March Madness Betting

8 vs. 9 History

Nothing makes casual NCAA bracket pool players — and perhaps even sharps — pause more than when they look at the No. 8 vs. No. 9 seed matchup in each of the four March Madness regions.

And there is good reason for that.

Since 1985, when the field expanded to 64 teams, the No. 9 seeds hold a small edge – going 72-68 following the 4-0 sweep by No. 9 seeds in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

The best 5 FREE bracket contests for 2021

March Madness 8 vs. 9 matchups this year

West – No. 9 Missouri vs. No. 8 Oklahoma

 

Full betting preview for Missouri vs. Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Sooners () were one of the nation’s biggest surprises this season, garnering a 15-10 record in a loaded Big 12 conference. At one point this season, they ranked as high as seventh in the AP Poll. They won games based on sound performances, but overall lacked a dimension of their game in which they dominated. The Sooners get Missouri, which was also a surprise this season. Mizzou also glossed the top 10 this season (10th) and won games on the backs of their prolific guards Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith.

As most 8/9 matchups are, this is expected to be a close game that could go either way. While Oklahoma has had a tougher schedule and ran through a harder conference, Missouri has undeniable talent and slightly more depth. At the end of the day, the winner of this game will likely face Gonzaga, so make your pick accordingly.

This game tips off Saturday, March 20 at 7:25 p.m. ET and will be featured on TNT.

South – No. 9 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 North Carolina

 

Full North Carolina vs. Wisconsin betting preview

In seasons past, this could be pulled as a Final Four matchup or at least the Sweet 16. This year, it’s an opening round showdown between two talented and experienced teams that underperformed in 2020-21. UNC () was on a tear through the ACC Tournament before their dream run came up just short against Florida State. Roy Williams is one of the best coaches in the tournament and is the winningest. Wisconsin is 0-9 in ranked games this season (including in the Big Ten Tournament), but still has plenty of tournament experience on the roster.

Ultimately, the Tar Heels play up to their competition while the Badgers have struggled against top talent. It’s a tough pill to swallow for fans of under-seeded powerhouses making deep tournament runs, but one of these teams will be sent packing in the first round.

Catch North Carolina vs. Wisconsin on Friday, March 19 at 7:10pm EST on CBS.

East – No. 9 Saint Bonaventure vs. No. 8 LSU

 

Full Saint Bonaventure vs. LSU betting preview

LSU () was on a wild ride to the SEC Championship game before their dreams were halted by top-seeded Alabama (no, this isn’t a recycled sentence from a football article). Instead, they earned a matchup with No. 9 Saint Bonaventure, winners of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bonnies have played outstanding defense all season long, ranking fifth in scoring defense, and fielding a deep scoring pool (five players average double-digits this season).

LSU is led by freshman guard Cameron Thomas (22.6 points per game), who’s scored 18 or more points in every game since Jan. 16. He led the Tigers to the 8th-most points per game in the country this year, outpacing St. Bonaventure by 11.6 points per game. LSU’s offense might outweigh defensive efforts by the Bonnies should Thomas not be bottled up early.

This game takes place Saturday, March 20 at 1:45 p.m. ET and will be televised on TNT.

Midwest – No. 9 Georgia Tech vs. No. 8 Loyola Chicago

 

Full Loyola Chicago vs. Georgia Tech betting preview

Loyola Chicago () went on a dream run as an 11 seed three years ago, making it as far as the Final Four in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Sister Jean and the Ramblers are back and looking to get on the upset train once more. They take on ACC-champion Georgia Tech, which stunned Virginia and Florida State en route to their first tournament title since 1993. It’s a battle of true underdogs and, once again, bad news for those who love Cinderella teams.

Historically, Cinderella teams don’t go on more than one dream run and this might be the case for Loyola. Instead, they have to overcome a streaking Georgia Tech team that could pose a serious threat to go on a run of their own through the NCAA Tournament. This should be an exciting game and one worth keeping an eye on.

The game begins at 4 ET on Friday, March 19 and will be televised on TBS.

Bracket and odds

Who usually gets placed in the 8 vs. 9 game?

The 32 Division I conferences all receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which are 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.

The committee selects teams based on a number of criteria using the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET). The NET relies on the following in determining the NCAA Tournament teams and seeding:

  • Game results
  • Strength of schedule
  • Scoring margin
  • Net offensive and defensive efficiency
  • Game location
  • Quality of wins and losses

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 8-9 seeds often go to at-large teams from major conferences and quality teams from stronger mid-major conferences.

What happened last time?

The NCAA Tournament was canceled in 2020 so we have to go back to 2019 to look at the latest results between the 8 and 9 seeds.

