As we get deep into March Madness 2023, it’s probably wise to point out that while underdog teams often make deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, they don’t actually win it very often.
It often takes top-tier talent to navigate the minefield that is winning six games three weeks against some of the other best teams in college basketball. And since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 33 of 37 champions have been a No. 3 seed or better. And of those, 24 entered as one of the four No. 1 seeds.
And 1985, that first year of expansion to 64 teams for March Madness, was also the same year the highest-seeded team ever cut down the nets.
NCAA Tournament history: Worst seed to win championship
The 1985 Villanova Wildcats came into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed. They were one of three Big East teams in a loaded Final Four. It was also the last NCAA Tournament without a shot clock, and the ‘Cats 66-64 win over No. 1 Georgetown in the national championship is one of the most famous games in the history of the sport.
VU went 22-28 from the field, including 9-10 in the second half, to do the impossible. The eight-point favorite Hoyas did not to repeat as national champions, and superstar center Patrick Ewing headed to the NBA Draft.
As far as reaching the Final Four, five teams seeded in the double digits have made it to the end of that road: Four teams seeded No. 11, including LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), VCU (2011), and Loyola Chicago (2018). Syracuse also got there in 2016 as a No. 10 seed.