The 10 most-shocking Final Four teams
by Chris Mahr, Special for USA TODAY Sports
This year’s Final Four features a very unlikely Wichita State team that has turned heads and busted brackets. The fine folks at Lost Lettermen take a look at the most surprising teams to ever reach the Final Four …
10. 2000 North Carolina (No. 8 Seed)
In Bill Guthridge’s third season as the Tar Heels’ head coach, his team was on the verge of implosion after a first round exit in 1999 to Weber State and a 13-loss regular season that made the Heels feel lucky to draw a No. 8 seed in the 2000 Big Dance.
But a talented Carolina team featuring the likes of Joe Forte, Brendan Haywood and Ed Cota woke up come tourney time, knocking off No. 1 seed Stanford in the second round and surviving Tennessee and Tulsa to reach the Final Four in Indianapolis.
9. 2000 Wisconsin (No. 8 Seed)
There was an extra dose of Madness in March 2000, with Wisconsin joining North Carolina as a second No. 8 seed in the Final Four. Like UNC, the Badgers had lost 13 games entering the tournament. They were just .500 in Big Ten play and had lost to South Florida and Northern Illinois in the regular season.
But Dick Bennett’s tenacious defense stunned top-seed Arizona in the second round, LSU in the Sweet Sixteen and Purdue in the Elite Eight, as none of them scored over 60 points. That run ended in the Final Four against Michigan State, where Wisconsin’s defense wasn’t enough to make up for a lackluster offense in a 53–41 loss.
8. 1984 Virginia (No. 7 Seed)
Virginia was a college basketball power during the early 1980s but was expected to struggle in 1983–1984 — its first season of the post-Ralph Sampson Era.
And struggle the Cavaliers did. UVA entered the ’84 Big Dance with 11 losses (they had just nine the previous two seasonscombined) and a 6-8 ACC record. In a field of just 53 teams, the No. 7 seed was especially low.
Virginia just kept finding ways to win in the tournament. A one-point victory over Iona in the first round, an overtime win over second-seeded Arkansas in the … [For more on The 10 most-shocking Final Four teams, click here.]