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History of 8 vs. 9 seeds in the NCAA Tournament

We go over how often the 9-seed has upset the 8-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

West Virginia Mountaineers guard Seth Wilson (14) looks to pass during the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks at T-Mobile Center. William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The 8 vs. 9 seed matchup in the NCAA Tournament is usually one of the more competitive clashes in the first round. The winner then moves on to face the No. 1 seed of the region, at least most of the time. So which side usually prevails in this battle of the 8 vs. 9 seed? We’ll break down the history below.

History of 8 vs. 9 seed matchup in NCAA Tournament

As expected, this matchup has the closest head-to-head record of the first round. Since 1985, the 9-seed has the upper-hand with a 76-72 record over the 8 seed.

In the last four tournaments, the 9-seed has gone 11-5 in this matchup, which represents the disparity in that overall record. In last year’s tournament, the 9-seeds went 3-1 in the first round. The lone 8-seed to advance was North Carolina, which made it all the way to the National Championship game before losing to Kansas.

2023 8 vs. 9 matchups

West: No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Illinois
South: No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 West Virginia
East: No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic
Midwest: No. 8 Iowa vs. No. 9 Auburn

It kind of stinks that the winner of these close matchups likely has to contend with a No. 1 seed barring some crazy upset. Still, anything can happen in March. These matchups are split with two 8-seeds and two 9-seeds being favored. Arkansas and Memphis are both three-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. Auburn is +1 in a close game, while West Virginia is a 2.5-point favorite over Maryland.