Bracket IQ

BACK TO Bracket IQ
basketball-men-d1 flag

Adam Hermann | | March 11, 2018

This is the team most likely to pull off a first-round upset

High Five: 15 over 2 Tournament Upsets

If you're looking for a double-digit seed to pick in a first-round upset, and you like learning from history, you should pick No. 10-seed Texas to take down No. 7-seed Nevada in the South region.

Here's why:

In the search for the right first-round upset picks, a lot of data goes into finding the perfect matchup. Are you following the right numbers? Do the numbers say you're picking too many upsets?

MORE: Full March Madness Bracket IQ breakdowns to help create the perfect bracket

Sometimes, history tells us just as much as the numbers, which is why we've looked at the teams with the most first-round success as a double-digit seed. If history is bound to repeat itself, which team might be a good bet as a double-digit seed?

Texas and Gonzaga are the two programs tied with the most first-round wins as a double-digit seed, at five apiece. Richmond, Dayton, Xavier, and VCU each have four such wins of their own.

Those six teams’ combined first-round records as double-digit seeds? 26-21, and of those six, only Xavier has a losing record:

Team Record
Gonzaga 5-2
Texas 5-2
Dayton 4-2
Richmond 4-4
VCU 4-4
Xavier 4-7

Look at Gonzaga and Texas, with a combined .714 win percentage as double-digit seeds in the first round! That’s abnormally high, especially considering 11-seeds and 12-seeds, the two most upset-prone double-digit seeds, only win games at a .410 rate.

Texas rattled off a streak of three straight seasons winning in the first round as a 10- or 11-seed, from 1995 to 1997, while Gonzaga hasn't lost as a double-digit seed in the first round since 2007.

In total, 48 different programs have pulled off multiple first-round upsets as double-digit seeds:

Team Upset Wins
Gonzaga 5
Texas 5
Richmond 4
Dayton 4
Xavier 4
Middle Tennessee 3
Tulsa 3
Western Kentucky 3
NC State 3
Stephen F. Austin 2
Georgia State 2
Harvard 2
Ohio 2
Weber State 2
Old Dominion 2
Northern Iowa 2
Siena 2
Murray State 2
Cleveland State 2
Arkansas-Little Rock 2
Manhattan 2
Milwaukee 2
Missouri State 2
DePaul 2
Rhode Island 2
Minnesota 2
Washington 2
Boston College 2
Santa Clara 2
Kent State 2
Villanova 2
Butler 2
Missouri 2
Detroit 2
Florida State 2
Miami (OH) 2
George Washington 2
Wichita State 2
Temple 2
Tulane 2
Loyola Marymount 2
Auburn 2
Maryland 2
Purdue 2

Of these 48 teams, there are five in this year's bracket, and the following are in as double-digit seeds: No. 10 Texas vs. No. 7 Nevada, No. 14 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 3 Texas Tech, No. 15 Georgia State vs. No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 12 Murray State vs. No. 5 West Virginia, and No. 10 Butler vs. No. 7 Arkansas. If you'd like to rely on history when picking your first-round double-digit upset, those are your choices.

Their combined records as double-digit seeds is a serviceable 13-17, in this order: 

School Record
Texas 5-2
Georgia State 2-1
Stephen F. Austin 2-2
Butler 2-3
Murray State 2-9

If you take out Murray State, which has a long history of double-digit seeding, the other four teams have an 11-8 record, so you're picking with history on your side.

Texas, considering the nature of the 10-7 matchup and the Longhorns' history with a double-digit seed, would seem to be the best option at the moment. 

But if you're looking for another choice, how about Georgia State? The Panthers are 2-3 all-time in the tournament, and while it'll be tough to pick against a strong Cincinnati team, eight 15-seeds have won since 1985, so it's doable. Plus...

Hunter's three lifts GSU, fells father

...yeah, GSU's not a bad choice.

In any case, there's no such thing as a proven way to make the right pick. Upsets are always a little risky -- but that's the fun, right?

How much experience coaches have when they reach their first Final Four

A look at the years of experience (as a head coach) it took each NCAA coach to reach the Final Four in March Madness.

March Madness brackets: How do seeds perform in the Final Four?

When thinking about Final Four picks, what should you look for?

March Madness: Getting to know the No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament

Here's a detailed history of how No. 5 seeds have fared in the NCAA tournament.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners