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NCAA

Has a No. 16 seed ever won March Madness?

The teams for March Madness have been selected and the race to the Final Four is about to begin. Have 16th-seeded teams ever been able to pull an upset and win the tournament?

Update:
The teams for March Madness have been selected and the race to the Final Four is about to begin. Have 16th-seeded teams ever been able to pull an upset and win the tournament?
Brian Spurlock

March Madness is on and 68 teams are ready to begin the race to the Final Four. All the squads are seeded, and those who are ranked the lowest have an uphill climb ahead of them. The tournament is not a place for the weak, and the lowest seeds have little to no chance of reaching the championship game.

In the opening round of the tournament known as the First Four, the worst four automatic qualifiers go against the worst four at-large bids. The losers are kicked out, leaving only 64 teams to compete.

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The weak vs. the strong

These teams will be divided into four different regions with 16 each, and these teams will be ranked one through 16. Because of the way the tournament is structured, those with poor performances in the regular season are tipped to get eliminated early on.

The first round pits the top seed with 16th seed, so those ranked last usually are out of the competition quickly, defeated by the strongest in their division. Because they immediately come up against top-ranked squads, only one team that was seeded 16th in NCAA history has made it past this round.

Biggest upset in March Madness history

No. 16 UMBC famously trounced top-seeded Virginia 74-54 in 2018, and that has been the ONLY time a No. 16 team ever beat the top seed in March Madness. UMBC however went on to lose in the second round, so the hopes of a bottom dweller winning the championship were dashed.

The NCAA tournament has traditionally been won by top seeds. In fact, a number one seed has won 23 out of the 36 tournaments since the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams in 1984.

The lowest seed to ever clinch the championship was seed number eight Villanova Wildcats, who edged out the top-seeded Georgetown Hoyas 66-64 in 1985.

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