Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica’s March Madness traits, storylines, historic breakdown

“Bear Bets” are actual wagers that Chris “The Bear” Fallica is definitely making.

We provided a primary impression Monday of what we noticed with the  NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket launch and the way these matchups would possibly shake out. I additionally shared my favourite first-round bets for the tourney, which hopefully helps you win some cash.

Now we’re digging into our historic archive for event historical past followers like me. How do sure seeds and groups fare? What are some cool traits and storylines it’s best to know earlier than filling out your bracket? 

If you’re into that form of stuff, we’ve bought you lined! So listed below are some bracket-busting notes in your enjoyment.

Champion, seed and spread-related notes

Each of the previous 5 and 12 of the previous 15 nationwide champions have been one-seeds. Since the fluky No. 7 vs. No. 8 UConn-Kentucky remaining in 2014, there was a one-seed within the remaining yearly, and just one workforce seeded decrease than third reached the NCAA Final (North Carolina final 12 months).

Since Florida’s repeat 16 years in the past, no defending champion has superior previous the Sweet 16. In every of the previous 5 tournaments, they’ve been eradicated by the second spherical (No. 1 seed Baylor in 2022 second spherical, No. 4 seed Virginia in 2021 first spherical and No. 6 seed Villanova in 2019, No. 2 seed North Carolina in 2018 and No. 1 seed Villanova in 2017 every misplaced within the second spherical).

Want to win your bracket pool? Avoid selecting greater than two No. 1 seeds within the Final Four. I do know you assume it’s arduous for these No. 1 seeds to lose, but it surely occurs yearly. Since seeding started in 1979, solely in 2008 have all 4 No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four. Last 12 months just one reached the Final Four, eventual nationwide champion Kansas.

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Since all 4 No. 1 seeds made the Final Four in 2008, a complete of 18 1-seeds have reached the Final Four up to now 13 years.

Since 2010, solely 16 No. 1 seeds have reached the Final Four. In that span, 10 No. 1 seeds have misplaced previous to the Sweet 16.

One factor is for positive within the NCAA Tournament — there shall be a Cinderella. 

In 10 of the previous 11 years (2019 was the outlier), there was not less than one workforce seeded seventh or decrease within the Elite Eight. Last 12 months there have been three — Miami, North Carolina and Saint Peter’s — with the eighth-seeded Tar Heels transferring on to the Final Four. 

Each of the previous 4 years, there have been a number of groups seeded seventh or decrease within the Elite Eight. Who will get sizzling and make a magical run this 12 months?

A have a look at the seeds to achieve the Final Four since 2010 reveals that being a No. 4 seed or decrease has not been a deterrent in reaching the Final Four. In reality, since 2010, as many groups seeded tenth or decrease have reached the Final Four as have No. 3 seeds (4 instances every).

Of the 94 first-round canines the previous two seasons, 31 received outright. Think that’s spectacular? Think once more! 

Limit the pattern to the 70 video games not involving a 1- or 2-seed, and 29 have been received by the underdog (41.4%). This is regardless of final 12 months not being as upset loopy as 2019 and 2021. Clearly, don’t be afraid to again an underdog on the moneyline and in opposition to the unfold (ATS) within the tourney.

Don’t assume the 1- and 2-seeds will roll within the first spherical. It’s not as straightforward because it seems to be. Over the previous three tournaments, the highest two seeds are simply 10-14 ATS. That means in the event you guess to win $100 on each No. 1 and No. 2 seed to cowl, you’re down $540 in that span. Not superb.

Each of the previous two years, we’ve had a No. 15 seed pull a first-round upset. In reality, each Oral Roberts in 2021 and Saint Peter’s final 12 months received a number of video games. There has by no means been a stretch the place there have been three straight tournaments with a 15-seed profitable, however the oddsmakers appear to assume a number of of those 2 vs. 15 video games are removed from a positive factor. For the primary time, three 2 vs. 15 video games have a selection of 14 factors or fewer. 

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In reality, up to now six years, there have been three 2 vs. 15 video games with a selection of 14 or fewer.

2 vs. 15 first-round video games – level spreads

Arizona (-14) vs. Princeton

Marquette (-11) vs. Vermont

Texas (-13.5) vs. Colgate

UCLA (-17.5) vs. UNC Asheville

In the previous 5 years, only one 3-seed misplaced within the first spherical — Texas in 2021 to Abilene Christian. Comparably from 2014-16, 4 3-seeds misplaced. However, in an odd coincidence, the previous 4 3-seeds to lose within the first spherical all got here from the Big 12: Texas to Abilene Christian in 2021, West Virginia to Stephen F. Austin in 2016, Baylor to Georgia State in 2015 and Iowa State to UAB in 2015. 

Also, keep in mind in 2018, Texas Tech was in peril of becoming a member of that group earlier than coming again to beat Stephen F. Austin with a 13-2 run within the remaining 4 minutes to win 70-60. 

