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Joe Boozell | | March 19, 2021

History of 4 seeds vs. 13 seeds in March Madness

All-time 13 seed upsets in March Madness

North Texas joined the list of No. 13 seeds pulling out upsets, as the Mean Green upset No. 4 Purdue 78-69 in overtime in the 2021 NCAA tournament.

Here's everything you need to know about 13 seeds vs. 4 seeds in March Madness.

History of 13 vs. 4 seeds in March Madness

Thirty 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Going into the 2021 NCAA tournament No. 13 seeds had a 29-111 record all-time. That equated to a 20.71 winning percentage.

Here are all of the times it's ever happened.

13-seed upsets over 4-seeds
Year Result Score
1985 Navy def. LSU 78-55
1987 Missouri State def. Clemson 65-60
1987 Xavier def. Missouri 70-69
1988 Richmond def. Indiana 72-69
1989 Middle Tennessee def. Florida State 97-83
1991 Penn State def. UCLA 74-69
1992 Southwestern Louisiana def. Oklahoma 87-83
1993 Southern def. Georgia Tech 93-78
1995 Manhattan def. Oklahoma 77-67
1996 Princeton def. UCLA 43-41
1998 Valparaiso def. Ole Miss 70-69
1999 Oklahoma def. Arizona 61-60
2001 Indiana State def. Oklahoma 70-68
2001 Kent State def. Indiana 77-73
2002 UNC Wilmington def. USC 93-89
2003 Tulsa def. Dayton 84-71
2005 Vermont def. Syracuse 60-57
2006 Bradley def. Kansas 77-73
2008 Siena def. Vanderbilt 83-62
2008 San Diego def. UConn 70-69
2009 Cleveland State def. Wake Forest 84-69
2010 Murray State def. Vanderbilt 66-65
2011 Morehead State def. Louisville 62-61
2012 Ohio def. Michigan 65-60
2013 La Salle def. Kansas State 63-61
2016 Hawaii def. California 77-66
2018 Buffalo def. Arizona 89-69
2018 Marshall def. Wichita State 81-75
2019 UC Irvine def. Kansas State 70-64
2021 North Texas def. Purdue 78-69 (OT)

Some more tidbits:

  • Basketball legend David Robinson was on the right side of the first 13-4 upset in 1985. Robinson's Navy Midshipmen cruised to a 78-55 victory over fourth-seeded LSU in the opening round.
  • Of the 29 upset victories, six finished in the Sweet 16, starting with Richmond in 1988 and most recently with La Salle in 2013. Those wins in the first round were all by five points or fewer.
  • The No. 13 seed is 6-2 in games decided by one point.
  • Multiple 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds in four years: 1987, 2001, 2008 and 2018.
  • No 13 seed has upset a 4 seed more than once in school history.

How much more likely is a 13-4 upset than a 14-3 upset?

Twenty-one 14 seeds have upset 3 seeds since 1985, giving them a 21-119 record all-time. That equates to a 15.0 win percentage. Thus, a 13-4 upset is 5.71 percentage points more likely to happen than a 14-3.

Here are all of the times it's ever happened.

14 vs. 3 March Madness upsets
Year Result Score
1986 Cleveland State def. Indiana 83-79
1986 Arkansas Little-Rock def. Notre Dame 90-83
1987 Austin Peay def. Illinois 68-67
1988 Murray State def. NC State 78-75
1989 Siena def. Stanford 80-78
1990 Northern Iowa def. Missouri 74-71
1991 Xavier def. Nebraska 89-84
1992 ETSU def. Arizona 87-80
1995 Old Dominion def. Villanova 89-81
1995 Weber State def. Michigan State 79-72
1997 Chattanooga def. Georgia 73-70
1998 Richmond def. South Carolina 62-61
1999 Weber State def. North Carolina 76-74
2005 Bucknell def. Kansas 64-63
2006 Northwestern State def. Iowa 64-63
2010 Ohio def. Georgetown 97-83
2013 Harvard def. New Mexico 68-62
2014 Mercer def. Duke 78-71
2015 UAB def. Iowa State 60-59
2015 Georgia State def. Baylor 57-56
2016 Stephen F. Austin def. West Virginia 70-56

How much more likely is a 12-5 upset than a 13-4 upset?

Going into 2021, there have been 50 12-5 upsets since 1985, meaning it's happened 21 more times than the 13-4. Therefore, it is 15 percentage points more likely to occur.

Recent/best highlights of 13-4 upsets

One of the most memorable games in NCAA tournament history was a 13-4 upset.

Valparaiso won in dramatic fashion over Ole Miss in 1998. With 2.5 seconds left in the game with a two-point deficit, the Crusaders had one final shot to tie or win. Inbounding from the opposite baseline, Jamie Sykes threw an inbounds pass to Bill Jenkins at midcourt, who tapped it to Bryce Drew, who tossed up a desperation 23-foot 3-pointer. The shot went down as time expired to send Valpo to the second round. 

And here are some of the most recent 13-4 upsets. First, UC Irvine's win over Kansas State:

UC Irvine upsets Kansas State for first tournament win

Buffalo's blowout win over Arizona:

Buffalo upsets Arizona, 89-68

Marshall's tight 2018 win against Wichita State:

Jon Elmore scores 27 points in Marshall's win

And Hawaii's first NCAA tournament win ever, which came against California in 2016.

First Round: Hawai'i upsets Cal

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