Makinen: March Madness Second Round matchup trends

March 18, 2023 10:58 AM


After an amazing two days of first-round games in the NCAA tournament, the action continues with the second-round games starting Saturday. We’ve already seen top seeds being ousted, others being tested and surviving, plenty of clutch plays and utter meltdowns, and oh yeah, a lot of UNDERS on totals. In fact, 27 of the first 36 games played in this year’s madness have gone that way. What does it mean for this next set of games? 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 second-round data. As you’ll see below, there is some very definitive data pointing in specific side and total directions. Let’s get right into it, and you’ll see that I’ve added any pertinent head-to-head series trends when they were worthwhile.

Second-Round Games

- Bettors have not enjoyed a winning Second Round since 2017, going 16-32 ATS (33.3%) in moving opening lines since then. This is a big change from the First Round, explained perhaps by the shorter prep period for the second round. (Follow line moves. For example, Duke has moved to a much larger favorite over Tennessee since the opening line was released)

- Second-round top-4 seeds that won but didn’t cover the spread in the first round are 39-16 SU and 29-25-1 ATS (53.7%) since 2013. They are also 32-20-3 UNDER (61.5%) the total. (Alabama -8.5, Houston -5.5, Xavier -5, Gonzaga -4.5, Tennessee 4)

- Second-round double-digit favorites are 48-2 SU and 31-19 ATS (62%) since ’01. Fifteen of the last 21 such games went UNDER (71.4%) the total with the favorites allowing just 60.4 PPG. (Fla Atlantic -13, UNDER 149.5 FAU-FDU)

- Small Second-round favorites of 4.5 points or less are on an incredible 17-2 SU and 15-4 ATS (78.9%) surge in the last three tournaments. (Baylor -1, Connecticut -3.5, Duke -4, Gonzaga -4.5, Indiana -2, Kansas -3.5, Kentucky -2)

- Second-round #2 seeds have felt the upset pressure, going just 14-21-1 ATS (40%) in their last 36 games. Those favored by 5 points or less are just 12-18 SU and 10-19-1 ATS (34.5%) since ’02. (Against Marquette -3, Texas -6.5, UCLA -7.5) 

- It’s been a struggle lately in the second round for top-3 seeds overall, as here are the current ATS slides they are on: #1’s 10-17 ATS, #2’s 14-21-1 ATS, and #3’s 7-15 ATS. (Against Alabama -8.5, Houston -5.5, Kansas -3.5, Marquette -3, Texas -5.5, UCLA -7.5, Xavier -5, Baylor -1, Gonzaga -4.5, Kansas St 2)

- Seeds #4-#6 have been stellar lately in the second round, with these spread runs entering 2020: #4’s 16-10 ATS, #5’s 18-7 ATS, #6’s 18-9 ATS. Surviving the First-Round upset attempt has seemingly propelled these teams to solid round-two performances. (San Diego St -5.5, Kentucky -2, Creighton 1, TCU 4.5 – All teams in 4-5 matchups cancel each other out)

- Second-round #10 seeds are on a 4-12 SU but 10-5-1 ATS (66.7%) run since ’11. (Penn St 5.5)

- When facing seeds in the 5-7 range, double-digit seeds are just 4-17 SU and 6-13-2 ATS (31.6%) in that same timeframe. (Against Furman 5.5, Princeton 6.5)

-  Better-seeded teams are just 8-15 SU and ATS (34.8%) when playing as underdogs to worse-seeded teams in the second round since 2001. (Against Tennessee 4, Kansas State 2)


Applicable Conference Trends for Second-Round games

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



- 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 2)

- ACC teams are just 28-46-1 ATS (37.8%) as favorites of 5 points or less in the NCAA’s since ’98. (Against Duke -4)

- ACC teams playing as double-digit seeds are 14-6-1 ATS (70%) since 2012. (Pittsburgh 5)

- In the 16 most recent NCAA tourney matchups between the ACC and Big East, OVER the total is 12-4 (75%). (OVER 152 PIT-XAV)


American Athletic

- In their last 25 tourney games versus power conference foes, American Athletic teams are 17-8 UNDER the total (68%). (UNDER 132 HOU-AUB)


Big 12

- Favorites are 12-4 SU and 11-5 ATS (68.8%) in the last 16 NCAA tournament games between the Big 12 and Big Ten.  (Texas -5.5)

- Against mid-major teams in the NCAAs, Big 12 teams are on a 13-5 ATS (72.2%) surge. (TCU 4.5)

- Big 12 teams are just 10-12 SU and 7-15 ATS (31.8%) in their last 22 NCAA tourney games vs the Big East. (Against Baylor -1)

- Big 12 teams have lost 56 of their 70 NCAA tourney games since ‘00 as underdogs of 2.5 points or more and are 27-42-1 ATS (39.1%) in those games. (Against TCU 4.5)


Big East

- NCAA tourney games between the Big East and ACC have gone 12-4 OVER the total (75%) since ’13. (O152 XAV-PIT)

- Favorites are 28-14 ATS (66.7%) in the last 42 Big East NCAA tourney games. (Xavier -5, Connecticut -3.5, Marquette -3, Against Creighton 1)

- 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. (Connecticut -3.5)


Big Ten

- Big Ten teams have been vulnerable in the #4 seed of late, 3-12-1 ATS (20%) in their last 16 tourney tries. (Against Indiana -2)

