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A 'Sweet 16' Of Odd And Compelling Sweet 16 Matchups

Stephen Curry-led Davidson topped Wisconsin 73-56 to advance to the regional final. (John Biever/SI) In 2008, Stephen Curry led Davidson to a 73-56 win over Wisconsin 73-56 to advance to the regional final. (John Biever/SI)

A No. 3 vs. a No. 15 is unprecedented as a Sweet 16 matchup, but that doesn't mean we haven't had our fair share of odd pairings and underdog success in this round. Here is a "Sweet 16" of Sweet 16 matchups from the 64 (and more)- team NCAA tournament era. FGCU fans, take hope!

2011: No. 11 VCU 72, No. 10 Florida State 71 (OT)

This was the one close call on the Rams' shocking surge to the Final Four. VCU won it on a layup off an inbounds pass in the final seconds of overtime. It was very close to a five-second violation.

2008: No. 10 Davidson 73, No. 3 Wisconsin 56

After Stephen Curry and the Wildcats had rallied from 17 down to take out No. 2 seed Georgetown in the round of 32, they hammered the Badgers to advance to the regional final against Kansas, where they missed a last-second three that would have sent them to the Final Four.

2006: No. 11 George Mason 63, No. 7 Wichita State 55

A rematch of that year's BracketBusters game that may have been why George Mason made the NCAAs in the first place, the Patriots took this one as well and then stunned No. 1 seed UConn to make the Final Four.

2002: No. 2 Connecticut 71, No. 11 Southern Illinois 59

Young Emeka Okafor and Caron Butler had enough for the Salukis (Bruce Weber, hello!). Ben Gordon came off the bench? Yikes.

2002: No. 10 Kent State 78, No. 3 Pittsburgh 73

Future stud NFL tight end Antonio Gates was on this Golden Flashes team that was a game away from the Final Four. They lost by 12 to Mike Davis' Indiana team in the Elite Eight.

2002: No. 12 Missouri 82, No. 8 UCLA 73

Quin Snyder's greatest moment in Columbia, as he took the Tigers to the Elite Eight after another underachieving regular season.

2001: No. 11 Temple 84, No. 7 Penn State 72

One final NCAA tournament hurrah for John Chaney, who made his fifth and final trip to the Elite Eight. Sadly for Temple fans, he also subsequently lost his fifth regional final.

2000: No. 7 Tulsa 80, No. 6 Miami 71

This was the beginning of Bill Self's rise as he took the Golden Hurricane to the regional final. They lost by four to No. 8 seed North Carolina in one of the weirdest (by seed) Elite Eight games ever.

2000: No. 6 Purdue 75, No. 10 Gonzaga 66

The Zags missed out on a chance to make it back-to-back Elite Eights in Mark Few's first season in charge.

1999: No. 3 Kentucky 58, No. 10 Miami (Ohio) 43

Wally Szczerbiak's best efforts weren't good enough for Miami against the holdovers from the previous year's national champions.

1998: No. 8 Rhode Island 74, No. 13 Valparaiso 68

Contrary to many people's memories, this was not the Lamar Odom Rams. This URI team was led by Cuttino Mobley and Tyson Wheeler. They lost by a deuce to Stanford for the trip to the Final Four.

1997: No. 10 Providence 71, No. 14 Tennessee-Chattanooga 65

The most unexpected Sweet 16 game ever, the Friars (led by Austin Croshere, but remembered mostly for point guard God Shammgod) ended the miracle run of the Moccasins.

1994: No. 9 Boston College 77, No. 5 Indiana 68

Howard Eisley and the Eagles stunned North Carolina in the second round and then beat the Hoosiers to pop up in the Elite Eight. There they lost to "Da Meat Hook" and Florida, who had slipped by UConn in the Sweet 16.

1991: No. 10 Temple 72, No. 3 Oklahoma State 63 (OT)

Temple got a break in the second round, drawing 15-seed Richmond, the first 15 to win a game in the NCAAs. Their run ended in the regional final, when they lost to 1-seed North Carolina by three.

1990: No. 11 Loyola Marymount 62, No. 7 Alabama 60

Bo Kimble and Co. kept the miracle alive for one more game. Then they ran into UNLV.

1986: No. 7 Navy 71, No. 14 Cleveland State 70

David Robinson > Mouse McFadden, barely. The Midshipmen fell to Army grad Mike Krzyzewski and Duke in the regional final. By the way, how did two other Midshipmen take more shots than The Admiral in this game?
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