Of course, Michigan fans were excited to see UCLA pull off the huge upset Sunday night, taking down No. 2 Alabama. This is obviously the preferable option between the two, and one I looked into last week. However, the No. 11 Bruins are not a team to take lightly in the Elite 8.
Since 2001, a total of 10 double-digit seeds have made it this far in the Tournament (not including either UCLA, or No. 12 Oregon State in the Midwest region). These teams have done surprisingly well, advancing to the Final Four a staggering 40 percent of the time:
- No. 11 Temple (2001) - L vs. No. 1 Michigan State
- No. 10 Kent State (2002) - L vs. No. 5 Indiana
- No. 12 Missouri (2002) - L vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
- No. 11 George Mason (2006) - W vs. No. 1 UConn
- No. 10 Davidson (2008) - L vs. No. 1 Kansas
- No. 11 VCU (2011) - W vs. No. 1 Kansas
- No. 11 Dayton (2014) - L vs. No. 1 Florida
- No. 10 Syracuse (2016) - W vs. No. 1 Virginia
- No. 11 Xavier (2017) - L vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
- No. 11 Loyola Chicago (2018) - W vs. No. 9 Kansas State
A few quick notes on these findings. All four teams that won in the Elite 8 wound up losing in the Final Four, though that does not really matter to us here. Also, the Loyola Chicago win can probably be ignored given that it was over another big underdog, so the advancement rate is more like 33 percent, which is still high.
Michigan is definitely the better team, and by any metric is the favorite to advance on Tuesday. However, history has seen three No. 1 seeds fall to double-digit seeds in the past 15 years, so it would not be a rare occurrence for the Wolverines to fall. These numbers should be a good reminder that any team to make it to the Elite 8 is a real threat, and this UCLA squad is no exception.