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

In 2014, the Connecticut Huskies became the first and only No. 7 seed to capture a national championship, but the team's historic run came close to ending early in the tournament. It took overtime for the Huskies to get past No. 10 Saint Joseph's in an 89-81 opening-round win.

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Second Round: UConn beats Saint Joe's in OT

The Huskies joined the list of No. 7 seed teams that avoided an upset in the opening round. There has been only one tournament in the past 33 years where no No. 7 has made it to the next round (1999). The current streak almost ended in 2010 but Brigham Young survived as the last seventh-seed, beating 10th-seeded Florida by six points.

Know your seed
No. 1 No. 9
No. 2 No. 10
No. 3 No. 11
No. 4 No. 12
No. 5 No. 13
No. 6 No. 14
No. 7 No. 15
No. 8 No. 16
Teams have lost 51 opening-round games to the No. 10 seed, which is the second-highest number of upsets behind the eight seed. Furthermore, the average margin is fewer than three points in favor of the No. 7 seed. 

In the first year the tournament expanded, all four games were decided by single digits in favor of the teams seeded seventh. Since then, a sweep in the first round has happened only two more times: in 1993 and more recently 2007. During 2015’s tournament, the No. 7 seeds captured three wins, two by single digits and the third in a 31-point blowout by Iowa. In 2016, the 7 seeds lost two of their opening-round matchups, losing by an average of just over five points.

Last year's tournament almost saw a 7-seed sweep until Wichita State pulled off the 64-58 win over Dayton. On the other side of the bracket, 7-seed South Carolina made it all the way to the Final Four, with upsets over No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Baylor, and No. 4 Florida along the way.

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Second Round: South Carolina defeats Duke

West Virginia has held the No. 7 seed spot more than any other program, with a 3-1 record in the opening round since the tournament expanded in 1985. In its first appearance as a No. 7 seed, the Mountaineers fell to a 10th-seeded Western Kentucky in 1987.

Year Winner Loser Score
1987 Western Kentucky West Virginia 64-62
1989 West Virginia Tennessee 84-68
2005 West Virginia Creighton 63-61
2008 West Virginia Arizona 75-65

 

 

Daniel Wilco has worked at the AJC, Sports Illustrated, and SEC Country. His writing has also appeared on SI.com, Men’s Health, and The Cauldron.

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