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Daniel Wilco | | December 3, 2017

March Madness: Getting to know the No. 14 seed

  14th-seeded Cleveland State pulled off an 83-79 upset of third-seeded Indiana in the first round in 1989.

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

For 18 of the 33 years since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams, at least one No. 14 seed has triumphed over a No. 3 seed. Last season's tournament was the first time since 2012 that the No. 14 seeds went winless in the first round. The last No. 14 seed to pull off an opening-round upset was Stephen F. Austin, thanks to Thomas Walkup, who hit 19-of-20 free throws and ended with 33 points as the Lumberjacks took down West Virginia 70-56.

The No. 14 seed's first-round record is still well below average (21-111), but the likelihood of a upset is still higher than a 15 or 16 seed winning an opening-round match.

Only two of 14 seeds have ever advanced past the second round, and college basketball fans were treated to a big Cinderella story in 1986 when Cleveland State upset Indiana, 83-79, in the first round and then Saint Joseph's in the second round 75-69.

Cleveland State’s run in 1986 was special, but Chattanooga’s race to the Sweet 16 in 1997 was a bit more exciting. The Mocs pulled out a three-point win over third-seeded Georgia in the first round, 73-70. With the momentum in the second round, Chattanooga stormed past Illinois in the second round and into the Sweet 16, but lost to 10th-seeded Providence by six points.

No. 14 seeds are actually 11-9 in matches decided by 3 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. Armon Bassett scored 32 points for the Bobcats and DJ Cooper added 23 to shock the Hoyas.

Florida Gulf Coast came the closest in last season's tournament to pulling off a No. 14 seed over No. 3 seed upset. The Eagles fell 86-80 to Florida State.

The 14 seed has also come on fairly strong in the last five years, where five of 20 matchups have gone to the lower-seeded team.