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Joe Boozell | | February 5, 2021

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 No. 10 seed beating a No. 7 seed 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 No. 10 seeds vs. No. 7 seeds in March Madness.

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History of 10 vs. 7 seeds in March Madness

Here are all of the times No. 10 seeds have beaten No. 7 seeds in the past 11 years:

10s over 7s since 2009

Year Result Score
2019 Florida def. Nevada 70-61
2019 Iowa def. Cincinnati 79-72
2019 Minnesota def. Louisville 86-76
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, No. 10 seeds hold a 55-85 record against No. 7 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. That equates to a .393 winning percentage.
  • 10-7 upsets aren't unusual, but blowouts are. West Virginia had the widest margin of victory for a No. 10 seed when it beat Temple, 82-52, in 1998.
  • Creighton (which has the most appearances as a No. 10 seed with five) is winless as the lower seed, but 1-0 as a No. 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 35 years where No. 7 seeds were swept by 10s (1999).
  • The current streak almost ended in 2010 but Brigham Young survived as the last No. 7 seed, beating Florida by six points.
  • On the flip side, there have only been two tournaments where all four No. 7 seeds advanced: 1993 and 2007.
  • No. 10 seeds went 3-1 against 7s in 2019. Florida, Iowa and Minnesota were the lower seeds who advanced. Wofford was the only No. 7 seed to win.

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 .371 winning percentage against No. 6 seeds since 1985, which is a bit lower than No. 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 72-68 edge favoring 9 seeds 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 2019 tournament saw three No. 10 seeds advance by an average of 8.7 points. First there was Florida over Nevada:

Florida survives first round battle with Nevada

Minnesota over Louisville:

Minnesota advances past Louisville

And Iowa over Cincinnati:

Iowa knocks off Cincinnati, 79-72

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 No. 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.

Curry leads Davidson to the Elite Eight in 2008

2021 Maui Invitational: Wisconsin beats Saint Mary's to win the 2021 tournament

Wisconsin snuck past Saint Mary's 66-59 to win the 2021 Maui Invitational championship game. Click here to see the rest of the scores from the tournament.

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March Madness: Getting to know the No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament

Check out the detailed history of how No. 10 seeds have fared in the NCAA Tournament.
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