Makinen: March Madness Elite Eight trends

March 25, 2023 11:35 AM


For the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament, not a single #1 seed reached the Elite Eight round, and furthermore, just one of the #2 seeds is still around. We can debate the merits of what that means for the intrigue of the rest of the bracket for hours, but for bettors, it doesn’t matter. There will still be money lines, point spreads, totals, and all the other usual wagering options to take advantage of. In continuing my series on qualifying all of the trends I posted in my Round-By-Round and Conference articles on the VSiN Tournament Betting Guide to the specific 2023 matchups, I am back to share the Elite Eight data. As you’ll see once again, there is some very definitive data pointing in specific side and total directions to help you sort it out, even if the teams you thought would be here aren’t. You’ll see that I’ve again added any pertinent head-to-head series trends when they were worthwhile.


Elite Eight Round Trends

-  Elite Eight favorites of 4 points or fewer have gone just 1-7 SU and 0-7-1 ATS (0%) in their last eight games and are just 14-30-1 ATS (31.9%) since ’98. (Against Kansas St -1.5, Connecticut -2, Creighton -1.5)

-  Elite Eight games have been decisive, with outright winners owning a stellar record of 57-5-2 ATS (91.9%) since ’06. (All outright winners)

-  Cinderella teams, or those not from power conferences, have been good bets when they reach the Elite Eight round, 12-11 SU and 13-9-1 ATS (59.1%) since ’03, including 9-2-1 ATS as underdogs of 3 points or more. (Fla Atlantic 1.5, San Diego St 1.5, Gonzaga 2.5)

-  Elite Eight #1-#3 seeds have struggled mightily against teams seeded #4 or worse, going 17-14 SU and 8-21-2 ATS (27.6%) since ’01. However, they were 3-0 SU and ATS last year. (Against Kansas St -1.5, Texas -4.5, Gonzaga 2.5)

-  The Elite Eight round has easily been the best round to play OVER on totals, 85-61-2 (58.2%) since ’01. We could be witnessing a turn, however, as the last six Elite Eight games went UNDER. In games with lower totals of 143 or less, it has been 59 OVERS and 28 UNDERS, for 67.8%. (OVER 149.5 MIA-TEX, OVER 143.5 KSU-FAU, OVER 153.5 CON-GON, OVER 133.5 SDSU-CRE)

-  In Elite Eight games between teams “both not supposed to be there,” or both seeded #3 or worse, the worse-seeded team has gone 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS (87.5%) since 2013. (Miami 4.5, Connecticut -2.5, Fla Atlantic 1.5)


Applicable Conference Trends for Elite Eight Round games

  • Note – Conference trend records do not include any pertinent results from early 2023 NCAA tournament results unless noted



MIAMI (#5, MIDWEST) vs. TEXAS (#2-Big 12)


-  In the role of pick ’em or small underdog (up to 4.5 points), ACC teams are currently on a 12-3 ATS (80%) surge. (Miami 4.5)


Big 12

KANSAS ST (#3, EAST) vs. FLA ATLANTIC (#9-Conference USA)



-  Against mid-major teams in the NCAAs, Big 12 teams are on a 13-5 ATS (72.2%) surge. (Kansas St -1.5)


Big East

CONNECTICUT (#4, WEST) vs. GONZAGA (#3-West Coast)

CREIGHTON (#6, SOUTH) vs. SAN DIEGO ST (#5-Mountain West)


Big East teams are on an 8-1 SU and ATS (88.9%) run against Mountain West teams in the tournament. (Creighton -1.5)

- Favorites are 28-14 ATS (66.7%) in the last 42 Big East NCAA tourney games. (Creighton -1.5, Connecticut -2.5) 

- In NCAA tourney games between Big East programs and non-major conferences since ’15, favorites are on a 21-8 SU and ATS (72.4%) run. (Creighton -1.5, Connecticut -2.5)


Conference USA

FLA ATLANTIC (#9, EAST) vs. KANSAS ST (#3-Big 12)


- Versus power conference schools in the NCAA tournament, Conference USA teams are just 22-38 SU and ATS (36.7%) since ’98, including 8-21 ATS (27.6%) as dogs of 4.5 points or more. (Against Fla Atlantic 1.5)

Conference USA teams are on a brutal slide of 4-23 SU and 5-22 ATS (18.5%) as single-digit underdogs in the NCAA tournament. (Against Fla Atlantic 1.5)

Conference USA teams seeded in the bottom half of the tournament (seeds #9 or worse) are on a 10-24 SU and 12-22 ATS (35.3%) skid. (Against Fla Atlantic 1.5)


Mountain West

SAN DIEGO ST (#5, SOUTH) vs. CREIGHTON (#6-Big East)


- As tournament underdogs, Mountain West teams are just 8-37 SU and 11-31-3 ATS (26.2%) since ’01(Against San Diego St 1.5) 

Mountain West teams have been totally overmatched against major conference programs in the NCAAs since 2000, 9-42 SU and 12-37-2 ATS (24.5%). (Against San Diego St 1.5)


West Coast

GONZAGA (#3, WEST) vs. CONNECTICUT (#4-Big East)


West Coast teams are 8-3 SU and ATS (72.7%) in their last 11 NCAA tourney matchups versus Big East foes. (Gonzaga 2)

West Coast teams haven’t been as good as suspected as NCAA tournament underdogs, 7-20 SU and 8-19 ATS (29.6%) since ’07, including seven straight outright and ATS losses. (Against Gonzaga 2)


Head-to-Head Series Trends for Elite Eight Round


- Gonzaga and Connecticut have played each other four times in early season neutral non-conference tilts between since ‘05 and underdogs were 2-2 SU and 3-0-1 ATS. The most recent matchup in ’15 saw the Bulldogs (-3) edge the Huskies 73-70 in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantic Tournament.


- Creighton and San Diego State met last year in the NCAA tournament first round, and the Blue Jays ( 2.5) prevailed 72-69 in overtime. In all, these teams have met four times since 2011, and underdogs hold a 3-1 ATS edge while OVERS on totals are also 3-1.

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