What's the lowest seed to win March Madness?

There has been a lot of chaos in March Madness over the years, but what team was the lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament?

Memphis v Villanova
Memphis v Villanova / James Drake/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

One of the fun aspects of March Madness is taking a look at the bracket on Selection Sunday to try and figure out who this year's Cinderella teams will be. There have been some crazy upsets over the years in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament but by the end of the dance the chalk usually holds as a top seed ends up taking home the title.

While the 2023 NCAA Tournament was crazier than usual with all four No. 1 seeds gone by the Elite Eight, we still had a 4-seed cut down the nets as UConn knocked off 5-seed San Diego State in the national title game.

This year's dance certainly has chaos potential, but can it produce the lowest seed ever to win March Madness?

Who is the lowest seeded team to ever win March Madness?

Even though we've had some crazy runs to the Final Four in the past from teams seeded as low as 11th in their region, no team has reached the national championship game with a seed worse than an 8. Only four 8-seeds have gotten to the title game while the first to do it, the 1985 Villanova Wildcats, a No. 8 seed in that year's tourney, remain the lowest-seeded team ever to win the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats were an 8-seed in the first year that the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, advancing all the way to a Final Four that included three teams from the Big East. After knocking off Memphis State in the Final Four, Villanova squared off with the top-seeded Georgetown Hoyas, the reigning national champions with a future NBA Hall-of-Famer anchoring their roster in Patrick Ewing.

Head coach Rollie Massimino drew up a brilliant game plan that limited possessions for the high-flying Georgetown offense, An elite shooting performance from the Wildcats, who knocked down 78.6 percent of their field goal attempts, helped Villanova squeak out a 66-64 upset in a game where they opened as 9-point underdogs to claim their first national title.

While the mantle of lowest-seeded winner has remained with the Wildcats for almost 40 years, the increased parity in college basketball today means their title could be challenged before long. In a year where there has been a ton of chaos, don't be surprised if a longshot gets hot and makes a dream run to a title.


Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to March Madness except for your bonus win at DraftKings! You'll instantly win $150 in bonus bets if you sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on any game today. Sign up with DraftKings with this link while this offer lasts!

manual