Is this year’s Final Four the weakest in tournament history? The field has been set with No. 9 FAU, No. 4 UConn, No. 5 San Diego State, and No. 5 Miami, making the sum of all the remaining seeds add up to 23.
The sum of the Final Four teams’ seeds this year is the second-highest ever in tournament history. In 2011, the sum added up to 26 — No. 3 UConn, No. 8 Butler, No. 11 VCU, and No. 4 Kentucky were the last four remaining.
Since 1979, when the entire bracket was first seeded, there has never been a Final Four without a No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 seed. Miami’s win over Texas made history here, as the best seed in this year’s Final Four is No. 4 UConn.
The total sum has reached 20 or more just four other times in history — 1980 (21), 2000 (22), 2006 (20), and 2011 (26).
The 2011 total was boosted by No. 8 Butler and No. 11 VCU. The 2006 tournament saw No. 11 George Mason advance to the Final Four along with No. 4 LSU. Two No. 8 seeds reached the semifinal round in 2000, and 1980 saw No. 6 Purdue, No. 5 Iowa, and No. 8 UCLA battle in the Final Four.
It’s hard to say whether this is the weakest group in tournament history before we watch the games themselves. The field in 2000 did not provide much entertainment. Michigan State vs. Wisconsin ended 53-41 in what is considered by some to be one of the worst Final Four games ever, and Florida blew away North Carolina before being blown away themselves in the title game.
The 2006 field also saw two blowouts in the Final Four and another in the championship game, and may have had the weakest field of all time given that information. The inclusion of both a Conference USA team and a Mountain West team in this year’s Final Four may look to some like the weakest field in history, but SDSU did beat No. 1 Alabama, and FAU took down a dangerous No. 3 Kansas State.
This one is up for interpretation, but given the numbers alone, this is one of the weakest Final Four fields in NCAA Tournament history. We’ll see how it holds up from an entertainment value Saturday and Monday.