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NCAA

What’s the lowest seed to win March Madness?

When it comes to March Madness, the seeding is usually a good way to predict the season’s champion. But in rare occasions, the underdog is able to prevail.

Update:
When it comes to March Madness, the seeding is usually a good way to predict the season’s champion. But in rare occasions, the underdog is able to prevail.
Kevin JairajUSA TODAY Sports

March Madness is in full swing, with the original 68 teams slowly being whittled down as each playing day passes. A team’s seeding is usually a good indicator of whether they will advance to the next round. After all, top seeds are at the top for a reason.

Of course, upsets are still possible, as proven by the 12th-seeded Richmond Spiders’ win on Thursday over the fifth-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes.

History favors the strong

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Historically, the number one seeds have the biggest chance of winning the NCAA championship. Since 1985, which is when the tournament expanded to include 64 teams, 23 top seeds became national champions out of 36 seasons. That means they win almost 64% of the time.

Number two seeds have bagged the championship five times (13.9% of total games), while number three seeds have clinched four (11.1%).

Beyond the top three, lower seeds have not had much success. There has only been one championship each from fourth, sixth, and seventh seeds (2% success rate per level).

The lowest seed to win March Madness

This brings us to the lowest seed ever to win March Madness, and this squad achieved the feat in the first year of the expanded 64-team field. Under the leadership of coach Rollie Massimino, the eighth-seeded Villanova Wildcats defeated top-seeded and defending champion Georgetown Hoyas in the championship game.

This game is considered one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history. The Wildcats were able to beat the Hoyas by sinking an impressive 78.6% of their shots. They had a near-perfect second half where they only missed one of their throws.

Thanks to Villanova’s extraordinary shooting performance, they have set two important records- one for being the lowest overall seed in the history of March Madness to win the championship, and the best team shooting percentage for a single game in an NCAA tournament.

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