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:
|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.
The 2019 tournament saw three No. 10 seeds advance by an average of 8.7 points. First there was Florida over Nevada:
Then, Minnesota over Louisville:
Also Iowa over Cincinnati:
Remember Syracuse's magical Final Four run in 2016? It started with a decisive win over Dayton in the first round:
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.