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.
|Seed||NCAAM Titles||Overall Percentage of Tournaments|
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.