It’s hard to complete an NCAA tournament draw without picking at least a 13 out of 4 upset, isn’t it?
That’s right at the sweet spot for choosing between brackets. It’s still risky, sure, but these upsets happen regularly enough that you don’t feel like you’re dating the thinnest of March branches. As you will see below, 13 surprises in the seeds are the foundation of our love for the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s a full breakdown of the 13v4 upset story in the NCAA Tournament, including the runs of the most memorable losers and the important numbers to know when completing your March Madness draw.
MORE: Ranking the Top 80 Surprises in March Madness History
Record of 13 seeds vs. 4 losses in the NCAA tournament
In the 40 years of the expanded NCAA Tournament category, the field skyrocketed to 64 teams for the 1985 edition, a 13th place has won at least one game in 26 different tournaments. In four years, several 13 seeds have won games: 1987 (Xavier and Missouri State), 2001 (Indiana State and Kent State), 2008 (Siena and San Diego) and 2018 (Buffalo and Marshall).
The surprises of 2008 were especially special, because they both happened on the same court in Tampa. In fact, that was a site / day unlike any other in NCAA Tournament history, because the other two winning teams that day in Tampa were also double-digit seeds: Western Kentucky, 12th seed, won with an overtime buzzer and 12th seed. Villanova rallied from an 18-point deficit to drop Clemson.
The first 13 out of 4 was also special. In that, 1985, the first year of the expanded tournament, future NBA superstar David Robinson and his Marine Cadets defeated No. 4 seed LSU, a 23-point victory that remains the largest margin of victory for any seed. 13.
And we have seen 13 seeds win in many ways. In 1989, Middle Tennessee lost 97 points to Florida State, and UNC Wilmington registered 93 against USC in 2002, winning an on-court meeting by four points. On the flip side, there’s the Princeton slowdown that baffled a very athletic UCLA team in a 43-41 loss in 1996.
And is it definitely worth mentioning? The timbre beater that is arguably the most famous first-round timbre beater in NCAA Tournament history came from a 13th place. You know, Bryce Drew de Valpo’s 3-pointer who gave his Crusaders a win by one point against Ole Miss.
|1985||Navy def. LSU||78-55|
|1987||State of Missouri def. Clemson||65-60|
|1987||Xavier def. Missouri||70-69|
|1988||Richmond def. Indiana||72-69|
|1989||Def. Middle Tennessee State of Florida||97-83|
|1991||Penn State def. UCLA||74-69|
|1992||Southwestern Louisiana def. Oklahoma||87-83|
|1993||Def. South Georgia Tech||93-78|
|nineteen ninety five||Manhattan def. Oklahoma||77-67|
|nineteen ninety six||Princeton def. UCLA||43-41|
|1998||Valparaíso def. Be miss||70-69|
|1999||Oklahoma def. Arizona||61-60|
|2001||State of Indiana def. Oklahoma||70-68|
|2001||Der Kent State. Indiana||77-73|
|2002||UNC Wilmington def. USC||93-89|
|2003||Tulsa def. Dayton||84-71|
|2005||Vermont def. Syracuse||60-57|
|2006||Bradley def. Kansas||77-73|
|2008||Siena def. Vanderbilt||83-62|
|2008||San Diego def. UConn||70-69|
|2009||Defeat of the state of Cleveland. Wake Forest||84-69|
|2010||Murray State def. Vanderbilt||66-65|
|2011||Morehead State def. Louisville||62-61|
|2012||Ohio def. Michigan||65-60|
|2013||La Salle def. State of kansas||63-61|
|2016||Hawaii def. California||77-66|
|2018||Buffalo def. Arizona||89-69|
|2018||Marshall def. Wichita State||81-75|
|2019||UC Irvine def. State of kansas||70-64|
MORE: The 14 Most Humiliating First Round Chokes in Big Dance History
13 seeds vs 4 seeds in numbers
- 29-111: Record of 13 seeds vs. No. 4 seeds
- 20.7 percent: Overall win percentage of 13 seeds since 1985
- 2. 3: Greater margin of victory for a 13th place; Marina over LSU (78-55)
- 1: The smallest margin of victory for a 13th place; six times, first by Xavier over Missouri (70-69)
- 6-2: Record for No. 13 seeds in games decided by one point
- two: Beater wins by 13 seeds: Murray State over Vanderbilt (2010), Valparaíso over Ole Miss (1998)
- 6: 13 seeds to win at least two games
Has a 13th seed ever won March Madness?