We wish to thank the committee for taking part in together with this theme and making two Big 12 groups a 3-seed this 12 months — Baylor, who’s a ten.5-point favourite over UC Santa Barbara, and Kansas State, who’s an 8.5-point favourite over Montana State. Also of curiosity, Kansas State has misplaced within the first spherical every of the previous two instances they have been a top-4 seed (2019 to No. 13 UC Irvine, 2013 to No. 13 La Salle).

On a constructive word, the Big 12 is making an attempt to grow to be the primary convention in 30 years to win three consecutive nationwide titles. The ACC was the final to perform it, with Duke (1991-92) and North Carolina (1993) profitable all of it.

First-round struggles haven’t been restricted to 1- and 2-seeds lately. No. 4 seeds have additionally struggled, going 4-12 ATS and simply 11-5 straight up (SU) since 2018. 

Last 12 months all No. 4 seeds received, however three of the wins got here by one, 4 and 4 factors. It is smart when you concentrate on it. Four seeds are groups doubtless ranked within the mid-to-bottom of the Top 25, and they’re going through a convention champion from an excellent mid-major. Those forms of groups lose on a regular basis throughout the common season, so it shouldn’t be a shock now.

This 12 months’s 13-seeds are Furman (+5.5/+185 moneyline) vs. Virginia, Louisiana (+11/+425) vs. Tennessee, Kent State (+4/+145) vs. Indiana and Iona (+9.5/+320) vs. UConn.

At least one No. 11 seed has reached the Sweet 16 in seven of the previous eight tournaments, with a pair of 11s reaching the Sweet 16 in three of the previous 4 tournaments, together with every of the previous two. Loyola Chicago and UCLA reached the Final Four in 2018 and 2021, respectively, as 11 seeds.

File this one away, as I like each Creighton and TCU to achieve the Sweet 16. In the previous 5 years, the one 6-seed to achieve the Sweet 16 was USC in 2021.

Conference-related notes

The Big Ten has put some nice groups within the event lately, however the final time the Big Ten received a nationwide championship was when Mateen Cleaves, Mo Peterson and Michigan State received all of it in 2000. In the previous 5 tournaments, seven Big Ten groups acquired a 1- or 2-seed, however solely Michigan State in 2019 reached the Final Four, whereas three groups didn’t even make it out of the primary weekend (2021 Ohio State, 2021 Illinois and 2021 Iowa).

It’s been 26 years since a Pac-12 workforce received all of it when Arizona lower down the nets in 1997. Both Arizona and UCLA are 2-seeds this 12 months. Since UCLA made the Final Four in 2008, 5 Pac-12 groups acquired a top-two seed. All 5 reached the Sweet 16, with three reaching the Elite Eight, solely to fall one step shy of the Final Four.

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Each of the previous seven Southeastern Conference groups to achieve the Elite Eight weren’t No. 1 seeds. In reality, Alabama is the primary SEC workforce to obtain a No. 1 seed since Kentucky in 2015. 

But being a excessive seed hasn’t handled Alabama properly. In the three situations, the Tide have been a 2-seed – that is the primary time Alabama is a No. 1 seed – it superior no additional than the Sweet 16, dropping to groups seeded sixth, tenth and Eleventh. 

Falling wanting the Final Four as a excessive seed has been a typical theme recently within the SEC. Since that Kentucky workforce in 2015, not one of the 15 SEC groups to earn a top-four seed has reached the Final Four. That would additionally apply to Tennessee along with Alabama this 12 months.

In the previous 4 tournaments, there have been 5 groups from the ACC which reached the primary spherical as an at-large and have been a double-digit seed. Four of the 5 received their first-round recreation, with Virginia Tech’s OT loss to Florida the one loss in that span. No. 11 NC State will look to proceed this run of ACC double-digit at-large success.

Dating again to Nevada’s win in 2018, Mountain West groups have misplaced seven straight first-round video games, with just one determined by fewer than 9 factors (5 have been by 11 or extra factors). MWC groups are 1-10 of their previous 11 first-round video games.

Alabama, Houston, Kansas, and Purdue chosen as 1-seeds for NCAA Tournament

Alabama, Houston, Kansas, and Purdue selected as 1-seeds for NCAA Tournament

Jason McIntyre and Colin Cowherd react to Alabama, Houston, Kansas, and Purdue chosen as 1-seeds forward of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Important Team notes


Auburn finds itself proper in its consolation zone. Not solely as a result of it is going to be taking part in its first-round recreation in Birmingham however as a result of the ninth-seeded Tigers are 10-0 in first-round video games, with six of these 10 wins coming as a No. 7 seed or decrease.


UConn is a well-liked Final Four decide, however since profitable the 2014 nationwide championship as a No. 7 seed, the Huskies have only one tourney win. However, that is their greatest seed since 2011, after they received the nationwide title as a No. 3 seed. UConn has misplaced within the first spherical every of the previous two seasons underneath Dan Hurley (2021 as a No. 7 seed to Maryland and final 12 months as a No. 12 seed to New Mexico State).


