The 2020-21 college basketball season was atypical for a number of reasons, the main of which was the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, one of the other reasons the year was abnormal was the fighting of some of the typical blue blood teams.
Both Duke and Kentucky missed the NCAA Tournament, and several other traditional powerhouses just sneaked into the bubble. That list includes countries like UNC, Michigan State, and Syracuse.
UNC is going to be a No. 8 seed after a strong finish in the ACC Tournament helped them pass other tournament hopefuls to reach Indiana. Syracuse was in a similar situation, although they did not go as far in the ACC Tournament as UNC did and lost to Virginia. They record as an 11th seed, and it marks the third time in the team’s last four appearances that Syracuse will be seeded in the double digits. Meanwhile, Michigan State is an 11th seed and will play in the First Four for the first time in school history.
Of course, these shows are notable in that they feature three of the best college basketball coaches of all time. Roy Williams, Tom Izzo and Jim Boeheim are the three most successful coaches on the March Madness field this year, so their teams always have the opportunity to surprise and gain momentum.
How have the coaches fared historically in the first round? And how have the lower-seeded teams fared in the past? Here are the answers you need as you seek to complete your March 2021 madness hiatus.
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NCAA tournament record of Roy Williams in round 1
For 18 years, Roy Williams has been the head coach of the UNC. In 15 of those seasons, the Tar Heels have made it to the NCAA Tournament. Williams’ record in March Madness is fantastic. Between his time at UNC and Kansas, he has registered 77 victories, the second most in NCAA history, and has won three national championships, all at UNC.
However, that’s not the most incredible thing about Williams. What is it? How about the fact that in 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, he has never lost a game in the first round? Without fail, their teams have always reached at least the second round of March Madness. At North Carolina, he has posted a 15-0 record in Round 1 and has won opening round games while ranked 1-4, as a sixth-place seed and also as an eighth-seeded. place.
How UNC has fared as a lower ranked seed
So Williams has been great to win in the first round. But how have you fared as a lower ranked seed? Well, his Tar Heels have only come into the tournament as a non-top four seed three times, twice as a No. 6 seed and once as a No. 8 seed, so that’s a small sample size. In each of those appearances, UNC won in the first round but lost in the second round.
It’s probably safe to expect No. 8 UNC to beat No. 9 Wisconsin, a team that has lost nine of its last 14 games, in Round 1, given Williams’ excellent Round of 64 record. history indicates that it shouldn’t ‘I hope the Tar Heels get into this tournament, especially with a possible second-round showdown with Baylor looming. When Williams teams aren’t top of the crop, they just struggle to deliver in March.
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Tom Izzo’s NCAA tournament record in round 1
Izzo has been Michigan State’s head coach since 1998 and has led the Spartans to 23 NCAA Tournament appearances. In his previous 22 years as head coach, Izzo has led the team to a 17-5 record in the first round.
Overall, Izzo has recorded 52 March Madness victories with two national championship victories. He ranks fourth among active coaches in NCAA tournament wins behind Mike Krzyzewski, Williams and Jim Boeheim.
How the state of Michigan has fared as a lower ranked seed
The Spartans have had much more variability in their standings with Izzo than the Tar Heels have with Williams. Michigan State has been seeded from No. 1 to No. 10 during Izzo’s time there. The only exception is that they have somehow never been the No. 8 seed under his supervision.
Unlike Williams, the seeding has not been as important for the Izzo Spartans. On seven occasions, he has been seeded No. 7 or worse in the tournament. Despite that, they are 4-3 in opening round games during those seasons. And when Izzo has helped propel his team to victory, they’ve had some long runs in the past.
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Izzo may not be as confident in winning Michigan State’s first-round matchup as Williams will be in winning North Carolina, especially since Michigan State is playing in the First Four, but the fact remains that if the Spartans win early, they can heat up. They are only slight favorites over UCLA in the 11th seed play-in game, but if they can win that game, they should have a good chance of defeating BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but don’t sleep with the Spartans. Just because their seed is in the double digits doesn’t mean they can’t pull off a win.
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Jim Boeheim’s NCAA tournament record in round 1
If you think Williams and Izzo have been around for a long time, just take a look at Boeheim’s history. He has been with Syracuse since 1976 and has posted a 70.7 winning percentage during that time. And during the NCAA Tournament, it has also been solid.
Boeheim has posted a 23-5 record in the first round of the tournament dating back to the tournament’s expansion to 64 teams in 1985. Like Izzo, his Orange team has been seeded in a variety of different numbers ranging from seeded No. 1 through No. 11. The only seed in that range that Syracuse hasn’t been? No. 9.
How Syracuse fared as a lower ranked seed
The 2021 March Madness Tournament marks the third time Syracuse has been a double-digit seed. The previous two occasions came in 2016 and 2018.
In ’16, Boeheim led the Orange in a dream run to the Final Four as the 10th seed. They beat the seventh-seeded Dayton Flyers before facing two double-digit seeds, Middle Tennessee State and Gonzaga. They capped their run to the Final Four with a victory over Virginia before losing to UNC in the Final Four.
In ’18, Syracuse was part of the First Four, but beat Arizona State to jump-start their career. They defeated No. 6 seed TCU Horned Frogs and defeated No. 3 seed Michigan State before losing to Duke on the Sweet 16.
Those success stories bode well for Syracuse to win a big upset against San Diego State. It just goes to show that Boeheim teams are tough to play no matter where they’re seeded, so the Aztecs vs Orange game could end up being one of the most exciting in Round 1.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.