Lowest seeds to win March Madness, make Final Four, Elite Eight and Sweet 16


March Madness is known for many things, but perhaps the Cinderella stories of double-digit seeds advancing, and unexpected upsets are one of the sweetest things about March. Let’s dive into college basketball’s NCAA Tournament history and relive some of the most magical March runs.

Lowest Seeds to win March Madness

The lowest seed to win the NCAA Championship is Villanova. In the 1985 NCAA Tournament, Villanova was a No. 8 seed and defeated the one-seeded Georgetown Hoyas 66-64.

Three other eight seeds have made the title game, but failed to bring home the trophy:

Lowest Seeds to make Final Four

11 is the lowest seed to make the Final Four. With this year’s NC State run, it has now happened six times:

In addition to these No. 11 seeds, No. 10 Syracuse made a run to the Final Four in 2016.

Lowest Seeds to make the Elite Eight

The 15th seeded Saint Peter’s team of 2022 is the lowest seed to make the Elite Eight. The Peacocks started their Cinderella run by knocking off No. 2 Kentucky. They then defeated No. 7 Murray State and No. 3 Purdue before eventually falling to No. 8 North Carolina in the Elite Eight.

Lowest Seeds to make Sweet 16

Including Saint Peter’s, four No. 15 seeds have made it to the Sweet 16:

  • Florida Gulf Coast (2013)
  • Oral Roberts (2021)
  • Saint Peter’s (2022)
  • Princeton (2023)

Lowest Seeds to make Second Round (Round of 32)

Two times the lowest possible seed (16) in the NCAA Tournament has upset the No. 1 seed. In 2018, the No. 16 seed in the South region, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) took down the No. 1 overall seed Virginia (74-54), becoming the first 16th-seeded team to beat a No. 1 seed.

In 2023, Fairleigh Dickinson upset the No. 1 seed in the East region, Purdue (63-58).



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