March Madness: Lowest Seed to win NCAA Tournament

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Lowest seed to win March Madness.

March Madness: Lowest Seed to Win NCAA Tournament


March Madness brings chaos each and every year. There are upsets galore and fans rooting for a Cinderella story. What about the lowest seed to make a title run? Here’s more about the lowest seed to win March Madness.

The Lowest Seed to Win the NCAA Tournament

Back in 1985, Villanova was able to win March Madness with a magical run. They started as a number 8 seed. The Wildcats beat Georgetown 66-64 in the championship game. The Hoyas were stunned in the title game and fell despite having All-American center Patrick Ewing. Villanova still stands as the lowest seed to be a National Champion.

Ironically, the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. It was only fitting for a lower seed to make the Final Four and end up beating the number 1 seed Georgetown. It was one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.

Lowest Seed to Reach the Final Four

Since the NCAA men’s basketball tournament field expanded to 64 teams, five 11-seeded teams have reached the Final Four. These include LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006, VCU in 2011, Loyola Chicago in 2018, and UCLA in 2021.

Each of these teams saw their magical college basketball run ended there. None were able to win and advance in the bracket to the title game. 

Lowest Seed to Make the Championship Game

The worst seed to ever reach the championship game is 8. As we said, number 8 Villanova won it all in 1985. The Butler Bulldogs reached the title game and lost to Connecticut in 2011. It’s hard to forget the incredible Big East and NCAA Tourney run that Kemba Walker had for UConn.

North Carolina lost to Kansas in 2022. However, it didn’t feel like a powerhouse program such as North Carolina was a massive underdog vs Kansas.

Most common Division I Men’s Basketball National Champion Seed

Apparently, seeding does matter. Top seeds have dominated the history of the tournament. Number 1 seeds have won 27 national championships. Number 2 seeds have won six while number 3 seeds have won five. It gets a ton of buzz in the first round, but a number five seed has never won a national title.

Since the field expanded, it seems crucial to be a top-three seed if you want to end up winning it all. A whopping 38 national champions have been a top-three seed. What about this season?

Lowest Seed to Win March Madness FAQs

What is the lowest seed to win the national championship?

Villanova won the national title back in 1985 as a number 8 seed. The Wildcats defeated top-seed Georgetown 66-64 to win the championship. It is still considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport.

What is the lowest seed to reach the national championship game?

There have been three number 8 seeds that have reached the national championship. Villanova in 1985, Butler in 2011, and North Carolina in 2022.

What is the lowest seed to ever reach the Final Four?

An 11 seed has made the Final Four a total of five times. Most recently, UCLA was able to make the Final Four in 2021.

Has a 16-seed ever made the Final Four?

No. A 16 seed has only made it out of the first round once. UMBC beat Virginia back in 2018.

Author: Sam Russell

Sam hails from Grandville, Michigan. He has a rich sports background, including playing baseball at Central Michigan before covering high school sports and working with the Orlando Magic. He earned his degree from Central Michigan University and was a member of the 2010 MAC Championship baseball team. Sam grew his knowledge of sports betting while working with Betsperts in various areas such as writing, social media, betting research, and business development. He's a big fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB, highly interested in data and statistics.