Immediate Results: Northwestern Joined List of Newcomers Winning Debut
First-time entrants into the NCAA playoffs such as Northwestern and UC Davis usually get no sympathy. The average seeding was #14 for the more than 40 schools making their tournament debuts since the bracket included at least 64 teams.
Newbies such as Northwestern assert themselves when they receive a decent draw. A majority of first-timers with seedings of 10th or better in the late 1980s and early 1990s won their first-round games, including all three times when they had better seeds (sixth-seeded Florida in 1987, seventh-seeded New Orleans in 1987 and eighth-seeded Seton Hall in 1988).
Of the schools making their tournament debuts since the field expanded to at least 52 teams, almost one-fourth of them survived the first round. Three opening-round winners in the mid-1980s also won their next game - Georgia '83, Cleveland State '86 and Florida '87. Georgia '83 was the ultimate underdog. The Bulldogs, the only first-time entrant seeded better than fifth (No. 4 seed in the East Regional) since the field expanded to at least 48 teams in 1980, reached the Final Four.
Georgetown and Missouri each lost twice to NCAA playoff virgins in the seeding era. UC Davis and Northwestern joined the following chronological list of newcomers winning their debuts since seeding was introduced in 1979: