clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No. 12-over-No. 5 upset for first time since 2007 NCAA Tournament

The NCAA Tournament's most familiar upset special didn't come to pass this year.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was the reliable trick to picking upsets in bracket pools: There had been a No. 12-over-No. 5 seed upset in every NCAA Tournament since 2007. Not this year, though, as No. 5 West Virginia's triumph over No. 12 Buffalo on Friday finished a perfect first round for the No. 5s for just the second time this century, and only the fourth time since seeding began.

No. 5s were actually 2-6 in Round of 64 games over the last two tournaments, with three power conference No. 12s (Cal, Mississippi, and Oregon) rising up in 2013, and three mid-majors (Harvard, North Dakota State, and Stephen F. Austin) busting brackets in 2014.

Traditionally, the No. 5 vs. No. 12 games have been ripe for upsets because No. 5 seeds tend to be power conference also-rans and No. 12s are often the lions of lesser leagues. But that wasn't really the case this year: No. 5 Northern Iowa roared past No. 12 Wyoming, a team that needed to win its conference tournament to make the NCAA Tournament field. While both Utah and Arkansas fit the profile of good-but-streaky No. 5s, they had too much talent for Stephen F. Austin and Wofford on Thursday.

Still, the game is likely to be competitive for a long, long time, and even with this tournament's four losses included, No. 12 seeds are 17-19 in the Round of 64 since 2008.