Since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, the No. 5 seeds have only swept the 12 seeds four times in the first round. According to NCAA.com, 1988, 2000, 2007, and 2015 were the only years five seeds went unscathed in the bracket. The chances of that happening this season is unlikely. There are a couple of reasons why.
For instance, the 12 seeds went (3-1) in 2014. Two of those wins came in overtime, and the third win was by four points. As a whole, the 12 seeds have no problem competing on a yearly basis. The 12 seeds are good enough to win the close games. They’ve had 44 victories in first round games. The main attraction to picking a 12 seed is their record coming into the tournament. Usually, the 12 seeds have strong records, and the 2016 NCAA Tournament is no different.
Overall, the 12 seeds average 26.5 wins this season. Meanwhile, the five seeds average 24.5 wins. In fact, the 12 seeds have a better record than all of their first round opponents. Baylor matches Yale’s 22 wins this season, but the Bears have five more losses (11) heading into the tournament.
Three of the five seeds hail from the Big Ten. At one point, all three teams were ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Top 25 Poll. Therefore, it would be a huge blow to the entire conference if they failed. Baylor’s highest ranking was 14 in mid January.
No. 12 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (26-7) vs. No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (25-8)
Both teams average 76 points per game. The Jackrabbits give up 67 points per game, while Maryland holds opponents to 66 points per game. Melo Trimble leads five double figure scorers for the Terrapins at 14.4 points per game. Mike Daum leads the Jackrabbits with 15 points per game.
No. 12 Chattanooga Mocs (29-5) vs. No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers (25-7)
The Indiana Hoosiers average 82 points per game, while Chattanooga scores 76 points per game. The Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular season, but were ousted by Michigan in the quarterfinal of the conference tournament. If Chattanooga can defend the 3-point shot, they’ll have a chance to win this game. The Hoosiers connect on 41.5 percent from downtown.
No. 12 Yale Bulldogs (22-6) vs. No. 5 Baylor Bears (22-11)
Yale has an inside game, and actually out rebound Baylor, 43.6 to 39.8. It’s the Bulldogs first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1962. Justin Sears averages 16 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Baylor Bears are trying to avoid a second straight first round exit. They were ousted by Georgia State and R.J. Hunter’s dagger from downtown. Taurean Prince leads the Bears with 15.5 points per game.
No. 12 Little Rock Trojans (29-4) vs. No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers (26-8)
Arkansas-Little Rock can’t match the size of Purdue up front. They have nine players averaging double figure minutes. Only Josh Hagins and Marcus Johnson Jr. average double figures. Their balanced attack must be on point for a full 40 minutes. A.J. Hammons is putting up 15 points and eight rebounds per game this season.