Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
1977 Charlotte 49ers
Though they did get to the Final Four by beating two teams who finished the season ranked by the AP as No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, the 49ers both opened and closed the season ranked in the Top 20. An impressive feat, no doubt, but no more noteworthy than if either New Mexico or VCU had made it to the Final Four this past season.
1980 UCLA Bruins (No. 8 seed)
Hard to argue the Bruins making the Final Four would ever count as a surprise, but this was a UCLA team that failed to win its conference for the first time in 13 years, suffering a grand total of 10 losses after more than a decade without losing more than five games in a season.
Not only were they a No. 8 seed, but also they were matched up against the best team in the country. DePaul opened the season with 25 consecutive wins—one of which was a road win against UCLA—and was ranked No. 1 overall in the country when the tournament began. The Bruins dispatched DePaul by a score of 77-71 before advancing to the national championship game.
1984 Virginia Cavaliers (No. 7 seed)
The Cavaliers had an incredible run from 1979-83 with Ralph Sampson, but their first season without him went about as well as you might expect.
They opened the season 9-0—while playing just one team that was ranked in the Top 20 at any point in the season—but proceeded to lose 11 of their next 18 games. It's a minor miracle that they even made the tournament, but they had the good fortune of having to go through only one team that finished the season ranked in the Top 15.
2000 North Carolina Tar Heels (No. 8 seed)
After besting USC, Georgetown and Purdue in the Maui Invitational, the Tar Heels closed out the month of November ranked No. 2 in the country.
It was all downhill for the next three-and-a-half months, as they entered the 2000 NCAA tournament with a record of 18-13. However, they weren't even the most surprising No. 8 seed to make the Final Four that season.
2014 Kentucky Wildcats (No. 8 seed)
Like UCLA, a Final Four appearance for Kentucky can never truly be shocking. But the Wildcats went from preseason No. 1 to flirting with missing the tournament for a second straight year before earning the No. 8 seed in the region of death.
In case your short-term memory isn't so great, they ended Wichita State's undefeated season, defeated a hated rival in Louisville and eliminated a very good Michigan team—all in dramatic fashion.