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How to pick the 8-9 games in your bracket

3/12/2012

We recap our best notes from the 8 vs 9 matchups in the 2012 Men's Basketball Championship. Check this blog and check here all week for more bracket tips.

• Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, a 9-seed beats an 8-seed in the first round at least once each year except 2000 and '02. A 9-seed swept an 8-seed in the first round four times: 1989, '94, '99 and 2001.

• Since '85, an 8-seed beats a 9-seed in the first round more often (56-48) but 9-seeds have a better win percentage (.412) than 8-seeds (.364) over the course of the entire tournament.

• Defending champ UConn is the 9-seed in the South. A 9-seed has never won the Men's Basketball Championship (lowest seed to win the title: 8-seed Villanova in '85).

• No. 8 Memphis vs No. 9 Saint Louis will be their 58th meeting. The teams played in four different conferences together: the Missouri Valley, Metro, Great Midwest, and Conference USA.

• The top BPI differential in an 8 vs 9 game? Kansas St (23 BPI) vs Southern Miss (46 BPI). Closest differential in an 8-9 game? Iowa State (32) vs UConn (33).

• This will be the third time Iowa State plays an 8-9 game in the first round. In 1993 the Cyclones lost to UCLA as an 8-seed, and beat Minnesota as a 9-seed in 2005.

• Of the eight teams that make up the 8-9 seeds, Southern Miss (0-2) is the only one that has never won a tournament game

• Only once have multiple 8-seeds reached the Final Four: In 2000, (8) Wisconsin lost to (1) Michigan State, and (8) UNC lost to (5) Florida.

• Iowa State, at 32nd, is the lowest-ranked 8-seed according to BPI. Memphis is 10, Creighton 22 and K-State 23.

• K-State's 14.8 second-chance points per game led the Big 12. Southern Miss allowed 14.0 second-chance points per game in three losses against major-conference teams.

• Collision course: Memphis' 18.5-pt average in transition is tied for fourth in the nation; Saint Louis allows seven points in transition, fourth-fewest in the nation.

• Creighton is the only team in the country shooting better than 50 percent in the half-court this season.