Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of how far each seed has advanced in the NCAA Tournament. We are focusing on the modern era, meaning when the tourney expanded to 64 teams from 1985 on.
Look at the Farthest Each of the Top Seeds Has Gone in the NCAA Tournament
#1 28 National Championship games have featured at least one No. 1 seed, with 23 No. 1 seeds going on to win the title. The most recent No. 1 to win it all was Baylor in 2021.
#2 No. 2 seeds haven’t fared nearly as well as the No. 1 seeds. They have reached the title game a total of 13 times since 1985 and took home the championship just five times. The last No. 2 winner of the tournament was Villanova in 2016.
#3 Since 1985, No. 3 seeds have had ten title game appearances, going 4-6 in those contests. Texas Tech was the last to appear (lost to Virginia in 2019), while Connecticut was the most recent to win the title as a No. 3 seed in 2011.
#4 A No. 4 seed has won the NCAA Tourney just once (Arizona in 1997) while two other No. 4 seeds have appeared and lost – Michigan in 2013 and Syracuse in 1996.
#5 If your favorite team is listed as a No. 5 seed they do not have much history of success either. The farthest a No. 5 seed has gone in the NCAA Tournament is the runner-up position, and it has happened three times (2000 – Florida, 2002 – Indiana, 2010 – Butler).
#6 Since the tourney expanded in 1985, just two No. 6 seeds have made the championship round. The Kansas Jayhawks won in 1988, while the Michigan Wolverines lost the title game in 1992.
#7 The UConn Huskies won the 2014 NCAA Tournament over No. 8 seed Kentucky – the only time a No. 7 seed has appeared in the championship game.
#8 No. 8 seeds are 1-2 in National Championship games, the only win coming in 1985 with Villanova defeating No. 1 seed Georgetown.
History of Lower Seeds & How Far They Advance in March Madness
#9 The furthest a No. 9 seed has advanced is to the Final Four, it happened in 2013 with Wichita State losing to No. 1 seed, and eventual champion, Louisville.
#10 The deepest run a 10 seed has made in the NCAA Tournament is the Final 4. It’s happened just once, as No. 10 Syracuse accomplished the feat in 2016. Prior to that, the No. 10 seeds had gone 0-7 in the Elite Eight.
#11 There are five 11 seeds that have reached as far as the Final Four; UCLA in 2021, Loyola-Chicago in 2018, VCU in 2011, George Mason in 2006, and LSU in 1986. As of 2022, the 11 is the highest seed that has made the Final Four.
#12 Just two No. 12 seeds have advanced as far as the Elite 8 but they are the highest seed to have done so. The Missouri Tigers in 2002 and the Oregon State Beavers in 2021.
#13 A total of six No. 13 seeds have made the Sweet 16. Most recently, La Salle reached this round in 2013.
#14 There have been two occasions when a No. 14 seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 – Chattanooga in 1997 and Cleveland State in 1986.
#15 Florida Gulf Coast in 2013 became the first No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16 by winning two games in the tournament. Oral Roberts become the second in 2021. In 2022 we saw St. Peter’s led by head coach Shaheen Halloway become the first 15 seed in the Elite Eight before having their dreams shattered by the eighth seed North Carolina.
#16 Everyone kept saying it was only a matter of time before a No. 16 knocked off a No. 1 seed. It finally came true in 2018, as the No. 1 overall seed Virginia was bounced by UMBC. Maybe the most stunning thing was it wasn’t even close, as the Cavaliers lost the game by 20-points (74-54). UMBC’s run ended in the next round, as they went down to No. 9 Kansas State 50-43.