Maybe the best thing to come out of the first full day of the NCAA tournament (except for fans of Louisville and Vanderbilt) was the assurance a double-digit seed will stick around until the second weekend.
Richmond, a No. 12 seed, and Morehead State, a No. 13 seed, advanced to meet in the second round. One of them will move on to San Antonio and the Southwest regional next week.
It’s the ninth time since the field expanded to 64 in 1985 that there is a 12-13 matchup in the second round. As for the rest of them? History isn’t always kind. The 12-13 winners are 0-8 in the round of 16, with all but one of the setbacks coming against a No. 1 seed.
As for the actual 12-13 games? The No. 12 seed is 7-1 in those contests.
1991: No. 12 Eastern Michigan 71, No. 13 Penn State 68 (OT)
The then-Hurons (Eastern Michigan switched its mascot to an eagle a few months later), led by coach Ben Braun, were promptly stomped 93-67 by top-seeded North Carolina in the round of 16.
1992: No. 12 New Mexico State 81, No. 13 SW Louisiana 73
The Aggies bowed out of the tournament a round later, falling to UCLA (the West regional’s No. 1 seed) 85-78.
1993: No. 12 George Washington 90, No. 13 Southern 80
The Colonials, led by Yinka Dare, toppled New Mexico and then Southern (which had stunned Georgia Tech) to reach their only Sweet 16. There, Mike Jarvis‘ first postseason team in Foggy Bottom was bounced with a 72-64 loss to the Fab Five from Michigan.
1998: No. 13 Valparaiso 83, No. 12 Florida State 77 (OT)
Everyone remembers the Bryce Drew buzzer-beater to upend Mississippi in the first round. But the Crusaders needed overtime to knock off the Seminoles in the round of 32, and they then gave eighth-seeded Rhode Island (a recipient of a standard issue 1990s Kansas postseason meltdowns) a game in the regional semifinals before falling 74-68.
2001: No. 12 Gonzaga 85, No. 13 Indiana State 68
Going against the grain of the typically close 12-13 games, the Zags upended fading Virginia in the first round before reaming the Sycamores two days later to make it to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season. However, the remnants of Michigan State’s Flintstones teams dusted the Bulldogs 77-62 in the regional semifinals.
2008: No. 12 Villanova 84, No. 13 Siena 72
The Wildcats were lackluster in the regular season, but got just the right draw (out-of-control Clemson in the first round) and had fourth-seeded Vanderbilt cleared out for them by rising Siena. ‘Nova went on to the Midwest regional and wasn’t even the darling underdog at the site; that honor belonged to Stephen Curry and Davidson. The Wildcats didn’t last much longer, falling by 15 to eventual national champ Kansas.
2008: No. 12 Western Kentucky 72, No. 13 San Diego 63
This game, like Villanova-Siena, was played in Tampa, Fla., putting it in contention for the honor of most upset-littered site in tournament history. The Hilltoppers needed a miracle shot merely to oust Drake in the first round, then dispatched San Diego before traveling west to absorb an 88-78 loss to eventual West regional winner UCLA.
2009: No. 12 Arizona 71, No. 13 Cleveland State 57
The Wildcats barely snuck into the field, but knocked off Utah in the first round. Meanwhile, Cleveland State hammered slumbering, fading Wake Forest in its opener to set up a second round game. The Wildcats bolted to a 28-14 lead and were never seriously threatened, but got thumped by Louisville 103-64 in the round of 16.
—- Patrick Stevens