No. 9 seeds continued to roll in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, going 4-0 SU/ATS. Three of the wins over No. 8 seeds were blowouts of 15 points or more with the closest contest a nine-point Baylor (+2.5) win over Syracuse 78-69. Blowouts included Oklahoma (pk) over Ole Miss 95-72, UCF (-1.5) over VCU 73-58 and Washington (+3.5) over Utah State 78-61. All four games went over the total.

Each of the four round one winners lost in the next round to No. 1 seeds. No. 9 Central Florida (UCF) nearly pulled the huge upset as a 13-point underdog in a 77-76 last-second loss to Duke.

In 2018, No. 9 seeds went 3-1 SU/ATS over No. 8 seeds.

History and trends since 2000

Despite No. 9 seeds going 7-1 SU/ATS in round one the past two tournaments, No. 8 seeds are still 44-36 against No. 9 seeds in the first round since 2000. The average margin of victory in those 80 games since 2000 is 9.00 points. About 60% of the 8-9 games have been decided by single digits.

One of the biggest blowouts in 8/9 games came in 2014. One year after being knocked out by a No. 9 seed, Pitt stormed back in 2014 as a No. 9 seed itself to hand No. 8 Colorado the biggest upset between 9s and 8s, blowing out the Buffaloes, 77-48. In the 2019 tournament, Oklahoma scored 95 points and rolled to a 23-point win over Ole Miss, 95-72.

Perhaps the most memorable buzzer beater in recent memory in an 8-9 game came in 2011, when No. 8 Butler edged No. 9 Old Dominion on Matt Howard’s layup at the buzzer. Butler advanced all the way to the championship game that year, but lost to UConn 53-41 in the final.

The 2014 Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the championship game as an 8 seed in 2014, but just scraped by to defeat No. 9 Kansas State 56-49 in the first round.

Kentucky is tied with BYU for the most appearances as an 8 seed and has a 3-1 record compared with the Cougars’ 0-4 record.

In 2015, No. 8 N.C. State took down top-seeded Villanova 71-68 in the second round, before falling to 4-seed Louisville in the Sweet 16.

Since 2000, No. 8 seeds have gone 18-11-1 against the spread as underdogs.

