5-12 seed matchup presents danger for UK


From left to right, guards Johnny David and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander watch tv during the Selection Show on Sunday, March 11, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky will play Davidson in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Boise, Idaho. Photo by Hunter Mitchell.

It was announced yesterday that UK would be the No. 5 seed in the South Region at the NCAA Tournament.

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the five seeds is upsets, because of the tendency for 12 seeds to end the seasons of five seeds earlier than expected.

In the last 10 NCAA Tournaments, a No. 12 seed has upset a No. 5 seed a total of 18 times out of 40 games. At least one No. 12 seed has won a tournament game in nine of the 10 past NCAA Tournaments.

In three of the last 10 NCAA Tournaments, three of the four No. 12 seeds advanced to the second round. However, in the last three years, the No. 12 seed has only won three times, including once in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

If the No. 5 seed manages to pull off a win, it’s usually close. For the 22 No. 5 seeds in the last 10 NCAA Tournaments to win their first round matchup, 15 of those victories were decided by single digits. 

In the last three NCAA Tournaments, six of the 12 5-12 matchups were decided by single digits. 

In the 2010 NCAA Tournament, two No. 5 seeds, Butler and Michigan State, won their first round matchup by single digits, and those two were the last No. 5 seeds to make the Final Four.

Butler and Michigan State were matched up against each other in the Final Four, with Butler pulling off a two-point victory before falling in the NCAA title game by the same margin to No. 1 Duke.

As history has shown, it will be difficult for Kentucky to get past Davidson in the first round, let alone out of the South Region. Six of the top 17 in the NCAA RPI are sitting in the South Region, all fighting for one trip to San Antonio for a chance to play for a championship.

Kentucky has been a No. 5 seed once in its coveted NCAA Tournament history, making it to the second round in the 2010 big dance. 

As for Davidson, they are currently on a four-game losing streak in the NCAA Tournament. Their last tournament came in 2008, when Stephen Curry led Davidson to the Elite 8 as a No. 10 seed before falling to Kansas.

The Cats and Davidson have matched up once previously in the NCAA Tournament, which ended in a 75-55 victory for UK in the first round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. UK was a No. 1 seed that year and made it all the way to the regional finals before falling to LSU.