2022 NCAA Basketball Tournament: A Point Spread Review

by Al McMordie

The 2022 NCAA Basketball Tournament has certainly had a lot of surprises along the way.  But it wasn't as crazy as the 2021 Tourney, when there were a record-setting 16 wins by teams seeded 10 or worse (not including the "First Four" play-in round).  This tournament "only" had 13 wins by teams seeded 10 or worse.  But it did also have the historic journey of #15-seed Saint Peter's, which became the first team seeded 13 (or higher) to reach the Elite Eight round.  The 2021 event also had the most upsets (14) by a team seeded at least 5 spots worse than its opponent, but this tournament fell just shy of that mark with 12 such upsets.  But, like last year, when the final matched-up #1 seeds Baylor and Gonzaga, the cream eventually rose to the top this season, and we have three teams in the Final Four seeded #1 or #2.  Only #8 North Carolina is truly a dark horse.

Let's take a look at first four rounds of this tournament, from a point spread perspective.  We'll not include the First Four games in this analysis.

The most striking fact is that underdogs have done very well, as they've gone 33-26 ATS (with one game a PK).  Here is a breakdown by seeds:

#1 seeds:  9-3 SU, 3-9 ATS
#2 seeds: 9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS
#3 seeds: 6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS
#4 seeds: 8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS
#5 seeds: 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS
#6 seeds: 1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS
#7 seeds: 3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS
#8 seeds: 4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS
#9 seeds: 3-4 SU, 6-1 ATS
#10 seeds: 3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS
#11 seeds: 5-4 SU, 6-3 ATS
#12 seeds: 2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS
#13 seeds: 0-4 SU, 3-1 ATS
#14 seeds: 0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS
#15 seeds: 3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS
#16 seeds: 0-4 SU, 2-2 ATS

And here is a breakdown of point spread ranges:

Underdogs of +3.5 or less:  9-11 ATS
Underdogs +4 to +7.5:  10-6 ATS
Underdogs +8 to +11.5:  7-2 ATS
Underdogs of +12 or more:  7-7 ATS

Like last season, the games have tended to go under the total, as the unders are 34-26 through the first four rounds (35-29 if you include the "First Four games).

Let's take a look at some other point spread situations:

Teams that won their conference tournament (against foes that didn't win their conference tournament):  15-16 ATS
Teams off a straight-up loss (against foes not off a loss):  8-9 ATS
Teams off back-to-back losses (against foes not off back-to-back losses):  3-2 ATS
Teams off ATS loss (against foes not off an ATS loss):  13-17 ATS
Teams off back-to-back-ATS losses (against foes not off back-to-back ATS losses):  12-12 ATS
Teams off back-to-back ATS wins (against foes not off back-to-back ATS wins):  19-13 ATS
Teams off 3 SU/ATS wins (against foes not off 3 SU/ATS wins):  13-9 ATS
Teams off an upset win (against foes not off an upset win):  11-10 ATS
Teams off an upset loss (against foes not off an upset loss):  6-8 ATS
Teams off a double-digit win (against foes not off a double-digit win):  13-10 ATS
Teams playing with revenge:  3-1 ATS

Good luck, as always...
Al McMordie

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