March Madness: Getting to know the No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament
The 1989 NCAA tournament was a special one for the 11 seeds. That year, every 11 seed won against the 6 seed, by an average of 5.75 points.
Minnesota got the ball rolling on March 16, beating Kansas State, 86-75, behind 29 points from Willie Burton. One day later, Evansville, South Alabama and Texas all beat their opponents.
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South Alabama had the toughest time with its upset bid, beating in-state rival Alabama, 86-84, on a last-second shot by Jeff Hodge with two seconds in the game.
Despite the six-seed difference, 11 seeds have won 43 out of 124 match-ups, or 34.68 percent of the time, with an average margin of only 3.4 points. Even still, 17 made it to the Sweet 16, and three of those advanced all the way to the Final Four. More 11 seeds made the Final Four than the 10 seeds, 9 seeds, 7 seeds and 6 seeds.
LSU, George Mason and VCU all made history as the lowest seeds to ever make the Final Four and all won by considerable margins against their first-round match-ups.
|2006||George Mason||Michigan State||75-65|
While those teams have had success throughout the tournament, it was Pepperdine in the 2000 tournament who gave us the biggest first round upset by an 11 seed over a 6 seed. The Waves beat Indiana in a 20-point blowout, 77-57, in Bobby Knight’s last game as the Hoosiers’ coach.