March Madness Elite Eight

march madness elite eight

Most sports and sporting events have specialized lingo, and the NCAA Tournament is no exception. Often called March Madness, the college basketball tournament consists of rounds with unique names, one of which is the Elite Eight. Keep reading below to find out how the Elite Eight works.

What Is the Elite Eight in Basketball?

The Elite Eight is the championship round for each region within NCAA Division I basketball. At the start of March Madness, there are 16 teams in each region, and the last two teams left standing in each region form the Elite Eight.

How Many Games Are in the Elite Eight?

There are four games in the Elite Eight stage, and the Elite Eight is the fourth round of the NCAA Tournament. To make the Elite Eight, a team must survive three rounds: the Round of 64, the Round of 32, and the Sweet 16. This means that each team in the Elite Eight is currently 3-0 in the tournament heading into their games. (A team could be 4-0 after winning a play-in game, but that has not happened in tournament history.)

The winners of the Elite Eight matchups advance to the Final Four. Making the Final Four is a huge deal to colleges, but making it to that point in the tournament is not possible without a victory in the Elite Eight first.

Elite Eight Seeds

On average, three number 1 seeds make the Elite Eight each year. There are only four number 1 seeds each year, and typically only a single number 1 seed gets eliminated before the Elite Eight. This goes to show the extreme dominance top seeds tend to carry in the tournament year after year.


What was the lowest-seeded team to make the Elite Eight?

The lowest seed to ever make it to the Elite Eight was a 15 seed. In 2022, Saint Peter's made it to the Elite Eight after starting the tournament seeded 15th.