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What kind of odds does Cinderella face?

With Selection Sunday just a little more than three weeks away, it's clearly time to start thinking about the tournament that puts all others to shame. You know the one. The tourney that leads to pure joy and deflating sadness, all in the same minute. The one that leads your grandmother and her gardener and his aunt and her secretary to fill out a bracket and keep it with them at all times -- for no other reason than to feel a sense of community, and maybe to pocket a little lunch money at the end of it all.

So over the next three Fridays, ESPN.com will take a trip down memory lane and break down the bracket based on past results, historical trends and hopefully anything else you need to know before entering that family or company pool. For this first installment, we will take a closer look at the underdogs -- the ones that put the madness in March -- and examine just how successful they've been over the years.

Editor's Note: Teams have been seeded 1 through 16 since the NCAA field expanded in 1985, and that's the time span this article will focus on. The tournament grew from 64 teams to 65 in 2001, but that solo opening-round game does not count in the below tabulations.

16 vs. 1

Record: 0-96, .000

Close calls: The most memorable of all took place in 1989, when Georgetown needed a last-second block to prevent a potential loss to Pete Carril's gutty Princeton team. The Hoyas won, 50-49. People tend to forget, but Georgetown wasn't the only 1-seed to win its first game by a single point in '89. Oklahoma had to rally from 17 down to beat East Tennessee State 72-71. Murray State took Michigan State to overtime the next season, but there's really been only one seriously close call since then: Western Carolina's 73-71 loss to Purdue in 1996. But it should be noted that three No. 1 seeds since that Boilermaker escape have also had to work well into the second half to put away their foes: UNC vs. Fairfield in '97, Kansas vs. Holy Cross in '02 and Connecticut vs. Albany in '06.

That'll teach 'em: The largest margin of victory in a tourney game since the 1985 expansion came in a 1 vs. 16 game. Yes, we know … shocking. In 1998, Kansas beat helpless Prairie View by 58 points (110-52). But perhaps karma came into play here. Two days later, the heavily favored Jayhawks were bounced from the tournament by Rhode Island.

Last season: 0-4

The most "competitive" games were 24-point losses to the two teams that ended up in the national title game. Portland State lost to Kansas 85-61, and Texas-Arlington lost to Memphis 87-63. Mount St. Mary's did manage 74 points against UNC (113-74), but Mississippi Valley State could muster only 29 against UCLA (70-29).

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

1) Connecticut vs. 16) Morgan State

1) North Carolina vs. 16) Radford

1) Oklahoma vs. 16) Long Beach State

1) Pittsburgh vs. 16) UT-Martin/Alabama State

15 vs. 2

Record: 4-92, .042

Cinderella stories: It hasn't happened in eight years -- not since that memorable night when Hampton coach Steve Merfeld was lifted up by one his players as he kicked his feet in celebration of his team's stunning win over Iowa State. The other three occurrences? Coppin State over South Carolina in 1997, Steve Nash and Santa Clara over Arizona in 1993 and Richmond over Syracuse in 1991.

How they fared afterward: The dream for all four 15th-seeded winners died in the second round. Temple was lucky enough to run into Richmond and Santa Clara and beat them both by double-digits, while Hampton was destroyed by Georgetown in '01. But Fang Mitchell's Coppin State Eagles very nearly made it to the Sweet 16 in '97, losing an 82-81 heartbreaker to Texas.

Last season: 0-4

Tiny Belmont had the entire college basketball nation transfixed for a couple of hours, but a Duke bucket with 12 seconds left and a late Bruins turnover was enough for Duke to escape with a 71-70 victory. American gave Tennessee a nice run well into the second half, but the Vols eventually pulled away and won 72-57. Texas and Georgetown rolled to wins over Austin Peay and UMBC, respectively.

Other close calls since Hampton: Tennessee needed a Chris Lofton buzzer-beater to beat Winthrop in '06. The year before that, Kentucky (vs. Eastern Kentucky) and UConn (vs. Central Florida) had to hold off late rallies. In 2003, Wake Forest (vs. East Tennessee State) and eventual national runner-up Kansas (vs. Utah State) both squeaked out three-point victories.

Bracket advice: We wouldn't necessarily recommend picking a 2 to lose in the first round, but we would just as strongly tell you not to take all 2s in the second round. For 12 straight years, at least one 2-seed has gone down in the first two rounds. And in eight of those 12 years, multiple 2s were upset before they reached the Sweet 16.

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

2) Kansas vs. 15) Jacksonville

2) Michigan State vs. 15) Cornell

2) Memphis vs. 15) Robert Morris

2) Louisville vs 15) Binghamton

14 vs. 3

Record: 15-81, .156

Recent Cinderellas: The last 14 to pull it off was Northwestern State, which beat Iowa on a last-second 3 in 2006. The year before that, Bucknell picked off Kansas in what would be the first of back-to-back stunners for the Jayhawks in the first round. (How quickly we forget that KU fans weren't always enamored with Bill Self.) The '05 win by the Bison ended a six-year drought for the 14s, which hadn't won an NCAA game since Weber State's Harold Arceneaux put on a show against North Carolina in 1999.

