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NCAA Road Conditions

Here, VUSports analyzes the degree of difficulty faced by each of the Championship teams that advanced through the NCAA Tournament since it expanded to 64/68 teams in 1985 ...

Road Conditions Faced by NCAA Men's Basketball Champions

Winning 6 consecutive games to be crowned NCAA Basketball Champion is never an easy task. However, given the nature of a single elimination tournament, there have been years where eventual National Champions have had to play against a collectively stronger or weaker set of opponents from a "seed" perspective. The table below details the seeds that each of the National Champions has had to face since the Field of 64 began in 1985, a totaling of the seeds faced, and some data regarding the number of high and low seeds each team faced.

The most difficult series of opponents (from a seed perspective) that a National Champion ever had to face was the one beaten by Villanova in the very first field of 64. The '85 Cats beat two #1 seeds and two #2 seeds - six other teams (Villanova in 2016, UNC in 1993 and 2009, Kentucky in 1996 and 2012 and UConn in 2014) have had to beat four Top 4 seeds.

2 wins over #1 seeds (accomplished twice by Villanova - 1985 and 2016, by Syracuse in 2003 and by Kansas in 2005) is only surpassed by Arizona's 3 wins over #1 seeds in 1997. Oddly enough, that same Arizona team faced 3 Double-Digit-Seeded Teams in their other three wins - resulting in an overall Seed Total that is in the middle of the all-time pack. The only other team to face 3 Double-Digit-Seeded Teams was UNLV in 1990. The '90 Running Rebels faced the easiest path ever to a National Title. They faced a 16, 8, 11, and 12 seed to get to the Final Four and then found a 4 and a 3 seed standing between them and the Title. The 1990 UNLV squad was the only National Champion never to face a #1 or a #2 seed. The '00 Spartans and the 2013 Louisville Cardinals faced the weakest Final Four field of any Champions when they faced an 8 and a 5 seed and a 9 and a 4 seed respectively.

The data:

School

Seed

Year

Natl Final

Natl Semi

Reg Final

Reg Semi

Rd 2

Rd 1

Seed Total

Villanova

8

1985

1

2

2

5

1

9

20

UConn

7

2014

8

1

4

3

2

10

28

Villanova

2

2016

1

2

1

3

7

15

29

UNC

1

1993

1

2

2

4

8

16

33

UNC

1

2017

1

3

2

4

8

16

34

Syracuse

3

2003

2

1

1

10

6

14

34

UNC

1

2009

2

3

2

4

8

16

35

Kentucky

1

1996

4

1

2

4

9

16

36

Michigan

3

1989

3

1

5

2

11

14

36

Florida

1

2007

1

2

3

5

9

16

36

Maryland

1

2002

5

1

2

4

8

16

36

Kentucky

1

2012

2

4

3

4

8

16

37

UCLA

1

1995

2

4

2

5

8

16

37

Arizona

4

1997

1

1

10

1

12

13

38

Kentucky

2

1998

3

3

1

6

10

15

38

Duke

1

2010

5

2

3

4

8

16

38

Kansas

6

1988

1

2

4

7

14

11

39

Duke

1

1992

6

2

2

4

9

16

39

Duke

1

2015

1

7

2

5

8

16

39

UConn

3

2011

8

4

5

2

6

14

39

Duke

1

2001

2

3

6

4

9

16

40

UConn

2

2004

3

1

8

6

7

15

40

Duke

2

1991

3

1

4

11

7

15

41

Indiana

1

1987

2

1

10

5

8

16

42

UNC

1

2005

1

5

6

5

9

16

42

Mich. St.

1

2000

5

8

2

4

8

16

43

Arkansas

1

1994

2

2

3

12

9

16

44

Louisville

2

1986

1

11

8

3

7

15

45

UConn

1

1999

1

4

10

5

9

16

45

Florida

3

2006

2

11

1

7

11

14

46

Kansas

1

2008

1

1

10

12

8

16

48

Louisville

1

2013

4

9

2

12

8

16

51

UNLV

1

1990

3

4

11

12

8

16

54


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