The term Elite Eight refers to the final eight teams in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship or the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship. In Division I, the Elite Eight consists of the teams in the final game of each of the tournament's four regional brackets. The winners advance to the Final Four. Since 1997 when the NCAA copyrighted the phrase, in Division II the Elite Eight consists of the eight winners of the eight Division II regions. Like the Division I Final Four, the Division II Elite Eight games are all held in one predetermined location.
The lowest seeded team ever to reach this round in the modern 64 team tournament era was #12 Missouri in 2002. They upset #5 seed Miami (Fl.), #4 seed Ohio St., and #8 seed UCLA in succession before losing to #2 seed Oklahoma in the West regional that year.
Like March Madness, the phrase Elite Eight originally applied to the boys' basketball tournament run by the Illinois High School Association. When the IHSA finals were reduced from sixteen to eight teams in 1956, a replacement nickname for Sweet Sixteen was needed, and Elite Eight won popular favor. The IHSA trademarked the term in 1995.
Elite Eight can also refer to the eight NCAA Division I baseball teams that reach the College World Series.