March Madness, NCAA

The 17 NCAA Basketball Programs With the Most Elite 8 Appearances in March Madness History

The first and second round of March Madness is complete, the field was trimmed by more than half the selected college programs than when the tournament kicked off with 68 teams at the inception. Now with the Sweet 16 also behind us, we only have eight teams remaining in the bracket. That means the Elite Eight is the next round up and it’s quickly approaching.

You likely reached is when you Googled your curiosity about which college programs have had the most appearances in the Round of Eight. If you have a sense of which teams advanced to the Sweet 16 the most times, you wouldn’t have to wager too much on the teams you’ll find in the following list.

Most Elite Eight Appearances (Updated 2022)
Rank School Elite 8s Year
1 Kentucky Wildcats 38 2019
2 North Carolina Tarheels 29 2022
3 Kansas Jayhawks 24 2022
4 Duke Blue Devils 24 2024
5 UCLA Bruins 22 2021
6 Michigan Wolverines 14 2021
6 Michigan State Spartans 14 2019
6 Ohio State Buckeyes 14 2012
6 Villanova Wildcats 14 2018
6 Kansas State Wildcats 14 2023
11 Connecticut Huskies 13 2023
12 Arkansas Razorbacks 12 2022
13 Indiana Hoosiers 11 2002
13 Louisville Cardinals 11 2009
13 Arizona Wildcats 11 2015
13 Oklahoma State Cowboys 11 2004
17 Syracuse Orangeman 10 2016
17 Illinois Illini 10 2024

In the 2024 tournament, UConn is coming together at the right time; absolutely dominating their four opponents by an average margin of victory of 27.75 points. They have steamrolled their way to their 13th Elite Eight appearance nearing the top 10 of the list above.

The 2023 March Madness was the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament that no #1 seed made it into the Elite Eight. And it’s a very rare occasion to not see any of the traditional big name college basketball programs to show up. No Duke or Kentucky. No North Carolina. No Kansas or UCLA.

Blue Bloods Dominate Elite Eight History

If you know college basketball history, then it comes as no surprise that the bluest of Blue Bloods sits at the top of this list; the Kentucky Wildcats have appeared in 38 Elite Eights. Coming in a distant second is the North Carolina Tarheels with 29 — for those of you that skipped your stats class — that’s nine fewer Elite Eight appearances than #1 Kentucky.

Rounding out the top five in regards to college programs that have advanced into the Elite Eight the most times are the Kansas Jayhawks (25), Duke Blue Devils (23) and UCLA Bruins (21) – all official Blue Bloods and college programs that are synonymous with March Madness.

From there, it’s a 50% drop in Elite Eight appearances. Michigan State (14), Ohio State (14) and the University of Michigan Wolverines (13) might not be considered Blue Bloods, but these three Big Ten teams, along with Villanova (14) and Kansas State (13), form the top ten list of college programs that appeared.

And it should come as no surprise that these same college programs clock in with the most Final Four appearances.

Leave a Comment