Because of recent history, picking No. 11s for upset wins in the first round might be a popular play for this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Who can forget 11th-seeded Loyola Chicago’s run to the Final Four in 2018? And then last year, 11 seed UCLA had a stunning run to the National Semi-finals.
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March Madness 6 vs. 11 matchups this year
- West: (6) Alabama vs. (11) Rutgers/Notre Dame: Friday, March 18. San Diego, Calif.
- East: (6) Texas vs. (11) Virginia Tech: Friday, March 18. Milwaukee, Wis.
- South: (6) Colorado State vs. (11) Michigan: Thursday, March 17. Indianapolis, Ind.
- Midwest: (6) LSU vs. (11) Iowa State: Friday, March 18. Milwaukee, Wis.
Alabama vs. Rutgers/Notre Dame
Odds will be placed here once available.
Texas vs. Virginia Tech
Colorado State vs. Michigan
LSU vs. Iowa State
Bracket and odds
The bracket below will feature each game with live NCAA tournament betting lines.
Who usually gets placed in the 6 vs. 11 game?
The 32 Division I conferences all receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is awarded to the winners of the postseason conference tournaments.
After that, the selection committee picks 36 teams for at-large bids. These are teams that are not automatic qualifiers but that the committee believes possess the skill and pedigree to be worthy of an invitation, according to NCAA.com.
No. 11 seeds are often winners of a lower-tier conference tournament or a bubble team from a higher-profile conference that ends up receiving a bid.
No. 6 seeds are typically at-large teams from major conferences or mid-majors who won their conference regular season and tournament titles.
What has happened in recent years?
We got a split in last years 6 seed versus 11 seed matchups, with two 6 seed first round winners and two 11 seed first round victors. UCLA and Syracuse were the two 11 seeds that pulled off early tournament upsets. Here were the scores of each of last year’s 6 vs. 11s.
- 6 USC 72, 11 Drake 56
- 11 UCLA 73, 6 BYU 62
- 6 Texas Tech 65, 11 Utah State 53
- 11 Syracuse 78, 6 San Diego State 62
UCLA made its mark as one of the all-time great 11 seeds, going all the way to the Final 4. The Bruins nearly made the National Title game itself but Gonzaga beat them at the buzzer in the National semis. Syracuse also made it to the tournament’s second weekend, but fell to Houston in the Sweet 16.
Six seed USC also made an impressive run as it beat No. 3 Kansas in the second round and then made it all the way to the Elite 8 before losing to Gonzaga. After beating Utah State in the first round, Texas Tech was eliminated by 3 seed Arkansas in the second round.
The coronavirus pandemic caused the shutdown of the 2020 NCAA tournament. In 2019, No. 6 seeds went 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS against No. 11 seeds. Buffalo beat Arizona State 91-74 and Villanova got a half-point cover over St. Mary’s in a 61-57 win. Maryland used a 14-0 run out of the halftime break to overtake Belmont and hold off the Bruins, 79-77 despite 35 points from Belmont senior Dylan Windler. No. 10 seed Ohio State upset Iowa State 62-59. All four winners lost in the Round of 32 with Maryland suffering a 2-point defeat while the other three were blown out by at least 15 points.
In 2018, No. 6 and No. 11 seeds split their games for an even 2-2 record, but the underdog 11 seeds went 3-1 ATS. No. 11 Loyola-Chicago defeated Miami 64-62 on Donte Ingram’s dramatic 3-point buzzer-beater that launched the Ramblers on their improbable run to the Final Four.
History of the 7 vs. 10
Over the past six tournaments, No. 11 has mostly been Lucky 11. Eleven seeds are surprisingly 12-12 against No. 6 seeds in that stretch after going 2-2 in 2021. The 2016 men’s college basketball tournament was a phenomenal one for 11s as three No. 11 seeds won opening round games over No. 6 seeds. In 1989, all four No. 11 seeds won.
Number 6 seeds hold an 90-54 record against No. 11 seeds since the NCAA Tournament field expanded in 1985.
Since 2000, No. 6 seeds are 48-36 against No. 11 seeds in the round of 64.
In 2000, Pepperdine blew out Indiana 77-57 in Bobby Knight’s last game as the Hoosiers’ coach. It was the largest 11-over-6 margin ever.
Aside from Loyola-Chicago’s thrilling victory over Miami, perhaps the most memorable 6-vs.-11 game in recent years was the Northern Iowa-Texas matchup in 2017. Paul Jesperson’s half-court-heave at the buzzer lifted the Panthers over the Longhorns, 75-72.
Xavier has been involved in the 6-vs.-11 game nine times — five times as the No. 6 and four times as the No. 11. Xavier won its first game as the No. 11 seed in 2017, and has a 3-2 record as a sixth-seed.
The sixth-seeded teams also have swept the opening round just five times since the tournament moved to the 64-team format (1987, 1992, 1997, 1999 and 2004).
The success of 6 and 11 seeds
Three No. 6 seeds have made the Final Four since 1985: Providence in 1987, Kansas in 1988 and Michigan in 1992.
No. 6 seeds are 1-1 in the national championship game, with Danny Manning-led Kansas defeating Oklahoma in 1988, and the Fab Five of Michigan falling to Duke in 1992.
Five No. 11 seeds have reached the Final Four:
- 2021: UCLA
- 2018: Loyola-Chicago
- 2011: VCU
- 2006: George Mason
- 1986: LSU
None of them advanced to the national title game. Those teams mark the lowest seeds ever to reach the Final Four.
Eight No. 11 seeds have made it to the Elite Eight.
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