Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of how far each seed has advanced in the NCAA Tournament up to and including the 2016 season. We are focusing on the modern era, meaning when the tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985 on.
Look at the Farthest Each of the Top Seeds Has Gone in the NCAA Tournament
#1 – 24 National Championship games have featured at least one No. 1 seed, with 16 of those No. 1 seeds going on to win the title. The most recent No. 1 to win it all was Duke in 2015. The championship game has featured two No. 1 seeds six times since 1985.
#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 eight title game appearances, going 4-4 in those contests. Connecticut was the most recent to both appear and 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 went in the NCAA Tournament is the runner-up position, and it has happened three times.
#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 winner 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 it 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 three 11 seeds that have reached as far as the Final Four, VCU in 2011, George Mason in 2006, and LSU in 1986.
#12 – Just one No. 12 seed has advanced as far as the Elite 8 when the Missouri Tigers met, and lost, to the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners.
#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 and only No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16.
#16 – It should come as no surprise at all, but a No. 16 seed has never been able to pull off the upset over a No. 1 seeded team. There have been four 16 seeds that have come close to upsetting a No. 1. Murray State lost in overtime to Michigan State back in 1990. In 1989 there were two one-point games when Princeton lost to Georgetown and East Tennessee State lost to Oklahoma. In 1996 Western Carolina lost by two points to Purdue.