With winners being announced nightly on the conference tournament schedule, it’s time to take a different approach to the college basketball futures market. That is to use a futures mindset to anticipate potential in-tournament plays before the field of 68 is announced.
Get ahead now of two NCAA tournament first-round matchups that tend to get the most attention: the 5-12 and 8-9 games. A folklore quality surrounds the 5-12 game because it’s fertile territory for upsets, and 8-9 is theoretically the closest matchup.
Since the field expanded in 1985, the 12th seed has won 50 games straight up and fallen 90 times, a juicy 35.71 winning percentage. Of those 50 winners, 19 also won the next round’s game.
In the 2019 tournament, 12th seeds won three of the four games. Even in the lone win by a fifth seed, Auburn over New Mexico State, the dog still covered.