Elite Eight

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NCAA Elite Eight logo

In the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship or the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship, the "Elite Eight" comprises the final eight teams, representing the regional finals, or national quarterfinals. In Division I and Division III, the Elite Eight consists of the two teams in each of the four regional championship games. The winners advance to the Final Four. Since 1997, when the NCAA trademarked the phrase,[1] in Division II, the Elite Eight consists of the eight winners of the eight Division II regions. Like the Division I Final Four, the Division II Elite Eight games are all held in one predetermined location.

In the men's Division I, the lowest-seeded team ever to reach this round in the modern 64 team tournament era is #15 seed Saint Peter's University in 2022.

Two #12 seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight: Missouri in 2002, and the #12 Oregon State Beavers in 2021.

Nine #11 seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight: LSU (1986), Loyola Marymount (1990), Temple (2001), George Mason (2006), Virginia Commonwealth (2011), Dayton (2014), Xavier (2017), Loyola Chicago (2018), and UCLA (2021). There have only been four seasons where two double-digit seeded teams have made it to the Elite Eight: 1990 (10-seed Texas and 11-seed LMU); 2002 (12-seed Missouri and 10-seed Kent State); 2021, where both were from the same conference (12-seed Oregon State and 11-seed UCLA); and 2022 (10-seed Miami and 15-seed Saint Peter's).

On average, three of the four #1 seeds make it to the Elite Eight each year. In men's play, the Elite Eight exists intact for less than 24 hours between the second Friday evening and the following Saturday afternoon of the tournament. The Elite Eight also represents the halfway mark of the men's tournament since each qualifying team must win three rounds (games) to reach the national quarterfinals, with three rounds remaining to reach and win the national championship game.

Like "March Madness," the phrase "Elite Eight" originally referred to the Illinois High School Boys Basketball Championship, the single-elimination high school basketball tournament run by the Illinois High School Association. When the IHSA finals were reduced from sixteen to eight teams in 1956, a replacement nickname for Sweet Sixteen was needed, and Elite Eight won popular favor. The IHSA trademarked the term in 1995; the trademark rights are now held by the March Madness Athletic Association, a joint venture between the NCAA and IHSA formed after a 1996 court case allowed both organizations to use "March Madness" for their own tournaments.

The Elite Eight can also refer to the eight NCAA Division I baseball teams that reach the College World Series.

In addition, the term is often colloquially used to denote quarterfinalists in the four major North American professional sports; i.e., the teams that reach the American League Division Series and the National League Division Series in Major League Baseball, the Divisional Playoffs in either conference of the National Football League, and the conference semifinals in the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

Notable Elite Eight teams in the men's Division I NCAA tournament[edit]


  1. ^ "Trademark record for serial no. 74687330 (Elite Eight)". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  2. ^ Bruins were finally floored