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Is This The Year A 16 Seed Wins A Game?

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A 16 seed upsetting a No. 1 has become sort of the Holy Grail of the NCAA Tournament in recent years. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, top seeds are a perfect 108-0 in the first round, and over time the games have grown more and more lopsided.

According to stat guru Ken Pomeroy, however, that changes this year.

Pomeroy says that, speaking statistically of course, the 2012 crop of 16 seeds are the strongest in the history of the tournament and that he believes one could pull off the upset of all upsets on Thursday or Friday.

And this really could be the year. I say this every year, of course, but this time I mean it. For reals. The crop of 16 seeds in the 2012 tournament appears to be the strongest ever. I went back through my ratings going back to 2003 and then the SRS ratings at College Basketball Reference for data before then to find the 16-seeds that were ranked the highest. These are the ten-highest ranked 16-seeds of all-time:

Year Team Rank
2012 Lamar 102
1993 Wright St. 105
2009 E. Tenn. St. 111
2006 Oral Roberts 115
2012 Vermont 120
2012 UNC Asheville 121
1986 Montana St. 124
2008 Portland St. 127
1987 Penn 130
1985 Southern 130

No. 16 seeds Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State will square off in the first round of the tournament Tuesday night in Dayton for the right to Face No. 1 overall seed Kentucky on Thursday.