In the past three years, 54 of 198 (27.3 percent) NCAA tournament games have been decided by three points or fewer (or went to OT), the most in any three-year span in tourney history. Considering that, along with the unpredictable nature of things all season long in college basketball, we should be in for quite a ride during the next three weeks.
So, if you like to consider historical trends -- some more recent than others – when you fill out your bracket, we've got plenty to consider 68, in fact, in honor of the size of the tourney field. You'll have to decide for yourself which ones have merit in this particular tournament. More than anything, though, we hope you find the information below fun to read as you get excited for the start of the Big Dance.
(All notes are since the field expanded to 64 in 1985, except where noted)
1. No. 1 seeds reign supreme
No. 1 seeds have won five of the past six championships and 10 of the past 14. In that 14-year span, No. 2 seeds have just one title, while No. 3s have the other three. In fact, only once in the past 24 tournaments has a team seeded worse than third won the championship (fourth-seeded Arizona in 1997).
2. Success rate of No. 1 overall seeds
Despite the fact 1-seeds have won the overwhelming majority of titles, it doesn't mean it's going to be the No. 1 overall seed that takes home the trophy. In the nine years that the overall No. 1 seed has been announced by the selection committee, only two have gone on to win the championship (2007 Florida, 2012 Kentucky). How did the other seven fare? Two reached the Final Four, one fell in the Elite Eight and four lost in the Sweet 16 or earlier. Percentage-wise, not a great track record for the supposed favorite to win it all. Louisville hopes to change that.
3. Can Gonzaga do something that's never been done?
The Zags are the 10th team to go undefeated in conference play, win their conference tournament and receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
None of the previous nine teams to do so won the national title, and there are some big-name squads on the list, too, including Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979, Houston's Phi Slama Jama in 1983 and the 1991 UNLV team that was unbeaten until falling to Duke in the Final Four.
Each of these nine teams did reach the Elite Eight, and four of them fell in the national championship game.
Unbeaten in conference and won conference tourney
No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament
4. No. 2s have surprisingly few championships
In the 28 years since the field expanded to 64 teams, No. 1 seeds have accounted for 17 titles, but No. 2 and No. 3 seeds have just four each. Connecticut was the last 2-seed to win it all in 2004, so even if you go back to 1979, when seeding began, this eight-year championship drought is the longest for the No. 2s.
5. At least one 2-seed won't survive the first weekend
You might be surprised to know that only once in the past 16 years have all four No. 2 seeds reached the Sweet 16 (2009). Of course, last year half of the 2-seeds lost their first game, when Missouri fell to Norfolk State and Duke was bounced by Lehigh.
6. No. 3s survive game one, but after that
In the past six tournaments, only once has a No. 3 seed lost its round of 64 game (2010 Georgetown was blitzed by Ohio 97-83). However, in the past three tournaments, only five of the 12 3-seeds won their second game to reach the Sweet 16.
7. No. 4s struggle to reach title game
Since seeding began in 1979, No. 4 seeds have reached the championship game just twice (winning once), and it happened in consecutive years (1996 Syracuse, 1997 Arizona).
8. Target a No. 4 to lose its first game
A No. 4 seed has fallen to a 13-seed in the round of 64 in each of the past five years, the longest streak in the history of the 4/13 matchup.
9. And if you don't pick any 4-seeds to lose their first game
History says you should definitely pick one to lose in the round of 32. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, all four No. 4s have never reached the Sweet 16 in a single tournament. In fact, last year three 4-seeds survived the first weekend for the first time since 2000, and just the fifth time since 1985.
10. Don't get carried away, though
Before you go picking too many crazy upsets early on in your bracket, keep in mind that only once have Nos. 13-, 14- and 15-seeds won round of 64 games in the same tourney. That was in 1991, when No. 13 Penn State defeated UCLA, No. 14 Xavier beat Nebraska and No. 15 Richmond knocked off Syracuse.
