March Madness: Getting to know the No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament
|Know your seed|
|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|
The Villanova Wildcats shocked the college basketball world with their 69-64 upset over Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA Tournament. The team not only won the first tournament that expanded to 64 teams, but nearly 31 years later, Villanova remains the lowest seed to ever capture the national championship.
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But the Wildcats almost didn’t make it out of the first round as they barely escaped No. 9 seed Dayton with a 51-49 win. Sometimes for the eight seeds, the opening round can be just as challenging as any other part of the tournament.
No. 8 seeds have the most difficult match ups (as "favorites") in the first round because they are usually so evenly matched with their No. 9 seed counterparts. Since the tournament expanded to 64, teams in the eight slot hold a 64-60 winning record in opening days of March Madness along with a .04-point margin.
Another Wildcats team in the No. 8 seed almost didn’t make it out of the opening round. The 2014 Kentucky Wildcats barely survived No. 9 Kansas State but eventually advanced to the national championship against seventh-seeded Connecticut. Kentucky is tied with BYU for the most appearances as an eighth-seed and has a 3-1 record compared to the Cougars' 0-4 record.
Nearly 64 percent of the 8-9 games have been decided by single digits.
It is also rare for all four eight seeds to sweep the nine seeds and it has occurred only three times since 1985, including last year’s tournament field of North Carolina State, Cincinnati, Oregon and San Diego State.