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History of 3 vs. 14 seeds in the NCAA Tournament

We go over how often the 14-seed has upset the 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) shoots the basketball against Saint Mary’s Gaels forward Kyle Bowen (14) during the first half in the finals of the WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting a No. 14 seed to upset the No. 3 seed isn’t a very popular suggestion when the NCAA Tournament bracket is released, but they do happen. If you’re considering siding with a 14 seed this year, here’s a look at the history of this matchup.

History of 3 vs. 14 seed matchup in NCAA Tournament

The No. 14 seed has beaten a No. 3 seed 22 times since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985 for a 15.3 winning percentage. At least one No. 14 seed beat a No. 3 seed in more than half of the NCAA Tournaments since it expanded. That happened in 19 of the last 36 tournaments, and the only two programs to advance past the second round include Cleveland State in 1986 and Chattanooga in 1997.

The most recent 14-over-3 upset came in 2021 when the Texas Longhorns fell short against Abilene Christian 53-52.

Here are the 3-14 matchups in the 2023 NCAA Tournament:

West: No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon
South: No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 UC Santa Barbara
East: No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 14 Montana State
Midwest: No. 3 Xavier vs. No. 14 Kennesaw State

The 3-seeds are a nice blend of teams this year. Gonzaga and Baylor have both been top seeds in years past, with Kansas State and Xavier both experiencing some first-round success. The Wildcats have a tough matchup in the first round as they are 8.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, the closest line of any of these matchups.