March Madness: How Many #1 Seeds Will Make the Final Four?

Basketball Mar 16, 2022

March Madness is getting close to tip-off.

College basketball's three-week-long national championship tournament begins early on Thursday morning at 11:15 am ET, and then repeats again on Friday. Games run pretty much non-stop over the next two days and nights. Round 1 will cut the initial 68/64-team field down to 32. By the end of Round 4 a few weeks from now, we'll be down to the "Final Four."

The #1 seeded teams in each of the four regionals are the top-ranked teams for a very good reason. They typically own the best W-L records over the course of the regular season, which started last fall.

The question becomes--how many of these four top seeds typically make it to the Final Four? It's tempting to choose all the #1 seeds to reach the Final Four, but that's happened just once in the past 36 years.

So, just how many top seeds should you pick to reach the Final Four this year?

Note: Data provided by

(courtesy of

History indicates you should probably pick just one #1 seed to reach the Final Four if you're looking for a cut-and-dried rule regarding the top seeds.

A breakdown of #1 seeds in the Final Four since the NCAA tournament expanded to a 64-team format in 1985 reveals that 41 percent of the time, this is precisely what's happens (15 times). However, two #2 seeds made the Final Four in that same span 39 percent of the time (14 times).

So, statistics reveal that either 1 or 2 top seeds have made it to the Final Four 80 percent of the time (29 out of 36 years).

Another Helpful Hint: A #2 seed has made the Final Four 30 times in 36 years, which is almost once per year, on average. Recommendation--Pick one #2 seed.