Since the 2011 season, the NCAA has hosted the First Four – a collection of four games featuring the four lowest-ranked at-large teams and the four lowest-ranked automatic bid teams. These four games determine which teams will move forward into the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament.
These four games almost always take place at the University of Dayton Arena and happen earlier than the traditional NCAA Tournament contests – taking place on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the full slate of tourney games start on Thursday.
Though you may initially overlook teams in the First Four, in each year since 2011 at least one of these advancing programs has won a Round of 64 game following the play-ins. Most notably, the VCU Rams fought all the way from the First Four to the Final Four in 2011 before ultimately falling on the final weekend of the tournament.
Since the inception of the First Four, only four programs have appeared in the games more than once. Those four teams (USC, BYU, Boise State and Mount St. Mary’s) are a combined 3-5 with none of them posting a winning record in the play-in games.
The First Four has been a potential minefield for bettors, with favorites going a combined 16-14 SU and 12-17-1 ATS. Totals have taken the slightest lean toward the UNDER, with games failing to top the total in 17 of 30 contests.
|Year||Seeding||Winning Team||Losing Team||Final Score||How Far Did Winner Go?|
|2011||16||UTSA||Alabama State||70-61||Round of 64|
|2011||16||UNC-Asheville||Arkansas-Little Rock||81-77||Round of 64|
|2011||12||Clemson||UAB||70-52||Round of 64|
|2012||16||Western Kentucky||Mississippi Valley State||59-58||Round of 64|
|2012||16||Vermont||Lamar||71-59||Round of 64|
|2012||14||BYU||Iona||78-72||Round of 64|
|2012||12||USF||California||65-54||Round of 32|
|2013||16||North Carolina A&T||Liberty||73-72||Round of 64|
|2013||16||James Madison||Long Island||68-55||Round of 64|
|2013||13||La Salle||Boise State||80-71||Sweet 16|
|2013||11||Saint Mary’s||Middle Tennessee||67-54||Round of 64|
|2014||16||Albany||Mount St. Mary’s||71-64||Round of 64|
|2014||16||Cal Poly||Texas Southern||81-69||Round of 64|
|2014||12||NC State||Xavier||74-59||Round of 64|
|2015||16||Hampton||Manhattan||74-64||Round of 64|
|2015||16||Robert Morris||North Florida||81-77||Round of 64|
|2015||11||Ole Miss||BYU||94-90||Round of 64|
|2015||11||Dayton||Boise State||56-55||Round of 32|
|2016||16||Florida Gulf Coast||Fairleigh Dickinson||96-65||Round of 64|
|2016||16||Holy Cross||Southern||59-55||Round of 64|
|2016||11||Wichita State||Vanderbilt||70-50||Round of 32|
|2016||11||Michigan||Tulsa||67-62||Round of 64|
|2017||16||Mount St. Mary’s||New Orleans||67-66||Round of 64|
|2017||16||UC Davis||North Carolina Central||67-63||Round of 64|
|2017||11||Kansas State||Wake Forest||95-88||Round of 64|
|2017||11||USC||Providence||75-71||Round of 32|