The No. 7 versus 10 matchups during March Madness often features fading teams from power conferences against mid-majors that are on the rise.
This can be tough on the No. 7 seed but often makes for good betting value.
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.
Because most of the higher seeds go to automatic qualifiers of major conferences, and many of the lower seeds go to automatic qualifiers of lower-tier conferences, the middle-of-the-road Nos. 7 and 10 seeds often go to at-large teams from major conferences or mid-majors.
Occasionally, No. 10 seeds are winners of a lower-tier conference tournament or a bubble team from a higher-profile conference that ends up receiving a bid.
What happened last year?
Last year, No. 7 seeds went 3-1 against No. 10 seeds: Rhode Island beat Oklahoma 83-78, Nevada defeated Texas 87-83, and Texas A&M edged out Providence 73-69.
The only No. 10 seed to win in the first round in 2018 was Butler, which beat Arkansas 79-62 but was eliminated in the round of 32.
The Nos. 7 versus 10 seeds matchup often makes for thrilling finishes, as evidenced by Nevada’s memorable overtime win over Texas last year. Junior forward Caleb Martin hit three 3-pointers as the Wolf Pack exploded offensively to take down the Longhorns in the extra period.
No. 7 seeds in 2018 were not only 3-1 straight up against No. 10 seeds in 2018 but also 3-1 against the spread.
History and trends since 2000
Since 2000, No. 7 seeds are 48-28 against No. 10 seeds in the first round. The average margin of victory in those 76 games since 2000 is 9.51 points.
In total, No. 7 seeds hold an 84-52 record against 10 seeds since the NCAA Tournament field expanded in 1985.
Upsets in the Nos. 7 and 10 matchups are not rare, but blowouts certainly are. In 2017, No. 7 seed South Carolina blew away No. 10 Marquette 93-73 on its way to the national championship game. In 2015, No. 7 Iowa throttled No. 10 Davidson 83-52.
There has been only one tournament in the past 33 years in which No. 7 seeds were swept by 10 seeds (1999), according to NCAA.com. The current streak almost ended in 2010 but Brigham Young survived as the final No. 7 seed, edging Florida 99-92.
On the other side, there have only been two tournaments in which all four No. 7 seeds advanced: 1993 and 2007.
West Virginia has held the No. 7 seed more than any other program, with a 3-1 record in the opening round since the tournament expanded in 1985, according to NCAA.com.
Creighton (which has the most appearances as a No. 10 seed with five) is winless as the lower seed, but 1-0 as a No. 7 seed.
The success of 7 and 10 seeds in March Madness
In 2014, the UConn became the first and only No. 7 seed to win a national championship. However, the Huskies needed overtime to get past No. 10 Saint Joseph’s in an 89-81 opening-round victory. UConn was also the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four, but Michigan State would follow in 2015 before losing in the national semifinals.
In 2017, No. 7 seed South Carolina advanced all the way the national title game, falling to No. 1 Gonzaga 77-73. On their way to the final game, the Gamecocks notched upsets over No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor and No. 4 Florida.
In 2016, Syracuse became the first No. 10 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 with its 68-62 victory against Virginia, according to NCAA.com. Syracuse fell to eventual runner-up North Carolina, 83-66, in the semifinal game.
Teams seeded at No. 10 have 23 Sweet 16 appearances, and eight of those teams have advanced to the Elite Eight.
The magical run Stephen Curry’s No. 10 Davidson Wildcats made in 2008 started with a 6-point win against No. 7 Gonzaga and became one of most memorable Cinderella stories in college basketball history.
Curry scored 40 points in the 82-76 win over the Bulldogs, and the Wildcats rode his hot hand until they lost to No. 1 Kansas in the Elite Eight.