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In 1961 the Colonials of George Washington University made the NCAA tournament with a 9-16 record. George Washington holds the distinction of having the worst regular season record to have made the NCAA Tournament. To date, no team with a worse regular season record has qualified.

Here are the worst six teams (by winning percentage) to make the NCAA tournament. Note - each team was seeded last in their region and lost in the First Round.

  • 0.360 - 1961 George Washington (9-16) Loss 84-67 vs Princeton
  • 0.379 - 1995 Florida International (11-18) Loss 92-56 vs UCLA
  • 0.379 - 1996 Central Florida (11-18) Loss 92-70 vs Massachusetts
  • 0.379 - 1997 Fairfield (11-18) Loss 82-74 vs North Carolina
  • 0.400 - 1999 Florida A&M (12-18) Loss 99-58 vs Duke
  • 0.400 - 2005 Oakland, Mich (12-18) Loss 96-68 vs North Carolina

In perhaps the best performance ever by the worst tourney team, the 16th seed Stags of Fairfield University nearly defeated Dean Smith and his #1 seed North Carolina Tarheels 82-74 in the 1997 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regionals. The Stags held a 37-28 lead early in the 2nd half.

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Q: Which team had the worst record in NCAA history yet went on to make it into the tournament?
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