Since the NCAA Tournament began, there have only been five times where a double-digit seed has advanced all the way to the Final Four.
Will that happen again this year? We’re just two tournaments removed from the last time it happened when Loyola-Chicago stunned the world. But this year’s field is stacked at the top, more so than in normal years. So unfortunately for those who love the Cinderella stories, this might not be your Big Dance.
Still, for those people who want to get real whacky with your brackets, or throw a couple of bucks down on a massive underdog, here are some double-digit seeds to consider picking to be one of the last teams standing.
No. 10 Rutgers
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are back in the Tournament for the first time in 35 years, and got a decent draw to make a longer-than-expected run. KenPom has them listed as a top-20 defense. The same metric also predicts that the State University of New Jersey-Piscataway will take down No. 7 Clemson in their opening-round matchup.
If that happens, they’ll get No. 2 Houston in the Round of 32. The Coogs have beaten just one top-25 team this season, and are coming out of a two-bid league without even winning the regular-season conference title. Houston is also known for playing very slow offensively, creating fewer possessions for themselves, which could be bad news if the Scarlet Knights defense plays up to its potential.
RU has also shown off the ability to win big games, coming out of the tough Big Ten. Throughout the season they’ve beaten five Tournament teams, including No. 1 seeded Illinois.
The only 10-seed to ever make the Final Four since the Tournament expanded was Syracuse back in 2016.
No. 12 Winthrop
The Winthrop Eagles have lost just one game all season. I don’t care they play in the Big South where they are the equivalent of what Gonzaga is to the WCC, that’s impressive. The Eagles got a favorable draw as well, taking on a weakened No. 5 Villanova in the opening round.
Villanova comes into the tournament on a two-game losing streak, having lost Collin Gillespie for the postseason after he tore his MCL earlier this month. If that injury forces an early exit for the Wildcats, then Winthrop will still have to get through Baylor to reach the Final Four. Still the Bears haven’t been the same since they were hit with a COVID-related pause, so who knows what could happen.
A 12-seed has never advanced to the Final Four before, so we could see history before our very eyes this season.