NCAA Basketball

2018 NCAA March Madness Trends


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

No, I don’t mean Fantasy Baseball season, although that’s pretty awesome too. I mean March Madness. This first weekend is the by far the best weekend in sports all year long.

Of course, before we get to enjoy all of this we need to fill out our brackets. That is just another reason why all of this is so exciting.

Wait, you mean you are not an expert in all things College Basketball? Well, I’m here to help you fill out your bracket. I can’t tell you who will in it, but I’m going to give you some trends to help you make those picks. If you don’t want to use trend analysis to fill out your bracket, check out Tyler Thompson and Jonathan Chan’s Midwest/West and East/South Region breakdown using their unorthodox method.

2018 NCAA March Madness Trends

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First Round Matchups

5-12 Matchup

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This is the one that gets all the attention during the first round and for good reason.

All except for the 2015 Tournament, a 12 seed has taken down a five seed at least once since the 2008 season.

However, it is starting to happen a little less now that we have the opening round games. So perhaps Kentucky is safe this year.

6-11 Matchup

This is starting to look very similar to the 5-12 matchups.

Over the last four years, the 11 seed has taken out the six seed 10 times. The odds are still against you trying to pick any of these upsets, but the 5-12 and 6-11 is where you want to point your attention if you want to go there.

8-9 Matchup

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Look at these matchups and scratching your head? Well you should be.

This has been just about dead even with the eight-seed having an edge 67-65 all-time. Mine as well flip a coin or let your child/pet pick. They will have just as good of odds.

Good luck to my Hokies, who got one of these tossup games and then will have to face Villanova.

Do not pick a top-2 seed to lose

Just no, do not do it. Don’t get cute.

A No. 1 seed has never lost in the first round. It might happen one day, but good luck guessing when that will happen.

As far as the No. 2 seeds, they have lost, just not often enough for you to bet on it.

Sometimes it pays to take chalk. This is one of those times.

Rest of the Tournament

Pick a No. 1 seed to get to the Final Four

As fun as it might be to try and get weird and not pick any of the No. 1 seeds to get knocked out, don’t do it.

It is a safe bet that one or two No. 1 seeds make it to the Final Four every season. In fact at least one has made the Final Four every year for the last 11, except for 2011.

No. 2 Seeds

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It is a much tougher road for No. 2 seeds than No. 1’s. In the last eight tournaments, only one No. 2 seed has made the Elite Eight.

You probably want to knock one of them out before the Sweet 16 too. We have only had it happen once in the past 21 years that all four No. 2 seeds have made it past the first weekend.

Which Seed to Pick as the Cinderella?

It is near impossible to be a double-digit seed and make the Final Four. Yes, I’m aware it has happened, I’m looking at my hometown George Mason Patriots, but it’s just not likely.

I really would not go much lower than a four seed to reach the final four if you want to be safe.

However, if you really want to pick a Cinderella, go with the No. 8 seeds. If you can spot the No. 1 seed that will go down by them, they have a nice road to the Final Four because of it.


Who to pick?

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I will start with who not to pick. I would not pick a defending champion, sorry North Carolina.

The last defending champ to repeat is Florida… in 2007. That’s not good.

If you want to go with what the trends say to do, just take one of the No. 1 seeds. Since 1985, 14 No. 1 seeds have won the championship.

To go back to what I said about Cinderella’s. The last 22 of 24 champions have been No. 4 seeds or higher. So there is even more proof that you should go get too crazy with your picks.

Your Picks

In the end, it is your bracket. Pick who you want. If your gut is telling you to have a 13 seed win it all. What to do I know?

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I just know and study trends. I’m safe and also the first to admit being safe does not usually win you these types of things. You have to take some chances.

That said, my last advice, just don’t take too many chances. Pick and choose your upsets instead of picking 30 of them.

About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the website. Joe is one of the Experts included in the FantasyPros Consensus Rankings for Football, Baseball and Basketball and finished well each year. You can find him on Twitter, @F6P_Joe, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

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