March Madness: Syracuse the first 10 seed to reach the Final Four
Editor's note: Syracuse became the first No. 10 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams with its 68-62 victory over Virginia on Sunday. Here's our look at the history of 10th seeds, written before the tournament began:
*Note: All data is from the 1985 tournament to the present.
No 10 seed has reached the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. However, more 10 seeds have reached the Sweet 16 (19 teams) and Elite Eight (seven teams) than 9 seeds (only five teams in the Sweet 16, two teams in the Elite Eight).
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LSU began the 10 seed hot streak in 1987, when the Tigers beat Georgia Tech in the opening round 85-79, to ignite a great run through the Midwest bracket. LSU lost by only one point to top-seeded Indiana in the Elite Eight. Since then, five other 10 seeds have reached the Elite Eight, mostly thanks to double-digit, first-round victories.
|2002||Kent State||Oklahoma State||68-61|
The last time a 10 seed reached the Elite Eight, Steph Curry's Davidson Wildcats pulled out a six-point win over Gonzaga to start one of the best Cinderellas stories in college basketball history. On March 21, 2008, Curry scored 40 points in the 82-76 win over the Bulldogs and the Wildcats rode his hot hand to the region finals before falling to top-seeded Kansas 59-57. (Read an oral history of Curry's time at Davidson and 2008 tournament run)
Know your seed
And while large 10-7 upsets aren't unusual, blowouts are, and West Virginia had the widest margin of victory for a 10 seed when it beat Temple, 82-52, in 1998. West Virgina used that momentum to beat second-seeded Cincinnati in the second round on a banked-in game-winning shot before falling to Utah by three points in the Sweet 16.