11. Rarely as easy as 1-2-3-4
Only four times since 1985 have the top four seeds in each region survived the round of 64 (1994, 2000, 2004, 2007).
12. No. 5s still seeking first championship
The No. 5 seed is the highest seed to never win the national title. Butler (2010), Indiana (2002) and Florida (2000) have come the closest, losing in the championship game. No. 6 (1988 Kansas, 1983 NC State) and No. 8 (1985 Villanova) are the only seeds lower than fourth to win it all, but it's been 25 years since it happened last. This year's 5-seeds are Oklahoma State, UNLV, VCU and Wisconsin.
13. This No. 7 has no luck
A 7-seed has never reached the championship game, and only one has reached the Final Four (Virginia in 1984). Since the field was expanded in 1985, only seven No. 7s have reached the Elite Eight, including Florida last year.
14. Rarely does the slipper fit for 9-seeds
Picking the winner of the 8/9 game is historically a toss-up -- No. 9s actually hold a 58-54 advantage – but asking a 9-seed to win two games has been a greedy request. No. 9 seeds are 4-54 all-time in the round of 32, obviously all against No. 1 seeds. Of the four victors -- Northern Iowa (2010), UAB (2004), Boston College (1994) and UTEP (1992) -- only Boston College was able to reach the Elite Eight.
Fun side note: The No. 1 seeds to lose to those No. 9s are the three most successful programs in college basketball history (Kansas twice, Kentucky, North Carolina).
15. Keep an eye on at-large double-digit seeds
Since 2000, of the 88 at-large teams seeded 10th or lower to play in the round of 64, 32 came away victorious (36 percent). In the past four tourneys, these teams have a 14-15 record (48 percent) in the round of 64.
This year, there are 10 at-large double-digits seeds. Six are from the traditional power conferences (Cincinnati, Colorado, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Minnesota, California), while each at-large team in the First Four (Middle Tennessee, Saint Mary's, Boise State, La Salle) is from a non-"power six" conference.
16. Target a couple of double-digit seeds for your Sweet 16
If you like upsets, the past three years have been fun, as 10 double-digit seeds have reached the Sweet 16 (three in 2010, four in 2011, three in 2012). There has been at least one double-digit seed to survive the first weekend in 26 of the 28 years since the field expanded to 64, and at least two double-digit seeds have done so in 13 of the past 16 years.
As mentioned above, it's not just the automatic qualifiers doing the damage here, either. In the past two years alone, five at-large teams seeded 10th or worse advanced to the Sweet 16. That's as many at-large double-digit seeds as did so the previous seven years combined (2004 to 2010).
17. Lowest-seeded Final Four teams
The lowest seed to reach the Final Four is a No. 11, done three times (LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011). They are the only teams seeded lower than eighth to do so.
18. Lower seeds holding their own
Not counting the First Four games, 12- and 13-seeds have combined to win 21 games in the past five years (six in 2008, five in 2009, three in 2010, three in 2011, four in 2012).
19. Obligatory note about the danger 12-seeds pose
It's one of the first things that comes to mind upon first glance at the bracket: Which 12-seed is going to beat a 5-seed in the round of 64? There's a good reason for that. Excluding the First Four games, 12-seeds have won at least one game in 22 of the past 24 years (no wins in 2000 or 2007), and at least two games in 11 of the past 12 years.
20. If you're looking for a Sweet 16 sleeper, go with a 12-seed
Since 1985, in only three years have No. 12 seeds failed to win a round-of-64 game (1988, 2000, 2007). Going a step further, No. 12s have reached the Sweet 16s as many times as 7-seeds (19), more often than 11-seeds (15), more often than 8- and 9-seeds combined (14) and just two fewer times than No. 10s have (21).
21. Stop at one, though!
Don't get overzealous, expecting multiple 12s to get to the Sweet 16. Even with the relative success No. 12 seeds have had, only once have two 12s reached the Sweet 16 in the same year (2008).
