March Madness: Getting to know the No. 13 seed in the NCAA tournament
David Robinson’s 1985 Navy squad showed the college basketball world that the 13 seed shouldn’t be taken lightly when the Midshipmen cruised to a 78-55 victory over fourth-seeded LSU in the opening round. Though Navy didn’t progress past the second round, the win was a reminder that no team in the tournament is safe, and the 23-point win was the largest by the 13th seed in the last 30 years.
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Since Navy’s win, the 13 seed has won 24 other times over the 4 seed, or about 20 percent of the time. What stands out most is the lower seed has actually won 50 percent of its games decided by five points or less and 6-2 in games decided by one point.
|1985||No. 4 Loyola (Ill.)||No. 13 Iona||59-58|
|1987||No. 13 Xavier||No. 4 Missouri||70-69|
|1998||No. 13 Valparaiso||No. 4Mississippi||70-69|
|1999||No. 13 Oklahoma||No. 4 Arizona||61-60|
|2004||No. 4 Wake Forest||No. 13 VCU||79-78|
|2008||No. 13 San Diego||No. 4 Connecticut||66-65|
|2010||No. 13 Murray State||No. 4 Vanderbilt||66-65|
|2011||No. 13 Morehead State||No. 4 Lousiville||62-61|
Of the 25 upset victories, six finished in the Sweet 16, starting with Richmond in 1988 and most recently with La Salle in 2013. Those wins in first round were all by five points or fewer.
Valparaiso won in dramatic fashion over Ole Miss in 1998. With 2.5 seconds left in the game, a two-point deficit, the Crusaders had one final shot to win the game. Inbounding from the opposite baseline, Jamie Sykes threw an inbounds pass to Bill Jenkins at midcourt, who tapped it to Bryce Drew, who tossed up a desperation 23-foot 3-pointer. The shot went down as time expired to send Valpo to the second round.
While the 13 seed hasn’t won a first round game since La Salle beat Kansas State in 2013, three of the last four 13-v-4 match-ups were decided by three points or less.