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What Was the Highest Seed to Ever Win the March Madness Tournament?

What Is the Highest Seed to Win March Madness? | Tipico
What Is the Highest Seed to Win March Madness? | Tipico
Alex Valdes
Published: 2023-02-22

March Madness is one of the most exciting and competitive sporting events of the year. Every year, millions of college basketball fans from around the world tune in to watch their favorite teams battle it out for the championship title. But what is the highest seed to ever win March Madness? Could it be a team seeded in the single digits or could it be a team seeded further down the ranks? To answer these questions, let’s take a look at the history of March Madness and explore which team was the highest seed to ever win in NCAA tournament history.


During March Madness, it's all about seeding. The teams that play in the tournament are given one of sixteen seeds that represent their ranking and allow fans to guess which region the respective team will come out on top. The higher the seed, the more likely it is that a team will win. When a high seed is chosen, it is likely the favorite team to win. The NCAA Selection Committee evaluates many different aspects to make a high seed. For example, teams from major conferences such as the Big 10, ACC, and Big 12 have historically been high-seeded teams due to the success of these conferences over the years.

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The higher a seed, the better the chance of making it further in the tournament. Teams with a seed of 1-4 usually make it to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, while teams with seeds 5-8 usually make it to the round of 32 and round of 16. Seeds 9-16 usually make it to the round of 64 but rarely make it further. This means that teams with a high seed have a much better chance of making it further in the tournament and have a greater opportunity of winning March Madness.

In short, the higher the seed, the more likely a team is to win March Madness. High-seeded teams have historically made it further in the tournament and had more success than lower-seeded teams. Now let’s take a look at some of the times a high seed has won March Madness.


March Madness is a single-elimination tournament that has been held since 1939. Throughout the years, teams seeded higher than others have made their way to the championship and won.

In 1983, the NC State Wolfpack was a sixth seed team that won the tournament over the heavily favored Houston Cougars. This victory by a lower-seeded team became known as “The Cardiac Pack” (Bleacher Report).

Another example of a high-seeded team winning March Madness occurred in 1985, when Villanova beat Georgetown 66-64 for their first and only championship. As an eighth seed, Villanova was not expected to beat Georgetown, the tournament favorite, but with an upset victory, they secured their place in college basketball history (Bleacher Report).

The third-seeded Connecticut Huskies were the surprise winners of the NCAA tournament in 1999 when they beat the Duke Blue Devils 77-74. Despite being ranked ninth in the conference, they dominated and upset Duke to become the lowest seed to ever win the tournament (Bleacher Report).

The fourth-seeded Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team won their first championship in 2003 when they beat Kansas 81-78 in double overtime. It was the first time since 1985 that a fourth seed had won the tournament (Bleacher Report).

In 2011, Connecticut was once again victorious and won the championship game over Butler. This time they were a third seed, becoming the second-lowest seed to ever win the tournament (Bleacher Report).

Finally, in 2014, seventh-seeded Connecticut beat Kentucky 60-54 for its fourth title in school history (NCAA).

These past examples of high-seeded teams winning March Madness demonstrate that it is possible for lower-seeded teams to pull off an upset and come out on top. With the right mix of talent and luck, any team could be the next champion.


When a team is given a high seed in the NCAA tournament, it usually means that the team has performed well all season long and is considered one of the best teams in the tournament. High-seeded teams are seen as having several advantages that can give them a better chance of success when they reach the NCAA tournament.

One of the most significant advantages that higher-seeded teams have is their ability to be placed on more favorable paths to the Final Four. A higher-seeded team is more likely to play against weaker opponents in earlier rounds and thus avoid tougher teams until later in the tournament. This gives them a better chance of making it further in the tournament since they can conserve energy and stay relatively healthy.

Another advantage of being a higher seed is getting more rest in between games. Higher seeds have longer gaps between games compared to lower seeds, and this can be crucial in a tournament where teams have to grind through multiple consecutive games. With extra rest, players can recover from minor injuries and fatigue, which can give them an edge over their opponents.

High seeds also get the benefit of playing closer to home during the tournament. This could give them a home-court advantage if their fan base is nearby and could provide a psychological boost to the players. This could help the team with their focus and motivation, making them more likely to perform better on the court.

High-seeded teams have a significant advantage over lower-seeded teams in terms of experience. Players from high-seeded teams tend to be more experienced and may be used to playing at a high level in pressure situations. In the NCAA tournament, this may give them a better chance of success.

In the NCAA tournament, high-seeded teams can benefit from a number of advantages. These teams can use their advantages to give themselves an edge as they compete for the National Championship with better bracket placement, extra rest, home-court advantage, and experience.


As March Madness picks up this year, there are more chances for a high seed to win than ever before. However, many experts maintain that this tournament is still very unpredictable.

Recent years have seen upsets and Cinderella stories take over the tournament. Teams like Wichita State and University of Virginia have pleasantly surprised the higher seeds. Thus, the debate has grown over whether or not teams with high seedings have a greater chance of winning.

A key factor in determining a high seed’s chances of winning are its strengths and weaknesses. The higher a seed is, the better its strengths tend to be, such as a deep bench, great coaching and experience playing together. The downside for these teams is that they have to fight against their reputation as the favorite, as well as other teams’ determination to prove them wrong.

On the flip side, low-seeded teams have the advantage of having less pressure on them. This can help them stay focused on their game plan without feeling the weight of expectations. Unfortunately, they do lack the depth of resources and experienced players that high seeded teams possess.

While upsets are common, it’s tricky to predict which team will come out on top. We can take a look at which teams are the favorites to win this year but this should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, many believe that a high-seeded team has the best chance at winning due to their depth and ability to stay composed in close games.

Whether or not a high seed ends up winning March Madness this year remains to be seen. Until then, fans and spectators will have to sit back and watch in anticipation as each round unfolds.


Bleacher Report. “Shoo-Ins and Cinderellas: The 50 Best NCAA Tournament Runs in NCAA History.” 

Bleacher Report, Bleacher Report, 22 Dec. 2010,

What Is the Highest Seed to Win March Madness? | Tipico


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