22. No. 12s not worthy of 'Elite' status
No. 12 seeds are 1-18 in Sweet 16 games, with Missouri in 2002 the only one to go any further. That year, the Tigers lost in the Elite Eight to second-seeded Oklahoma.
23. Multiple 13s is ambitious
As mentioned earlier, a 13-seed beating a 4-seed is becoming a regular occurrence, but two 13-seeds winning in the same tournament? Not so much. Only three times have two No. 13s won a round of 64 game in the same year (1987, 2001, 2008).
24. Luck bound to run out for No. 13
Last year, Ohio became just the fifth No. 13 seed to reach the Sweet 16, joining Bradley (2006), Oklahoma (1999), Valparaiso (1998) and Richmond (1988). While the Bobcats gave North Carolina all it could handle in that Sweet 16 overtime tilt, we're still looking for our first 13-seed in the Elite Eight.
25. Can a 15-seed do it again?
One-third of the all-time wins by No. 15 seeds came in last year's tournament alone, when Norfolk State edged Missouri and Lehigh beat Duke on the same day. That makes six wins in 28 years for No. 15s, not a strong proposition. One interesting thing from this year's bracket, though, is that a 15-seed in this field (Florida Gulf Coast) actually defeated a No. 2 seed (Miami) earlier this season.
26. So, how many of these monster upsets actually happen?
Since 1985, 53 NCAA tournament games have been won by teams seeded 13th, 14th or 15th, an average of fewer than two per year. However, only seven of those 53 came after the round of 64, and never has a team seeded worse than 12th made it to the Elite Eight.
That's the record of No. 16 seeds against 1-seeds, and most of the time it's not much of a game, either. When UNC Asheville came within seven points of Syracuse in last year's tourney, it became just the 12th 16-seed to keep the margin of defeat in single digits (and the first team to do so since 1997).
28. Difficult for two No. 4s to be "Elite"
It has everything to do with having to face mostly top seeds, of course, but only twice since 1985 have two No. 4s reached the Elite Eight in the same tournament (1990 Georgia Tech and Arkansas both reached the Final Four; 1995 Virginia and Oklahoma State -- OSU reached Final Four).
29. Conference tourneys do matter
at least to some degree, that is. No team has won a national title after losing its first game in the conference tournament. The highest-seeded teams in the 2013 field to lose their first conference tourney game are 2-seed Duke and 3-seed Marquette.
30. Parity rules
After this wild season when no one team was dominant, Gonzaga is the only team in the field with fewer than four losses. There's never been an NCAA tournament in which every team had four or more losses, but this year marks just the sixth time that only one team in the field had fewer than four losses. In none of the previous five instances did that one team go on to win the title. In fact, only one team (2005 runner-up Illinois) reached the Final Four.
Only team with fewer than 4 losses
Entering NCAA tournament, all-time
31. Early upsets: How many to pick?
Last year marked the third time in the past four tournaments that there were exactly 10 upsets according to seed in the round of 64. Since 1985, there has been an average of 8.1 such upsets. The most in a year is 13 in 2001, and the least is three the year before that.
32. Will a First Four at-large team surprise again?
On your bracket, you see "Middle Tennessee/Saint Mary's winner" versus Memphis and "Boise State/La Salle winner" versus Kansas State, but don't be too quick to dismiss the teams on either side of the slashes. In the first two years of the newly-named "First Four," one of the at-large teams to play on Tuesday or Wednesday has also won its round of 64 game. In 2011, 11th-seeded VCU made an improbable run from the First Four to the Final Four, while last year it was 12th-seeded South Florida which defeated Temple in the round of 64.
33. Attention top-ranked teams: Indiana, Michigan, Duke, Louisville, Gonzaga
It may surprise you that since the field expanded in 1985, only 44 percent of the national champions (12 of 27) were ranked No. 1 at some point during the season. Since seeding began in 1979, the percentage only gets worse (14-of-34, 41 percent). Last year's Kentucky squad was one of those title teams.
