‘Cinderella’ teams make impact on the road to this year’s Final Four

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Kansas’ defeat of 11th-seeded North Carolina State late Friday night, double-digit seeds have all been eliminated from this year’s tournament. But those teams seeded 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th or 16th again made an impact on this year’s tourney. Double-digit seeds won 12 games this year which was the same number as 2011. Most wins by double-digit seed teams in a tournament was 14 in 1999 and 13 in 2001. Since the NCAA went to a 64-team tournament in 1985, there have been 239 wins by double-digit seed teams, and average of 8.5 per tournament.

Two schools top the list with the most wins by double-digit seeded teams. Gonzaga has won eight games in the tourney as a double-digit seed, winning those eight games as a double-digit seed in four different tourneys. Texas also has eight wins as a double-digit seeded team in the tourney; they have accomplished this feat in five different tournaments.

Following are the schools that have won the most games since 1979 as double-digit seeds (the NCAA went to a seeded format for all teams in 1979).

Tournament wins as a double-digit seed, school

8: Gonzaga, Texas

7: LSU, Richmond

6: Temple, VCU

5: Dayton, North Carolina State

4: Auburn, George Mason*, Kent State, Lamar, Loyola-Marymount, Missouri, Ohio, Tulsa, Xavier, Washington, Western Kentucky

* George Mason won all four of their games in 2006 when as an #11 seed they advanced to the Final Four. In addition to George Mason that year, only two other double-digit seeds have advanced to the Final Four: VCU in 2011 and LSU in 1986.

Did you know? Sixty-six teams that were seeded #10 or lower have made it to the Sweet Sixteen since 1979. This year three double-digit teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen: Xavier, Ohio and North Carolina State. The most double-digit seeds in the Sweet Sixteen was five teams in 1999. Gonzaga is the only school to make the Sweet Sixteen three times as a double-digit seed; they did it three years in a row, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

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