It’s the most coveted spot on Selection Sunday: The 1 seed.
In 1979, the NCAA tournament bracket was expanded to 40 teams, and for the first time in tournament history, every single team in the bracket was seeded.
In the 41 years since then, 48 different teams have earned a 1 seed. Of those, only 22 have done it more than twice.
But none have started the tournament on the top line more than North Carolina.
The Tar Heels have been a No. 1 seed 17 times in March, with the first coming in 1979, and the most recent coming in 2019. Of their six NCAA tournament championships, five came when UNC was a 1 seed. The sixth came in 1957, before seeds were established.
With their 14th No. 1 seed in 2019, Duke moved into a tie with Kansas for second place all time. The Blue Devils have won four of their five championships as a 1 seed, with the other coming as a 2 seed in 1994.
Kansas earned three 1 seeds in a row from 2016-2018, bumping their total up to 14. The Jayhawks also have three titles to their name, but only one of those came as a 1 seed (2008). The others came as a 6 seed (1988) and before seeds were introduced (1952).
Kentucky is the only other school with double-digit 1 seeds. The Wildcats got their first top seed in 1980, and saw their 12th in 2015. Five of Kentucky’s eight championships came before the start of seeding, but of the three titles the Wildcats have won since, two came as a 1 seed (1996, 2012), and the third as a 2 seed (1998).
Here is the full list of all 48 teams that have earned a 1 seed since 1979:
|3||St. John’s (NY)||1983-86|
*Appearance later vacated by Committee on Infractions.