34. Don't dismiss at-large teams with losing conference records
While many times they are subject to discussion about whether they belong in the field, history shows they have won their first game more often than not. Beyond that first game, the going gets tougher. Since 1985, 30 teams have received an at-large bid despite having a losing conference record. Of those 30 teams, 16 won at least one game (53 percent). While UConn lost as the only such team last year, the previous two teams to fit the bill (Maryland in 2009, Georgia Tech in 2010) each won a game. And of the 16 teams which won a game, five went on to reach at least the Sweet 16 (just one in the past 11 years, though). There are two teams that qualify in this year's field: Illinois and Minnesota, which both went 8-10 in the Big Ten.
35. Highly-seeded non-power six conference teams have underachieved
Since the 1996-97 season, when the Big 8 and Southwest Conferences merged and formed the Big 12, 33 teams from non-power six conferences have gotten a top-four seed. Nearly half of them (16) lost before the first weekend was over. In all, only four reached the Final Four -- 1998 Utah, 2003 Marquette, 2005 Louisville and 2008 Memphis -- with two of them losing in the title game (Utah, Memphis). Of course, Memphis is now the only one of the four still in a non-power six conference.
Teams from non-power six conferences to receive top-four seeds in this year's field are Gonzaga, New Mexico and Saint Louis.
NOTE: The power six conferences are the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC
36. First-timers unlikely to make noise
Heads up, Florida Gulf Coast. Since 1990, of the 78 teams to make their first NCAA tournament appearance, only four have won a round of 64 game. Last year, Norfolk State became the first team to do so in 11 years.
There's no question that most of it has to do with the fact many schools who have made their NCAA tournament debuts in the past 23 years have received very poor seeds -- 54 of the 78 were 15- or 16-seeds, and none was seeded better than ninth -- but if you're expecting an upset from a lower seed, it's more likely to come from a team which has been there before.
37. Odds are against a region's top four to survive
In this 64-/65-/68-team era, there have been 112 regions played (28 NCAA tournaments). In only 14 of those 112 regions (12.5 percent) have each of the top four seeds advanced to the Sweet 16, none in the past three years.
38. Find a dark horse for an Elite Eight run
In 29 of the 34 years of seeding the tournament field, at least one team seeded sixth or worse has reached the Elite Eight. Last year, it was seventh-seeded Florida that kept this surprising trend rolling.
39. Not a top-6 seed? Final Four dreams are rarely realized
As fans, we've been spoiled by magical Final Four runs by a pair of 11-seeds (George Mason, VCU) and an 8-seed (Butler) in recent years. Not only is it extremely rare for seeds that low to reach the Final Four, but only 10 teams seeded worse than sixth have reached the Final Four, since seeding began in 1979. It's happened just five times in the past 26 tournaments.
40. Prescient preseason polls?
While preseason polls are considered meaningless by many, the fact remains that 12 of the past 15 national champions were ranked in the top nine in the AP preseason poll. Interestingly, the only exceptions are teams which were unranked in the preseason poll (2003 Syracuse, 2006 Florida, 2011 Connecticut). Those three schools are also the only teams in the past 15 NCAA tourneys not seeded No. 1 or 2 to win it all.
So, in case you're interested in following this trend in one of your brackets, here are the top 10 teams from October's AP poll: Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, NC State, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Florida.
Since a team that was unranked in the preseason has won three of the past 10 championships, here's a list of top-4 seeds in the tourney that didn't make the cut in October: Miami, Georgetown, New Mexico, Marquette, Kansas State and Saint Louis.
41. And if you're using preseason expectations to fill out your bracket
you might as well hear this, too. Since 2000, all but two Final Fours featured at least two preseason top-10 teams (2006, 2011).
42. Multiple teams from same conference in Final Four no longer a trend
One example of a trend that is no more involves multiple teams from the same conference reaching the Final Four. In 17 of the first 22 years after the field was expanded to 64 teams, at least two teams from the same conference reached the Final Four. Nowadays, the wealth is being shared, as four different conferences have been represented in the Final Four in five of the past six years.
