What Are The Lowest Seeds To Ever Win March Madness?
March Madness is one of the most exciting tournaments in sports. From buzzer-beaters to highlight dunks, collegiate athletes put on a show each year. However, major upsets are by far the most entertaining aspect of March Madness. Whether it’s a 15-seed taking down a daunting two-seed or an even smaller underdog pulling off a big win, we see unexpected teams make deep runs every year. Sometimes, these lower seeds make it all the way and establish themselves in the history books. Read on below to learn about the lowest seeds ever to win an NCAA championship.
No. 4 Arizona defeats No. 1 Kentucky, 1997
The 1997 Arizona team is the only four seed ever to win an NCAA championship, and they did it over top-seeded Kentucky. Though a number four-seed winning it all may not seem like a huge upset, the odds of it happening are extremely rare. Arizona was led by future NBA stars Mike Bibby and Jason Terry and was coached by the legendary Lute Olson. The game was back-and-forth the whole way, and the two teams were so evenly matched that they were forced to go to overtime. In the end, Arizona guard Miles Simon led the team with 30 points, and one group of Wildcats took down another.
No. 6 Kansas defeats No. 1 Oklahoma, 1988
Though many college basketball fans recognize Kansas as one of the premier schools in the nation, they have not always been highly-seeded in March Madness. The 1988 Jayhawks were led by senior big man Danny Manning, who had been named Big Eight Player of the Year for three straight seasons. The matchup started off as an offensive battle, with a score of 50-50 at halftime. However, the scoring slowed down quite a bit in the second half, with a final score of 83-79. This Kansas team holds the record for most regular-season losses by an eventual NCAA champion, with 11.
No. 7 UConn defeats No. 8 Kentucky, 2014
In 2014 we saw the lowest-seeded matchup in NCAA championship history when number seven UConn took on number eight Kentucky. The game featured a number of future NBA players, including Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel, and Shabazz Napier. UConn got off to a hot start, taking a 15-point lead in the first half. Kentucky was able to battle back and keep the game close throughout the second half, but at the end of the game, the Huskies were able to pull away. Although this was not technically an upset as Kentucky was the lower seed, it is still remarkable that a seven seed won, and it represents the second-lowest seed to ever win an NCAA championship.
No. 8 Villanova defeats No. 1 Georgetown, 1985
The biggest upset to ever happen in a March Madness title game actually came in the first year that the field expanded to 64 teams. The year before, the bracket only had 53 teams, but in the first year of modern March Madness, we saw an eight seed go all the way. Though Villanova had multiple future NBA players such as Ed Pinckney and Harold Pressley, no one on their roster lived up to the status of Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing. The Hoyas were heavily-favored coming into the game but ended up losing by two points, considered by many analysts to be the biggest upset in NCAA championship history.