Year8 vs. 9 ResultsWho Covered?
2019(9) UCF 73, (8) VCU 58
(9) Oklahoma 95, (8) Ole Miss 72
(9) Baylor 78, (8) Syracuse 69
(9) Washington 78, (8) Utah State 61
UCF (-1.5)
Oklahoma (pk)
Baylor (+2.5)
Washington (+3.5)
2018(8) Seton Hall 94, (9) NC State 83
(9) Alabama 86, (8) Virginia Tech 83
(9) Kansas State 69, (8) Creighton 59
(9) Florida St. 67, (8) Missouri 54
Seton Hall (-2)
Alabama (+2)
Kansas State (+2)
Florida St. (+1.5)
2017(8) Wisconsin 84, (9) Virginia Tech 74
(9) Michigan St. 78, (8) Miami (FL) 58
(8) Northwestern 68, (9) Vanderbilt 66
(8) Arkansas 77, (9) Seton Hall 71
Wisconsin (-5)
Michigan St. (+2)
Northwestern (+1)
Arkansas (-1)
2016(9) Butler 71, (8) Texas Tech 61
(8) St Joseph's 78, (9) Cincinnati 76
(9) Providence 70, (8) USC 69
(9) UConn 74, (8) Colorado 67
Butler (-3)
St. Joseph's (+2)
USC (+1.5)
UConn (+3.5)
2015(8) SDSU 76, (9) St. John's 64)
(8) Oregon 79, (9) Oklahoma St. 73
(8) NC State 66, (9) LSU 65
(8) Cincinnati 66, (9) Purdue 65
SDSU (-2)
Oregon (PK)
LSU (+1.5)
Cincinnati (+1)
2014(8) Kentucky 56, (9) Kansas St. 49
(8) Memphis 71, (9) GWU 66
(8) Gonzaga 85, (9) Oklahoma St. 77
(9) Pittsburgh 77, (8) Colorado 48
Kentucky (-4)
Memphis (-1.5)
Gonzaga (+1.5)
Pittsburgh (-5.5)
2013(8) North Carolina 78, (9) Villanova 71
(9) Temple 76, (8) NC State 72
(8) Colorado St. 84, (9) Missouri 72
(9) Wichita St. 73, (9) Pittsburgh 55
North Carolina (-3.5)
Temple (+4)
Colorado St. (+4)
Wichita St. (+4.5)
2012(9) St. Louis 61, (8) Memphis 54
(8) Creighton 58, (9) Alabama 57
(8) Iowa St. 77, (9) UConn 64
(8) Kansas St. 70, (9) Southern Miss 64
St. Louis
Creighton
Iowa St.
Kansas St.
2011(9) Illinois 73, (8) UNLV 62
(8) George Mason 61, (9) Villanova 57
(8) Michigan 75, (9) Tennessee 45
(8) Butler 60, (9) Old Dominion 58
UNLV
George Mason
Michigan
Butler
2010(8) Cal 77, (9) Louisville 62
(8) Gonzaga 67, (9) Florida St. 60
(9) Wake Forest 81, (8) Texas 80
(9) No. Iowa 69, (8) UNLV 66
Cal
Gonzaga
Wake Forest
No. Iowa
2009(9) Siena 74, (8) Ohio St. 72
(8) Oklahoma St. 77, (9) Tennessee 75
(9) Texas A&M 79, (8) BYU 66
(8) LSU 75, (9) Butler 71
Siena
Oklahoma St.
Texas A&M
LSU
2008(9) Arkansas 87, (8) Indiana 72
(8) Miss State 76, (9) Oregon 69
(9) Texas A&M 67, (8) BYU 62
(8) UNLV 71, (9) Kent State 58
Arkansas
Miss State
Texas A&M
UNLV
2007(8) Kentucky 67, (9) Villanova 58
(9) Purdue 72, (8) Arizona 63
(9) Xavier 79, (8) BYU 77
(9) Michigan St. 61, (8) Marquette 49
Kentucky
Purdue
BYU
Michigan St.
2006(8) Kentucky 69, (9) UAB 64
(9) Bucknell 59, (8) Arkansas 55
(8) Arizona 94, (9) Wisconsin 75
(8) GWU 88, (9) UNCW 85
Kentucky
Bucknell
Arizona
Push
2005(9) Miss State 93, (8) Stanford 70
(9) Iowa St. 64, (8) Minnesota 53
(9) Nevada 61, (8) Texas 57
(8) Pacific 79, (9) Pittsburgh 71
Miss State
Iowa St.
Nevada
Pacific
2004(9) UAB 102, (8) Washington 100
(8) Seton Hall 80, (9) Arizona 76
(8) Alabama 65, (9) Southern Illinois 64
(8) Texas Tech 76, (9) Charlotte 73
UAB
Seton Hall
So. Illinois
Texas Tech
2003(9) Utah 60, (8) Oregon 58
(9) Purdue, (8) LSU 56
(8) Cal 76, (9) NC State 74
(9) Gonzaga 74, (8) Cincinnati 69
Utah
Purdue
Cal
Gonzaga
2002(8) UCLA 80, (9) Ole Miss 58
(8) Wisconsin 80, (9) St. John's 70
(8) Stanford 84, (9) WKU 68
(8) Notre Dame 82, (9) Charlotte 63
UCLA
Wisconsin
Stanford
Notre Dame
2001(9) Charlotte 70, (8) Tennessee 63
(9) Fresno St. 82, (8) Cal 70
(9) St. Joe's 66, (8) Georgia Tech 62
(8) Missouri 70, (9) Georgia 68
Charlotte
Fresno St.
St. Joe's
Missouri
2000(8) Kansas 81, (9) DePaul 77
(8) North Carolina, (9) Missouri 70
(8) Utah 45, (9) St. Louis 45
(8) Wisconsin 66, (9) Fresno St. 56
Kansas
North Carolina
St. Louis
Wisconsin

The deep run of success of 8 and 9 seeds

In the history of the NCAA Tournament, seven No. 8 seeds have advanced to the Final Four, including a record two in 2000 (North Carolina and Wisconsin). Neither of those teams advanced to the title game. Three No. 8 seeds have reached the national championship game, including Villanova in 1985, Butler in 2011, and Kentucky in 2014.

Villanova is the only No. 8 seed to ever win a national title, upsetting Georgetown 69-64 in 1985. The Wildcats won the first tournament that expanded to 64 teams, and they remain the lowest seed to ever claim the national championship. Villanova barely beat No. 9 Dayton in the first round that year, 51-49.

Only two No. 9 seeds have ever reached the Final Four — Pennsylvania in 1979 and Wichita State in 2013 – and none have advanced to the championship game. The Shockers beat No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Ohio State in their 2013 run before falling to Louisville, the eventual national champion, in the Final Four.

How to pick 8 vs. 9 in March Madness brackets

The 8 vs 9 match-ups are expected to be close contests as the betting lines are often around -4, with many less than a basket. You’ll hear plenty of opinions on these games but pay less attention to the seed and focus on the betting lines and market moves.

Study team’s strength of schedule and more recent form including against better teams. Note the site location, key injuries and coaching strength, as preparation and coaching ability is not considered enough by the public or the more casual bettor. The historical SU results favoring the No. 9 seeds tells us that the No. 8 seeds are not necessarily the better teams. In fact, in the 2016 tournament, all four No. 8 seeds closed as underdogs of 3.5 points or less.

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