March Madness is upon us and while you’re filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket, a major factor to pay attention to is seeding.
Even though the big dance presents an element of chaos with bracket-busting upsets, one of the higher seeds typically ends up cutting down the nets. In fact, since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, 90% of NCAA Tournament champions have been a top-three seed. Since this expansion, the “worst” or lowest seed to win the tourney was the 1985 Villanova Wildcats as an eight-seed in that very expansion year.
Led by legendary head coach Rollie Massimino, the Wildcats entered the March Madness having posted a 19-10 record through both the regular season and the Big East Tournament. Not expected to go very far, the “Cardiac Cats” ripped off wins against Dayton, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, and Memphis to meet conference rival Georgetown in the title game.
Having lost to Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas twice that season, Villanova entered the game as a heavy eight-point underdog. What resulted was one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history as the ‘Nova edged Georgetown 66-64. This thrilling result stands as one of the most memorable moments of the big dance and helped legitimize the NCAA’s decision to expand the field.