43. All No. 1s in the Final Four? Fat chance.
Since seeding began in 1979, only once has there been a tournament in which the Final Four was comprised of all No. 1 seeds (2008). What's more likely, of course, is that one or two No. 1 seeds get there; at least one has made it in 27 of 34 years.
44. Mountain West teams still searching for success
The Mountain West received five bids, its most ever. Last year, the conference got four tourney bids, but earned just one win (5-seed New Mexico). The conference is now only 15-33 overall in 13 years of NCAA tournament play (.313 win percentage) and is still looking for its first Elite Eight appearance.
Despite its best teams receiving better seeds in recent years, the Mountain West has failed to turn around its historic struggles. Of the previous 33 Mountain West teams to make the tourney, only 11 won their round of 64 game, and just four advanced to the Sweet 16. But the ugliness doesn't end there. It all comes down to not being able to hang with the big boys.
MW teams are 5-28 against power six conference opponents in the tournament (3-17 in the round of 64, 2-7 in the round of 32 and 0-4 in the Sweet 16), and two of those wins came against double-digit seeds.
For those who say the conference's lack of success has to do with poor seeding, it is true that only five MW teams have received a top-5 seed before this year. But if you look at those five teams, four won in the round of 64 (all against non-power six opponents, the only loss came against a power six team). And two of the four to win the round of 64 game fell to a power six opponent in the next round. This year, New Mexico and UNLV got top-5 seeds from the Mountain West.
45. For the ACC, this is a drought
Each of the past two years, the ACC has not had a team in the Final Four, this after supplying the national champion in 2009 and 2010. It's just the second time since the tournament expanded in 1985 that the ACC did not have a Final Four team in consecutive years. The other was in 2006-07.
That makes four times in the past seven years an ACC team failed to make the Final Four. From 1985 to 2005 (21 years), only four Final Fours were played without an ACC team (1985, 1987, 1996, 2003).
46. OVC reverses the curse
Despite just one representative, the Ohio Valley Conference has a round-of-64 win in each of the past three years after going 20 straight years without one from 1990 to 2009. This year, OVC newbie Belmont hopes to keep the streak alive, as the Bruins search for their first NCAA tourney win in school history.
47. Ivy issues
The Ivy League has failed to win a game in 13 of the past 14 years. Cornell's Sweet 16 run in 2010 is the only exception, although 13-seed Princeton took Kentucky to the wire in 2011 and 12-seed Harvard hung with Vanderbilt last year. Harvard is back again this year, in hopes of earning its first NCAA tournament victory.
48. Return of the MAC?
Is the MAC returning to its former pesky status in the bracket? Following the longest NCAA tourney winless drought in conference history (six straight years from 2004 to '09), Ohio has put the MAC back on the list of conferences no higher seed wants to face. The 14th-seeded Bobcats shocked Georgetown with a blowout win in 2010, then were a surprise in the Sweet 16 last year as a 13-seed. This year, Akron tries to win its first NCAA tournament game, although they'll have to do it without suspended starting point guard Alex Abreu.
49. Southland struggles
Southland Conference teams have lost 25 of their past 26 round-of-64 games, all but two of which have come by double figures. Northwestern State's stunning comeback versus Iowa in 2006 is the only win in that span. Prior to Northwestern State's win, the last Southland Conference school to win a round-of-64 game was Karl Malone's fifth-seeded Louisiana Tech squad in 1985. Ouch. Mike McConathy and the Demons are back in the Dance for the first time since that 2006 victory in hopes of pulling off another big upset.
50. More of the same for the America East
America East teams have lost in the round of 64 each of the past seven years, and 15 of the past 16 years, with all the losses coming by double digits. Vermont's upset of Syracuse in the 2005 round of 64 is the lone win by an America East team since 1996, when Drexel won as member of the league when it was called the North Atlantic Conference. This year's representative, Albany, will have its hands full with a Duke team focused on not falling to a 15-seed for the second straight year.
