The origin of the word “underdog” can be traced back to the world of dogfighting in the 19th century. In dogfighting, two dogs would fight against each other, and spectators would place bets on the outcome of the fight. The stronger and more dominant dog would be the “top dog,” while the weaker and less dominant dog would be the “underdog.”
The term “underdog” was later adopted into the English language to describe a person or team that is expected to lose in a competition or contest. The term is often used in sports to describe a team that is not favored to win a game or a series. The underdog is seen as the disadvantaged or weaker party in the competition, and their victory is often seen as a surprise or an upset. Today, the term “underdog” is also used more broadly to describe any person or group that is at a disadvantage or facing overwhelming odds.
1. Loyola-Chicago (2018): Loyola-Chicago became the darlings of the 2018 tournament, making it to the Final Four as an 11th seed. They defeated Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kansas State on their way to the Final Four. Key moments included Clayton Custer’s game-winning shot against Tennessee and their 69-57 win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight.
2. George Mason (2006): George Mason became the first team from the Colonial Athletic Association to make the Final Four in 2006. They defeated Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State, and Connecticut on their way to the Final Four. Key moments included Tony Skinn’s game-winning three-pointer against Michigan State and their 86-84 win over Connecticut in overtime in the Elite Eight.
3. Butler (2010): Butler made the Final Four in 2010 as a 5th seed, defeating UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, and Kansas State on their way. Key moments included Gordon Hayward’s buzzer-beater to beat Murray State and their 63-59 win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight.
4. Villanova (1985): Villanova made the Final Four as an 8th seed in 1985, defeating Dayton, top-seeded Michigan, Maryland, and North Carolina on their way. Key moments included their 66-64 upset of Michigan and their 56-44 win over North Carolina in the Final Four.
5. VCU (2011): VCU made the Final Four as an 11th seed in 2011, defeating USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and Kansas on their way. Key moments included their 71-61 upset of Kansas in the Elite Eight.
6. Wichita State (2013): Wichita State made the Final Four as a 9th seed in 2013, defeating Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, La Salle, and Ohio State on their way. Key moments included their 76-70 upset of Gonzaga and their 70-66 win over Ohio State in the Elite Eight.
7. LSU (1986): LSU made the Final Four as an 11th seed in 1986, defeating Purdue, Memphis, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky on their way. Key moments included their 83-81 upset of Georgia Tech and their 59-57 win over Kentucky in the Elite Eight.
8. Providence (1987): Providence made the Final Four as a 6th seed in 1987, defeating Alabama, Austin Peay, Georgetown, and Syracuse on their way. Key moments included their 88-73 upset of Georgetown and their 77-63 win over Syracuse in the Elite Eight.
9. Gonzaga (2017): Gonzaga made the Final Four for the first time in 2017, as a 1st seed, defeating South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia, and Xavier on their way. Key moments included their 61-58 win over West Virginia and their 83-59 win over Xavier in the Elite Eight.
10. Syracuse (2016): Syracuse made the Final Four as a 10th seed in 2016, defeating Dayton, Middle Tennessee, Gonzaga, and Virginia on their way. Key moments included their 68-62 upset of Virginia and their 68-62 win over Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.