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April 22, 2013
The most difficult series of opponents (from a seed perspective) that a National Champion ever had to face was the one beaten by Villanova in the very first field of 64. The '85 Cats beat two #1 seeds and two #2 seeds - only four other teams (UNC in 1993 and 2009 and Kentucky in 1996 and 2012) have had to beat four Top 4 seeds. Villanova's 2 wins over #1 seeds is only surpassed by Arizona's 3 wins over #1 seeds in 1997. Oddly enough, that same Arizona team faced 3 Double-Digit-Seeded Teams in their other three wins - resulting in an overall Seed Total that is in the middle of the all-time pack. The only other team to face 3 Double-Digit-Seeded Teams was UNLV in 1990. The '90 Running Rebels faced the easiest path ever to a National Title. They faced a 16, 8, 11, and 12 seed to get to the Final Four and then found a 4 and a 3 seed standing between them and the Title. The 1990 UNLV squad was the only National Champion never to face a #1 or a #2 seed. The '00 Spartans and the 2013 Louisville Cardinals faced the weakest Final Four field of any Champions when they faced an 8 and a 5 seed and a 9 and a 4 seed respectively.