No No. 16 seed has ever defeated a No. 1 in an NCAA Tournament. Seth Davis isn’t picking it, as Pablo Torre inevitably will later this week, but he thinks one 16-seed has a “miracle” chance.
Davis, of CBS Sports and The Athletic, has been giving his thoughts about the bracket on Twitter. He doesn’t think they’ll beat Kansas, but he likes Penn as a 16-seed.
From Seth Davis:
I would never pick a 16 to beat a 1, but if ever there were a 16-seed that could pull off that miracle, it's Penn. @TheAthleticCBB
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 12, 2018
If there is a No. 16 that is underseeded, it is probably Penn. The Quakers tied for first in the Ivy League during the regular season, and won the conference tournament today.
This afternoon, the Quakers had a scare against Harvard, the Ivy’s recent men’s basketball powerhouse. The Crimson made the NCAA Tournament from 2012-2015, and won games in 2013 and 2014.
Playing at its famous home arena The Palestra, Penn ran out to a lead of as much as 13 early in the second half. That’s when Harvard started to chip away.
The Crimson tied the game at 55 with 5:40 left on a Christian Zujang layup, who hit an and-one to take the lead. On the next possession, Harvard’s Chris Lewis hit a layup to extend the lead to three.
Caleb Wood hit back-to-back threes to get Penn back on top, and the two teams dueled it out down the stretch. Ryan Betley put together an old-fashioned three-point play to stretch Penn’s lead to 66-60.
The Quakers held on to win 68-65. Guard Darnell Foreman led the way with 19, while Betley chipped in 17.
The Ivy League has done pretty well in Tournament play as of late. On top of Harvard’s success, No. 12 seed Princeton nearly picked off Notre Dame in the first round last year, falling 60-58, Yale beat Baylor and gave Duke a run as a 12-seed in 2016, and Cornell made it all the way to the Sweet 16 in 2010.
There’s a very good chance that Penn is under-seeded at 16, and Kansas may not be as good as your classic No. 1 seed. Still, I’m not buying it, and to be fair, neither is Davis.