*Note: All data is from the 1985 tournament to the present.

The history of the 16 seed is well-documented: No wins in 124 games against a 1 seed in the history of the men’s tournament. But that doesn’t mean there weren't great performances or close games that pushed the envelope of history.

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No. 1 No. 9
No. 2 No. 10
No. 3 No. 11
No. 4 No. 12
No. 5 No. 13
No. 6 No. 14
No. 7 No. 15
No. 8 No. 16
While the average margin for a 1 vs. 16 game in the NCAA tournament is 24.7 points, 15 games have been decided by fewer than 10 points. And in 1989, two 16 seeds took their opponents to the brink of defeat, as East Tennessee State and Princeton both led their opponents at halftime. However, ETSU failed to put away Oklahoma, who came back from 17 points down to win, 72-71, and Princeton narrowly lost to Georgetown, 50-49.

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Oklahoma trimmed ETSU’s double-digit lead in the first half to six at halftime, and a go-ahead score by Mookie Blaylock with 1:21 left in the game pushed the Sooners past the Buccaneers on March 16, 1989. One day later, again history was almost shattered, as Princeton had two chances to win its opening round game over Georgetown before center Alonzo Mourning blocked last-second shots by Bob Scrabis and Kit Mueller to preserve the victory for the Hoyas.

One year later, a 16 seed took a 1 seed to overtime for the first time in tournament history, as Murray State’s Greg Coble hit a 3-pointer late in the game to tie Michigan State 65-65 before the Spartans eventually won in overtime.

Year Winner Loser Score
1985 Michigan Fairleigh Dickinson 59-55
1989 Oklahoma East Tennessee State 72-71
1989 Georgetown Princeton 72-71
1990 Michigan State Murray State 75-71
1996 Purdue Western Michigan 73-71

Sources: Washington Post tournament database, Sports-reference.com, NCAA Record Book