Lowest Seed to Ever Reach the Final Four

Everybody loves a Cinderella story, and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is their best supplier. Upsets happen left and right, but on rare occasions, a team can extend their magical run to the Final Four. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only five double-digit seeds have made the Final Four. All five teams were No. 11 seeds.

Let’s take a look back and see how these teams fared.

1. 1986 LSU Tigers

The LSU tigers are the trendsetters here, but they did it in style. This LSU team was a top ten team in the nation, winning their first 14 games of the season. Then the chicken pox outbreak hit, three players were ruled academically ineligible, and they lost two players to injury. As a result, they would finish the season on a 7-10 run, making them an 11 seed in the tournament. That was when they turned it around. LSU became the first team to eliminate their region’s first, second, and third seeds. They won each game by an average of four points before being defeated by Louisville.

2. 2006 George Mason Patriots

This George Mason team racked up accolades all season long in 2006. First, they set a school record with a 23-win regular season. Then they became the first Colonial Conference team to make the Final Four. They knocked off blue bloods like Michigan State and North Carolina before defeating the No. 2 overall seed, UConn, in the elite eight. However, their run would end as they lost to the eventual National Champions, the Florida Gators. 

3. 2011 VCU Rams

Shaka Smart and his Rams shocked the nation with their run in the 2011 tournament. VCU was the first team to go from First Four to Final Four. They defeated USC,  Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and Kansas to get there. Although, they would finally fall to Brad Stevens’s Butler Bulldogs in the Final Four. 

4. 2018 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers

This Loyola team had extra help from above as the Ramblers and Sister Jean tore through the tournament. They would shock Miami, Tennessee, and Nevada with narrow victories before pulling away from Kansas State to make the Final Four. However, Michigan would have none of it, as they would finally take down the Ramblers by double-digits in San Antonio.

5. 2020 UCLA Bruins

The Bruins made another First Four to Final Four run as Johnny Juzang would carry UCLA past Michigan State, BYU, ACU, Alabama, and Michigan before losing an instant classic to Gonzaga.