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Joe Boozell | | March 11, 2023

History of 4 seeds vs. 13 seeds in March Madness

All-time 13 seed upsets in March Madness

North Texas and Ohio joined the list of No. 13 seeds pulling out upsets in 2021, as the Mean Green upset No. 4 Purdue 78-69 in overtime and the Bobcats beat Virginia 62-58.

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-one 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds since the NCAA tournament field expanded in 1985. Going into the 2022 NCAA tournament, No. 13 seeds had a 31-113 record all-time. That equated to a 21.53 winning percentage.

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

These are the times a 13 seed upset a 4 seed in men's March Madness
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)
2021 Ohio def. Virginia 62-58

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 31 upset victories, six finished in the Sweet 16, starting with Richmond in 1988 and most recently with La Salle in 2013.
  • The No. 13 seed is 6-2 in games decided by one point.
  • Multiple 13 seeds have upset 4 seeds in five years: 1987, 2001, 2008, 2018 and 2021.
  • 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-two 14 seeds have upset 3 seeds since 1985, giving them a 22-122 record all-time. That equates to a 15.28 win percentage. Thus, a 13-4 upset is more than 6 percentage points more likely to happen than a 14-3.

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

These are the times a 14 seed upset a 3 seed in men's March Madness
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
2021 Abilene Christian def. Texas 53-52

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

Going into 2022, there have been 51 12-5 upsets since 1985, meaning it's happened 20 more times than the 13-4. Therefore, it is about 14 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.

Ohio beating Virginia in 2021

Ohio vs. Virginia: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA Tournament

Also in 2021, North Texas defeated Purdue in OT

Purdue vs North Texas: Extended highlights from 2021 NCAA tournament

UC Irvine's win over Kansas State in 2019:

UC Irvine upsets Kansas State for first tournament win

Buffalo's blowout win over Arizona in 2018:

Buffalo upsets Arizona, 89-68

Marshall's tight 2018 win against Wichita State:

Jon Elmore scores 27 points in Marshall's win

Hawai'i's first NCAA tournament win ever, which came against California in 2016.

First Round: Hawai'i upsets Cal

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