51. NEC still looking out for No. 1
The Northeast Conference is the only current conference yet to win a round-of-64 game (3-31 overall record, all three wins coming in what would be considered preliminary rounds). That almost changed in 2010, when Robert Morris lost a tight battle to No. 2-seeded Villanova. That's the only time in the past 15 years an NEC team has come within single digits of an NCAA tourney opponent in the Round of 64. LIU Brooklyn will have to escape its First Four matchup with James Madison just for the opportunity to change that.
52. Sad state of affairs in Conference USA
Conference USA teams have gone winless in the tourney in each of the past three years, despite sending multiple representatives to the Dance each time. Until this current slump, the conference had never gone winless in a single year since its formation in the 1995-96 season.
And after Memphis' four straight seasons as a No. 1 or 2 seed from 2006 to '09, this is the first time in the past four years that a C-USA team received better than an 8-seed (Memphis, which got a 6-seed in the Midwest region, is the conference's only representative). The last time a C-USA team other than Memphis won a tournament game was 2005, when Louisville, Cincinnati and UAB all won games.
53. Still looking out for No. 1
Aside from first-timer Florida Gulf Coast, other teams searching for their first NCAA tournament victory are: Akron (0-3), Albany (0-2), Belmont (0-5), Boise State (0-5), Harvard (0-3), Liberty (0-2), LIU Brooklyn (0-5), North Carolina A&T (0-9) and South Dakota State (0-1).
54. Duke tries to overcome No. 2 jinx
This is the fifth time since 1997 that Duke has been a No. 2 seed, but that's not good news like you might expect. The previous four instances resulted in just one Sweet 16 appearance (2009), two round-of-32 exits (1997, 2008) and last year's upset loss to Lehigh in the round of 64.
55. Florida yet to win a close game this season
If you were told that Billy Donovan's team has played only six games decided by single digits this season, that might not shock you. But what about if you were told they were 0-6 in those games? That's the case for the Gators, as all 26 of their victories came by double digits and only one of their losses. Considering that they are bound to have to win a close game at some point in this tournament, they will need to rise to the challenge for the first time all season.
56. Hoya Paranoia
Georgetown has been eliminated by a double-digit seed and a team seeded at least five spots lower in four straight NCAA tournament appearances, and each of the past three years. And as mentioned above, the Hoyas' first-round opponent is 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast, which has already defeated one No. 2 seed in this year's field (Miami).
Past 4 Appearances
57. Plenty to prove for the Zags
Gonzaga is a respectable 9-11 against power six conference opposition in the NCAA tournament, but a deeper look reveals demons this year's team must exorcise. While the Zags are 5-2 against those teams in the round of 64 and 3-4 in the round of 32, consider the following:
• Since defeating Florida in the Sweet 16 in 1999, they've lost five straight to power six opponents in the Sweet 16 or later.
• The Zags are 2-8 against power six teams seeded fourth or better in any round, and have lost six straight such games since beating St. John's in the round of 32 in 2000 (7-3 against 5-seeds or worse).
Kansas head coach Bill Self has taken three different schools to the Elite Eight, and has taken the Jayhawks to the Final Four twice (including a championship in 2008). But he's also lost in the round of 64 twice as a top-4 seed at KU, another time in the round of 32 as a No. 1 seed and also lost to 11-seed VCU in the Elite Eight as a No. 1 seed in 2011. Despite all of his success, tournament results have been extremely mixed.
59. Pitino as a No. 1 seed
This is the sixth time Rick Pitino has had a No. 1-seeded team in the NCAA tournament (four at Kentucky, two at Louisville). In the previous five instances, his teams have won the championship once (1996), lost in the title game once (1997 to 4-seed Arizona), the Final Four once (1993) and the Elite Eight twice (1995, 2009). The loss to Arizona represents the only time a Pitino-led No. 1 seed wasn't eliminated by a 1- or 2-seed.
