What’s the lowest seed to make the Final Four in the Men’s NCAA Tournament?
Entering the 2021 NCAA Tournament there has been a total of four 11-seeds to make the Final Four, the lowest seed to ever reach this far in March Madness.
Now, there are five after 11-seed UCLA went from the First Four to the Final Four after upsetting Michigan. The Bruins needed a late comeback to beat Michigan State in overtime to even have a chance to make the Round of 64. But here they are two wins away from winning it all.
UCLA is the fifth 11-seed to make the Final Four and the first since Loyola in 2018.
The biggest underdog stories in the Final Four were all 11-seeds
The most recent Cinderella to make the Final Four wasn’t even that long ago. The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers made it to the Final Four in 2018. Head coach Porter Moser led the Ramblers to three wins by a combined four points in the first three upsets before a convincing win against Kansas State in the Elite Eight. The season came to an end against Michigan, but it made Sister Jean a household name.
Before Loyola in 2018, it was the 11-seeded VCU Rams led by head coach Shaka Smart who led the Rams to the Final Four after starting in the First Four. Smart capitalized on that run to take the head coach job with Texas but that didn’t work out so well after he just left the Longhorns for the Marquette job. Smart and Texas got upset by 14-seed Abilene Christian in the Round of 64 which had many thinking Smart was about to be fired. He left before that could happen.
It was George Mason in 2006 behind head coach Jim Larranaga who would later become the coach at Miami to lead the mid-major to some big-time upsets. The Patriots beat Michigan State, North Carolina and UConn on the way to the Final Four.
The first 11-seed to make the Final Four was in 1986 when the LSU Tigers shocked the world. LSU was lucky to even be in March Madness but head coach Dale Brown found a way to win in the NCAA Tournament. LSU basketball couldn’t beat Kentucky in the regular season but their upset over the Wildcats gave the Tigers one of their best and most improbable seasons in program history.
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