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How 4 Seeds do in the NCAA Men’s Tournament

Author: Andy Hammel | Last Updated: February 6, 2024

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The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament involves 64 teams, with each quarter of the March Madness bracket being seeded from 1 to 16. The Selection Committee judges the top four teams from the regular season as 1 seeds, followed by the next-best four teams as 2 seeds, and so on, until the lower seeds are awarded to champions of lesser-known athletic conferences.

March Madness is known for the surprising results that come from pitting all these teams together, with early-round upsets being remembered as much as the champions.

So, how do 4 seeds do during March Madness?

A History of March Madness 4 Seeds

Here's a breakdown of how 4 seeds have done relative to other top seeds since the Men's March Madness Tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

SeedNCAAM TitlesOverall Percentage of Tournaments
12465%
2514%
3411%
413%

As you can see, only one 4 seeds has ever captured the National Championship trailing 1-3 seeds by a considerable margin. The team to earn that distinction was the Arizona Wildcats who cut down the nets in 1997.

In the 37-year run of the current NCAA tournament format, 13 teams have entered as 4 seeds and advanced to the Final Four. Only three of those teams advanced to the Finals.

For the opening round, at least 4 seeds boast an impressive 117-31 record against 13 seeds since 1985.

None of the 4 seeds allowed an upset in the 2022 NCAA tournament, However, a pair of 4 seeds – Purdue and Virginia – went down in the first round in 2021 busting plenty of brackets in the process. It was the fifth instance of two 4 seeds losing opening round upsets in the same tournament, with other such instances happening in 1987, 2001, 2008, and 2018.

With at least one 4 seed facing first-round elimination in 10 of the last 13 tournaments, they’re no lock to make deep tournament runs. Still, teams don’t earn 4 seeds by accident – they’re among the best teams in the bracket. Expect to see at least a few hang around to the second weekend and beyond.

Andy Hammel

Andy is our resident NFL expert, but his knowledge extends to all corners of the sports betting industry. Andy is always tracking betting trends and keeping you up to date on all the relevant news in your home state.