60. Can Coach L do it again?
Miami is fighting a historical battle in its quest to reach the Final Four for the first time. Not only have the Canes reached the Sweet 16 just once (2000), but they've got just four NCAA tournament wins in their history. Since the field expanded in 1985, only five teams reached their first Final Four in a year in which they entered the Big Dance with fewer than five NCAA tournament wins all-time.
The good news for the Hurricanes? The last time it was done was in 2006 by current head coach Jim Larranaga at his former school, George Mason, which did not have a single NCAA tournament win prior to its Final Four run.
Reached Final Four
Entered with fewer than 5 NCAA tournament wins, Since 1985
61. Being the final unbeaten means little
Michigan was the final unbeaten team remaining this season, but that hasn't been a harbinger of NCAA tournament success. Just two times in the past 35 years has the final unbeaten team gone on to win the title (2006 Florida, 1999 Connecticut).
62. Mizzou needs Cinderella run to get off "the list"
Missouri has the second most NCAA tournament appearances without reaching a Final Four (25, not counting this year). Only BYU (27) has more. Mizzou also is tied with Boston College for the most NCAA tournament wins (22) without a Final Four appearance. Even if the Tigers get by Colorado State in the second round, they'll have to knock off the No. 1 overall seed Louisville just to get to the Sweet 16.
63. Lost Lobos?
Do you like New Mexico to make a run this year? Some experts certainly do, but these particular facts won't support that case. In his first NCAA tournament appearance as a head coach, Steve Alford took 12th-seeded SW Missouri State (now called Missouri State) to the Sweet 16 in 1999, defeating No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 4 Tennessee. However, it's been tough sledding ever since for him, as his teams haven't advanced past the round of 32 in any of his past five trips. His Iowa teams won just one game in three appearances, and lost a round-of-64 game as a No. 3 seed. And despite receiving a top-5 seed in each of his previous two appearances with New Mexico, his Lobos won just one game each time. They'll get another such chance this year, too, and as a 3-seed.
Since that 1999 appearance, Alford hasn't defeated a power-six conference opponent (0-3), nor has he defeated a single-digit seed. His three wins have come against 10-, 12- and 14-seeds.
North Carolina has won 10 straight round of 64 games, tied for the second-longest active streak (Purdue has won 14 straight and Maryland 10 straight, but neither is in this year's field).
65. What happened to the luck of the Irish?
Since seeding began in 1979, Notre Dame has never won more than two games in a single tournament, and has reached the Sweet 16 just twice since 1985. The Irish have just six wins in eight trips to the Dance under Mike Brey.
66. Buckeyes a top-2 seed again under Matta
For the sixth time in their seven NCAA tournament appearances under Thad Matta, Ohio State is a top-2 seed (twice a No. 1, four times as a No. 2). Only twice in those previous five occasions have the Buckeyes advanced past the Sweet 16, though. Last year, as a 2-seed, they fell in the Final Four to Kansas, and in 2007 as a 1-seed they lost to Florida in the national title game. The other three times, they lost in the round of 32 once (2006) and the Sweet 16 twice (2010, 2011). This makes it awfully difficult to know what to expect from the Bucks in this year's tournament.
Temple has just one NCAA tournament victory since legendary head coach John Chaney led the 2001 Owls to the Elite Eight as an 11-seed. Current head coach Fran Dunphy is 2-14 in his career in the NCAA tournament (1-5 at Temple). In two of the past three years, the Owls have lost in the round of 64 as a No. 5 seed.
68. Beating who you should beat
Wisconsin has won at least one game in 10 of its past 11 NCAA tournament appearances, but while the Badgers are never fun for opponents to face, they generally have beaten only the teams they should have under Bo Ryan. They are 15-4 against lower-seeded opponents under Ryan, but just 1-7 against higher seeds (that win coming in 2009 versus Florida State). Of those 16 wins, only three have come against teams seeded better than ninth (all three of which were 5-seeds).
Special thank you to Jason McCallum and Micah Adams from ESPN Stats & Info for contributing to this column.