The final two Missouri Valley Conference groups not named Loyola to achieve the NCAA event misplaced their first-round video games by 16 and 11 factors, together with Eleventh-seeded Drake to USC in 2021 (72-56).


The final two instances the Blue Devils did not obtain a top-four seed, they misplaced within the first spherical. In 2007, sixth-seeded Duke misplaced to VCU and in 1996, the eighth-seeded Blue Devils misplaced to Eastern Michigan.


The Bulldogs have received 13 straight first-round video games by a median of 17.2 factors per recreation. Each of Gonzaga’s previous 4 first-round video games as a top-three seed have been determined by 20 or extra factors.


Since the sector expanded, the Wildcats have by no means misplaced within the first spherical in consecutive years. This is the shortest line for a first-round recreation at Kentucky for John Calipari. The earlier low was 5 vs. Davidson in 2018, a recreation UK received 78-73.


Marquette was unranked within the preseason, went on to win the Big East and earn a No. 2 seed. Some will say the Golden Eagles overachieved loads already. However, there’s some unfinished enterprise for coach Shaka Smart. He has misplaced six straight first-round video games (5 by 4 factors or fewer, together with three in OT), together with as a No. 3 seed to Abilene Christian in 2021.

Michigan State

Is it time to faucet the brakes a bit on “January, February, Izzo …”? Michigan State has did not make it previous the primary weekend in 5 of the previous six tournaments.


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If it appears like Missouri has been right here earlier than, properly, it has. The Tigers have misplaced 5 straight first-round video games. Four of the 5 video games noticed a selection inside three factors both approach. The different, after all, was the loss to 15-seed Norfolk State as a 21.5-point favourite, which stays the most important point-spread upset because the subject expanded. Missouri is a 1.5-point canine to Utah State.


Matt Painter has coached 30 NCAA event video games at Purdue. Seventeen have been determined by single digits, 12 by 5 factors or fewer and 6 in extra time.

Under Painter, Purdue is 1-8 vs. top-three seeds, 6-0 vs. groups seeded fourth by way of seventh (together with wins by two, three, 4 and three factors) and 4-3 vs. groups seeded eighth by way of twelfth. Last 12 months the Boilermakers have been eradicated within the Sweet 16 by No. 15-seed Saint Peter’s.

Under Painter, Purdue has been a top-three or 4 seed thrice. The Boilermakers received and lined their first-round recreation all 4 instances, profitable by 13, 26, 22 and 22 factors.


Rick Barnes’ groups are 2-12-1 ATS in his previous 15 NCAA event video games. Since Texas made the Elite 8 in 2008, Barnes’ groups have made it previous the primary weekend as soon as in 10 journeys and haven’t crushed a single workforce with a better seed (0-7). That stretch contains being knocked out within the second spherical as a 3-seed in 2018 when the Vols misplaced to 11-seed and eventual Final Four participant Loyola Chicago, by 12-seed Oregon State within the 2021 first spherical and final 12 months when the third-seeded Vols have been knocked out by 11-seed Michigan. But Barnes’ groups simply don’t have a knack for being upset, in addition they hardly ever pull an upset as they’re 1-11 vs. higher-seeded groups. The Vols first potential likelihood to beat a better seed this 12 months can be within the Sweet 16 vs. Purdue.


Texas final reached Sweet 16 in 2008. Eleven of the Longhorns’ previous 13 NCAA tourney video games have been determined by eight factors or fewer, with eight determined by 5 factors or fewer. Since the Longhorns final reached the Sweet 16 in 2008, 71 completely different groups have reached the Sweet 16, together with Florida Gulf Coast, LaSalle, Northern Iowa, Cornell, Loyola Chicago, Ohio, Richmond, Saint Peter’s and Oral Roberts.


Under Tony Bennett, Virginia has performed 13 event video games vs. a 15- or 16-seed that didn’t go to OT. The Cavaliers have been held to 63 factors or fewer in 9 of them and, after all, that doesn’t embody the surprising 74-54 loss to UMBC in 2018. UVA erased that reminiscence by profitable the 2019 nationwide title, but it surely has been very susceptible to upsets. Virginia has been eradicated by a workforce seeded not less than 9 spots decrease than them in three of the previous 4 situations UVA misplaced a event recreation. The Cavaliers are also 3-8 ATS of their final 11 NCAA event video games.


Sean Miller misplaced the final NCAA event recreation he coached, an 89-68 loss, whereas Arizona to 13-seed Buffalo as a 9.5-point favourite in 2018. Miller’s third-seeded Musketeers are an 11.5-point favourite over Kennesaw State.

Chris “The Bear” Fallica has lined sports activities for almost three a long time. While school soccer has been his focus, he additionally enjoys the NFL, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, MLB, NHL and Horse Racing, with an “occasional” wager on such occasions. Chris lately received the inaugural Circa Football Invitational and completed within the Top 10 of the Golden Nugget Football Contest. He’s a multiple-time qualifier for the NHC Handicapping Championship. Remember, “The less you bet, the more you lose when you win!” Follow him on Twitter @chrisfallica.

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