Bracket IQ

BACK TO Bracket IQ
basketball-men-d1 flag

Daniel Wilco | NCAA.com | February 5, 2020

How No. 14 seeds do in March Madness

  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 35 years since the NCAA tournament field expanded to 64 teams, at least one No. 14 seed has triumphed over a No. 3 seed. In the past three seasons, No. 14 seeds went winless in their opening-round games, which prior to 2017, hadn't happened since 2012. From 2013 to 2016, at least one No. 14 seed advanced to the second round.

The last No. 14 seed to pull off an opening-round upset came in 2016 when Stephen F. Austin, thanks to Thomas Walkup's 33 points, defeated No. 3 West Virginia, 70-56.

First Round: Stephen F. Austin upsets West Virginia
The 14 seed's first-round record is still just 21-119, but the likelihood of an upset is still higher than a No. 15 or No. 16 seed winning against a No. 2 or No. 1 seed, respectively.

Only two No. 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 did prove to be 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 and into the Sweet 16 but lost to 10th-seeded Providence by six points.

No. 14 seeds are 11-9 in matches decided by 3 points or less. Before SFA, the last two No. 14-seed upsets — Georgia State against Baylor and UAB against Iowa State in 2015 — were both decided by one point.

In the 2019 NCAA tournament, No. 14 seed Yale came the closest to advancing to the second round. The Bulldogs lost to No. 3 seed LSU 79-74.

The biggest upset in a 14 vs. 3 game — 14 points — is tied between SFA's win in 2016 and Ohio's 2010 win against Georgetown. Armon Bassett scored 32 points for the Bobcats and DJ Cooper added 23 to shock the Hoyas.

What is March Madness: The NCAA tournament explained

Here is everything (really!) you might want to know about March Madness — one of the biggest, most exciting and most fun events in sports. Also known as the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, it's been played annually since 1939.
READ MORE

Here's how many No. 1 seeds you should pick in your NCAA tournament bracket

History tells us you should pick at least two No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four if you're looking for a cut-and-dry rule .
READ MORE

7 signs you picked too many NCAA tournament upsets

Here's how many college basketball upsets usually occur in the NCAA tournament — and the sure signs you've picked too many.
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners