5 vs 12 Seed History in the NCAA Tournament

Social Navigation

5 vs 12 seed history.

5 vs 12 Seed History in the NCAA Tournament


March Madness is a great time of year for college basketball. There are upsets, chaos, drama, and more as teams compete for a shot at the Sweet 16, Final Four, and national title. More specifically, there is always a lot of buzz around the 5-12 matchups, so here’s a look at the 5 vs 12 seed history in the NCAA Tournament.

The March Madness 5 vs 12 Matchup

There is something about that 5-12 matchup in the bracket. Does the committee purposely set up a team for a major upset? It sure seems like there is a No. 12 seed upsetting a team each and every year. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have been 55 upsets of No. 5 seeds.

Number 12 seeds have a 55-99 record vs 5 seeds for a winning percentage of almost 36 percent. It doesn’t seem like a great percentage, but it’s remarkably high considering the seed. In the 2022 tournament, we saw two No. 12 seeds with an upset in the First Round.

New Mexico State beat UConn 70-63, while Richmond beat Iowa 67-63 to advance to the Second Round. So in 2022, it was a 50-50 shot a No. 12 would pull off an upset. Not a bad bet!

Overall, 21 No. 12 seeds have reached the Sweet 16 in the men’s basketball tournament and one team has advanced to the Elite 8.

5 Seed vs 12 Seed Upsets in the NCAA Tournament

It’s one of the most watched matchups in the NCAA Tournament first round. When fans get their NCAA Tournament bracket, they are already looking for which No. 12 seed will pull off the upset. Here are a few notable upsets in the First Round since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985 (68 teams since 2011).

Three number 12 seeds advancing

Three of the four No. 12 seeds were able to advance to the next round in 2002, 2009, 2013, 2014, and 2019. In 2019, Oregon crushed Wisconsin 72-54 and Murray State had its way with Maquette 83-64 with the help of future first-round pick Ja Morant.

Years without a No. 12 seed advancing

There have been some years without fireworks. In 2015 and 2018, No. 5 seeds did their job and knocked any potential Cinderella stories out of the tournament. The same thing happened in 2007, 2000, and 1988.

Here’s what we know, since 1985, there have been many years where at least one No. 12 seed advances to the next round. It’s one of the most common upsets in NCAA history.

The first 5-12 seed matchup upset in tournament history

It all had to start somewhere. In 1985, we got our first 5 vs 12 seed matchups. Number 12 Kentucky beat No. 5 Washington. Ironically, it was the biggest upset in NCAA history in terms of seeding. In the same tournament, the No. 13 seed Navy beat the No. 4 seed LSU.

Has a No. 5 Seed Ever Won the NCAA Tournament?

There has been an NCAA Champion at every seed from numbers one through eight except number five. In other words, no, a No. 5 seed has never won the title. There have been three number-five seeds that did play for a national title. These include Florida in 2000, Indiana in 2002, and Butler in 2010.

Has a No. 12 Seed Ever Won the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

The lowest seed to reach the final in NCAA Tournament history is number eight. Villanova won the big dance back in 1985 with an impressive upset of No. 1 seed Georgetown. It remains the lowest seed to win it all. Kentucky (2014) and North Carolina (2022) reached the final as No. 8 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but both teams ended up losing.

As for No. 12 history, the furthest a No. 12 seed has gone in the tournament is the Elite Eight. The Oregon State Beavers reached the Elite 8 in 2021 and the Missouri Tigers reached the round back in 2002. The NCAA Tournament introduced No. 12 seeds when it expanded to 64 teams back in 1985. In 2011, the tourney field expanded to 68 teams.

Lowest Seed to Reach the Final Four

A No. 12 seed hasn’t ever reached the Final Four, but a No. 11 seed has accomplished the feat. It has happened five times in history. LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006, VCU in 2011, Loyola-Chicago in 2018, and UCLA in 2021 all reached the Final Four as a No. 11.

UCLA and VCU were able to make incredible runs after starting in the First Four. In 2011, the NCAA field expanded to 68 games. That introduced the First Four play-in games. Eight teams competed in four games for a shot to get into the First Round.

5 vs 12 Seed History FAQs

Has a No. 5 seed ever won the NCAA Title?

No. The No. 5 seed is the only seed in the top eight that hasn’t won a National Championship. The number 5 seed has reached the title game twice. Butler in 2010 and Indiana in 2002.

Has a No. 12 seed ever won the NCAA Title?

No. A No. 12 seed has never reached the title game or the Final Four. Oregon State in 2021 is the only No. 12 seed to ever reach the Elite 8. There have been 21 No. 12 seeds in the Sweet 16.

Does a No. 12 seed always upset a No. 5 in the first round?

It happens often but not every year. If you look at the history, there have been five seasons since 1985 in which there was no 12-5 upset. These years include 2018, 2015, 2007, 2000, and 1988.

Why is the 5-12 matchup so noteworthy in March Madness?

A No. 12 seed has beaten a number 5 seed 55 times since the tournament expanded in 1985. That’s an average of more than one victory per year. Three No. 12 seeds went to the second round in 2002, 2009, 2013, 2014, and 2019.

Author: Sam Russell

Sam hails from Grandville, Michigan. He has a rich sports background, including playing baseball at Central Michigan before covering high school sports and working with the Orlando Magic. He earned his degree from Central Michigan University and was a member of the 2010 MAC Championship baseball team. Sam grew his knowledge of sports betting while working with Betsperts in various areas such as writing, social media, betting research, and business development. He's a big fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB, highly interested in data and statistics.