The 12-5 upset is one of the most popular March Madness picks each year, and for good reason. It's happened quite a few times since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Most recently, Middle Tennessee defeated Minnesota in 2017.
Here's everything you need to know about 12 seeds vs. 5 seeds in March Madness.
History of 12 vs. 5 seeds in March Madness
There have been 47 12-5 upsets since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. That means 12 seeds hold a 47-89 record against 5s, which equates to a 34.56 win percentage.
Here are all of the times it's ever happened.
|1985||Kentucky def. Washington||66-58|
|1986||DePaul def. Virginia||72-68|
|1987||Wyoming def. Virginia||64-60|
|1989||DePaul def. Memphis State||66-63|
|1990||Dayton def. Illinois||88-86|
|1990||Ball State def. Oregon State||54-53|
|1991||Eastern Michigan def. Mississippi State||76-56|
|1992||New Mexico State def. DePaul||81-73|
|1993||George Washington def. New Mexico||82-68|
|1994||UW-Green Bay def. California||61-57|
|1994||Tulsa def. UCLA||112-102|
|1995||Miami (Ohio) def. Arizona||71-62|
|1996||Drexel def. Memphis||75-63|
|1996||Arkansas def. Penn State||86-80|
|1997||College of Charleston def. Maryland||75-66|
|1998||Florida State def. TCU||96-87|
|1999||Detroit def. UCLA||56-53|
|1999||Missouri State def. TCU||96-87|
|2001||Utah State def. Ohio State||77-68 (OT)|
|2001||Gonzaga def. Virginia||86-85|
|2002||Tulsa def. Marquette||71-69|
|2002||Missouri def. Miami (Fla.)||93-80|
|2002||Creighton def. Florida||83-82 (2OT)|
|2003||Butler def. Mississippi State||47-46|
|2004||Pacific def. Providence||66-58|
|2005||Milwaukee def. Alabama||83-73|
|2006||Montana def. Nevada||87-79|
|2006||Texas A&M def. Syracuse||66-58|
|2008||Villanova def. Clemson||75-69|
|2008||Western Kentucky def. Drake||191-99 (OT)|
|2009||Wisconsin def. Florida State||61-59 (OT)|
|2009||Arizona def. Utah||84-71|
|2009||Western Kentucky def. Illinois||76-72|
|2010||Cornell def. Temple||78-65|
|2011||Richmond def. Vanderbilt||69-66|
|2012||South Florida def. Temple||58-44|
|2012||VCU def. Wichita State||62-59|
|2013||Ole Miss def. Wisconsin||57-46|
|2013||California def. UNLV||64-61|
|2013||Oregon def. Oklahoma State||68-55|
|2014||Harvard def. Cincinnati||61-57|
|2014||North Dakota State def. Oklahoma||80-75(OT)|
|2014||Stephen F. Austin def. VCU||77-75 (OT)|
|2016||Little Rock def. Purdue||85-83 (2OT)|
|2016||Yale def. Baylor||79-75|
|2017||Middle Tennessee def. Minnesota||81-72|
Some more tidbits:
- In 29 of the last 34 years, the 12 seed has won at least one first round game for a total record of 47-89 against the 5 seed. The only exceptions were in 1988, 2000, 2007, 2015 and 2018.
- The lower seed is 19-27 in games decided by four points or fewer. Two of those close wins came in 2016, as No. 12 Little Rock knocked Purdue out of the first round with a 85-83 win and No. 12 Yale took down Baylor 79-74. In 2017, No. 5 Notre Dame held off No. 12 Princeton, 60-58.
- While more than 50 percent of the 12-seeds who won in the first round fail to advance past the second round (including those Little Rock, Yale and Middle Tennessee teams), 18 of the 47 teams have indeed made it it to Sweet 16.
- Utah State, who has been the No. 12 seed a record five times, is only 1-4 against No. 5 seeds. Its lone win came in 2001 against Ohio State.
- Three of the last five 12-5 upsets have gone to overtime.
How much more likely is a 12-5 upset than a 13-4 upset?
Twenty-eight 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985, giving them a 28-108 record all-time. That equates to a 20.59 winning percentage, so it's 13.97 less likely to occur than a 12-5.
Here are all of the times a 13 seed has upset a 4.
|1985||Navy def. LSU||78-55|
|1987||Missouri State def. Clemson||65-60|
|1987||Xavier def. Missouri||70-69|
|1988||Richmond def. Indiana||72-69|
|1989||Middle Tennessee def. Florida State||97-83|
|1991||Penn State def. UCLA||74-69|
|1992||Southwestern Louisiana def. Oklahoma||87-83|
|1993||Southern def. Georgia Tech||93-78|
|1995||Manhattan def. Oklahoma||77-67|
|1996||Princeton def. UCLA||43-41|
|1998||Valparaiso def. Ole Miss||70-69|
|1999||Oklahoma def. Arizona||61-60|
|2001||Indiana State def. Oklahoma||70-68|
|2001||Kent State def. Indiana||77-73|
|2002||UNC Wilmington def. USC||93-89|
|2003||Tulsa def. Dayton||84-71|
|2005||Vermont def. Syracuse||60-57|
|2006||Bradley def. Kansas||77-73|
|2008||Siena def. Vanderbilt||83-62|
|2008||San Diego def. UConn||70-69|
|2009||Cleveland State def. Wake Forest||84-69|
|2010||Murray State def. Vanderbilt||66-65|
|2011||Morehead State def. Louisville||62-61|
|2012||Ohio def. Michigan||65-60|
|2013||La Salle def. Kansas State||63-61|
|2016||Hawaii def. California||77-66|
|2018||Buffalo def. Arizona||89-69|
|2018||Marshall def. Wichita State||81-75|
How much more likely is an 11-6 upset than a 12-5 upset?
Fifty-one 11 seeds have upset 6 seeds since 1985, so it's only happened four more times than the 12-5 upset. An 11-6 upset is 2.94 percent more likely to occur than a 12-5 upset.
Recent highlights of 12-5 upsets
Here are some highlights from the 12-5 upsets that have happened lately.
Middle Tennessee won as the lower seed for the second straight year when it took down Minnesota in 2017.
Yale needed two overtimes, but it upset Baylor in dramatic fashion in 2016.
Little Rock shocked Purdue in that same year, eking out a 79-75 win.