- Big Ten teams are on a 10-4 SU and 12-1-1 ATS (92.3%) vs. SEC foes in the NCAA tourney. (Maryland 8.5)

- Big Ten teams have gone just 5-17 ATS (22.7%) since ’15 in the NCAA tournament vs. Big 12 and Pac-12 foes. (Against Penn St 5.5, Northwestern 7.5)

- For as good as Big Ten teams have been in the big favorite role, they have been brutal as underdogs of 5.5 points or more in the tournament, 6-48 SU and 20-34 ATS (37%) since ’98. (Against Penn St 5.5, Northwestern 7.5, Maryland 8.5)


Conference USA

- Conference USA teams are just 6-16 SU and 7-15 ATS (31.8%) in the NCAA’s since ’09. (Against Fla Atlantic -13)

- 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 -13)



- Ivy League teams have gone 5-11 SU and 10-6 ATS (62.5%) in their last 16 NCAA tourney games. (Against Princeton 6.5)

- Ivy League teams are on an 18-9 UNDER the total (66.7%) NCAA run, including UNDERS in all of the last 5. (UNDER 149 PRI-MIS)

- As underdogs of 6 points or more in the NCAAs, Ivy League teams are just 1-17 SU and 7-11 ATS (38.9%) since 2000. They are also 15-3 UNDER the total (83.3%) in those games, scoring just 58.4 PPG. (Against Princeton 6.5, UNDER 149 PRI-MIS)


Mountain West

- Mountain West teams’ struggles in the NCAAs haven’t been that well-documented, but collectively they are just 21-53 SU and 22-49-3 ATS (31%) since 2001, including nine straight outright and ATS defeats! (Against San Diego St -5.5)

- Mountain West teams have also come up short in the favorite role lately as well in the NCAAs, 5-12 SU and 4-13 ATS (23.5%) since ’11. (Against San Diego St -5.5)



- Twelve of the last 19 Northeast Conference NCAA tourney games have gone OVER the total (63.2%). (OVER 149.5 FDU-FAU)



- Underdogs are on a 13-5 ATS (72.2%) surge in NCAA tourney games between the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences. Pac-12 has won the last 5 SU and ATS. (Against UCLA -7.5 & For UCLA -7.5)

Pac-12 teams are on a run of 21-7 ATS (75%) in second-round NCAA tournament games. (UCLA -7.5)



- Seeded in the bottom half of the field (#9-#14), SEC teams have struggled to an 8-21 SU and 10-17-2 ATS (37%) record since ’07. (Against Auburn 5.5)

-The #4 seed and the SEC haven’t meshed well of late, as they are 13-21 ATS (38.2%) in that spot since ’00 and have gone UNDER the total at a 25-8-1 (75.7%) rate. (Against Tennessee 4, UNDER 128.5 TEN-DUK)

- Underdogs are 32-15 ATS (68.1%) in the last 47 SEC NCAA tourney games overall. (Against Alabama -8.5, Missouri -6.5, Kentucky -2, On Arkansas 3.5, Tennessee 4, Auburn 5.5)

- As pick em’s or small favorites of 5 points or less, SEC teams are an ugly 39-47 SU and 31-51-4 ATS (37.8%) in the NCAA’s since ’99. (Against Kentucky -2)



Southern Conference teams have been very competitive in the NCAAs when playing as an underdog of fewer than 15 points, 15-5 ATS (75%) in the last 20. (Furman 5.5)

- Southern Conference teams have trended UNDER the total in recent NCAAs, 11-2 (84.6%) in the last 13. (UNDER 137.5 FUR-SDSU)


West Coast

- West Coast Conference teams are 8-3 SU and ATS (72.7%) in their last 11 NCAA tourney matchups versus Big East foes. (St Mary’s-CA 3.5)

- West Coast Conference 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 St Mary’s-CA 3.5)


Head-to-Head Series Trends for Second Round

(805) MARYLAND at (806) ALABAMA

- Alabama (-6) beat Maryland 96-77 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and has a 2-0 SU and ATS record versus the Terrapins in neutral games since ’11, winning those by 19.5 PPG.


- Michigan State has won back-to-back games by double-digits versus Marquette, most recently in 2014, including a 61-49 decision in the ’07 NCAAs.

(845) PITTSBURGH at (846) XAVIER

- Pittsburgh and Xavier split NCAA tournament meetings in ’09 and ’10, with the Musketeers going 2-0 ATS.

(847) KENTUCKY at (848) KANSAS ST

- Kentucky and Kansas State have met three times since ’08, including the most recent two in the NCAA tournament. Kansas State ( 5.5) won that one in ’18, 61-58. The most recent two matchups went UNDER the total.

(849) CREIGHTON at (850) BAYLOR

- Baylor is 2-0 SU and ATS in its last two meetings with Creighton, holding the Blue Jays to 57 PPG. The most recent game, a 65-59 decision in ’17, went UNDER the total by 29.5 points.

back to news

Live On Air

Streaming Now: VSiN PrimeTime

play Watch Live radio Listen Live


Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings for every game on the board, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.


Jason Weingarten: Princeton (+10) vs Creighton. View more picks.


The Handle: The American League playoff picture is going to be highly competitive. Look to bet overs on win totals as opposed to a team making the playoffs. View more tips.