The 2012 NCAA competition has had its re-publishing of massive upsets, but the final Four doesn’t hold a the majority of surprises. The lowest seed left in this year tournament ar is No. 4 Louisville, among the country’s hottest teams after win the huge East tournament.

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Cardinals coach rick Pitino, though, knows a point or two about serious last Four underdogs.

Pitino’s an initial appearance in the national semifinals came in 1987, as soon as his Providence Friars (a No. 6 seed) walk from 4th place in the big East come the Southeast local championship.

Herein lies a closer look in ~ those Friars and also the remainder of the dozen many surprising teams ever before to pat in a final Four.


Utah wasn’t even planning to play in the 1944 NCAA tournament, having actually earned a spot in what was then the much more prestigious postseason tourney, the NIT at Madison Square Garden.

When the Redskins—as they to be called ago then—got bounced in the first round, though, they learned that a spot had opened in the NCAA field as result of Arkansas’ tap the money (following a vehicle accident that seriously injured some of its players).

Despite their bad showing in brand-new York, Utah rallied behind All-American Arnie Ferrin come take down Missouri and also reach the last Four in a field that consisted of just eight groups to start with.

The run didn’t avoid there, as Utah topped Iowa State and championship favorite Dartmouth, to win history’s first OT nationwide title game on a last-second shoot by Herb Wilkinson.


Heading into the 1987 NCAA tournament, sixth-seeded Providence was a year gotten rid of from the NIT and led by a coach who had actually never won an NCAA competition game.

By the time the Friars were done, they’d helped Rick Pitino knife a job as head coach of the brand-new York Knicks for the complying with year.

Behind sweet-shooting allude guard (and future Florida coach) Billy Donovan, Pitino"s Friars slaughtered the southeast region’s height two seeds—No. 2 Alabama, led through Derrick McKey, and also Reggie Williams" No. 1 Georgetown Hoyas.

Once they reached the nationwide semis, though, Providence’s lucky ran out against another conference rival, Sherman Douglas and also the Syracuse Orangemen.


The NCAA tournament wouldn’t have actually seeding for an additional 20 years, however it’s tough to imagine that the Louisville Cardinals would’ve gotten much of a seed in 1959.

The 16-10 team had actually only do one visit come the AP’s nationwide top 20, popping in in ~ No. 17 in January before dropping out just as quickly.

In their 2nd trip all-time to the large Dance, the Cardinals acquitted us remarkably well, stunning defending champion Kentucky in the 2nd round.

They go on to resist a 29-point, 23-rebound initiative from Michigan State star Johnny eco-friendly to knife a spot in the final Four before falling to Jerry West’s West Virginia Mountaineers in the national semifinal.


As outstanding as servant was in reaching the final Four together a No. 8 particle (the very first team to carry out so because 2000), their ar on this perform isn’t just about where they started on the bracket.

The Bulldogs challenged the highest feasible seed in every of their very first four games, and they required one the the many improbable finishes imaginable come escape native top-seeded Pitt in the ring of 32.

With the Panthers under by one in the waning seconds, Shelvin Mack appeared to have actually bailed out the favorites with a foolhardy foul at midcourt, permitting Gilbert Brown to tie the video game at the charity stripe.

When Brown to let go his second free throw, though, Matt Howard got an even much more stupid foul from Nasir Robinson on the rebound, permitting the Butler an elderly to fight the game-winning free throw with less than one 2nd left ~ above the clock.


After three straight years as a No. 1 seeds behind three-time Naismith compensation winner Ralph Sampson, Virginia discovered itself in an unfamiliar position in 1984.

In the first year that the post-Sampson era, the Cavaliers went simply 17-11 and earned a paltry No. 7 seed in march Madness.

Virginia then placed on a narrow-escape clinic, beating third-seeded Syracuse by eight yet winning their other three gamings in local action by a linked five points.

In addition to the Orangemen (featuring freshman star Pearl Washington), stack Carlisle and also his team members edged Alvin Robertson’s No. 2 seed from Arkansas prior to finally falling in the nationwide semis come Houston and also legendary center Akeem Olajuwon. 


Even with a 21-5 record, Dayton entered the 1967 NCAA tournament unranked.

A small escape from west Kentucky in the an initial round absolutely didn’t make them look choose a championship contender, but close gamings would turn out to it is in the bespeak of the day because that the Flyers.