Recent close calls: In 2007, red-hot Oregon had just steamrolled its way to a Pac-10 tourney title and was on it way to the Elite Eight (it only seems like decades ago, Duck fans), but it first had to overcome the always-tenacious defense of Miami (Ohio) to escape with a 58-56 win. In '06, Murray State gave UNC all it could handle in a four-point loss, and Final Four teams from '03 (Marquette) and '04 (Georgia Tech) were first pushed to the limit by Holy Cross and Northern Iowa, respectively.

Did you know? Of the 15 14-seeds to win in the first round, only two have ever made it past the second: 1986 Cleveland State and 1997 Chattanooga. The Vikings and Mocs won two games each, but both lost close contests in the Sweet 16.

Last season: 0-4

Surprise SEC tourney champion Georgia came the closest, losing to Xavier by 12. Cal State Fullerton was within shouting distance of Wisconsin nearly the entire second half, but ended up losing 71-56. Stanford (vs. Cornell) and Louisville (vs. Boise State) rolled to victories.

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

3) Duke vs. 14) Western Kentucky

3) Missouri vs. 14) Weber State

3) Villanova vs. 14) Akron

3) Wake Forest vs. 14) Stephen F. Austin

13 vs. 4


Record: 20-76, .208

Last season: 2-2

Both wins took place on the same day at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. In the afternoon, San Diego stunned UConn 70-69 on a game-winning shot with 1.2 seconds left in OT, snapping the Huskies' 14-game win streak in first-round games. Later that night, Siena crushed Vanderbilt 83-62. It was the second-largest margin of victory ever for a 13 over a 4, behind only Navy's 23-point win against LSU in 1985. In the other two regions, Winthrop let a halftime tie against Washington State spiral into a 31-point loss and Oral Roberts was never competitive against Pitt.

Other recent upsets: In 2006, Bradley beat Kansas on its way to the Sweet 16. The year before that, ESPN's own Tom Brennan entered the national stage when his Vermont Catamounts bounced Syracuse. Other 13s to win this decade include: Tulsa over Dayton (2003), UNC Wilmington over USC (2002), Indiana State over Oklahoma (2001) and Kent State over Indiana (2001).

Memorable moments: Two of the more indelible images in NCAA tournament history took place during 13 vs. 4 games. In 1996, Princeton used one of its picture-perfect backdoor passes in the closing seconds to knock off defending national champ UCLA 43-41. Two years later, Valparaiso's Bryce Drew nailed a 3 at the buzzer to defeat Ole Miss. His subsequent dive onto the floor before being mobbed by his teammates will be part of every NCAA highlight package for as long as the tournament is played.

Bracket advice: When you fill out your brackets in a few weeks, it would be wise to resist picking more than one 4-over-13 upset, as tempting as it might be. Since expansion, multiple 13s have won in just three of the 24 tournaments: Xavier/Missouri State in 1987, Indiana State/Kent State in 2001 and the aforementioned San Diego/Siend in 2008. And picking a 13 to make it to the Sweet 16? Dicey as well. Bradley (2006) is the only one to have done it this decade and the complete list includes only three others: 1999 Oklahoma, 1998 Valparaiso and 1988 Richmond.

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

4) Washington vs. 13) American

4) Marquette vs. 13) North Dakota State

4) Illinois vs. 13) Creighton

4) Clemson vs. 13) VCU

12 vs. 5

Record: 31-65, .323

Last season: 2-2
It's essentially gotten to the point now where we don't even consider a 12 beating a 5 much of an upset. Did anyone fall out of their seat last year when Villanova beat Clemson and Western Kentucky beat Drake, 101-99, in an overtime classic? Not exactly. In the other two matchups, Michigan State (vs. Temple) and Notre Dame (vs. George Mason) won by double digits.

Bracket advice: It's something your parents probably already taught you at the time of your first bracket, but it bears repeating for the uninformed: Pick a 12-seed to win in the first round. Just do it and don't ask questions. There have been a grand total of three tournaments since 1985 that didn't include at least one 12-over-5 upset: 2007, 2000 and 1988. As you'll see below, 12s actually have a better winning percentage against 5s than 11s do against 6s.

More advice: Just because you pick a 12-seed or two in the first round doesn't mean you need to go crazy or anything. While it's true that 12s have a winning record in the second round (16-15), last season was the first time ever that more than one 12 advanced to the Sweet 16 -- and even that was a bit deceptive considering both Nova and WKU played 13-seeds in the second. And if you're feeling really frisky, get over it quickly. Only one 12-seed (2002 Missouri) has ever made it to a regional final, as the 12s are just 1-15 all-time in the Sweet 16 round.

