March is finally here, and with Selection Sunday and March Madness right around the corner, college basketball fans around the country are preparing to fill out their tournament brackets.
To gain some historical context on the fate of No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, we took a look at the past 20 years of March Madness to see if there are any trends in the way No. 1 seeds perform at the Big Dance.
Some of the findings won't shock you — No. 1 seeds have won the tournament more often than not over the past 20 years, and often two No. 1's square off in the championship game.
But some of the findings might be surprising to you.
Below you'll see how No. 1 seeds have fared in the NCAA Tournament over the last 20 years
How No. 1 Seeds Fared in NCAA Tournament from 1996-2016
As you can see, the most common round No. 1 seeds have fallen in over the past 20 years is in the Elite Eight — 23 times. Oddly enough, most of those losses come in bunches. At least two No. 1 seeds have lost in the Elite Eight in the same season eight times, with three No. 1 seeds losing in the same Elite Eight three times, most recently in 2016.
Another surprising finding is that No. 1 seeds have lost their second round matchup against an 8 or 9 seed 12 times in the past 20 years (that's 15 percent of No. 1 seeds losing in the second round)
Of the 80 No. 1 seeds in the past 20 NCAA Tournaments, 20 eventually went on to the National Championship Game. That's one-quarter of all one-seeds making it to the final game.
Here's a look at the championship games from the past 20 years when a No. 1 seed wins it all:
No. 1 Seeds Who Win the NCAA Tournament
As you can see, 13 No. 1 seeds have won the NCAA tournament in the past 20 years. Five of those wins came against other No. 1 seeds, with the other eight coming against either a No. 2, No. 4 or No. 5 seed.
Here's a look at the championship game from the past 20 years when a No. 1 seed loses:
No. 1 Seeds Who Lose the NCAA Tournament
No. 1 seeds have only lost to a team that wasn't also a one seed twice in the past 20 years — last year when No. 1 North Carolina fell to No. 2 Villanova, and in 1997, when No. 1 Kentucky lost to No. 4 Arizona. All the other one-seed losses in the championship game have come at the hands of other No. 1 seeds.