6’4” star Don may outshone Tennessee seven-footer Tom Boerwinkle come eke the end a one-point victory, then led a 10-point second-half comeback (setting up an OT win over Virginia Tech) to put Dayton in the last Four.

The Flyers would certainly crush phibìc Carolina to do the national championship game, however faced an difficult task in the national title game, falling come Lew Alcindor’s unbeaten UCLA Bruins.


The 1985 Villanova Wildcats have actually gone under in history as one all-time great Cinderella story, both for being the lowest seed ever before to victory the nationwide title and because they upset Patrick Ewing’s more comparison Georgetown team to perform it.

Even before reaching the last Four, though, Villanova verified it was an abnormally dangerous No. 8 seed.

Although 6’9” Ed Pinckney to be the top large man in Rollie Massimino’s rotation, the Wildcats endured a gauntlet that low-post superstars to get to Lexington.

After squeaking past ninth-seeded Dayton in the very first round, Villanova to win Roy Tarpley’s Michigan Wolverines, a Maryland team led through Len Bias and Brad Daugherty’s phibìc Carolina formation to earn its clues in the final Four.


The an initial year of NCAA competition seeding likewise produced the an initial (and tho only) No. 9 seed to do it as far as the last Four.

While high-ranked squads choose Larry Bird"s Indiana State team won the various other three regions, the east belonged come the underdog Quakers that Penn.

Star security Tony Price do his biggest splash in the 2nd round, racking up 25 points, nine rebounds and also six assists in a one-point upset of top-seeded phibìc Carolina.

With the Tar Heels out of the way, the Quakers tackled fourth-seeded Syracuse and edged a other underdog (10th particle St. John’s) to earn the Ivy League’s last last Four berth—and a blowout loss to Magic Johnson’s Spartans.


Arizona looked choose a bulletproof No. 1 particle in the 2000 NCAA tournament, boasting future agree stars such together Gilbert Arenas and Richard Jefferson on a deep, fleet-footed roster.

Then castle ran right into their diametric opposite—Bo Ryan’s slowdown game and a no-name Wisconsin team from which not a single player was also drafted by the NBA.

The eighth-seeded Badgers not just shut under the Wildcats (66-59), they proceeded to knock off fourth-seeded LSU (led by Stromile Swift) and also Brian Cardinal’s sixth-seeded Purdue squad to earn a spot in the last Four.

Once there, though, another big Ten foe—Mateen Cleaves and eventual champion Michigan State—ended their operation in the national semis.


LSU had already exceeded expectation by the moment it reached the 1986 upstream Eight.

The 11th seed in the south east region, the Tigers had actually taken down third-seeded Memphis and also Mark Price’s second-seeded Georgia tech squad to earn a look at hopeless meeting with top-seed Kentucky—a team the had currently beaten LSU 3 times the season.

The 4th round, though, checked out the Tigers, together 6’6” guard Ricky Blanton (dragooned right into playing center for injury-ravaged LSU) broke a 57-57 tie v a layup in the close up door seconds.

The success made LSU the shortest seed ever before to make the final Four—a difference that’s since been tied yet never broken—and prefer the other No. 11s to make it that far, the Tigers dropped in the nationwide semifinals, finished turn off by eventual champion Louisville.


Just make it the end of the first round would’ve been a win for George Mason in 2006.

The Patriots’ finest guard, Tony Skinn, to be suspended for your NCAA tournament opener against perennial march powerhouse Michigan State.

Not only did GMU earn a convincing 75-65 win over the Spartans, yet they beat out Tyler Hansbrough and also North Carolina in the next round.

In the elite Eight, a UConn team featuring five future NBA breeze picks was lucky simply to take the Patriots to overtime prior to the underdogs come out on top, becoming the second No. 11 seed ever before to crash the last Four.


No last Four team in background has generated much more controversy by its mere consists in the tournament ar than Virginia Commonwealth.

The Rams acquired one that the last at-large bids easily accessible a year ago, encountering USC in a first Four matchup of No. 11 seeds.

Behind outstanding three-point shooting and also Shaka Smart’s stifling pressure defense, VCU not only crushed the Trojans but also routed sixth-seeded Georgetown and also third-seeded Purdue.

The magic almost ran out against Florida State, however a one-point victory over the Seminoles and a decisive 71-61 loss of top-seeded Kansas sent the Rams to the last Four (making them the 3rd No. 11 seeds to acquire there).

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