382000-03-16Michigan State11
Michigan State76Mount St. Mary's531999-03-12Mount St. Mary's116
Duke99Florida A&M581999-03-12Florida A&M116
Connecticut91Texas-San Antonio661999-03-11Texas-San Antonio116
Kansas110Prairie View A&M521998-03-13Kansas11
North Carolina88Navy521998-03-12North Carolina11
Arizona99Nicholls State601998-03-12Arizona11
Minnesota78Texas State461997-03-14Minnesota11
Kansas78Jackson State641997-03-13Jackson State116
North Carolina82Fairfield741997-03-13Fairfield116
Massachusetts92Central Florida701996-03-14Central Florida116
Kentucky110San Jose State721996-03-14Kentucky11
Purdue73Western Carolina711996-03-14Western Carolina116