March Madness: The History of #1 vs. #16 Seeds in the NCAA Tournament

With all the parity that has happened in college basketball this season, the argument has been brought up if this could finally be the year a 16-seed beats a one seed. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, sixteen seeds have a combined record of 0-112 in the first round. Here are the 16 of the closest calls a top seed has ever had against a 16-seed.

1985: Michigan beats Fairleigh Dickinson, 59-55

1986: Duke beats Mississippi Valley State, 85-78

1986: St. Johns beats Montana State, 83-74

1989: Georgetown beats Princeton, 50-49

1989: Oklahoma beats East Tennessee State , 72-71

1989: Illinois beats McNeese State, 77-71

1990: Michigan State beats Murray State, 71-51 in overtime

1990: Oklahoma beats Towson, 77-68

1991: Ohio State beats Towson, 97-86

1996: Purdue beats Western Carolina, 73-71

1996: UConn beats Colgate, 68-59

1997: North Carolina beats Fairfield, 82-74

2002: Kansas beats Holy Cross, 70-59

2006: UConn beats Albany, 72-59 (trailed 50-38 with 11:33 left in regulation)

2009: Pittsburgh beats East Tennessee State, 72-62

2012: Syracuse beats UNC-Asheville, 72-65

*A 16-seed has never won a game in the men’s tournament, but sixteenth-seeded Harvard beat top-seeded Stanford in the 1998 women’s tournament.


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