Number Seven Seed, No Problem
No one ever counts on a seven-seed to win the national championship. But the past two years, that hasn’t stopped both UConn from winning a National title and Michigan State from making it to the Final Four, despite being ranked so low. Being an established program in NCAA basketball means your ranking doesn’t really matter in March (just look at UCLA this year). And both UConn and Michigan State capitalized on that.
After the UConn Huskies started 9-0 last year, they emerged as one of the best teams in college basketball earning a number 10 in the nation ranking. Unfortunately, this is the furthest they would climb in the rankings that season. They went just 15-7 the next 22 games, proving just how inconsistent there team really was. Combined with a loss to Louisville in the AAC Conference tournament, the Huskies title chances were looking bleak. But they caught fire in the NCAA tournament and made a historic run, becoming the first no. 7 seed to win a National title ever.
Michigan State has done something similar this year. Up until the conference tournament, the Spartans had yet to beat more than one top 25 team (Ohio State was #23 during the Spartans Feb. 14th win over the Buckeyes). They had yet to prove they could really compete against the nation’s best until the NCAA tournament. But with wins against Virginia, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Michigan State has left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they can win it all this year.
So while people have always counted out seven-seeds, maybe after this year they will reconsider when filling out their brackets. Michigan State and UConn have proved that it isn’t your seed that matters. It is more so if you can come together as a team and get hot in late March that really determine how capable you are at winning a national title.
Next: Upsets in the round of 32