NCAA Tournament victory by the lowest seed

North Carolina is hardly a fairy tale in the traditional sense, but it has overcome significant obstacles en route to the national title. UNC entered the NCAA Tournament as the eighth seed in the East region and defeated No. 9 Marquette, No. 1 Baylor, No. 4 UCLA, No. 15 Saint Peter’s, and No. 2 Duke in the West region to advance to the national championship for the 12th time in program history.

Since the tournament’s expansion to 64 participants in 1985, the Tar Heels have never advanced to the championship game as a seed other than the top seed. They won championships in 1993, 2005, 2009, and 2017, but were eliminated in 2016 despite entering the field as one of the top four overall teams.

The Blue Blood program now has a chance to create history as an underdog if it can finish its incredible journey to the championship. UNC would join an elite club if it won the event after being seeded eighth. Only one team has ever won the national title with a No. 8 seed: No. 8 Villanova in 1985, when the Wildcats won the first-ever tournament with 64 teams.

Villanova’s tournament began with a victory over No. 9 Dayton in the Southeast region, followed by a surprising victory against No. 1 Michigan in the second round. It subsequently upset fifth-seeded Maryland in the Sweet 16 and second-seeded North Carolina in the Elite Eight. The Wildcats defeated No. 2 Memphis State in the Final Four to earn a rematch with defending national champion and East champion Georgetown.

A 11 seed has reached the Final Four five times – LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), VCU (2011), Loyola Chicago (2018), and UCLA (2018). (2021). Only two other No. 8 seeds have advanced to the national championship game. After Villanova, the next team was No. 8 Butler in 2011, when the Bulldogs were defeated by No. 3 Connecticut. The next year, No. 8 Kentucky fell in the championship game against No. 7 Connecticut.



Written by Eren Kilic

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