This year's NCAA Tournament set a new record for the number of wins by lower seeded teams in the first two rounds with 13. The previous record was 12 in 2021. There were also 11 upsets in the first two rounds of the 2022 tournament, so if you are detecting a trend, you are correct.
Those are the three highest total number of upsets through two rounds in the 43 tournaments since seeding began in 1980. There have been only 12 tournaments with double-digit upsets in the first two rounds. Seven of those have come in the last nine tournaments.
Here are the games when the lower-seeded team won this weekend:
- (9) Maryland 67, (8) West Virginia 65
- (13) Furman 68, (4) Virginia 67
- (15) Princeton 59, (2) Arizona 55
- (9) Auburn 83, (8) Iowa 75
- (10) Penn State 76, (7) Texas A&M 59
- (11) Pittsburgh 59, (6) Iowa State 41
- (16) Fairleigh Dickinson 63, (1) Purdue 58
- (9) FAU 66, (8) Memphis 65
- (8) Arkansas 72, (1) Kansas 71
- (15) Princeton 78, (7) Missouri 63
- (7) Michigan St. 69, (2) Marquette 60
- (6) Creighton 85, (3) Baylor 76
- (5) Miami 85, (4) Indiana 69
Even with all the upsets, the seed total of 27 in the South Region is only tied for the 13th highest all-time. That record is 34, which happened in 1986 and 2011.
No. 15 seed Princeton moved on to the Sweet 16 with wins over Arizona and Missouri. This is the third consecutive year that a No. 15 seed has advanced this far. Saint Peter's got to the Elite Eight last season and is the only No. 15 seed to advance that far. Oral Roberts got to the Sweet 16 in 2021, while Dunk City – Florida Gulf Coast – was the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16 in 2013.
Big trouble for Big Ten
The Big Ten is having yet another difficult tournament. The league, which is looking for its first national championship since Michigan State won it in 2000 has only the No. 7 seed Spartans left to chase it.
The conference had eight teams in the field, but only two of them seeded to make the Sweet 16. Neither of them made it there. Top seed Purdue flamed out in the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, which is on brand for the Boilermakers. They have lost to No. 13 seeds or lower in three straight tournaments and to double-digit seeds in five of their last ten.
No. 4 seed Indiana rolled over for Miami on Sunday night. This was just the Hoosiers second tournament appearance since 2016, but also second straight appearance after making it through the First Four last season.
Penn State had the only other positive highlight for the conference, upsetting SEC runner-up Texas A&M in the first round before falling in a valiant effort against No. 2 seed Texas.
The Big Ten has had at least eight teams in the field three times and it didn't go well in any of those seasons. The best was in 2019, when eight teams made it and won 13 games before bowing out. Michigan State made the Final Four that season and Purdue just missed, losing in OT to Virginia in the Elite Eight.
In 2021 and 2022, the conference had nine teams in the bracket, but only won eight games in 2021 and nine in 2022. No team got past the Sweet 16 in 2022, while Michigan had an Elite Eight run in 2021.
The conference was seeded to have eight wins this season in the first two rounds and managed only six. Michigan State will have to make the Final Four to match the low win total of those previous Big Ten seasons with eight or more teams in the field.
The Big 12 was the dominant league in college basketball during the regular season, but only two of its teams made it to the Sweet 16. Kansas State advanced, continuing its tremendous season under first year coach Jerome Tang. Conference tournament champion Texas, the second seed in the Midwest, is still around also.
This is the fourth time the Big 12 has had seven of its ten teams make the NCAA Tournament. The other three times, the results were mixed. Baylor won the national championship in 2021 and contributed six of the conference's 11 wins that season.
In 2016, the Big 12 had nine wins led by Oklahoma's four en route to the Final Four. In 2015, the conference only managed five tournament wins from its seven teams. Only West Virginia got as far as the sweet 16.
The Big East is having its best tournament since the split with the American Athletic Conference in 2013. The league has three teams in the Sweet 16 for the first time even though its highest seeded team, No. 2 seed Marquette, bowed out Sunday.