Did you know? Since the modern bracket began in 1985, Virginia has been on the losing end of the notorious 5-12 upset more than any other school. The Cavaliers stumbled in back-to-back years ('86 to DePaul and '87 to Wyoming) and again in 2001 against Gonzaga. The only other programs who have lost that game more than once are Florida ('02, '04), Memphis ('89, '96), Mississippi State ('91, '03) and UCLA ('94, '99).

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

5) Xavier vs. 12) Miami (Fla.)

5) UCLA vs. 12) Penn State

5) Arizona State vs. 12) Oklahoma State

5) Purdue vs. 12) Davidson

11 vs. 6

Record: 30-66, .313

Last season: 1-3
The only 11 to win in 2008 was Michael Beasley's Kansas State squad, which easily disposed of USC, 80-67. All the other 11-seeds lost by at least eight: Saint Joseph's to Oklahoma, Kentucky to Marquette and Baylor to Purdue.

History lesson: During this decade, some of the notable mid-major "upsets" in this matchup have included VCU over Duke and Winthrop over Notre Dame in '07, Milwaukee over Oklahoma in '06, Georgia State over Wisconsin in '01, and Pepperdine over Indiana in '00. The 6 vs. 11 game also served as a launching point for the unforgettable George Mason Final Four trip in 2006. Before beating North Carolina, Wichita State and Connecticut, the Patriots started off with an upset of Michigan State. The 11 spot is also where Dale Brown's LSU team made its shocking run to the Final Four in 1986 and where the scoring machine that was Loyola Marymount began its trek to the Elite Eight in 1990.

In case you're keeping score at home: At least one 11-seed has won a game in eight of the last nine tournaments, with 2004 being the lone exception.

Bracket advice: If you're feeling good about a particular 6-seed, don't hesitate to pull the trigger twice and ride that team to the Sweet 16 in your bracket. Despite having to play a 3-seed the vast majority of the time, the 6s actually have a winning record (35-31) in the second round. To put that in perspective, the 7s -- just one seed line down -- are 18-42 all-time in that round.

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

6) LSU vs. 11) Michigan

6) Utah vs. 11) Virginia Tech

6) Florida State vs. 11) Utah State

6) California vs. 11) Florida

10 vs. 7

Record: 36-60, .375

Last season: 1-3
The lone 10-seed to win in the first round became national darlings as little Davidson rode Stephen Curry's amazing scoring display to subsequent wins over Georgetown and Wisconsin and near-victory against eventual champion Kansas. It was a nice touch of tourney magic that the Wildcats' memorable journey to the Elite Eight started against Gonzaga, a program that made a similar run nearly a decade before. The other 7-10 games were rather ho-hum as Butler, Miami (Fla.) and West Virginia eased their way to double-digit victories.

Trend to watch: Davidson is one glaring exception, but 7s have dominated recently against a group of 10s that you would think they'd be fairly equal to. The 7-seeds are 7-1 (.875) over the last two tournaments and 15-5 (.750) over the last five. The last time the 7s had a losing record in the first round was a decade ago in 1999. The 7s are also feisty once they get to the second round. At least one of them has knocked off a 2-seed in each of the last six NCAA tournaments.

Did you know? As previously mentioned, two 11-seeds have advanced to the Final Four, but never a 10. Since the current format kicked in, seven 10-seeds have played with a Final Four berth on the line, but not one of them has been able to kick down the door. In 2008, Davidson joined a list that includes '87 LSU, '90 Texas, '91 Temple, '97 Providence, '99 Gonzaga and '02 Kent State.

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

7) Gonzaga vs. 10) Siena

7) Syracuse vs. 10) Dayton

7) Texas vs. 10) Kentucky

7) Butler vs. 10) Arizona

9 vs. 8

Record: 52-44, .542

Last season: 2-2

Obviously nothing in an 8-9 game can be considered an upset, so when Texas A&M beat BYU and Arkansas crushed a rudderless Indiana team, no one gave it a second thought -- especially given the fact that 9s historically perform slightly better than 8s (see above). In the other regions, 8-seeds Mississippi State (vs. Oregon) and UNLV (vs. Kent State) moved on to the second round.

Trend: The 7s have an impressive 60-36 record against the 10s, but drop down just one seed line and the 8s are just 44-52 all-time against the 9s. Seems strange, doesn't it? Have the 7s been that much better than the 8s, or have the 9s been that much better than the 10s?

Did you know? Since the tourney expanded 24 years ago, three 8-seeds have advanced to the Final Four and one even took home a national title ('85 Villanova). However, not a single 9-seed has made it past the Elite Eight and only one ('94 Boston College) has even gotten past the Sweet 16. Considering the relative success 9s have had against 8s in the first round, it might surprise you to learn that the 9-seeds are an abysmal 3-49 (.058) against 1-seeds in the second round, while 8s are at least a slightly more respectable 9-35 (.205).

Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology:

8) BYU vs. 9) Ohio State

8) Wisconsin vs. 9) South Carolina

8) Tennessee vs. 9) Boston College

8) West Virginia vs. 9) UNLV

Brett Edgerton is men's college basketball editor of ESPN.com. He can be reached at brettedgerton82@gmail.com.