March Madness has almost arrived! Here we will examine the history of the 4 seed versus the 13 seed and deliver game lines for this year’s matchups.
The No. 4 seeds are often those teams ranked between 12-20 in the final Associated Press poll. They are often teams from the power conferences or the best teams from the next tier of conferences. The No. 13 seeds are almost always from the smaller or non-power conferences, and most of them earned an automatic bid by winning their conference tournaments.
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2022 NCAA Tournament: 4 vs. 13 seeds
Seedings for the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament were revealed on Sunday, March 13. This year’s No. 4 vs. No. 13 matchups, higher seed listed first:
- West: Arkansas vs. Vermont
- East: UCLA vs. Akron
- South: Illinois vs. Chattanooga
- Midwest: Providence vs. South Dakota State
Now, let’s see what the market says about each of these games.
UCLA Vs. Akron
UCLA played clear second banana to Arizona in the Pac-12, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a national title contender. One year after making the Final Four, the Bruins overcame an early beating from Gonzaga to finish No. 8 in KenPom’s national efficiency rankings.
Akron finished third in the MAC but caught some heat in the conference tournament. They beat the top two teams in the conference, Toledo and Kent State, en route to securing an unlikely NCAA berth.
Arkansas Vs. Vermont
Arkansas finished fourth in a strong year for the SEC but had numerous big wins, topping the likes of Kentucky, Tennessee and Auburn during the regular season.
Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, they did draw what KenPom rates as the strongest No. 13 seed in Vermont. The Catamounts completely demolished the America East, finishing 17-1 in conference.
Providence Vs. South Dakota State
The market has been far less impressed with Providence than the media voters, consistently hanging short lines against seemingly weaker teams all season. KenPom’s efficiency numbers explain why, as they barely rate Providence in the top 50 despite a regular season Big East title.
The shockingly low line here also reflects Summit League champ South Dakota State being one of the more dangerous dark horses in the field. They wound up No. 71 in adjusted efficiency, ran the table in conference, and won 30 games overall.
Illinois Vs. Chattanooga
Illinois has to be disappointed to fall to a No. 4 seed after tying for the regular season title in the ultra-deep Big Ten. However, they went one-and-done in the conference tournament and did not have a strong non-conference performance.
Chattanooga won the regular season title pretty easily in the Southern Conference but needed a viral buzzer beater to squeak by Furman and earn their berth.
Bracket and odds
Below we will provide a 2022 NCAA Tournament bracket with odds for each game.
Last year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was an all-timer in terms of upsets and two of the biggest came with 13 seeds taking down 4s. Thirteen seed Ohio sprung an upset on Virginia and North Texas was the other 13 to prevail, beating Purdue. Here is a look at all of the final scores from last year’s tourney between 4 seeds and 13 seeds.
- 13 Ohio 62, 4 Virginia 58
- 4 Florida State 64, 13 UNC Greensboro 54
- 13 North Texas 78, 4 Purdue 69
- 4 Oklahoma State 69, 13 Liberty 60
North Texas couldn’t make it two monumental upsets in a row as it fell to Villanova in the next round. Ohio was also ousted in the second round, losing to Creighton. Four seed Florida State reached the Sweet 16 before losing to 1 seed Michigan and No. 4 Oklahoma State fell to 12 seed Oregon State in the second round.
The biggest opening round upset by seeding in the 2019 NCAA Tournament came in the 4 versus 13 match-up. In the South Region, Big West Conference champ and 13 seed UC Irvine (+3.5) took out Big 12 regular season co-champion Kansas State, 70-64. It was the Anteaters 17th straight win and 31st of the season. The other three No. 4 seeds won with two point spread covers. Kansas (-7) from the Big 12 rolled over CAA’s Northeastern, 87-53. Two teams from the ACC were winners with Virginia Tech (-10) beating Atlantic 10 entrant St. Louis, 66-52. Florida State (-8.5) held off American East champion Vermont, 76-69.
The No. 4 seeds went 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS.
Virginia Tech and Florida State beat two No. 12 seeds in the Round of 32. Kansas lost by double digits to No. 5 and future Final Four entrant Auburn. And Cal Irvine was also a double-digit loser to No. 12 Oregon.
Both Virginia Tech and Florida State lost to No. 1 seeds in the Sweet Sixteen. Duke escaped at the buzzer to beat Virginia Tech 75-73, and Florida State was no match for Gonzaga, 72-58.
Recall that the 2018 NCAA Tournament produced a pair of big upsets in the 4 vs. 13 match-up. Buffalo (+9) destroyed Arizona 89-68 and Marshall (+13.5) toppled Wichita State 81-75. The No. 13 seeded underdogs went 4-0 ATS.
History of the 4 seed versus 13 seed
No. 4 seeds are 65-19 versus No. 13 seeds since 2000.
The biggest blowout came in 2013 when No. 4 seed Syracuse man-handled Montana 81-34 as a 13-point favorite.
The biggest margin upset by the underdog was in 1985 when David Robinson and No. 13 seed Navy crushed LSU 78-55. The other two blowout winners by 13th-seeded teams were Buffalo’s 2018 win over Arizona 89-68 and No. 13 Siena’s shocker over Vanderbilt 83-62 in 2008.
One of the most memorable moments in Nos. 4 versus 13 seeds in NCAA Tournament history was the buzzer-beater by No. 13 seed Valparaiso in 1998. Trailing 69-67 with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Valpo inbounded the ball from its own baseline past midcourt. That player tapped the ball to guard Bryce Drew, the coach’s son, who nailed a 23-foot 3-pointer for the miraculous win.
The success of 4 and 13 seeds in March Madness
Since 1985, there have been 31 upsets of No. 13 seeds over No. 4 seeds with a record of 31-113. Six times a 13th-seeded team has advanced to the Sweet 16; most recently was LaSalle (2013) and Ohio (2012), who both lost.
There has never been a No. 13 seed advance to the Elite Eight.
In 1997, the Arizona Wildcats won the National Championship as a No. 4 seed and beat three No. 1 seeds to take the title. Two other No. 4 seeds have advanced to the National Championship game but lost.
No. 4 seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight 21 times and won 13, but those 13 No. 4 seeds are 3-10 in trying to reach the Final Four.