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Joe Boozell | | February 18, 2019

History of 10 seeds vs. 7 seeds in March Madness

Nevada defeats Texas, 87-83

The 7-10 matchup is always one of the toughest picks on the NCAA tournament bracket. Sure, a 10 beating a 7 is technically an upset. But it happens so often that it's rarely a surprise when it does.

Here's everything you need to know about 10 seeds vs. 7 seeds in March Madness.

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History of 10 vs. 7 seeds in March Madness

Here are all of the times 10 seeds have beaten 7 seeds in the past decade:

10s over 7s since 2009

Year Result Score
2018 Butler def. Arkansas 79-62
2017 Wichita State def. Dayton 64-58
2016 VCU def. Oregon State 75-67
2016 Syracuse def. Dayton 70-51
2015 Ohio State def. VCU 75-72
2014 Stanford def. New Mexico 58-53
2013 Iowa State def. Notre Dame 76-58
2012 Xavier def. Notre Dame 67-63
2012 Purdue def. St. Mary's 72-69
2011 Florida State def. Texas A&M 57-50
2010 Georgia Tech def. Oklahoma State 64-59
2010 Missouri def. Clemson 86-78
2010 St. Mary's def. Richmond 80-71
2009 USC def. Boston College 72-55
2009 Maryland def. California 84-71
2009 Michigan def. Clemson 62-59

Some more tidbits:

  • In total, 10 seeds hold a 52-84 record against 7 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. That equates to a .382 winning percentage.
  • 10-7 upsets aren't unusual, but blowouts are. West Virginia had the widest margin of victory for a 10 seed when it beat Temple, 82-52, in 1998.
  • Creighton (who has the most appearances as a 10 seed with five) is winless as the lower seed, but 1-0 as a 7 seed.
  • The lower-seeded team is 11-15 in games decided by three points or less.
  • There has been only one tournament in the past 33 years where 7 seeds were swept by 10s (1999).
  • The current streak almost ended in 2010 but Brigham Young survived as the last 7 seed, beating Florida by six points.
  • On the flip side, there have only been two tournaments where all four 7 seeds advanced: 1993 and 2007.
  • 10 seeds went 2-2 against 7s in 2018. Nevada and Butler were the lower seeds who advanced.

How much more likely is a 10 beating a 7 than an 11 beating a 6?

There's hardly a difference. Eleven seeds hold a .375 winning percentage against 6 seeds since 1985, which is just a bit lower than 10 seeds.

How much more likely is a 9 beating an 8 than a 10 beating a 7?

This is where you see some separation between 8s and 9s and 7s and 10s. The 8-9 matchup has a dead-even 68-68 record since 1985, so a 10 beating a 7 is much less likely than a 9 beating an 8.

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Recent/most memorable 10-7 moments

The 2018 matchup between Nevada and Texas was a lot of fun. The Wolf Pack prevailed by a score of 87-83, but the Longhorns took them to overtime.

Go inside Nevada's OT game with Texas

Butler's win over Arkansas in the same year wasn't quite as nerve-wracking; the Bulldogs dominated from start to finish.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Butler Bulldogs: Game Highlights

Wichita State would lose in a nail-biter to Kentucky in the next round, but it took down Dayton in the first round of the 2017 tournament:

First Round: Shockers shock Flyers

Remember Syracuse's magical Final Four run in 2016? It started with a decisive win over Dayton in the first round:

First Round: Syracuse flies by Dayton

And before Syracuse, the last time a 10 seed reached the Elite Eight, Steph Curry's Davidson Wildcats pulled out a six-point win over Gonzaga to start one of the best Cinderella stories in college basketball history.

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