A 13 seed has never won the NCAA Tournament, and that probably never will. Six No. 13 seeded teams have advanced to the second weekend, but all six have failed at Sweet 16. Let’s take a look, shall we?
1988, Richmond. NCAA tournament addicts know that just a few years later, Richmond was the first No. 15 seed to win a game, defeating second seed Syracuse. It won’t surprise you that there was the same coach at the heart of both Richmond Cinderella teams, Dick Tarrant. In 1988, the Spiders defeated Indiana (the Hoosiers won the 1987 national title) in the first round and then defeated fifth-seeded Georgia Tech in the second round. However, the magic ended against Temple, the top favorite, as the Owls won by 22.
1998, Valparaíso. Bryce Drew, all of you. The play that was arguably the most beautifully orchestrated in NCAA Tournament history pushed Valpo past Ole Miss in Game 1, and then the Crusaders beat Florida State (a 12th place) in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16, where they succeeded fell to Rhode Island.
1999, Oklahoma. It’s incredibly rare to have a power conference school on the 13th line, but that’s where Oklahoma finished as an overall team with 20 wins. The Sooners dispatched Arizona and Charlotte before falling to Michigan state.
2006, Bradley. Imagine being a 13th seed in the Sweet 16 and not being the tournament favorite because an 11th seed (George Mason) makes the Final Four. Bradley defeated Kansas, a school that has been on the wrong side of upsets from time to time, and Pittsburgh before being handled with relative ease by No. 1 seed Memphis.
2012, Ohio. Michigan raced into the national title game behind Trey Burke in 2013, perhaps motivated by the memory of losing to Ohio in the first round in 2012. The Bobcats clawed their way over the Wolverines, then defeated their annoying teammate, No. 12 seeded South Florida, in the second round. At Sweet 16, Ohio came very close to making history, pushing No. 1 seed North Carolina into overtime before failing.
2013, LaSalle. The club explored brave new worlds, becoming the first 13th place to win three games in the NCAA Tournament. The first was a First Four contest. LaSalle beat Boise State for the right to play No. 4 seed Kansas State. The Explorers won that one by two points, then beat 12th seed Mississippi by two points to advance to Sweet 16, where they lost to Wichita State, a No. 9 seed that had just beaten No. 1 Gonzaga and would go all the way. to the Final Four.
MORE: March Madness Cinderella Players We Will Never Forget
Lowest seeded to win the NCAA Tournament
Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, we’ve seen five double-digit seeds reach the Final Four:
- 11 LSU seed in 1986
- 11th seed George Mason in 2006
- 11 VCU seed in 2011
- 10 Syracuse seed in 2016
- 11 Loyola Chicago seed in 2018
All four lost before reaching the title game. Only four teams seeded below the No. 3 line have won the national title: a 4 seed (Arizona in 1997), a 6 seed (Kansas in 1988), a seven seed (UConn in 2014) and an 8 seed (Villanova in 1985). No fifth seed has ever won. The history of Villanova is the stuff of legend; a courageous and methodical eighth seed who reached the title game by scoring a series of narrow victories (three by three points or less) and facing the mighty Georgetown Hoyas in the championship game.
Some consider it the biggest surprise in NCAA tournament history. But here’s the thing: it’s a great David and Goliath story, but Villanova was pretty good. In the 1985 and 1986 NBA Drafts, three starters from that 1985 team made the top 30 picks (Ed Pinckney with 10 and Dwayne McClain with 27 in 1985 and Harold Pressley with 17 in 1986; Gary McLain entered the seventh. round in 1985). . Note that Villanova had already played Georgetown HARD TWICE that year (losses by just two points and seven points) and, sorry, it’s no surprise in the top five of all time.
However, it is quite an interesting championship story.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.