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Daniel Wilco | | December 3, 2017

March Madness: Getting to know the No. 16 seed

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

The history of the No. 16 seed is well-documented: No wins in 132 games against a No. 1 seed in the history of the men’s tournament. But that doesn’t mean there weren't great performances or close games that pushed the envelope of history.

Fifteen games have been decided by fewer than 10 points. And in 1989, two No. 16 seeds took their opponents to the brink of defeat, as East Tennessee State and Princeton both led their opponents at halftime. However, ETSU failed to put away Oklahoma, who came back from 17 points down to win, 72-71, and Princeton narrowly lost to Georgetown, 50-49.

RELATED: Have 1 seed vs. 16 seed games been getting closer?

Oklahoma trimmed ETSU’s double-digit lead in the first half to six at halftime, and a go-ahead score by Mookie Blaylock with 1:21 left in the game pushed the Sooners past the Buccaneers on March 16, 1989. One day later, again history was almost shattered, as Princeton had two chances to win its opening round game over Georgetown before center Alonzo Mourning blocked last-second shots by Bob Scrabis and Kit Mueller to preserve the victory for the Hoyas.

One year later, a No. 16 seed took a No. 1 seed to overtime for the first time in tournament history, as Murray State’s Greg Coble hit a 3-pointer late in the game to tie Michigan State 65-65 before the Spartans eventually won in overtime.

Year Winner Loser Score
1985 Michigan Fairleigh Dickinson 59-55
1989 Oklahoma East Tennessee State 72-71
1989 Georgetown Princeton 72-71
1990 Michigan State Murray State 75-71
1996 Purdue Western Michigan 73-71

In the 2017 NCAA Tournament, every No. 1 seed won its opening-round game by at least 20 points.