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Daniel Wilco | | January 26, 2023

How men's basketball teams that earn a No. 6 seed do in March Madness

Loyola Chicago's fantastic finish to beat Miami

The 2022, 2017 and 2016 NCAA tournaments almost saw a historical mark when three No. 6 seeds fell in the opening round of each tournament. If it weren’t for Notre Dame handling No. 11 Michigan in 2016, Cincinnati beating No. 11 Kansas State in 2017 and Texas defeating No. 11 Virginia Tech in 2022, these could have marked just the second, third and fourth times in the history of the NCAA men's basketball tournament that all four No. 6 seeds fell to No. 11 seeds.

The first and only time that happened was in 1989, when Kansas, Georgia Tech, Alabama and Oregon State all failed to make it past the round of 64. Aside from this outlier, the No. 6 teams have a fairly successful 91-57 record against the No. 11 seeds over the past 37 tournaments.

In the 2022 NCAA tournament, No. 6 seeds Colorado State, Alabama and LSU all lost in the first round.

No. 6 seeds have swept the opening round just five times since the tournament moved to 64-team format: 1987, 1992, 1997, 1999 and 2004.

No. 6 seeds are 1-1 in the national championship game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, with the Kansas Jayhawks winning in 1988. Kansas avoided upsets from No. 11 seed Xavier, No. 14 seed Murray State and beat No. 7 seed Vanderbilt in the first three rounds.

Speaking of Xavier, the Musketeers have been involved in the 6-versus-11 opening round a grand total of nine times — five times as the No. 6 and four times as the No. 11. Xavier won its first game as the No. 11 seed in 2017, and has a 3-2 record as a No. 6 seed. The game most associated with Xavier as a No. 6 seed is the double-overtime thriller against No. 2 seed Kansas State in the Sweet 16 in 2010.

*Note: All data is from the 1985 NCAA tournament to the present.

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