These things are a given: Death, taxes and a No. 12 seed beating a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. Usually more than one.
Using The Post’s mega-handy NCAA tournament database, we can see that the last time the four No. 5 seeds went 4-0 in the tournament’s first round was 2007 (a true aberration: they won by an average of 16.3 points). Since then, being a No. 5 seed has been something of a hex.
In 2008, there were two 12-5 upsets. The next year, there were three. And over the past three tournaments, No. 12 seeds have gone 8-4 against No. 5 seeds, with six of them pulling off upsets in 2013 and 2014 combined.
So which No. 12 seeds have the best shot at pulling off the upset this season? Let’s take a look at the contenders.
No. 12 Buffalo vs. No. 5 West Virginia (TNT)
2:10 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio
Buffalo RPI/BPI/KenPom rankings: 28/55/54.
Coached by former Duke star Bobby Hurley, the Bulls (23-9) are in the NCAA tournament for the first time after winning the Mid-American Conference tournament. Junior forward Justin Moss, who had a defibrillator implanted in his chest to correct a potentially serious heart condition in 2011, was named the MAC player of the year after averaging 18.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game — both conference highs — during the regular season. However, Moss was hobbled by an ankle injury during the MAC tournament and his stats suffered. Buffalo likely will need Moss at full strength to have a shot.
No. 12 Wofford vs. No. 5 Arkansas
9:50 p.m. Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. (TNT)
Wofford RPI/BPI/KenPom rankings: 47/92/90.
The Southern Conference champion Terriers (28-6) are making their fourth NCAA tournament appearance in six seasons and have ascended to their highest seeding ever. But here’s why you might want to think twice before picking Wofford to beat Arkansas, which advanced to the SEC title game: According to stats guru Ken Pomeroy, the Terriers were the luckiest team in the country this season. In other words, their record far outpaced what it should have been, based on their statistics. Will the bounces continue to go their way?
No. 12 Wyoming vs. No. 5 Northern Iowa
1:40 p.m. Friday in Seattle (TBS)
Wyoming RPI/BPI/KenPom rankings: 71/102/102.
The lowest-rated No. 12 seed by just about every metric, the Cowboys (25-9) upset Boise State and San Diego State on their way to the Mountain West tournament title and first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002. The Cowboys also were a lucky team in Pomeroy’s eyes, ranking 21st nationally in his luck ratings. Wyoming slumped at the end of the regular season, losing five of its final eight regular season games as leading scorer and rebounder Larry Nance Jr. missed time because of mononucleosis. But he recovered enough to make the Mountain West all-tournament team, while junior guard Josh Adams was named the tournament MVP after averaging 18.7 points over three games.
No. 12 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 5 Utah
7:27 p.m. Thursday in Portland, Ore. (truTV)
S.F. Austin RPI/BPI/KenPom rankings: 33/53/35.
The Lumberjacks (29-4) certainly can score: They average 113 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 19th nationally, and 1.16 points per each possession, which ranks ninth nationally. S.F. Austin also leads the country with 17.8 assists per game, and seven Lumberjacks average at least 1.4 assists per game. The one thing that could hurt S.F. Austin is a lack of experience against top teams: The Lumberjacks’ strength of schedule ranked 269th in the nation, according to Pomeroy, with their best nonconference win coming against a Memphis team that missed the postseason entirely for the first time since 2000. However, they did play Northern Iowa — a No. 5 seed in the East Region — close in November, losing by only two points in overtime. Plus, they upset VCU in the first round last season. Yes, they were a No. 12 seed.
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