The No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels are down just three points at halftime in the 2022 Final Four to Duke, and have 20 minutes to become the fourth team in history to go from the No. 8 slot to the national championship game.
The only three 8-seeds to make a run all the way to the final game of the year in college basketball have a mixed history, but one pulled off perhaps the most famous upset in the history of the NCAA Tournament on the way to immortality
In 1985 No. 8 Villanova was one of three Big East teams in the Final Four. And their 66-64 win over No. 1 Georgetown is etched in memory forever. The Wildcats were 22-28 from the field, including 9-10 in the second half, to do the impossible. The eight-point favorite Hoyas failed to repeat as national champions, and Patrick Ewing was then off to the NBA.
In 2011 the Butler Bulldogs came off a season where they were a half-court shot from being national champions vs. Duke, and got right back to the title game again as a No. 8. They fell 53-41 to No. 3 UConn in the title game despite leading 22-19 at halftime, but Kemba Walker stopped the dream of Cinderella.
And in 2014 the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats had to make a late charge just to get in the tournament in the first place. But the Harrison brothers (Aaron and Andrew) combined with Julius Randle to win a series of exciting endings to reach the title game. But the fell to the UConn Huskies 60-54 in the title to Shabazz Napier and, again, the UConn Huskies. It would be the first and last title for Kevin Ollie as the head man in Storrs, while it’s the closest Kentucky has been since.