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Joe Boozell | NCAA.com | February 23, 2020

History of 11 seeds vs. 6 seeds in March Madness

Tracing the NCAA bracket from 1851 London, through 1977 Staten Island, to today

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 9-7 against 6s over the past four 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.

MARCH MADNESS GUIDE: What is the selection committee, and who's on it?

History of 11 vs. 6 seeds in March Madness

There have been 52 No. 11 seeds that have defeated No. 6 seeds (37.1 percent) since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Here's a list of all of them:

11 vs. 6 upsets
Year Result Score
2019 Ohio State def. Iowa State 62-59
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 No. 11 seeds. That year, every No. 11 seed won against the No. 6 seeds, by an average of 5.75 points.
  • No. 11 seeds have been particularly successful against 6s lately. The last 10 years, 11s have a 21-19 record over 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 50 12-5 upsets since the NCAA tournament field expanded. That means No. 12 seeds hold a 50-90 record against 5s, which equates to a 35.71 win percentage. Thus, an 11-6 upset is 1.43 percentage points 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 55-85 record against No. 7 seeds. That equates to a 39.29 win percentage. So, a 10-7 upset is just 2.15 percentage points more likely to happen than an 11-6.

Recent/memorable 11-6 games

The 2019 tournament was the first time in six seasons that multiple No. 11 seeds didn't reach the Round of 32. Ohio State was the lone representative for No. 11 seeds in the second round after upsetting Iowa State:

Ohio State upsets Iowa State, 62-59

Who can forget Donte Ingram's shot against Miami to send Loyola-Chicago to the second round in 2018? It was the start of a magical run for the Ramblers:

Loyola Chicago's fantastic finish to beat Miami

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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