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Joe Boozell | NCAA.com | March 17, 2022

History of 5 seeds vs. 12 seeds in March Madness

Richmond upsets Iowa and advances in NCAA tournament

The 12-5 upset is one of the most popular March Madness picks each year, and for good reason. It's happened quite a few times since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. In 2022, No. 12 Richmond took out No. 5 Iowa and New Mexico State beat UConn.

Here's everything you need to know about 12 seeds vs. 5 seeds in March Madness.

History of 12 vs. 5 seeds in March Madness

There have been 52 upsets by 12-seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Going into 2022, the lower seed was 51-93, equating to a 35.42 win percentage.

Here are all of the times a 12 seed has knocked off a 5 seed.

These are the times a 12 seed beat a 5 seed in March Madness:
Year Result Score
1985 Kentucky def. Washington 66-58
1986 DePaul def. Virginia 72-68
1987 Wyoming def. Virginia 64-60
1989 DePaul def. Memphis State 66-63
1990 Dayton def. Illinois 88-86
1990 Ball State def. Oregon State 54-53
1991 Eastern Michigan def. Mississippi State 76-56
1992 New Mexico State def. DePaul 81-73
1993 George Washington def. New Mexico 82-68
1994 UW-Green Bay def. California 61-57
1994 Tulsa def. UCLA 112-102
1995 Miami (Ohio) def. Arizona 71-62
1996 Drexel def. Memphis 75-63
1996 Arkansas def. Penn State 86-80
1997 College of Charleston def. Maryland 75-66
1998 Florida State def. TCU 96-87
1999 Detroit def. UCLA 56-53
1999 Missouri State def. TCU 96-87
2001 Utah State def. Ohio State 77-68 (OT)
2001 Gonzaga def. Virginia 86-85
2002 Tulsa def. Marquette 71-69
2002 Missouri def. Miami (Fla.) 93-80
2002 Creighton def. Florida 83-82 (2OT)
2003 Butler def. Mississippi State 47-46
2004 Pacific def. Providence 66-58
2005 Milwaukee def. Alabama 83-73
2006 Montana def. Nevada 87-79
2006 Texas A&M def. Syracuse 66-58
2008 Villanova def. Clemson 75-69
2008 Western Kentucky def. Drake 101-99 (OT)
2009 Wisconsin def. Florida State 61-59 (OT)
2009 Arizona def. Utah 84-71
2009 Western Kentucky def. Illinois 76-72
2010 Cornell def. Temple 78-65
2011 Richmond def. Vanderbilt 69-66
2012 South Florida def. Temple 58-44
2012 VCU def. Wichita State 62-59
2013 Ole Miss def. Wisconsin 57-46
2013 California def. UNLV 64-61
2013 Oregon def. Oklahoma State 68-55
2014 Harvard def. Cincinnati 61-57
2014 North Dakota State def. Oklahoma 80-75(OT)
2014 Stephen F. Austin def. VCU 77-75 (OT)
2016 Little Rock def. Purdue 85-83 (2OT)
2016 Yale def. Baylor 79-75
2017 Middle Tennessee def. Minnesota 81-72
2019 Liberty def. Mississippi State 80-76
2019 Murray State def. Marquette 83-64
2019 Oregon def. Wisconsin 72-54
2021 Oregon State def. Tennessee 70-56
2022 Richmond def. Iowa 67-63
2022 New Mexico State def. UConn 70-63

Some more tidbits:

  • In 31 of the last 36 years, the 12 seed has won at least one first round game. The only exceptions came in 1988, 2000, 2007, 2015 and 2018.
  • In 2019, three No. 12 seeds advanced to the second round: Murray State (beat Marquette), Oregon (beat Wisconsin) and Liberty (beat Mississippi State). The 12 seeds also won three games in 2013 and 2014.
  • Utah State, who has been the No. 12 seed a record five times, is only 1-4 against No. 5 seeds. Its lone win came in 2001 against Ohio State.

How much more likely is a 12-5 upset than a 13-4 upset?

Thirty-one 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985, giving them a 31-113 record all-time. That equates to a 21.53 winning percentage, so it's 14 percentage points less likely. 

Here are all of the times a 13 seed has upset a 4.

13 seed upsets over 4 seeds
Year Result Score
1985 Navy def. LSU 78-55
1987 Missouri State def. Clemson 65-60
1987 Xavier def. Missouri 70-69
1988 Richmond def. Indiana 72-69
1989 Middle Tennessee def. Florida State 97-83
1991 Penn State def. UCLA 74-69
1992 Southwestern Louisiana def. Oklahoma 87-83
1993 Southern def. Georgia Tech 93-78
1995 Manhattan def. Oklahoma 77-67
1996 Princeton def. UCLA 43-41
1998 Valparaiso def. Ole Miss 70-69
1999 Oklahoma def. Arizona 61-60
2001 Indiana State def. Oklahoma 70-68
2001 Kent State def. Indiana 77-73
2002 UNC Wilmington def. USC 93-89
2003 Tulsa def. Dayton 84-71
2005 Vermont def. Syracuse 60-57
2006 Bradley def. Kansas 77-73
2008 Siena def. Vanderbilt 83-62
2008 San Diego def. UConn 70-69
2009 Cleveland State def. Wake Forest 84-69
2010 Murray State def. Vanderbilt 66-65
2011 Morehead State def. Louisville 62-61
2012 Ohio def. Michigan 65-60
2013 La Salle def. Kansas State 63-61
2016 Hawaii def. California 77-66
2018 Buffalo def. Arizona 89-69
2018 Marshall def. Wichita State 81-75
2019 UC Irvine def. Kansas State  70-64
2021 Ohio def. Virginia 62-58
2021 North Texas def. Purdue 78-69 (OT)

Recent highlights of 12-5 upsets

Here are some highlights from the 12-5 upsets that have happened lately.

Richmond beat Iowa in 2022:

Richmond upsets Iowa and advances in NCAA tournament

Oregon State topped Tennessee by 14 points in 2021:

Tennessee vs. Oregon State: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

Murray State's Ja Morant joined exclusive company in 2019, posting the ninth triple-double in NCAA tournament history as the 12-seed Racers took down No. 5 Marquette, 83-64.

Ja Morant leads Murray State to dominating win over Marquette

Liberty, fresh off an ASUN championship, edged Mississippi State in another 2019 12-5 game.

Liberty upsets Mississippi State 80-76

Oregon also won big in the opening round of 2019, dismantling Wisconsin 72-54 before reaching the Sweet 16. 

Oregon comes up with huge Wisconsin upset

Little Rock shocked Purdue in 2016, eking out a 79-75 win. 

First Round: Arkansas-Little Rock upsets Purdue

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