With No. 15 seed Princeton punching their ticket to the sweet sixteen and national semifinal, it got us thinking. What is the furthest a 15-seed has advanced? Has a double-digit seed ever won a national title? Well, here are the answers to those questions.
Since 1979, the NCAA Tournament committee has assigned each team a number in an effort to create a fair tournament. The seeding system aims to give the No. 1 seeds a smoother path to the Final Four, recognizing their exceptional performance during the regular season. While no route to the Final Four can be deemed easy, it’s worth noting that only three years (1980, 2006, 2011) saw a No. 1 seed fail to make the Final Four since the introduction of the seeding system. This highlights the significance of securing a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lowest-Seeded Team To Reach The Final Four:
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, no team seeded lower than 11 has managed to reach the Final Four. It’s worth noting, however, that teams seeded 11th have defied the odds on five occasions, and have made it all the way to the Final Four.
- #11 LSU (1986)
- No.11 George Mason (2006)
- No.11 VCU (2011)
- No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (2018)
- #11 UCLA (2020)
Furthest Each Seed Has Advanced in The History Of March Madness
In 2018, the University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC Retrievers) made history by becoming the first No. 16 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history, shocking Virginia in one of the biggest upsets ever. However, UMBC’s Cinderella story came to an end in the second round with a loss to No. 9 seed Kansas State. Just yesterday, Farleigh Dickinson become the second-ever 16-seed to upset a No. 1 when they defeated Purdue 63-58. FDU has a chance to make history tomorrow as they compete to be the first 16-seed in history to win two games in an NCAA Tournament when they face off against Florida Atlantic University.
No. 15 Seed
In 2022, Saint Peter’s achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the first and only No. 15 seed to reach the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. After a historic run, they were bounced by North Carolina 69-49.
No. 14 Seed
Since the inception of the seeding system in 1979, only two No. 14 seeds have managed to advance to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Chattanooga achieved the feat in 1997, while Cleveland State accomplished it in 1986.
No. 13 Seed
In NCAA Tournament history, six No. 13 seeds have defied the odds and advanced to the Sweet 16. The most recent of these Cinderella runs was achieved by LaSalle in 2013 when they made a thrilling underdog run to the regional semifinals.
No. 12 Seed
This one is a bit surprising. With all the No. 12 over No. 5 upsets we see, only the 2002 Missouri Tigers have advanced as far as the Elite 8.
No. 11 Seed
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, five No. 11 seeds have defied the odds and made it to the Final Four, a remarkable achievement for these lower-ranked teams. UCLA achieved this feat most recently in 2021, while Loyola-Chicago (2018), VCU (2011), and George Mason (2006) all made the historic run as a No. 11 seed. LSU was the first No.11 seed to make the improbable run to the Final Four in 1986.
No. 10 Seeds
The Syracuse Orange made history in 2016 by becoming the first No. 10 seed to advance all the way to the Final Four in NCAA Tournament history. In addition to Syracuse, a total of eight No. 10 seeds have made it to the Elite 8 over the years.
No. 9 Seed
In NCAA Tournament history, only one No. 9 seed has managed to reach the Final Four, and that team was the Wichita State Shockers in 2013.
No. 8 Seed
No. 8 seeds have actually made it to the National Championship game on four occasions in NCAA Tournament history, with North Carolina achieving this feat most recently in 2022. However, only one No. 8 seed has managed to win the championship, and that team was Villanova in 1985.
No. 7 Seed
In 2014, the UConn Huskies made history as the first No. 7 seed to reach the National Championship game in NCAA Tournament history. The Huskies were the higher seed in the National Title game against the No. 8 Seed Kentucky Wildcats. The Huskies represented 7-seeds well and grabbed the first and only National Title won by a 7-seed.
No. 6 Seed
Two teams in NCAA Tournament history have defied the odds and reached the National Championship game as a 6-seed. However, only one No. 6 seed managed to win it all, and that team was the Kansas Jayhawks in 1988.
No. 5 Seed
A No. 5 seed has yet to win an NCAA Tournament title, making them the only top 7-seed to not have a championship victory. However, they have come close, finishing as runner-up three times in tournament history.
No. 4 Seed
No. 4 seeds have had three teams reach the National Championship game. However, of those three teams, only one was able to come out on top and claim the title. That team was the Arizona Wildcats, who won it all in 1997, marking the only championship victory by a No. 4 seed in tournament history.
No. 3 Seed
No. 3 seeds have a relatively strong track record in the NCAA Tournament, with ten teams managing to reach the championship game. However, their championship success rate is somewhat less impressive, with only four of those ten teams going on to win it all. The most recent No. 3 seed to reach the title game was Texas Tech in 2019, where they fell to Virginia. The last No. 3 seed to win the championship was the Connecticut Huskies, who claimed the title in 2011.
No. 2 Seed
It’s not so surprising that No. 2 seeds have been a consistent presence in the NCAA Tournament’s championship game, reaching it a total of 13 times since the tournament expanded in 1985. However, their success rate in those games is not quite as impressive, with only five out of the 13 managing teams to win it all. The most recent No. 2 seed to claim the championship was Villanova, who achieved the feat in 2016.
No. 1 Seeds
it should come as no surprise that No. 1 seeds have been the most dominant in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, a No. 1 seed has made it to the championship game in 29 of the past 37 seasons. Even more impressive, 24 of those top seeds have gone on to win the title, boasting a championship success rate of over 60%. The latest team to join this elite group of champions was Kansas, who took home the trophy as a No. 1 seed in 2022.