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Joe Boozell | | February 13, 2019

History of 11 seeds vs. 6 seeds in March Madness

First Round: Northern Iowa stuns Texas

The 11-6 March Madness upset pick isn't as sexy as the 12-5, but it's had a higher hit rate lately. No. 11 seeds are 8-4 against 6s over the past three years and have had a good amount of historical success in general.

Here's everything you need to know about 11s vs. 6s in March Madness.

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History of 11 vs. 6 seeds in March Madness

There have been 51 11 seeds that have defeated 6 seeds (37.5 percent) since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Here's a list of all of them:

11 vs. 6 upsets
Year Result Score
2018 Loyola-Chicago def. Miami (FL) 64-62
2018 Syracuse def. TCU 57-52
2017 Rhode Island def. Creighton 84-72
2017 USC def. SMU 66-65
2017 Xavier def. Maryland 76-65
2016 Northern Iowa def. Texas 75-72
2016 Gonzaga def. Seton Hall 68-52
2016 Wichita State def. Arizona 65-55
2015 Dayton def. Providence 66-53
2015 UCLA def. SMU 60-59
2014 Tennessee def. UMass 86-67
2014 Dayton def. Ohio State 60-59
2013 Minnesota def. UCLA 83-63
2012 Colorado def. UNLV 68-64
2012 NC State def. San Diego State 79-65
2011 Marquette def. Xavier 66-55
2011 VCU def. Georgetown 74-56
2011 Gonzaga def. St. John's 86-71
2010 Washington def. Marquette 80-78
2010 Old Dominion def. Notre Dame 51-50
2009 Dayton def. West Virginia 68-62
2008 Kansas State def. USC 80-67
2007 Winthrop def. Notre Dame 76-64
2007 VCU def. Duke 79-77
2006 Milwaukee def. Oklahoma 82-74
2006 George Mason def. Michigan State 75-65
2005 UAB def. LSU 62-68
2003 Central Michigan def. Creighton 79-73
2002 Wyoming def. Gonzaga 73-68
2002 Southern Illinois def. Texas Tech 76-68
2001 Georgia State def. Wisconsin 50-49
2001 Temple def. Texas 79-65
2000 Pepperdine def. Indiana 77-57
1998 Washington def. Xavier 69-68
1998 Western Michigan def. Clemson 75-72
1996 Boston College def. Indiana 64-51
1995 Texas def. Oregon 90-73
1994 Penn def. Nebraska 90-80
1993 Tulane def. Kansas State 55-53
1991 Creighton def. New Mexico State 64-56
1991 UConn def. LSU 79-62
1990 Loyola Marymount def. New Mexico State 111-92
1989 Minnesota def. Kansas State 86-75
1989 Evansville def. Oregon State 94-90
1989 South Alabama def. Alabama 86-84
1989 Texas def. Georgia Tech 76-70
1988 Rhode Island def. Missouri 87-80
1986 LSU def. Purdue 94-87
1985 Boston College def. Texas Tech 55-53
1985 UTEP def. Tulsa 79-75
1985 Auburn def. Purdue 59-58

Some more tidbits:

  • The 1989 NCAA tournament was a special one for the 11 seeds. That year, every 11 seed won against the 6 seed, by an average of 5.75 points.
  • No. 11 seeds have been particularly successful against 6s lately. The last five years, multiple 11s have beaten 6s.
  • No. 11 seeds went a combined 6-2 against 6s in 2016 and 2017.
  • LSU, George Mason and VCU all made history as the lowest seeds to ever make the Final Four and all won by considerable margins against their first-round match-ups. Loyola-Chicago also made the Final Four as an 11, but its first round game was much closer than those.
  • Pepperdine beat Indiana in a 20-point blowout, 77-57, in Bobby Knight’s last game as the Hoosiers’ coach. It was the largest 11 over 6 margin ever.

Why the 13 over 4 upset pick is undervalued in March Madness brackets

How much more likely is an 11-6 upset than a 12-5 upset?

There have been 47 12-5 upsets since the NCAA tournament field expanded. That means 12 seeds hold a 47-89 record against 5s, which equates to a 34.56 win percentage. Thus, an 11-6 upset is 2.94 percent more likely to happen than a 12-5.

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

No. 10 seeds hold a 53-83 record against 7 seeds. That equates to a 39.0 win percentage. So, a 10-7 upset is just 1.5 percent more likely to happen than an 11-6.

Recent/memorable 11-6 games

Who can forget Donte Ingram's shot against Miami to send Loyola-Chicago to the second round? It was the start of a magical run:

Loyola Chicago's fantastic finish to beat Miami

It wasn't quite as dramatic, but Syracuse defeated TCU by a score of 57-52 to keep up its winning NCAA tournament ways:

Syracuse beats TCU 57-52

Three 11 seeds advanced to the next round in 2017. There was USC over SMU:

First Round: USC shocks SMU

Xavier over Maryland: 

First Round: Musketeers moving on

And Rhode Island over Creighton:

First Round: Rhode Island rams Creighton

And of course: Northern Iowa's Paul Jesperson hit a legendary shot in 2016 to push the Panthers past Texas:

UNI vs. UT: P. Jesperson buzzer-beater


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