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Daniel Wilco | | December 18, 2017

March Madness: Getting to know the No. 9 seed

  Wichita State shocked the world during Final Four run in 2013 after a big first round upset over Pittsburgh.

*Note: All data is from the 1985 tournament to the present.

The 8 vs. 9 seed game is essentially a toss-up. In the last 33 years, 9 seeds have won 65 of 132 games — so, just one win shy of splitting it right down the middle. Over 60 percent of the games played have been decided by fewer than 10 points.

And while 9 seeds haven’t fared well in the second round (where they’ve always faced a number one seed and lost 61 of 66 games), five teams have reached the Sweet 16, two made it to the Elite Eight and one even advanced to the Final Four (Wichita State in 2013).

Thanks to that lopsided second-round matchup, the 9 seeds don’t have the same success lower seed teams have, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t make a splash in the tournament.

Wichita State came into the 2013 tournament with an at-large bid from the Missouri Valley conference and breezed past eighth-seeded Pittsburgh, 73-55, in the first round.

The Shockers then upset number one seed Gonzaga, 13th-seeded La Salle and second-seeded Ohio State to make their second Final Four in school history.

One year after being knocked out by a 9 seed, Pittsburgh stormed back in 2014 as a 9 seed of its own to hand eighth-seeded Colorado the biggest upset between 9s and 8s. The Panthers only allowed 18 points in the first half, and Talib Zanna scored 16 of Pittsburgh’s 46 first half points before beating the Buffaloes, 77-48.

And in 2015, No. 8 seed NC State took down top-seeded Villanova 71-68 in the second round, before falling to No. 4 seed Louisville in the Sweet 16.