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Joe Boozell | | February 10, 2022

History of 10 seeds vs. 7 seeds in March Madness

Maryland vs. UConn: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA Tournament

The 7-10 matchup is always one of the toughest picks in the men's NCAA tournament bracket. Sure, a No. 10 seed beating a No. 7 seed is a difference on the seed line. 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.

History of 10 vs. 7 seeds in March Madness

Here are all of the times No. 10 seeds have beaten No. 7 seeds, since 2010:

10s over 7s since 2010

Year Result Score
2021 Maryland def. UConn 63-54
2021 Rutgers def. Clemson 60-56
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

Some more tidbits:

  • In total, No. 10 seeds hold a 57-87 record against No. 7 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. That equates to a 39.6 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 BYU 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.
  • The No. 7 and No. 10 seeds went 2-2 in 2021, but No. 7 Oregon's advancement past No. 10 VCU happened because COVID-19 protocols and a no-contest designation.

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 37.5 winning percentage against No. 6 seeds since 1985, which is a bit lower than No. 10 seeds (39.6)

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 73-71 edge favoring 9 seeds since 1985, so a 10 beating a 7 is much less likely than a 9 beating an 8.

UPSETS: Why the 13-over-4 pick is undervalued in March Madness brackets

Recent/most memorable 10-7 moments

Two 10 seeds won in 2021: Maryland beat UConn and Rutgers defeated Clemson. Rutgers' 60-56 win was the Scarlet Knights' first in the NCAA tournament since 1983.

Rutgers vs. Clemson: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

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

Then, Minnesota over Louisville:

Minnesota advances past Louisville

Also 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

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