*Note: All data is from the 1985 tournament to the present.
In the 2019 NCAA Tournament, UC Irvine became the 29th No. 13 seed to win in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Anteaters defeated No. 4 seed Kansas State 70-64 before losing to No. 12 seed Oregon 73-54 in the second round.
And in 2018, No. 13 seed Buffalo, with a 21-point win against No. 4 seed Arizona, and No. 13 seed Marshall, with a six-point win against No. 4 seed Wichita State, joined that list of No. 13 seeds to win in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
In total, there have been 29 No. 13 seeds that have upset a No. 4 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but they're 3-5 against No. 4 seeds in the last two tournaments.
Back in 1985 — the first year of the 64-team tournament — David Robinson’s Navy squad showed the college basketball world the No. 13 seed shouldn’t be taken lightly. That year, the Midshipmen cruised to a 78-55 victory against fourth-seeded LSU in the opening round. Though Navy didn’t advance past the second round, the win served as a reminder no team is safe, and the 23-point victory is still the largest by a No. 13 seed in its first game.
No. 13 seeds upset No. 4 seeds close to 21 percent of the time. And what stands out most is that many of those opening round wins have been won by five points or fewer. The No. 13 seed is 6-2 in games decided by one point.
|1985||No. 4 Loyola Chicago||No. 13 Iona||59-58|
|1987||No. 13 Xavier||No. 4 Missouri||70-69|
|1998||No. 13 Valparaiso||No. 4 Mississippi||70-69|
|1999||No. 13 Oklahoma||No. 4 Arizona||61-60|
|2004||No. 4 Wake Forest||No. 13 VCU||79-78|
|2008||No. 13 San Diego||No. 4 Connecticut||70-69|
|2010||No. 13 Murray State||No. 4 Vanderbilt||66-65|
|2011||No. 13 Morehead State||No. 4 Louisville||62-61|
Of the 28 upset victors, six reached the Sweet 16, starting with Richmond in 1988 and most recently with La Salle in 2013.
Valparaiso won in dramatic fashion against Ole Miss in 1998. With 2.5 seconds left in the game and down by two, the Crusaders had one final shot to win the game. Inbounding from the opposite baseline, Jamie Sykes threw an inbounds pass to Bill Jenkins at mid-court. Jenkins 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.