The lowest seed to ever reach a Final Four, which will be played in Minneapolis this season, has been a No. There have been some other memorable runs, including five No.
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With the first round set to tip off on Thursday, we decided to recap the lowest seeds ever to make a run to the Final Four. Since the tournament began including 64 teams in , no teams before that — apologies to the University of Pennsylvania team — are included on this list.
All teams listed also began the tournament ranked as a No. Far from a mid-major, Villanova won the NCAA Tournament in a year that a Big East dominated the college basketball landscape and put three teams in the Final Four, they just weren't the Big East team that anyone expected to win it all. After beating Memphis in the Final Four, a lovable bunch of underdogs took the court on the game's biggest stage against the game's biggest player and played out of their minds in a win.
The Tigers won just eight of their last 19 games but still got a home-court advantage in the draw that brought an expected amount of grumbling from the opposition.
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LSU beat Purdue in double overtime, took down Memphis on an Anthony Wilson buzzer beater and finally beat Kentucky after three losses to the Wildcats earlier in the year. Dale Brown's defense played a huge role in the unexpected tournament wins in what is still a banner year for the LSU program. The calling card was of course the defense, as this team from the regular season beat No. Eventually Wisconsin lost to Michigan State, who would go on to win the national championship that year.
The magic would run out in the semifinal, though. Florida defeated North Carolina before losing the national title game to Michigan State. In , Jim Larranaga led the Patriots to the Final Four as the first mid-major team to get that far since Jai Lewis and Will Thomas crashed the glass while the team shared the scoring responsibility and squeezed the life out of opponents on defense. The Rams' Jamie Skeen was one of four senior starters for this group that put Shaka Smart, then 33, square in the college basketball spotlight.
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They had Lil B on their side "swag" and plenty of good mojo during the improbable extra-game run that started with a fourth place finish in the CAA and ended with a loss to Butler in the Final Four. That meant that everyone was watching as Butler advanced in the most bizarre way.
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First came Matt Howard's tip-in at the buzzer against Old Dominion then his last-second free throw to beat Pitt, the No. The Bulldogs went on to beat Wisconsin and advance to the Final Four with an overtime win against Florida. The Final Four experience wasn't as poetic this time, ending in a clunky loss to UConn, but the run was more memorable for its bizarre twists and turns.
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A top seed, a past champion and two first-time visitors will play for the national title this weekend. The Spartans draw more in-state players than almost any elite college basketball program, a consequence of strict high school rules and an abundance of state pride on the coaching staff. The Irish, the defending national champions, also eliminated the Huskies in a thrilling semifinal last year. The Lady Bears, who had crushed their other tournament opponents, are seeking a third national championship.
Three perennial powerhouses and an exciting interloper will seek spots in the national final. Please upgrade your browser. Site Navigation Site Mobile Navigation.
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