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Has a No. 16 seed ever beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament?

We go over how often the 16-seed has upset the 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates the win against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Bridgestone Arena Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

2023 update: History has happened again! The No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights upset the No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers 63-58 to advance to the second round.

One of the popular sports questions to ask was whether a No. 16 seed would ever knock off a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It took forever, but it finally happened recently for the first time ever.

History of 1 vs. 16 seed matchup in NCAA Tournament

The NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985, and zero 16 seeds beat a No. 1 seed until the 2018 season. It wasn’t all that eventful, considering the contest was never close when UMBC crushed the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54 to give the 16 seeds some life. On the opposite end, the biggest blowout in this contest came in 1998 when the Kansas Jayhawks smashed Prairie View A&M by 58 points.

No. 16 seeds have a 0.7 winning percentage against No. 1 seeds in the tournament’s history.

Here are the 1-16 matchups in the 2023 NCAA Tournament:

West: No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Howard
South: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/Southeast Missouri State
East: No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 16 Texas Southern/Fairleigh Dickinson
Midwest: No. 1 Houston vs. No. 16 Northern Kentucky

The biggest underdogs in the NCAA tournament are included in these matchups. The point spreads aren’t even close to favorable as teams are 15+ point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook. Houston was the No. 1 team during the majority of the regular season and enters this matchup as the 19.5-point favorite.