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NCAA Tournament: History of No. 12 seeds vs. No. 5 means Oklahoma must beware

OKLAHOMA vs. NORTH DAKOTA STATE — Three No. 12 seeds have pulled off first-round upset in each of the last three years. The Sooners face No. 12 NDSU, and a troubling trend, on Thursday.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 19, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash. — Since 1985, when the NCAA Tournament expanded to a 64-team bracket, only three times has one of the 12-seeds failed to upset a five-seed. Three times in the last 12 years, three No. 12 seeds have won, including last season, when Oregon upset Oklahoma State, California upset Nevada-Las Vegas and Ole Miss upset Wisconsin.

Over the 29 years of a full bracket, No. 12 seeds are 41-75 against No. 5 seeds. Over the last 12 years, No. 12 seeds are 21-27. So the fifth-seeded Sooners should beware North Dakota State.

“We’ve got to keep it a little more simple than that,” said North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips. “Those are random numbers drawn but doesn’t help when going against a team like Oklahoma. Our guys feel they can play with anyone. They’ve gone to some hostile environments and presented themselves pretty well. Their confidence is not a problem.”

The other 5-12 matchups are No. 5 Saint Louis vs. North Carolina State in the Midwest Regional, No. 5 Cincinnati vs. Harvard in the East Regional and No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth vs. Stephen F. Austin in the South Regional.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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