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Memorable NCAA Tournament Runs – Part 1, 50-26 5

Posted on March 15, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The 1994 Boston College Eagles ended a string of 14 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the UNC Tar Heels.

One of the many reasons that fans love March Madness is an underdog team managing to pull together a series of unlikely victories to help ruin someone’s bracket.

With that in mind, I have created the 50 most memorable NCAA tournament runs in recent history.

Every single run that is represented in this list is from 1979 through the present, since seeding was first used back in the 1979 tournament.

A team did not have to make it to the Final Four or win the national championship just to get mentioned on this list.

The more surprising the run they made, the higher the team is.

So, let’s begin the 50 most memorable NCAA tournament runs starting with 50:

50. 1982 Houston
The “Phi Slamma Jamma” made three consecutive Final Fours from 1982 through 1984, but their appearance in 1982 was a surprise.

As a #6 seed in the Midwest Regional, the Cougars defeated Alcorn State, then higher seeds Tulsa and Missouri, and beat fellow Cinderella Boston College in the regional final.

The Cougars would lose in the Final Four to eventual national champion North Carolina.

49. 1988 Rhode Island
The Rams became the first Atlantic 10 team to reach the Sweet 16, as the East region’s #11 seed knocked off Missouri and Syracuse, thanks to guard Tom Garrick’s combined 57 points in the two victories.

Rhode Island narrowly missed advancing to the Elite Eight as they lost in the Sweet 16 to Duke, 73-72.

48. 1982 UAB
In just their fifth season of basketball, the Blazers made it all the way to the Elite Eight.

The tournament field had 48 teams from 1980 through 1984 and since they were a #4 seed, UAB got a first round bye, but had to face defending national champion Indiana in the second round.

Led by guard Oliver Robinson, the Blazers defeated the Hoosiers 80-70, then shocked #1 seed and player of the year Ralph Sampson 68-66, to advance to the regional final where their run came to an end at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals.
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