Associated Press

History of 8/9 games, Arkansas Razorbacks' chances to advance in NCAA Tournament

Eight seeds have had some success in the NCAA Tournament since 1985.

Arkansas drew arguably the toughest road to the Final Four when it was given an 8 seed on Selection Sunday.

Although the Razorbacks have the better seed, they are matched with 9-seed Seton Hall and are only slight favorites in the first round.

In Vegas, Arkansas is favored by one point. ESPN's BPI gives the Razorbacks a 53.2 percent chance to win and Christian Corona - a data analytics consultant who contributes to 247Sports - gives them a 54 percent chance to advance.

All of those figures essentially mean the Arkansas-Seton Hall game is a toss up, which is what history has proven in 8-9 matchups. Coming into this year, 8 and 9 seeds have split their 128 games since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

In addition to having a toss up game in the first round, the winner of the 8-9 game must play a 1 seed in the second round. (A 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed.)

An 8 seed advancing to the Sweet 16 is not unheard of, though, as it has happened 12 times. The last time it happened was 2015, when North Carolina State beat 9-seed LSU and 1-seed Villanova.

Of those 12 teams, only eight reached the Elite Eight and five reached the Final Four. Most recently, Butler (2011) and Kentucky (2014) made it all the way to the national championship game as 8 seeds.

There is even a history of 8 seeds winning the national title, as the lowest seeded team ever to do so was 8-seed Villanova in 1985.

This will be the fourth time Arkansas has been involved in an 8-9 matchup. The Razorbacks won both of their first-round games as a 9 seed (1985 over Iowa, 2008 over Indiana), but lost their only game as an 8 seed (2006 vs. Bucknell).

Here are Arkansas' chances to advance to each stage of the NCAA Tournament this year, according to ESPN's BPI and Corona:

Round ESPN BPI Christian Corona
Round of 32 53.2% 53.96%
Sweet 16 6.4% 12.00%
Elite Eight 2.5% 5.14%
Final Four 0.6% 1.50%
Championship Game 0.1% 0.36%
National Champion 0.0% 0.08%

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