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Joe Boozell | NCAA.com | February 6, 2019

History of 3 seed vs. 14 seed in March Madness

A 14 seed hasn't upset a 3 seed in March Madness since 2016, when Thomas Walkup and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks shocked West Virginia. But while 3s have generally had their way with 14s since the NCAA tournament expanded in 1985, the lower seed has won enough to catch our attention.

Here's everything you need to know about 14 seeds vs. 3 seeds in March Madness.

MORE: Andy Katz's March Madness predictions

History of 14 vs. 3 seeds in March Madness

Twenty-one 14 seeds have upset 3 seeds since 1985, giving them a 21-115 record all-time. That equates to a 15.44 win percentage.

Here are all of the times it's ever happened.

14 vs. 3 March Madness upsets
Year Result Score
1986 Cleveland State def. Indiana 83-79
1986 Arkansas Little-Rock def. Notre Dame 90-83
1987 Austin Peay def. Illinois 68-67
1988 Murray State def. NC State 78-75
1989 Siena def. Stanford 80-78
1990 Northern Iowa def. Missouri 74-71
1991 Xavier def. Nebraska 89-84
1992 ETSU def. Arizona 87-80
1995 Old Dominion def. Villanova 89-81
1995 Weber State def. Michigan State 79-72
1997 Chattanooga def. Georgia 73-70
1998 Richmond def. South Carolina 62-61
1999 Weber State def. North Carolina 76-74
2005 Bucknell def. Kansas 64-63
2006 Northwestern State def. Iowa 64-63
2010 Ohio def. Georgetown 97-83
2013 Harvard def. New Mexico 68-62
2014 Mercer def. Duke 78-71
2015 UAB def. Iowa State 60-59
2015 Georgia State def. Baylor 57-56
2016 Stephen F. Austin def. West Virginia 70-56

Some more tidbits:

  • For 18 of the 34 years since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams, at least one No. 14 seed has triumphed over a No. 3 seed.
  • Only two of 14 seeds have ever advanced past the second round: 1986 Cleveland State, and 1997 Chattanooga.
  • No. 14 seeds are 11-9 in matches decided by three points or less. Before SFA, the last two 14 seed upsets (Georgia State over Baylor and UAB over Iowa State in 2015) were decided by one point.
  • The biggest upset in a 14 vs. 3 game — 14 points — is tied between SFA's win in 2016, and when Ohio topped Georgetown 97-83 in 2010.
  • Only one 14-3 upset has gone to overtime. That was Old Dominion-Villanova in 1995, which required three extra sessions.
  • A 14 seed beat a 3 seed for seven straight years between 1986-92. That streak was snapped in 1993.
  • There was a four-year stretch between 2013-16 where a 14 seed upset a 3. It hasn't happened in the last two years.
  • No school that's earned a 3 seed has lost to a 14 seed more than once. On the flip side, Weber State has won two opening round games as a 14 seed.

How much more likely is a 14-3 upset than a 15-2 upset?

A 14-3 upset is nearly three times more likely than a 15-2 upset. Eight 15 seeds have beat 2 seeds since 1985.

Here's the full list:

15-2 upsets
Year Result Score
1991 Richmond def. Syracuse 73-69
1993 Santa Clara def. Arizona 64-61
1997 Coppin State def. South Carolina 78-65
2001 Hampton def. Iowa State 58-57
2012 Lehigh def. Duke 75-70
2012 Norfolk State def. Missouri 86-84
2013 Florida Gulf Coast def. Georgetown 78-68
2016 Middle Tennessee def. Michigan State 90-81

How much more likely is a 13-4 upset than a 14-3 upset?

A 13 seed has upset a 4 seed 28 times over the years and is a little more than five percent more likely to happen than a 14-3 upset. Here's the full list of 13s that have topped 4s:

13-seed upsets over 4-seeds
Year Result Score
1985 Navy def. LSU 78-55
1987 Missouri State def. Clemson 65-60
1987 Xavier def. Missouri 70-69
1988 Richmond def. Indiana 72-69
1989 Middle Tennessee def. Florida State 97-83
1991 Penn State def. UCLA 74-69
1992 Southwestern Louisiana def. Oklahoma 87-83
1993 Southern def. Georgia Tech 93-78
1995 Manhattan def. Oklahoma 77-67
1996 Princeton def. UCLA 43-41
1998 Valparaiso def. Ole Miss 70-69
1999 Oklahoma def. Arizona 61-60
2001 Indiana State def. Oklahoma 70-68
2001 Kent State def. Indiana 77-73
2002 UNC Wilmington def. USC 93-89
2003 Tulsa def. Dayton 84-71
2005 Vermont def. Syracuse 60-57
2006 Bradley def. Kansas 77-73
2008 Siena def. Vanderbilt 83-62
2008 San Diego def. UConn 70-69
2009 Cleveland State def. Wake Forest 84-69
2010 Murray State def. Vanderbilt 66-65
2011 Morehead State def. Louisville 62-61
2012 Ohio def. Michigan 65-60
2013 La Salle def. Kansas State 63-61
2016 Hawaii def. California 77-66
2018 Buffalo def. Arizona 89-69
2018 Marshall def. Wichita State 81-75