Chartsandgraphs: The Final Four

The Final Four! Chartsandgraphs! This thing happening, the Rams in the Final Four, is not something to be taken lightly. Who knows when/if this will happen again. SOAK IT UP.

Last week we looked at some Sweet 16 related chartsandgraphs. This week, I bring you, the FINAL FOUR CHARTSANDGRAPHS.

Note: just like last week this data stretches back to 1985 — when the tournament expanded to 64 teams. So when I say “ever” I really mean “ever since 1985.”

Number of appearances by state

North Carolina has, by far, sent more teams (namely Duke and North Carolina) to the Final Four than any other state. NC has sent 20 while Michigan — in second place — has sent nine. Only 31 states (including Washington DC) have sent teams to the Final Four.

Above is that same map again with North Carolina thrown out.

While the data doesn’t span a “lifetime,” this really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Midmajor darling Gonzaga (from Spokane, Washington) has made the NCAA tournament every year since 1999 but has never reached the Final Four. Virginia has only sent two teams: George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011). Both of these teams were from the CAA and both were 11 seeds.

Appearance by conference

Here is another graph to either depress you about VCU’s future Final Four chances or excite you about the rarity of this One Shining Moment.

Note the bottom of that chart: midmajor conferences combined have sent less teams than the ACC. SOAK IT UP RAM FANS.

Midmajors with multiple Final Four appearances


UNLV (1987, 1990, 1991), Butler (2010, 2011), Memphis (1985, 2008)

Majors with one Final Four appearances


Marquette (2003), Minnesota (1997), Mississippi State (1996), Providence (1987), Saint John’s (1985), Seton Hall (1989), Stanford (1998), Texas (2003), West Virginia (2010), Wisconsin (2000)

Average seed by year

Just like the Sweet 16, I’m not sure that the data bares out this so called parity. Sure, the average seed (the median seed is maybe more interesting/useful, but I did average last week SO THIS IS WHAT YOU GET) has increased dramatically over the last three years, but I don’t really see an overall trend. Let’s come back to this in 25 years.

Year with largest average seed



Connecticut (3), Kentucky (4), Butler (8), VCU (11)

Year with largest median seed



Michigan State (1), Florida (5), North Carolina (8), Wisconsin (8)

Year with smallest average seed

Incidentally, this is the only year that all 1 seeds made it through to the final four.



UCLA (1), Kansas (1), North Carolina (1), Memphis (1)


Appearances by seed

Note that seeds 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 have never made a Final Four appearance. Which is weird because three 11 seed teams have made the cut: LSU (1986), George Mason (2006), and VCU (2011).

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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