The 4-seeds might be the trickiest to pick. It’s likely that one will lose in the first round, but half of the last 12 Final 4’s included a 4-seed. The only thing you can be fairly certain of is that we won’t see one in the championship game, since it’s only happened three times.
Overall, 102 (of 128) 4-seeds advanced to the Round of 32. 59 went on to the Sweet 16, and 20 reached the Elite 8. Thirteen 4-seeds have reached the Final 4 and 3 made the championship game. One of them won the tournament.
Over the last 10 years, 32 (of 40) advanced to the Round of 32. 20 went on to the Sweet 16, and 6 reached the Elite 8. Four 4-seeds have reached the Final 4 and 1 made it to the championship game.
Record in the Second Round (by seed matchup)
- vs 5-seeds: 37-31
- vs 12-seeds: 23-12
Feats of Strength
- 2014’s tournament was the first to see all four 4-seeds reach the Sweet 16. They were UCLA, San Diego St, Michigan St, and Louisville.
- Twice, the Final 4 had two 4-seeds in it
- 1990 – Arkansas and Georgia Tech (both teams lost)
- 2013 – Syracuse and Michigan faced off against each other
- Arizona became the only team to win the tournament as a 4-seed in 1997.
We’ll probably see one of the 4-seeds fail to make it past their first game. One or two will make the Sweet 16, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see any 4-seeds still in the tournament past that.
Picking one 4-seed to lose in the first round is a decent approach. Pick at least one 4-seed to make the Sweet 16. Definitely don’t pick all four of them to get there – it’s only happened once. The Elite 8 is without a 4-seed half the time, so treat the 4-seed as a flex play past the Sweet 16. Base your 4-seed decisions on what you’ve got going on with other seeds in that part of the bracket.