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.
History of 14 vs. 3 seeds in March Madness
Twenty-one 14 seeds have upset 3 seeds since 1985, giving them a 21-119 record all-time. That equates to a 15.0 win percentage.
Here are all of the times it's ever happened.
|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:
- In 18 of the 35 years since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams, at least one No. 14 seed has triumphed over a No. 3 seed.
- Only two 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.
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How much more likely is a 14-3 upset than a 15-2 upset?
A 14-3 upset is almost three times more likely than a 15-2 upset. Eight 15 seeds have pulled off the upset since 1985.
Here's the full list:
|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?
Teams on the 13 seed line have 29 wins in the opening round, making them five percentage points more likely to oust a higher seed in the opening round than a 14 seed over a 3 seed. Here's the full list of 13s that have topped 4s:
|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|
|2019||UC Irvine def. Kansas State||70-64|