Rams Among Biggest Underdogs to Make Final Four

Rams Among Biggest Underdogs to Make Final Four
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

It’s been more than a decade since the VCU Rams shocked the college basketball world and Virginia sports betting by rolling their way to the Final Four as an 11-seed, becoming the first “First Four” team to reach the national semifinals.  

That Shaka Smart-coached collective advanced to the Final Four after going 28-12 (and 12-6 in CAA play), reaching the Big Dance despite falling to Old Dominion in the conference championship game. From there, the Rams rolled past fellow 11-seed USC in the “First Four,” before routing 6-seed Georgetown and 3-seed Purdue to reach the program’s first Sweet 16.

After that, it was a matter of destiny that VCU would reach newfound heights, with the Rams upsetting 10-seed FSU and 1-seed Kansas to reach the program’s first (and only to-date) Final Four.  

Looking back some 12 years later, the Rams' accomplishment that year under Smart remains one of the greatest Cinderella stories in tournament history.  

Utilizing SportsOddsHistory.com., we looked at the biggest underdogs to ever make the Final Four by utilizing the odds of the Final Four competitors at the beginning of the tournament. The pool of entrants for this research is from 2010 until 2023.  

Biggest Final Four Underdogs Since 2010

RankTeam TournamentPre-Tournament Final Four Odds
1VCU2010-11+12500
2Loyola Chicago2017-18+7000
T-3Butler2010-11+6600
T-3Wichita State2012-13+6600
5UCLA2020-21+5000
6Syracuse2015-16+4000
7Florida Atlantic2022-23+3500
8South Carolina2016-17+2850
9UNC2021-22+2200
10Miami (Fl.)2022-23+2000

ESPN Bet Virginia currently lists Purdue as the national championship favorite at +900. Arizona and Kansas are tied for second at +1000.

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Where VCU Ranks Among All-Time Mens Final Four Underdogs

The Rams of 2010-11 had the longest Final Four odds of any team to actually reach that round, with VCU entering the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament with +12500 odds of reaching the national semifinals. Needless to say they were the definition of a Cinderella story, especially if Virginia betting apps had been around.

That longshot figure was even longer than other Final Four shockers, such as Loyola Chicago in 2018 (+7000), Butler in 2011 and Wichita State in 2013 (+6600 apiece) and the UCLA Bruins in 2021 (+5000).  

Looking at this year’s men's basketball futures, oddsmakers at BetMGM Virginia have VCU at +825 to win the Atlantic 10 title, ranking fifth overall behind Dayton (+350), Duquesne (+450), St. Bonaventure (+600) and St. Joseph’s (+650).  

Regardless of where Ryan Odom’s team goes in 2023-24 and beyond, no one can take the Rams’ 2011 Final Four run away, with VCU pulling off one of the greatest March Madness streaks of all time that year.

Terms apply for all bonuses. Must be 21+ to participate.  
Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in VA. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.
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Author

Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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