The NCAA basketball tournament is referred to as March Madness for a reason.

Part of the beauty of March is the incredible Cinderella stories that become lovable underdogs and bust everyone’s brackets, or the down-on-their-luck mainstays that sneak into the field and make some noise.

In 2022, we saw the No. 8-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels make it to the national championship game, ultimately losing to the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks 72-69.

If UNC was able to hold on, they would have been in the same conversation with the 1985 Villanova Wildcats as the lowest seed to win a title.

On April 1, 1985, the Wildcats secured an NCAA men’s basketball championship title with a 66-64 win over Big East rival Georgetown.

Villanova’s Ed Pinckney celebrating after his team’s historical upset

On their way to being crowned champions, the team had a legendary run — defeating a No. 1-seeded Michigan, two No. 2 seeds in North Carolina and Memphis, and No. 5-seeded Maryland.

Their epic championship victory over Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas occurred in college basketball’s final year without a shot clock. The Wildcats had a staggering 17 turnovers and only attempted 28 field goals, making 22 of them.

1985 was the start of the 64-team tournament, and since then, the lowest seeds to make the final besides Villanova were all No. 8 seeds as well: 2011 Butler, 2014 Kentucky and 2022 North Carolina.

There have been a fair share of Cinderella teams over the years but not all of them make the national championship.

Some of the most notable runs are the five 11 seeds who have made it to the Final Four: LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011 are amongst those teams. Most recently, Loyola Chicago in 2018 and UCLA in 2021 got to the Final Four.

Rollie Massimino carried off the court after Villanova's win over Georgetown.
Rollie Massimino carried off the court after Villanova’s win over Georgetown.
Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

One of the most feel-good storylines in recent memory was No. 15 Saint Peter’s, who managed to crack the Elite Eight, falling to the aforementioned North Carolina team.

As we turn our heads to the 2023 tournament, what magical runs will we see being added to the history books?